Friday, January 3, 2014

2013 Recap

This has been a year of growth. Mentally, physically, emotionally, I feel a sizeable difference in the way I look at the world and myself. I wouldn't say there's a dramatic difference, but I specifically feel like a stronger runner, a smarter engineer, and a more confident and cogniscent human being. Early in the year, I started a new job in LA, moved in with Katie, and started running with a pack of runners (Guillaume, Andy, Josh, Elan, and few others) that fed growth. Contrastingly, my life in Costa Mesa was in a job with little room for growth, distance and time between me and Katie, and uninspired weekday runs.

My job as a junior product engineer was basically sustaining designs with little creativity, mechanical understanding, or initiative required. It laid a critical ground basis for sound engineering organization and paperwork, but it held me back from deeper design and manufacturing experience. Moving to my new job as a Manufacturing Design Engineer and then Director of Manufacturing threw me into a hands-on world of assembling complex products and designing tooling. This shift felt like going from knowing the parts of a car to actually physically knowing their direct function, criticality and method of production. I think I learn much more when I actually put my hands on a part, assemble it, take it apart, reassemble it, and ship it.

The responsibility as the D.O.M has made me appreciate how hard leadership really is, and the duality of how critical teamwork is with a large group of people. I understand how engineering companies work and also have a healthy respect for how hard it is to run a successful one. Shipping a quality part and making money is not something to take for granted. This is a larger metaphor for the interactions of our economy as a whole, and how vast human ingenuity is. Sometimes my head just spins for hours about how amazing an airplane is.

Similarly, my running with good friends has increased my daily running dialogue and helped me learn a lot through sharing experiences. I don't know what aspect of ultra running we haven't talked about yet, but I think we've got a good grasp of the key facets of a good runner after picking apart race performances. What's more, I've ran through more sunrises this year than I've slept through, and I've gotten some really rich moments on the trail.

As I go through building my base up again for 2014, I'm excited to push some Strava CR's to their proper times. The idea is very clear that the daily 10-40 minute climbs in the southern Santa Monica Mountains have a lot of potential for building power and speed, and the 1-2 hour climbs in the San Gabriels will develop my strength for my goal summer 100's. I'm exactly where I need to be to push myself to the next level.

Going into 2014, I'll be in my 6th year of ultras. If I had to explain the essence of the sport to anyone, it wouldn't be about being tough or just doing a lot of running, it'd be about knowing yourself really well. I think those brilliant moments of high performance are the result of knowing how to train yourself to a level of fitness and mental confidence to take successful risks. There isn't doubt or fear, but a pure indulgence of the body and mind that leaves a lasting mark in the form of a smile that you can't wipe off for days.

My goal in 2014 is purely to know myself: physically and mentally.

I'm motivated for 2014 because I this is a clear directive that is greater than just a time goal or a place goal. I've proven that I can compete in 2013, and I doubt my main goal of knowing myself won't be accompanied by some strong performances. My two goal races are Western States 100 and Angeles Crest 100, and I can guarantee they'll be the best races I've ever run.

Oh, and..
I ran 3,454mi and climbed 755,671ft in 2013

"oh I'll be better.."
Shakey Graves - The Many Man


Scotty Kummer said...

Thanks for the inspiration and smiles in 2013. Looking forward to watching your 2014 unfold, and perhaps actually meeting you .

Dylan Bowman said...

Dawnpatrols and Strava CRs! The essence of a life well lived!

Unknown said...

Great stuff as always Dom!:) Looking forward to a great '14 with ya!