2012 – The Year of the Mule

I have often described some of my long runs as “mule runs.”  It’s a pretty simple concept.  You drop the reins, lower your head and press on no matter what stands in your way until you are done.  And often times, that means turning off your brain as well.

But 2012 was the Year of the Mule with a twist.  Mules know where they are going.  They do not just blindly wander through the forest or amongst the trails.  There is a direction.  There is a purpose.  There is a goal.

My daughter, Lara, is in her Sophomore year at LSU in Biological Sciences.  Yep, her dreams include medical school.  And with those dreams include some pretty intense pressure to keep her grades up.  This fall semester she took Organic Chemistry, Micro-Biology, a lab, and a couple of other classes.  She didn’t go out when others did.  She didn’t relax over Thanksgiving when others did.  She worked her butt off and got a 4.0.  Head down.  Focus.  Press on.

My son, Mason, is in his Junior year of High School.  This year he has had a lot of changes in the pool and out.  His school work intensified with more honors and AP classes.  His swim load increased with a new coach and more yards in the pool.  His body is every changing with more height and a lot more muscle.  And he has met every challenge and pushed through.  He went from winning his first race at a State Meet in February to winning the 15-16 age group High Point at State in July.  He is also in the top 15 in his class of 400+ students at school.  On top of that, he has already talked with some college coaches about swimming in college.  Head down.  Focus.  Press on.

My wife, Christine, has had an interesting year.  Not only has she been working her butt off to keep the rest of us going, but she has been making some changes herself.  Earlier this year, she went from part-time to full-time at work and changed positions in the company.  That was a huge adjustment and put added pressure on everything she does for us at home.  At the same time she was still working out 4-5 days a week.  Then later this year she made another big change with switching jobs AND deciding to crank up her own business again.  Head down.  Focus.  Press on.

Christine and I also made some changes financially this year.  There was too much “crunch all you want we’ll make more” happening in our life.  And with Lara & Mason’s college requirements, Christine’s business adventures, and too much life to enjoy, we decided it was time to get everything straight.  So we did.  Head down.  Focus.  Press on.

For me………well I had a not so pleasant start to the year with the disappointment in February.  It took a while to find that focus again and decide to make another attempt at that goal.  So I am.  I’m doing things differently and hopefully better than last time.  I think I ended up the year with about 1850 miles of running.  From now to the race, it will be……Head down.  Focus.  Press on.

I really have no idea what 2013 will be like.  I don’t know what it will be the Year of.  I wouldn’t even pretend to guess the future.  I do know that in 365 days from now, I will be proud of what Lara has accomplished, what Mason has accomplished, and what Christine has accomplished.  And if there is a pretty little belt buckle sitting on my desk………well that will just be a bonus.

Have a safe New Year!

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