Yearly Focus

2021 Focus: Quarter Year Update

Better every year. That is my goal. I believe that through focused effort I can keep improving and ensure my best years are still in front of me.
With that in mind, at the start of a new year, I take the time to set my focus for the coming year. By being selective about where I direct my energy, I can achieve results that are exponentially greater than if I split my attention.

I detailed my 2021 focus here (read that first if you want more context). Here is how I’m progressing.

2021 Theme: Together

I haven’t done much research of the theme specifically yet, more to come.

2021 Challenge: Setup A Contact Reminder System

I have been testing out the beta version of a contact system. I’ve found the biggest challenge is the upfront work it takes to get everything set up. Part of me feels like this might be the kind of place where a tool can shine, by making it easy to set things up, but part of me feels like a more lightweight system might be best for this sort of scenario where the upfront work is heavy and the goals are likely to change over time.

2021 Habit: Weekly Reach Out

I’m 11 for 13 on reaching out to someone weekly. Of those 11 people, 6 have turned into video calls. Most of the people I’ve connected with are folks I haven’t talked to in 1-3 years.

I’ve been reaching out over LinkedIn a decent bit, but found it is difficult to schedule things on that channel as no one (including myself) seems to check it regularly enough. By the time I read a message asking if Friday is a good time to connect, it is usually the following Monday. One positive from the pandemic is everyone seems to default to using video calls now, which wasn’t the case a few years ago in my experience.

2021 Exemplar: Brené Brown

I haven’t done much of anything here yet. I researched a few Brené Brown books and have one ready to read on my Kindle.

A large part of the delay is that I’m still finishing up some reading from my 2020 exemplar, Warren Buffett. I set out to read all of the Berkshire Hathaway annual letters and have not yet finished. I’ve gotten as far as 2012 now though, so I figure I’ll finish the remaining 8 years soon and be able to transition to Brené. I’m a bit excited to be able to read the 2020 letter live an attend the annual shareholder meeting (digitally this year) after having spent so much time catching up on the past ~50 years of progress.

2021 Bucket List Item: Run the Cascade Crest 100 in Under 24 hours

I’m currently #42 on the waitlist for the Cascade Crest 100 – so there is a decent chance I’ll get to run. With races like this, often a lot of registered folks drop out as reality hits and scheduling conflicts, life events, injury or lack of fitness become obvious.

I’ve meanwhile been training the most I have in the past 3 years, since my fateful Boston Marathon incident. Last week I logged 25 miles running across 3 runs and 11 hours walking on my treadmill desk (another ~25 miles). My VO2 Max is currently 45, compared to my peak in college of ~68 and my more recent marathon performance at 60. I’d love to get back up into the 60s, but we’ll see if that is possible this year. My goal is to get up to ~40 hours on the treadmill per week with ~30-40 miles of running, mostly at a faster threshold pace. I think the two will combine nicely to build muscular stamina and cardio fitness in a way that allows me to complete a competitive 100 mile run with only a few hours per week of dedicated training.

I had a fairly major setback early in the year in the form an an IT band issue in my left knee. It is something I had dealt with before, but not the past few years. The result was that I couldn’t run more than ~3.5 miles without my knee locking up and hurting for the next few days. I got onto a recovery routine, doing 3.5 mile runs with an IT band brace, icing my knee and doing some step activities to build leg strength. The routine worked, last week I was able to go on a 12 mile run without the brace and I think the issue is now behind me. In the past I found this was an early season condition that was made worse from the fact that my leg muscles were weak from the offseason rest. Once I got some strength on them, it seemed to take the pressure off of the tendon, which made building up to longer mileage possible.