2023 was an excellent year for me on the trail! I ended up tallying just under 2300 running and hiking miles which included some pretty memorable experiences. And despite that I upped my game when it came to ultra-running, I actually ran 41 miles less this year than last! I must be slowing down! I actually spent more time on the bike this year than last and I will continue that trend. Averaging a 10K (6.2 miles) a day for the entire year has me feeling pretty content with my physical state.
I continue to reduce my prednisone dosage with the intent of putting my auto-immune condition Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) into remission. And while I am down to just 0.5 mg every other day, I just can’t seem to get off of pred without incurring some discomfort. I am feeling pretty confident however that I will soon be able to toss the prescription. In any case, I remind myself where I was three years ago when I was in severe discomfort, had limited range of motion and thought that my days of hitting the trail hard and long were gone. They are not—and this past year I proved that I can still go the extra mile by completing my first 100k (62.2 mile) run—the Cuyamaca Adventure Run in San Diego County in challenging weather on a course that included more than 8,000 feet of elevation gain.
Every day I am grateful that I continue to live a healthy life and am able to push myself in the backcountry and on the race course. And every day here on planet earth is a blessing. Life is too short and for so many it ends abruptly or deteriorates rapidly. There is so much despair, sadness, and suffering in the world, and I never lose sight of how good I have it.
I continue to live life in my 60s like I am in my 20s! I completed 4 marathon last years; Mesa Arizona, Los Angeles, the Idaho Potato in Boise, and the North Olympic Discovery on the Olympic Peninsula. All were fun, but LA was my absolute favorite with its pulse, course and incredible diverse group of runners and revelers. I would definitely like to do that one again!
And I ran four 50Ks (31.1 miles) along with my first 100K. I absolutely love covering grand distances in the backcountry. It’s so challenging and liberating at the same time. I want to continue this year with more marathons and more ultras and perhaps once again up my game in the near future—yes I am thinking about the 100 miler someday. I know that sometime soon I will no longer be able to do these runs—so I am intent on doing as many as I can until my body no longer allows me to.
I got to spend some great time on trails in BC, WA, CA, GA, FL, ID, MT, NH, and NY! And I got to do some kayaking in BC. My biggest highlights on the trail this past year included hiking with my son in the Arizona desert, hiking with my family in LA’s Griffith Park, hiking among the alligators in Georgia’s Okefenokee National Wildfire Refuge, running to Image Lake in the Glacier Peak Wilderness, and completing New Hampshire’s’ grueling Pemi Loop 50K in a day with my brother. And just about every day I spent in BC—more time this past year than in my entire life was grand as I completed one of my favorite book projects, Urban Trails Vancouver BC (due for release next winter). I absolutely love that city and British Columbia. I made another trip to BC’s Glacier and Mount Revelstoke National Parks too—two of my favorite places on the continent. Another highlight was hiking in New York’s Hudson Highlands this past December—a place I was introduced to as a young child when I was living in Connecticut’s largest city. I was bonded to nature at a very young age and it has stuck. Now I enjoy bonding my son to the outdoors and introducing my readers to so many wonderful natural places here in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
For 2024 I plan to continue running and hiking my culo off like there is no tomorrow—because life truly is too short and you have to seize as much as you possibly can! And of course I will have my family along on many of my hikes and runs, because spending time with them is as precious as the time I get to spend outdoors. In 2024 I am going for it! I hope you are too!