An annual report is a time for reflection on what has happened and what is to come. The data I collect ranges from the useful to the ridiculous. The most meaningful data I collect is running data - daily runs, training runs, races, etc. Analyzing this information is useful as I continue to run everyday and try and improve my performance. Recording how many cheesesteaks I eat ... less useful (but amusing).
The following is a collection of different data points. The primary focus is 2017 but some additional historical comparisons are included as well.
I have done a good amount of running over the last few years. I never ran much when I was younger. I only took to running when I decided to stop riding my bike … flying over the handlebars will do that. Incidentally, landing on your hands is why cyclists wear gloves. In searching for an alternate activity running was appealing because:
• it seemed to need the least amount of equipment
• it can be a solo sport
• there is no machine to let me down
So after 9 years of running where am I?
In short: I am not the fastest, I have never shown up to a race with the expectation of winning, and I’m not great at running marathons (but I have gotten to where I can run them which is something). The best thing I have to my credit is the tenacity to keep running. I have run at least one mile, everyday, for the last 6 years. I run in the humidity, in the sub-zero cold, when I’m healthy, sick, in my neighborhood, on vacation, etc. Some days the thought of my daily run hangs over my head. Other days it’s a fun way to go out and see the neighborhood.
A few years ago my dad gave me an article about streak runners, people who run at least one mile everyday without skipping a day. I thought, “I could do that ... I could go for the world record.”
For 6 years since September 1st 2011 I have run at least one mile everyday. The world record holder (to my knowledge) is currently the legendary Ron Hill who voluntarily ended his streak on January 30th of 2017 after 52 years & 39 days.
Ron Hill winning the 1970 Boston Marathon.
Seeing new places, getting into adventures, & taking photos along the way is pretty much exactly what I want to do. Reading about places and watching videos is good but the best way to experience other cultures is first-hand. I also firmly believe that you should buy experiences and not things. New places, new experiences, new stories make you a better person. All of this motivates me to keep going to new places and finding new adventures.
Travel Highlights from 2017
• I made progress in visiting all fifty states by visiting 7 new states brining me to 31.
• I visited 1 new country, Jordan, which was my first trip to the Middle East.
• In strange travel I hit Austin's Museum of the Weird, Carhenge, South of the Border, Wall Drug, and the International Cryptozoology Museum.
South Dakota is really beautiful
Went to Charleston to see the total eclipse
Definitely worth traveling for at least once
I rode on not 1, but 2 mythical jackalopes
Definitely worth experiencing
Bring water & good walking shoes
Once you leave the canyon Petra has little shade
I moved from rock to rock for shade, like a tall pale lizard
It was a miracle I avoided sunburn
I gawked at all manner of the odd & curious
I failed to run into Jerry, George, Kramer, & Elaine yet again
No matter where you go, you can always find an Irish pub (even in the Middle East)
I don’t drink very frequently. When I do drink it’s maybe 2 drinks at a time. This low intake of alcohol is partially that I just don’t feel like drinking much. Another factor is that hang-overs in your 30's are more unpleasant than in your 20's. Finally, knowing that I’ll have to run at some point today/tomorrow I prefer to not run hung-over.
However, when I did drink in 2017 my drink of choice was Stout beers and overwhelmingly that meant Guinness. The close second favorite drink style was Ale but that covered more brands more evenly. You can also see that I only seem to drink whiskey when the weather starts to turn cold.
For the last several years there has been a dramatic spike in the amount of mixed drinks I consume in December & January. This is due to just one drink: eggnog. Like the Christmas season’s first airing of Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You, once eggnog comes back for the holidays it’s in heavy rotation.
• I made small batches of mead from my honey
• The spikes in drink consumption tend to align with vacations
I have some ups & downs with caffeine. At the end of 2012 I decided to cut back on the amount I was consuming but eventually abandoned that plan once I talked myself into the web-diagnosed health benefits of caffeine.
Roasting My Own
In what was only inevitable I began roasting my own coffee. I've been buying green coffee beans from Sweet Maria's and roasting them using a popcorn popper I bought off ebay.
ProTip: if using a hot air popcorn popper keep ventilation at the top to let some of the air out ... otherwise the plastic melts.
• I visited both the original Starbucks and the original Dunkin Donuts
• Coffee is my caffeine drink of choice
• While I have tried to even the intake of tea vs. coffee, coffee has again been dominant (by 2 to 1).
Before and After roasting beans from the Veredas Vecinos in the La Plata region of Colombia.
I have no real goal with the food I track other than the amusing novelty of it. I don't really need to eat more or less of any of these foods. That said, in a very Philadelphia pairing, I do like tracking how many cheesesteaks and soft pretzels I have eaten.
I'm a pescatarian (I don't eat meat but I do eat seafood) but I have one meat weakness: Philadephia cheesesteaks. More specifically cheesesteaks from Dalessandro's. I did however branch out this year for two cheesesteaks from other restaurants. John's Roast Pork has a sesame seed roll which I would highly recommend. I also had a cheesesteak at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Their bar is awesome - their cheesesteak, less so.
• While my average annual cheesesteak consumption is almost 7, over the last few years I have been actively trying to cut down.
• Soft pretzels have become part of my pre-race carbo-loading ritual before long runs.
• I decided I needed to diversify my weekday lunches and went from about 3 salads a week to about 1.
Like the tracking of my food, I don't really have a goal in mind when tracking entertainment events. I don't really need to see any more or less concerts, movies, or games. That said, I used to go to more concerts - now not so many. I should get back into more shows.
As for what movies I see, two of my little local theaters have classic movie nights where they play some legendary movies. This has both increased the number of movies I see as well as diversified the ages of the movies I see.
• My 4th viewing of The Big Lebowski at the Ambler Little Lebowski festival.
• I went to a Mariners game out in Seattle. Exploring different stadiums is a bunch of fun.
• Close Encounters of the Third Kind is more fun to watch after you've walked around Devil's Tower.