Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2010: My Year in Review

January started with me as confident as ever about my career and my running going as well as it ever had gone. I moved out to Colorado to live with some college friends and I have to say that was an amazing three months. I met so many people. I had so many beautiful runs through the mountains. I enjoyed life. I even officially started Janzen Gear in February. However, my running took a hit as I adjusted to the altitude.

However, March came and went and I fell apart. After three months of unemployment I was totally out of money and without any interviews in that whole time, I was depressed. I was so stressed out that things were not going the way I had planned that I gave myself back pain. That was a huge life lesson about the things in my life that I value, and what is really important to me. I am guessing that it will never happen again because I have a better understanding of my own mentality.

Because of the whole money thing I packed up and went to Minnesota and worked for my uncle for six weeks in the family greenhouse. It was tough physical labor. Not what I ever expected my first job out of college would be.

In mid May I headed back west to teach rock climbing at Boy Scout camp again. It was my fourth summer at a Boy Scout camp. I had a fantastic summer. I climbed harder than I ever have before. I ran like crazy until I got a stress reaction. My friends and I had a great time. Again, it's humbling to have a master's degree in engineering and be teaching 13 year olds how to belay for a relatively small paycheck. I also attempted the Grand Teton for the first time and I led two pitches up the Casual Route on the Diamond before it rained and snowed us off. Regardless, this summer was about the relationships I have with my friends, and it was an unequivocal success. I have the best friends in the world!

I followed up the summer with a month long road trip through Utah, California, Washington and Montana and a few other states. In the psychological aspect of life I was able to spend time with two of my American friends who shared the summer of 2009 experience with me in Pakistan. In many ways it was the final chapter in my mental recovery from that experience. I also spent two days trying to climb the Nose on El Capitan solo and a day trying the Regular Northwest Face on Halfdome. The inspiration for the road trip was to do something "big" my climbing just did not pan out, I had a great time, learned a bunch, but I ended up scared and tired. So at the suggestion of my friends, on two days notice I ran the Wonderland Trail, and accomplished something "big".

Once again out of money I had the choice between staying in Colorado and making snow (physical labor) for a few months or going home in the hopes of a job offer and more Internet access to apply for more jobs. I went home, also because my grandma had a stroke this summer and my family is very important to me. I only have one family.

The last three and a half months of the year were, by my standards, uneventful. I gradually began running more miles in hopes of some good races from the 5k to the marathon in 2011. I had an interview at GE and they ended up going with someone more qualified.

By the numbers:

  • I estimate from reading my own blog, that I applied to approximately 378 jobs in 2010. 
  • I ran 3379.6 miles total including five 4+ hour runs and nine 100+ mile weeks. That is an average of 9.25 miles per day, every day all year. Only one personal record racing this year, 1:36 at 15 miles.
  • I slept in 12 states and traveled in 22 states. 
  • 11 painting started and 10 paintings finished, a record for me.
2010 was, for me, about valuing the intangible things in my life like relationships, health, freedom, and life itself more than I did when I was younger. The lessons I have learned about saving for a rainy day, starting a company, stress, communication, and other still unknown things are not all clear to me yet. I think that the lessons of 2010 will impact me for the rest of my life. I feel that events of the past year will teach me new things for years to come as I continue to mature and better understand what really happened in many situations.

Thank you all for the comments and the caring in person, on the blog, in letters, on Facebook, and in your prayers. This blog has been a great way to express myself and I plan to keep at it for years to come.

Thank you,
Isaiah Janzen

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