Forty Three.

This (technically) old horse has finished a 43rd trip around the sun. We think of it as turning 43, and some erroneously refer to it as beginning your 43rd year. But technically I have actually lived 43 years and begin a 44th year. (Take me to court if you disagree!)

Over the last year, I got a new job and it made a lot of things in general life a lot easier. Along with financially stabilizing my life after 18 months of uncertain work situations, the surrounding neighborhood combined with actual space to take breaks allowed me to walk and run outdoors on those breaks, which allowed me to do more running a lot more often. Even though these runs were short, typically 1-2 miles, they helped rapidly get me back in decent running shape. The financial improvement also allowed me to spend more to eat better food, which also helped.

Life in general isn’t anywhere near as stressful as last year. The previous year was rough across the board, and this year decidedly less so. Coronavirus was not one of the reasons, though. While we’ve all been half-in half-out regarding restrictions, the most they’ve done to my life is slow it down some and make it quieter than it was before. But 41-42 was full of admittedly bad work situations, which made doing anything else with my life difficult. Coronavirus forcing lockdowns was actually a relief. This past year, 42-43, was decidedly better both at work and beyond.

Last year I speculated on what races to run, and this year… not so much. I have a marathon coming up very soon, and go figure Indy wasn’t even on my radar this time last year. As my decisions often are, doing it was a spur of the moment headlong decision to decide on THIS one. It seemed right for where I was at and what I was looking for. Is it now? I imagine when the time comes to run it, it will lay clear what I am and what I want to do.

I’m now 8 pounds heavier than last year, at which point I was a less than ideal (but still better than now) 169.6 pounds (in my peak Chicago training days I ran at 160-165 lbs). I was at this time last year actively training for a half marathon that ultimately didn’t happen, so I was in better running condition than now, even though now I probably have better aerobic endurance than I did there. I hurt my hamstring during this summer, and if not for that I possibly would be in better overall shape than last year.

Most of the weight increase came during the holiday season, reaching 184 pounds in January 2021 before I took my current job and the above factors helped me gradually get my weight back down. After disciplined work, my weight’s currently cruising around 177-178 pounds, and I’m still working to get it to cruise lower without compromising my current training.

My role is a sedentary job, and I still have limited control in how I can store and prepare food, which requires some creative (and to some degree expensive) meal planning. But training for Indy did compel me to improve quite a few food habits, and now my diet is in large part as disciplined and clean as it’s ever been. If I had my own full, unencumbered kitchen, I’d likely slim down to my old weight rapidly. Still once Indy is a done, I can reduce my calorie intake, and that could help bring things down rapidly as well.

Training in general has become far, far more consistent for me than it’s ever been. Running has been difficult this summer for a variety of reasons, but I’ve made it to the gym almost every day in 2021 to do some sort of training, whether cross training, strength training, or what running I can do on the treadmill. Whether or not I’m in suitable condition to run a marathon, I’m in very good general fitness.

I did a lot of traveling during this summer, basically to try and run long in suitable conditions, but it got me to take a lot of road trips after a couple years of very little traveling. Expedia says I now have Gold status (which turns out has minimal relevant perks), which is how much traveling I’ve done.

After never spending much of any time in Flagstaff or Big Bear Lake, I stayed and ran in both places quite a bit this summer. While not opposed, the idea of living in either is to me more of a “if I get rich” or “if all sorts of circumstances fell into place” scenario. I don’t foresee leaving Vegas before my debts are cleared, and that’s going to take at least a couple years (though I’ve made substantial progress since taking this new job).

If this year showed me anything for the next year, it’s to not worry so much about expectations for the future. I have things I want to do, sure, but I’m not particularly concerned about them right now, nor do I have much to say about them before they become real plans and real action.

The present matters a lot more than it has in the last few years, and I’m certainly a lot more patient with a lot more things. I focus on making the most of the current moment, know what I’m working towards, and work towards it when the moment makes sense to do so. Sometimes, that means relaxing and not worrying about things for a bit. Sometimes, that means bringing the hammer down on some difficult work, and/or taking care of responsibilities.

43-44 is here and that’s all I have to say about that. Today is going to be a rest day. Tomorrow I plan to run long. And we’ll take that and the rest as it comes.

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