Sunday, January 04, 2009

New Year's Review, Part I

I'm late doing this. It's already 2009 and here I am just getting around to looking at 2008.

This blog is primarily a place to keep a record of my training and racing. It might surprise you, given the ridiculous and exhaustive detail with which I catalog all my races- really, I need ten paragraph for a race that was 19 minutes long ?- that I've never kept any sort of training journal or record of my races. At the end of the first full year I worked with Eric, he asked me to send him an excel spreadsheet with all the races I could find that I'd done on it. I know I had more than 50 entries on the sheet and that was only what I could find on the internet.

Things change, as Troy Aikman would say.

This was a very unusual year for all of us. It's hard, when your 403B is melting faster than a snowpile along the shoreline, when the Middle East is burning again, when the value of the homes we live in decreases daily, when maybe your job hangs in the balance- you get the picture- to remember that this was an historic year in good ways as well. We had a woman and african-american running for one party's presidential nomination and we elected our first black president. Regardless of your politics, it was a monumental redefinition of our process, suggesting that we may finally, in the 21st century, be emerging as a cultural capable of dismantling the artificial barriers we've erected around the halls of power. Although as Prop 8 in California reminded us, for every two steps forward, we are perfectly capable of taking one back, that inclusivity at the individual level can be highly selective, that we can love and hate at the same time.

I'm never sure what's more perplexing about human nature, its generosity, or its penury of compassion.

I saw the better part of human nature yesterday. Eric has been holding a Polar Plunge now for five years to raise money for charity, starting with the tsunami victims- I can't believe it's been that long. It was cold yesterday- I ran for two hours in the morning, and the whole time I was wondering if the weather would deter people from coming. We've had worse- colder, darker days, but Eric made a change this year that was key- he held the plunge at high tide, instead of in the morning.

The truth is though, that if he held it at 4 AM I think he'd get just about the same turnout- Gus with the dog, Denny, Eric's dad on the camera, Baker there for moral support, plus dozens of others, all crazy enough to run into the nasty cold water of the Sound. Most of us only know the cause that the Plunge raises money for through Eric each year, but I think we're all happy to do it because a) Eric's a great guy, and anything he's willing to put himself out there to support has to be worth it- look at the tremendous work he's done helping to take Ride for Rick from an idea (his) to reality b) it feels good to do good. I think your soul or whatever you want to call it can be a dark and evil place and you would still get a charge out of reaching out to good for others in a group of like-minded people.

The fact that there was snow on the beach this year stopped no one, and if fact all I heard from anyone this time around was that 'it wasn't that bad.'

There were other good moments- and of course the Plunge was actually this year, but hey, it's my blog...

An American stood on the podium and took away eight gold medals. CSC finally, in their exit performance, won the Tour. We had a presidential election that was not marred by allegations of voter disenfranchisement. The nation finally seemed to get the message about 'green energy'.

I don't know. On balance, I'm glad to see 2009 come in, even though I've never been a big believer in arbitrary divisions of time really meaning anything, and we have a lot to see before we raise our hands and dance like we just don't care.

Oh yeah, I did a few races. More on that later.

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