2012 Year in Review
Another working title was Screw You Mayans We’re Still Here!
I went back and forth about whether or not to post this. This past year has been, without a doubt, the most trying period of my life. It’s downright depressing, and who wants to read that? But it wasn’t all bad, and buried in the adversity there are (what I hope to be) the seeds of future triumphs. Here’s a more detailed look at the major events that occurred in 2012 for me (in somewhat chronological order):
Started a Business
Nah, it just sounds cooler to say that. Kevin Balance started Level Renner, so I can’t take any of that credit. Having an idea is one thing, but to actually get up off your ass and do it is quite another. I’ve done a lot of work for it and have had loads of fun in the process, but none of that would’ve been possible without him taking the initiative to create it all and get so many people on board. I started out contributing a column for the magazine in the fall of 2011, and then coincidentally just after I was laid off, became more heavily involved in the website. Now I have a hand in writing, editing (articles & videos), producing, sales, marketing, social media, etc. It’s been fun to watch it grow and be a part of it, but it’s not putting food on the table so until then I guess it’s just a hobby.
Got Laid Off
Yeah, this was the real game changer. After five and a half years, you get shown the door. Getting married in a couple of months? Who cares? Amazing. I could go on and on here, but to sum it up quickly I can say that this was my tipping point. Even before I got laid off, this was the place that killed my interest in the business world. I loved the job when I started there, but after seeing the way they treated people and the way that reckless behavior in the markets in general brought the country to its knees, I really had no desire to be a part of it anymore. In my opinion, that place was and still is a sinking ship. To be booted off the Titanic and put into a lifeboat was actually an improvement. I had seen literally hundreds of people get the ax without seeing any improvements in the company’s status so it was only a matter of time before my name was on the chopping block. Now I’m starting over. It’s not easy, but I’m much happier.
No job, bad hip…who would want a piece of this? Luckily for me, someone did. Not just any someone, but a beautiful, smart, funny and puts-up-with-my-crap kind of someone. Sounds too good to be true, I know. She went into the wedding knowing full well that I was scraping rock bottom but still went along with it. How cool is that? We also had some fun with the wedding ceremony itself, and I’m not sure how many other people would want to attempt what we did.
We weren’t doing anything extravagant so didn’t see the need to rehearse the night before. Wanting a Catholic ceremony but also wanting to take advantage of the outdoor grounds where the reception was being held, we found a solution: split it up! There was a small Catholic ceremony the night before (involving immediate family), followed by a non-rehearsal dinner. The next day we had a (quick) mock ceremony in front of everybody, which was written entirely by my wife and I.
I was about as nervous as can be about how well it would all go over. It’s not easy to make people laugh and that is exactly what we were going for. We knew that if the first line (containing a pre-nup reference) bombed, we were in for an uncomfortable ceremony. We got a good laugh out of that opener and were able to relax after that. I know everybody thinks their wedding was unique and special, so I won’t be obnoxious about it and go on and on. [Note: the two pictures seen here and then the one appearing at the top of the post were taken by our amazing wedding photographer Vail Fucci (Fucci’s Photos). We highly recommend her.]
My wife wanted nothing other than to replace the crappy, small bookshelf in our living room with a larger, more visually appealing one. That was the only thing she wanted for her birthday, and she got it…eventually. She really wanted it for her birthday, in the summer of 2011, but due to…cirumstances…she didn’t get it until the end of the summer of 2012.
All that matters is that she got it, and her father and I lost no fingers in the process.
The delay wasn’t intentional or out of laziness, I just didn’t want to pay out the ass for it. We did some shopping around but realized that to get what we wanted it would probably have to be custom built (and that’s not cheap). We have this nook in our living room to the right of the TV and we wanted the shelf to fill that. Otherwise it’d look odd.
Once we were clear of the wedding and honeymoon, I asked my father-in-law (Tom) if he would be up for helping me (aka showing me how) to build it, and he was.
End result was a beautifully crafted book case that weighed three metric tons. It didn’t fit in the elevator (whoops) so we had to get it up to the third floor the old-fashioned way. My hip was bad at the time too (pre-surgery, but still not good). There was a gentleman trying to use the stairs at the same time Tom and I were struggling. We just asked him to hold the door but, either his English wasn’t good or he was just very kind (it was most likely a combination of the two), he ended up helping us take it up to the third floor. It really was a three man job. We tossed some deniro his way for the MVP effort.
