The Obligatory Goal Post and Getting Epic Like Kim Jong Il

I've written about goals in the past and how I don't really believe in them. I don't sit down at the beginning of the year and write down things that I don't really think I'll be doing come January 31st. Instead, I spend the year focusing on what I enjoy doing, whether that be spending time with my family, or running trails. I run long races because I love to run, so this year I'm focusing on more of the same. The main thing that I learned this year about my running is that if I focus too much on goals and reaching them at the expense of the enjoyment that I gain from running, then there really is no point in running at all.

That's not to say that I don't want to run faster or further, I just don't want to do it at the expense of my enjoyment. I love running and I cringe when I hear the cliché answer "because I can" or the "because it's there" to the admittedly difficult question of "why do you [insert hard thing here]?" I love a long jog in the mountains, I love running through the night, I love running through the rain and muddy trails, I love watching high def videos of European mountains that I hope to run someday, I love the long talks with friends, and the short guttural responses when we are running too fast to form sentences, I love walking to meet the early morning regulars with my headlamp off and steps lit by the stars, I love running through streams with my dog, I love coming home after a hard run, sweaty and stinky and giving my kids hugs as they cringe, and I love the taste of blood in my mouth and numb shoulders because I can't give any more. "Because I can" doesn't begin to describe it.

I've been thinking a lot about potential lately, and pushing the limits to reach mine, and to be able to see it in others. That is something I need to work on. We all have greatness in us, the ability to accomplish things unimaginable. I think that's one thing that my kids have taught me, and I'm working really hard to see this potential in others.

My daughter Kaya was born nine weeks premature, and she struggled early in life.


I remember the incubator and a short, elvish doctor discussing the health of my daughter, still developing lungs, with the help of tubes, drugs, and a warm, glass-covered bed. I remember being scared, not sure if she was going to make it.

This memory came hard at me last night as I watched her dancing to Just Dance 3, our new video game, my five-year-old keeping up with her six- and ten-year-old siblings. Moving arms and legs, spinning around, singing the songs that she has heard from the lips of her older sister, and laughing.

I failed to see this potential as she struggled in the hospital, relying on machines and drugs to live, to gain weight and recover from starving in the womb, with a knotted umbilical chord. We were as surprised as the doctors when she came out, her source of life cut off, and slowly starving. Now she makes us all laugh, spouting off knock knock jokes at the dinner table with the timing of a natural comedian.

Last night, as she finished dancing, growing weary of LMFAO on repeat, she squeezed in next to me on my favorite chair as I wrote about her early struggles. She looked over my shoulder as I typed on the screen, asking me what I was writing about and I told her I was just writing about my sunshine.

Sometimes I get lost in the day to day struggle, the fear and the uncertainty, and I forget to recognize the potential for greatness in others, a potential that we all share.

I have a lot planned for 2012 and it's more of a wish list than a list of goals. The year will start with some short trail races, a marathon in Death Valley, a traverse of the Joshua Tree Riding and Hiking Trail, a traverse of Zion National Park with Jess, a 50 miler on the Pacific Crest Trail, a 100 miler on some of my favorite trails in San Diego, and a top secret marathon on the trails of San Elijo Hills with some of my favorite people. When I look at that list I get giddy from excitement. I look forward to stretching my limits while sharing beautiful trails with some amazing people. I consider myself lucky and blessed, and when the struggle gets me down, I am grateful that I have the ability and the drive to occasionally do some long, epic jogs.

And while we can't all run a 1:59 marathon like Kim Jong Il, occasionally we can all do something epic.

Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year.


  1. Nice varied list for 2012. Wasn't Kim at WS100 last year or was that someone else?

  2. Kovas -- Kim did win Western States, but no one noticed because he finished before they had time to set up the finish area at Auburn H.S. track, so he looked around triumphantly, then flew home (by rapidly flapping his arms).

  3. Even the names on your wish list sound epic! Happy New Year - and keep pouring out the sunshine!

  4. I love this! I am 100% with you about losing the enjoyment for running because of setting too many goals. It's something I had to realize thsi year. Happy New Year!

  5. Great post! Goals are more than a resolution you may keep for two days.


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