Hola, and a belated Happy New Year. It's pretty amazing to me that we're in the last year of this decade already. The Aughts, the '00s, or whatever the hell you want to call them, have certainly seen some major shifts for the world and for me personally. The threat of terrorism has always been around, with hijackings and bombings occurring every so often, but since a certain day in 2001, it really hit home and changed the tenor of our worldview. And eventually it led to the biggest war since Viet Nam. As for me, since 2000 I've gotten married, bought a house, had kids...you know, all that "growing up" stuff I'd heard so much about. We've got another year before we really take a look back at this decade, but it's wild that we're even this far into it.
So now for the resolutions...last year, I had resolved to run two marathons (check) and get my marathon PR down into the 3:30s. Didn't quite make it. I had a 3:43 in New Jersey in May and was hoping for a sub-3:40 in Philly in November, but only got a 3:52. This year, I'll have the same goal, although since I'm doing Boston in April, I don't expect to run as fast I would a flatter marathon course. But I'll do a speedier course in the fall. As always, I resolved to play the guitar more, but I probably played it as much as I ever do: in fits and starts. So I'll get on that again. And I looked to do more non-work writing and I actually achieved that one, especially with the running column that I launched in October for the local paper. It's all about time management. I'm also still doing my podcast twice a month and trying to blog a couple of times a week. I think that's realistic while leaving time for the most important thing of all: being a dad and a husband.
Speaking of the running column, here's the latest one, which was published yesterday.
We had a pretty quiet New Year's Eve. Deb had planned to take the girls to some of the Beverly First Night activities in town and I was going to meet them after I got out of work, but an afternoon snowstorm put a damper on that stuff. The activities were still held, but Deb decided to stay off the roads. I got out of work around 2:30, came home and shoveled, and then we just hunkered down for the night. We ended up getting about eight inches, but they were fluffy and easy to shovel and clear. The winds picked up at night, forcing the cancellation of the Boston New Year's fireworks, and temps dropped into the single digits.
On New Year's Day, I bundled up with two pairs of pants and three upper layers to run the Frosty Four in Salem. It was brutally cold, about 10 degrees with 30 mph winds at times. More than 300 like-minded (i.e., crazy) runners were out there with me. The first and third miles were the toughest; the footing was tough because of the snow, but the winds that blew off Salem Harbor on mile 3 were absolutely horrendous, whipping up sand off the beach and nearly knocking us over as we ran up a big hill. Compared to that, the last mile was downright comfortable. I decided not to push too hard and ran 8:30 miles. They had a great post-race spread, with three-bean chili and Chik-Fil-A sandwiches. Good stuff.
I got home and it took several hours for me to get warm again. In between, I watched the second NHL Winter Classic, held at Wrigley Field between the Blackhawks and Red Wings. They did a great job and the weather cooperated. It was an exciting game for two periods, before Detroit took over. Interesting fact (for me, anyway): Former UNH netminder Ty Conklin has played in all three outdoor games the NHL has held, including the Heritage Classic in Edmonton a few years back. He was Edmonton's goalie then, won for Pittsburgh last year, and won for the Wings this year. If he plays in it again next year (location and teams TBD), it'll truly be an amazing feat.
Usually, New Year's Eve is movie (rental) night for us, but it didn't work out that way. But last night, we watched "The Dark Knight," and holy crap, Batman, is that a great movie. I wish I could have seen it on a big screen because it was truly an impressive looking movie, with lots of great 'splosions. But there was much more than that, of course. Heath Ledger was incredible as the Joker, taking the character as from Jack Nicholson's version as you can imagine. Great acting all around, really: Christian Bale as the title character, Aaron Eckhart, Gary Oldman, Maggie Gyllenhall, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine. As you can tell, I don't see movies when they first come out very often. I've been catching up in recent weeks, seeing "Tropic Thunder," "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," and "Iron Man." Plus last night, I watched the first half of "Reservoir Dogs," which never gets old. I also TiVoed "The Pope of Greenwich Village" the other night starring a young Mickey Rourke; I haven't seen it before and I'm looking forward to seeing "The Wrestler," so this should be a good 'un.