Sunday, December 25, 2016

One Eye Looking Back, Two Looking Forward

All things have a beginning and an end

Upon reflection, I'm certain that 2016 had to have been more than a year long. The first big change of the year was that I left my job as a social studies teacher on the Wind River Reservation and now I'm working as support staff in the Life Skills Special Education classroom at Lander Valley High School. Instead of helping students understand the United States from multiple geographical and historical perspectives, I'm teaching students how to sound out words, use a calculator to add and subtract, and even color in the lines.  Work feels pretty darn different. Apparently that wasn't enough change, so I also dove back into the world of soccer coaching and just started as the LVHS Head Girls Soccer Coach. To keep things really fresh and different Jenny and I (and our good friend Emily Tilden) also took over as leaders of the Lander Running Club and race directors of the Sinks Canyon Rough and Tumble Trail Runs.

Running date with Jenny working our way up in the Northern Winds

My youngest daughter turned one, and to really make her presence felt in this changing world she decided to drain our bank account on multiple occasions. The most recent and shocking event was a few weeks ago when she was "life flighted" to Denver on a tiny Guardian airplane for three emergency blood transfusions. Turns out she has something called Transient Erythroblastopenia of Childhood (TEC), which means that she was unable to produce red blood cells. This is supposed to last weeks to months, but thankfully it appears she is already starting to make her own blood cells again. We heard and saw some scary stuff at the Denver Children's Hospital and were blessed to get out of there relatively unscathed.

We were trying to crack jokes to cut the tension, but that was some scary shit.

And then there is running. I've adventured, trained, and raced a lot. I was able to explore new and special places in the Winds and got a few good race results along the way as well, particularly at the Never Summer 100K and the Scout Mountain 100K. I had a real disaster of a race at Run Rabbit Run 100 as well, but I don't even want to think about that dismal run. The real exciting news is that I got into HARDROCK 100! My fourth time applying was the charm; maybe after a year with my fair share of challenges the lottery gods decided that my ultra running dream could be a reality. Hardrock is one of the big reasons that I started ultra running roughly 7 years ago. I love mountain runs that are remote, wild, big, and adventurous, and there is no ultra race around that better fits that criteria than Hardrock. I probably lose a little sleep on this one every night.

Cold running for the next few months, at least.

So, I imagine 2017 is going to bring more challenges, but hopefully with a little less drama and financial burden. Training for Hardrock will be exceedingly tricky with my busy family life, coaching soccer, the Lander Running Club, and working around Jenny's training and work schedule as well. I hope to do some long fastpacking adventures in 2017 and maybe even IMTUF 100 in September as well, but Hardrock is my top priority and I'll have to see what else I can fit in. No doubt I'll have to be more creative, flexible, and dedicated than ever before. Challenges accepted.

The Christmas Card Photo
What races and adventures do you have planned for 2017? Do you have any tips or suggestions for me on how to fit it all in? Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and good luck to you in everything that you aspire to in the new year! Remember to play hard and have fun! 

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