Wow. I tipped past the halfway mark in my 30s and just kept running.
My 37th year on Earth was full of a bunch of wonderful things, moments of self-doubt and a healthy serving of hope. My favorite part of the year was setting goals in areas I love and then realizing those goals through the help of friends and family. These are a few of my riches memories from this past year.
As lines have deepened in my face, I've become better at dreaming goals and then realizing them. Three years ago I set the objective of living and running in Hood River for at least a few weeks—a loved place of mine. Thanks to the remote work capability of my role at BECU, I packed up my laptop, dog and mountain bike and headed to the Gorge. I had booked a friend's place to crash at followed by an AirBNB. My plan was to bike and run each morning, work from my pad, and then hang out with friends in the evening. Maybe I'd even take a kiteboard lesson?
I'd live the mountain town life and experience what I had dreamed of years ago but hadn't yet been able to realize.
My fate had other plans.
Unfortunately my visit also coincided with a unseasonably strong heatwave. Adding to the sufferfest smoke from a B.C. wildfire blanketing Washington State and hung particularly low in the Columbia River Gorge. While I could still climb up the hills before work to get some miles with Luna, by mid-morning the Gorge was boiling hot and smothered in heavy smoke. It looked like hell, not this loved place I planned for.
Despite this I still made the best of my visit and did what I always do: run. My buddy Nick came down and we took on a single day loop of the much-heralded Timberline Trail. It was a tough 46-mile trek, but we were rewarded with flowering meadows, waterfalls and fresh air above the smokey haze and detailed my experience here and in the video below.
Last year I also had an opportunity to lean into my creative interests. After maintaining a blog on-and-off for years, I decided to get my act together. I moved from a self-hosted Wordpress and build this site using Squarespace. The platform doesn't do much, but it does make it effortless to create an accessible, simple site. Sometimes that’s all you need.
Beyond the website, I also produced my first prosumer-quality movie, Dick's Rash: The Up, Down and Around. The 17-minute feature chronicles my buddy Rich's climb and run around Mt. Rainier, Adams, St. Helens and Hood.
We debuted the film at our favorite local running shop, Seven Hills to an audience of about a hundred (Shhh! Don't tell the fire department). In my eyes, it was a huge success. Licensed music, HD film and a fun narrative that earns the attention of an audience.
The next month we screened it at Evolution Fitness in Portland to another audience of running and athletes. Last year I also produced a few creative project for work including a silly Shred Event promotional video, and the scripted and silly “Your First Time”.
Over the past year I also made a concerted effort to deepen my relationships with friends, family and my partner, Emily. As I age I realize how true it is that it isn’t things that make memories or build fulfillment, but people. I enjoyed hikes with my Father, races with my Aunt Ellen, dinner with friends and the unexpected adventure with Emily.
Races & Adventures
Last year I avenged my DNF at IMTUF, completed the beasty Orcas Island 100 and graduated from the strenuous WA Alpine Club Basic Climbing Class, with a summit of Mt. Baker as a cherry on top. While it was rewarding to achieve these formalized endeavors, the adventures that brought me the most joy were the spontaneous adventures. Just a hour before I jumped in a car I thought “why don’t I run the Enchantments solo tomorrow?” And then I did: soaking up the late season sights and kicking through the freshly fallen snow. I had a similar experience when I convinced my buddy Carolyn to do a weekend trip to Vegas, and rim-to-rim-to-rim run of the Grand Canyon. How lucky are we to be this free and alive?
Each year I make a list of goals: some are concrete while others are a squishy. One of my objectives for 2018 was to “build wealth” which I guess can be accomplished in a host of ways. Also on my list was the dream of improving a home with my Father. Luckily in June I was able to make progress on both objectives by buying my first house. Emily and I found the four bedroom, one bath craftsman in Tacoma after about six months of searching and touring ten houses. When we visited the Trafton St. address in the super walkable 6th Ave District and just a few blocks from where Emily lived as a child, we knew we had a winner. Just a few hours after putting in a last-minute offer for the property we hear back from our real estate agent.
“You got it!”
Wow. I’ve put more time into buying a belt than I did buying the house, but the decision continues to pay dividends. Emily and I moved into our new home in early July. We then spent the rest of the summer touring the neighborhood fairs and street events, and enjoying the local pizza shops and breweries. When my brother, his wife and Dad visit in October our plans are to do maintenance on the house: fixing lights, wiring outlets and accomplishing the second goal.
Who knows if the housing market will hold tight or fall out like it did for my condo a decade ago. Whatever the outcome I get to live in a home I can call my own in a neighborhood and community I truly love. Plus, Luna approves of her new backyard. <3 Tacoma.
I play a silly question game with friends on their birthdays. I ask “Looking forward is there a goal or hope you have for your next birthday?”
What’s next for me?
I hope I can stay healthy. While I have yet to tip into my 40s, I can already feel the screws loosening. Injuries take longer to heal from. My energy is more often low. So doing what I can to ensure my health over the next year will be paramount. Following that, I hope to continue to invest in my relationships: my love with Emily, my friendships and my relationship with my family.