That is the word that comes to mind when I look back on 2012.
2011 was recovery, even triage at some points. Of course, I am very blessed. Life has been up and to the right for several years but there are always setbacks. Especially when you're aiming high. Or just plain impatient like me.
As I often do, I think about things in terms of running. This year I ran 1,736.8 miles. Last year I ran 630.2. That's a pretty big increase. Cascade Lakes Relay, Eugene Marathon, and a 32 mile jaunt around Mt. Saint Helens with my friend Ryan Russell helped make those miles a lot of fun.
As 2012 came to a close this winter I realized a bigger change. Winter time in Oregon can be a miserable time of year to run. With holiday gatherings and merriment it's usually a time to pack on a few pounds and relax. You know, heal up, recuperate, and establish some goodwill with my wife who spent much of 2012 waiting for me to come back from a long run or managing the house while I recovered.
This winter has been different. Instead staying warm, I've hit it hard. Last winter I was rewarded for snowy, rainy, windy, cold runs in Hoyt Arboretum and Forest Park. There is an elite club that braves the early hours in December and January to run the trails. There aren't any meetings or dues or events, just a knowing nod as you pass each other on Wildwood. I saw things few people see. Snow covered Portland from Pittock Mansion after sunrise, misty Council Crest, and the satisfaction of watching people amble contently out of their homes just starting their day at 9am while I wrap up a 10+ mile workout.
This winter I have momentum. I'm not content to gain a couple pounds (although I am sure I did) and lose some speed. I'm hitting 2013 running (pun intended).
Dave Ramsey... do it!), incredible family and friends. If I tried to list them all I am certain I would forget something. The thing that ties them all together is my faith. I have been growing closer to God and this year was a turning point.
Reading the Bible everyday has opened my eyes to the perspective of Jesus Christ. Praying everyday has focused me in ways that are hard to understand. I am serving God in everything I do. That is what drives me.
Volunteering with the Wildfire youth group as a leader has been a big part of that. Getting to know the 6th grade boys (now 7th graders) in my group has given me so much. They are kind and honest (as well as insane and incorrigible) and just need love.
I've learned to be patient. I've learned to speak in to what children will be, not what they are now. They are TRYING. That is the important thing. And I hope my children will always know that I am trying too.
2013 is all about momentum. Life will still happen. Things still won't go the way I want them to. I will still have regret, sorrow, frustration, you name it. But I will also have joy. That keeps me going.
Even in the dead of winter, rain coming down, wind in my face, and a big old Wildwood hill laid out before me...
I just keep running.