Started a Blog
Lucky you, now you get to be exposed to more of my gibberish! I want to get into a more creative field, hopefully involving writing in some capacity, so I needed a way to practice. Level Renner provides an outlet, but it’s not enough. First of all, it’s Level Renner and not the EJN Show; people want to read about running from various points of view and not just my own. Too much me would be a bad thing. Well, I guess now you can see where the name of this blog came from.
Had My Bones Shaved
For the first time in many years, I did not compete in a single race at all last year. I only registered for one race in 2012, the Boston Marathon, but wasn’t able to compete due to injury. Of all the races to not be able to follow through on, I had to go and pick one of the more expensive ones…damn it! My number was nice and low too, and it killed me to not be able to make good use of it. Not only was I not able to race, but I barely ran any miles. I was leading the field at the Baystate Marathon through 16 miles back in October of 2011 when something went horribly wrong. Knowing something wasn’t right, I dropped out thinking that by not being stupid I could get back to training quicker.
Things were much worse than I had feared and here we are almost a year later and I’m still not running. The diagnosis ended up being a torn hip labrum, which I ended up getting surgery on almost eleven months after the DNF. The most frustrating part was the time it took to nail down that diagnosis. There’s way too much “try rest and some PT” from various doctors before they’re convinced surgery is the way to go. I don’t think surgery should be rushed into, but something was clearly very wrong. After 10 months of no running and various bouts of PT I still couldn’t jog across the street.
Won an Election
More like started a fucking revolution! Again, not really the case, just sounds cooler to say that. I wasn’t happy with what I saw from the USATF on both a national and local scale. Instead of just sitting by and complaining I decided to get involved and try to make a difference. At first I just helped rally people to vote and informed the members to be better prepared for the election. At the last second I was talked into running, a race that nobody thought I could win no less. I really do mean nobody. I was probably the biggest believer that I didn’t stand a chance to win.
The meeting and election were just two weeks after my surgery, so maybe I got some sympathy votes. All eyes were on me as I crutched my way up to the podium to deliver my speech. I didn’t have anything prepared, but I think I did a pretty good job up there. The members must’ve thought so too because not only did I win, but I won by a landslide. The guy who wasn’t supposed to win ended up winning by the largest margin that night (it wasn’t even close).
That’s a heck of ride, huh? It certainly was a crazy year. I do have a theory, but it’s kind of a depressing one actually. Lucky for me it’s based on a very limited data set so I’m not convinced that it’s anything more than a theory. I’m starting to think that every other year is a bad one for me. Looking back two years ago, I can say that 2010 wasn’t exactly a good year. My job on the SS Titanic was stressful and shitty, I had to drop out of the Vermont City Marathon due to injury (I was convinced I was in sub-2:30 shape), my future wife and I moved, and then my Pépère died. I hate moving so much that any year in which that happens could be considered a shitty year. Losing Pépère was devastating and very tough to deal with. I’ll never forget a run I went on, just a couple of days after the funeral. The goal was to get in twelve miles on the trails, and I only managed two. The only reason I was even able to manage that much was because I had to run back to camp. I fell three times, tripping over nothing, in a span of less than two minutes. I think the mental and physical toll that his death took on me came to head then and there.
Things turned around and 2011 was a pretty good year. The job was still shitty but I got engaged and then started ripping off the PR’s like a mofo in just about every distance. At the age of 31, I was running better than ever and felt like I had just scratched the surface. I even started writing for this underground rag called Level Renner. As you know the calendar turned again and so did my luck. Even numbered years just don’t seem to bode well for me lately. So, as the calendar turns yet again I’m hopefully that, in this odd-numbered year, thirteen will be a lucky number for me. After all, it was Pépère’s lucky number, and he survived a depression, WWII and ultimately lived a remarkable 91 years.
Ever the optimist, I look to 2013 with hopeful eyes. Lucky for me, I’ve got a great support system. It all starts with the lovely lady at home, who has been tremendous during this tumultuous period. Not too many people get the chance to hit the reset button and I know it’s not an easy thing to do. I’m fortunate to have friends and family that I can count on, and without them this year past year would’ve been so much harder.