2016: Run The Keweenaw, A Festival of Trails

 Each of its three previous editions — 2013, 2014 and 2015 — this festival of trails has gone on to teach quite a bit about myself, our trail systems in Eagle Harbor and Copper Harbor (I am no mountain biker and so, I don’t ride them at all) and the trail running etiquette, and brought me closer to a fairly large number of friends — from around and outside the region — that are competitive while being the kind, cooperative, caring and the very embodiment of the said etiquette.

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2016: Cellcom Green Bay Half Marathon

Signing up and participating in this event has turned into a tradition of sorts. Owing to the organizers’ unique three-year medal strategy that started in 2015 and my innate inability to let certain things go — one of them being the want of materialistic memorabilia for there is no display case for memories, this tradition will continue at least through its 2017 edition.

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2016: Great Bear Chase 10k XC Classic Ski

In all seriousness and retrospect, this should have been my only ski race of the 2015-16 season. For, in all the same seriousness and retrospect, Great Bear Chase has become the final test of my skiing talents each season — cumulative (since January 2014) and newly acquired (with each passing season/session) alike. And it’s a test — a long running and well established, managed and reputed one at that — in my home area that comes with the added benefits of near-zero traveling, sleeping in my own bed couch the night before, and being with dear friends and community members before, during and afterwards.

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2016: American Birkebeiner Prince Haakon 12k XC Classic Ski

Until about two years or so ago, Birkie was something I couldn’t care less about. So much so that I thought and truly believed that Birkie was a real physical town somewhere in Wisconsin. And I even tried looking for a sign to this town on my way to Red Wing, Minnesota, to participate in the 2014 Ragnar Relay Great River, and I don’t remember being disappointed at my inability to find it.

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2016: Noquemanon 12k XC Classic Ski

About a week had passed by since my maiden attempt at skiing and dear friend Carrie suggested that I should consider partaking in one of the events at the Noquemanon Ski Marathon (referred to hereafter as just Noque — somewhat for the purposes of brevity but mostly to sound cool). The aforementioned maiden ski attempt had taken over an hour to cover less than one mile on relatively flat trails. More so than skiing, it was a battle between yours truly and formidable laws of gravity and friction that the latter two won in a merciless beatdown. Given the sheer lack of information, expertise and/or experience, the chances of me surviving the wild and presumably treacherous Noque trails let alone making it out alive were very very slim … if not non-existent. So, it didn’t happen in 2014.

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Looking back at 2015, and looking ahead to 2016

Much like 2014, life in 2015 has been great — I still have my dream job and live in a place that I love amidst people with whom caring is more than a two-way traffic. Thanks in greater part to my friends in and out of this community, and their seemingly never ending unexpected and unrewarded acts of kindness, 2015 became my first ever full running season — learning a lot more than I had imagined in and about the process. Mileage, at least for running, was distributed throughout the year, and that for biking was clustered around the summer and fall months. Skiing and swimming made more than a guest appearance making 2015 my first year of taking a crack at triathloning.

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2015: USA Half Marathon Invitational

It was the Spring of 2015. If you know where I am local and the weather therein, italicized Spring should be self explanatory. Teaching responsibilities for the academic year 2014-15 had long been wrapped up, and the preparations for the then upcoming Cellcom Green Bay Half Marathon were about being wrapped up too. With qualifying for and participating in Boston Marathon being far too distant and far too difficult to even dream about (sub 3:10:00 finish, 7:15 min/mile or faster) and with over a dozen half marathons in the rear view mirror, I started doing some literature search (read: google-ing around) for Boston’s equivalent of half marathons: a race that didn’t just let me in for fun but expected a little more by requiring qualifying standards in spite of having to pay the registration fee. Several days and many combinations of keywords and phrases later, Google led me to exactly what I was looking for: Race Raves‘ article on an inaugural qualifiers only half marathon event … in November … in San Diego!

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2015: Madison Half Marathon

Science … often defined as the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the structure and behavior of the natural/physical and social world via a systematic methodology based on documented observation, evidence and experiment. Such a scientific methodology almost always includes the following aspects and almost always is accompanied by an image of a mad scientist who, according to Wikipedia, is an aging male with crooked teeth and messy hair wearing a lab coat, spectacles/goggles, gloves and holding an effervescent test tube:

(1) Objective observation — the measurement and data possibly although not necessarily using mathematics as a tool (2) Evidence (3) Experiment and/or observation as benchmarks for testing hypotheses (4) Induction — reasoning to establish general rules or conclusions drawn from facts or examples (5) Mindful repetition (6) Critical analysis (7) Verification and testing — critical exposure to scrutiny, peer review and assessment.

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