New Year's is a great opportunity to look forward to the upcoming year. A time to define your goals and hopes and dreams for the new year. I realized today, as I sit at the end of the old and the beginning of the new and wonder what I want in the upcoming year, a look back at all we've done is worth the trip.
This is the heart of all I do. This is where it all started- David and I. Together we built our family, our home, our community and our life in Alaska. What I do on my own and what we do together is always supported by this partnership.
I ran 100 miles. I challenged my body and my mind and got the job done. I made a commitment and saw it through by putting one foot in front of the other. There were moments of true joy and sheer pain, and the pain passed and the joy is still with me. It was a beginning of a new adventure for me and a lesson in how I want to live my life.
Our family built a bonfire on Kincaid Beach. It was a long, cold hike to the beach and there was grumpiness and dismay at the challenge of getting there. But, we discovered beauty and the value of getting somewhere as a family. Sometimes the best you can do is push through. You'll never know what awaits if you don't.
All the places I've been with my dog! One of the greatest joys in my life is my time on the trails with Charlie. His tongue flapping and tail wagging as he runs, he is like a reflection of my happiness when running the trails. Always appreciative, always willing to explore- a true running companion.
BERRIES! Time to harvest. Salmonberries, blueberries, currants, cranberries abound! My favorite time of year. This year was especially grand because my Dad was able to hike up Rabbit Lake valley with us and pick blueberries. It was lovely to share this special family pastime with him and he turned out to be one hell of a picker!
Two BIG accomplishments this month: my first 50 mile race and a 32 salmon haul from the Kenai!
Resurrection Pass 50M was an amazing event: the course, the people I ran with, the distance and the feeling of community that followed. David's epic dipnet adventure involved driving all night, standing in the ocean for hours and he and I working into the wee hours to get the fish processed. Again the hard work of the harvest is a important part of our life.
Hikers! This is the month our hiking group gets started. We get kids and grown-ups outside in a variety of locations in all kinds of weather. Our cousins got to join in on the fun too. I am committed to getting kids outside and helping families feel comfortable in our natural surroundings. As I eventually return to the word of teaching, I plan to continue this commitment in my classroom.
Kenai Canoe Trails with the Nelsons. The Nelsons have been making this trip for over 20 years and this year we made our third trip. Seven portages to Gavia Lake with canoes and gear and kids makes for quite an adventure. It also creates a wonderful tradition for our family about what we do in the beautiful places in Alaska. This is important to us.
My running community. I have been so fortunate to realize my running goals and share the joy of the trails with so many fabulous people. I got to places I never thought I'd get to and ran at times of day and night I never thought I would. I did my first Arctic Valley Double and connected with people I admire and respect. The support and love and laughter I feel with these folks is a blessing.
Our girls are getting bigger. No more babies in our house. Maren skied top to bottom of Alyeska and I tried to keep up and watch it happen. As we buzz through our days filled with all there is to do, I'll remember to stop and watch my girls grow.
Building a home. Our new home in East Anchorage has been a blessing in so many ways. We have the space and comfort of a real home in our house. The wilderness starts at the end of our street. We can ski and explore and run and hike right out the door. We built a fort in the woods and it became a special place to take our friends. As the year went on, we made closer connections with our neighbors and these folks are part of our family.
Our cat Sam and our dog Charlie complete our family. They get along quite well and bring great joy to our children. I often spend a night cuddled up on the futon with a cat on my lap and a lab on my legs. The love of animals is so special. They bring great comfort to our daily lives.
In 2012, I want to continue our family traditions and make new ones. I want to work towards balance in family and responsibility and running and partnership. I want to continue to nurture the connections we've made and the relationships we've built with folks we love. I want to push further to places I haven't been- alone and with my family. I want to support my girls in who they are and show them things they haven't seen. I want to pay greater attention to where and with whom it all started and find new ways to value and grow our relationship. Sometimes a short trip into the past makes the future a whole lot clearer. Happy 2012!