Monday, May 27, 2019

Colorado Startup Life: Week 37

May 19 to 25. This was a good week! I bicycled 92 miles, which is good considering that four days of the week it was wet and rainy and I didn't want to go out and get my bicycle all dirty. My ankle is recovering well. At physical therapy on Friday my therapist said that it was time to start jumping, and next Friday, May 31st, I will run on the Alter G treadmill that they have! I've never seen an Alter G in person until I went to Altitude Physical Therapy, but I'm excited. If it goes well I'll probably run there a couple times a week for the beginning of June until my ankle is a lot stronger.

Saturday in particular was a good day for bicycling. I did 62 miles, from my apartment up Lefthand Canyon, then down the Peak to Peak highway into Lyons and back to my apartment. I rode past the Boy Scout camp I worked at in 2008 and 2010, the Piz Badile, which is a classic beginner trad climb, and plenty of other little cool spots along the front range of Colorado. In fact, the Millsite has closed and is for sale. Maybe I should buy it and only have it open on the weekends in the summer? We used to have a lot of fun there when I worked at the summer camp.

Work was down, and then up. We've been trying and trying and failing and failing at a project, and finally, at 7 PM on Friday night, it worked! The strange thing about my new industry compared to my old industry is that success can be measured in seconds and minutes now, where as in my old industry it was thousands of hours before you had any idea if it was successful. I'll tell you what, the more you fail at something, the more valuable it becomes when you finally succeed.

All startups talk about traction, which is basically being the preferred vendor for your customers, so I will too. When a business starts from scratch there are no customers and no product delivered yet, traction would be getting those early customers and keeping those early customers. We have traction, definitely, that's why I joined this little company last year. I could see that already in it's short life it was filling a need. Now that I've been here eight months I'm not sure we have enough traction. I think we have enough, but again, I've never been through a startup before. At my previous company roles were well defined, we were staffed for trough conditions meaning when business was good we were very busy, but no one was ever really laid off when business was bad, at least among the salaried workers. As we ramp up hiring, without directly ramping up revenue it's a strange feeling. That could all change with the stroke of a pen and a new customer contract, in which case hiring people and getting them up to speed, before the contract is signed is exactly what needs to happen now. I've just never been on the proactive side of business planning. My previous employer was generally reactive to increases in business.

Finally my 15 year class reunion was on Saturday in Kansas... and I didn't go. Friday night as I sat on my couch checking my phone to see our project updates I decided not to drive across the state of Kansas over the weekend. I had a good time at my 10 year high school reunion. However, between my recent pulmonary embolism, likely from driving across Kansas in March 2018, and the possibility that I might have worked over the weekend, I decided not to go. Plus, and I know it's not good to compare yourself to others, but my high school classmates are my ultimate peers, and seeing the vast majority married and with kids, I know I'll feel like a failure, at least as far as my relationships go. Feelings are not fact. I'm sure I'd end up talking about Mt. Everest, and maybe some of them might feel like failures. On top of all that, 15 years! In three years my high school graduation will only be the halfway point in my life. Where has the time gone? Goal for five years from now, have my pilot's license and access to a plane so that my major concern, the pulmonary embolism from 18 hours of sitting would only be six hours of sitting.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

People will keep dying on Mt. Everest.

It's in the news again, people are dying on Mt. Everest. I'm not surprised. The photo that is being circulated this year ( of the summit ridge traffic jam is pretty crazy. For perspective, when I summited at 4:35 AM on May 21st, 2016, there were three mini groups of 2-3 people each ahead of my Sherpa Tshering and I. In other words, my ascent was totally unencumbered by traffic. I have always had more traffic on the Casual Route on Long Peaks than I did ascending Everest. However, on the way down we passed the approximately 35-40 other people who summited Everest from the south side May 21st, and 40 is a very manageable reasonable number. Even 50 or 60 is probably no big deal, but when I see 80+ doing it on the same day, that's just too many.

Because Everest is the tallest, it's going to keep attracting people with the time and the money... and not necessarily the experience. I don't have a lot of sympathy for most of the people that die on Everest, the way I do for starving people in South Sudan, disabled veterans, Ebola victims, victims of gun violence and car accidents. When you go to an 8000 meter peak, you need (in my opinion) to think about all of the different ways you could die, and how that would affect people you are leaving behind, and then either go or don't go. Maybe 5-10 percent of the people that show up at Everest basecamp every season leave and go home when the full reality of the possible consequences (their death) hit them. I respect that. It's better to realize that when you are within a half mile of camp two or in the Khumbu ice fall than on the summit ridge.

That harsh attitude being said, there are some accidents, such as people who die alone in their tent of a heart attack or a pulmonary embolism, that do make me feel sympathetic. Especially since last year, when I had a pulmonary embolism, what if I had another one on an ordinary day at base camp? You can't predict that.

What are some possible solutions to reduce crowding and deaths?

  • Extend the season. With better weather forecasting, instead of waiting only for the eight perfect days a year we need to start using those days, and then the next best eight days, and probably extend the season into June a week or two.
  • Limit the number of climbers each day. It would not be that hard to put a human check point 200 yards outside of camp four where the fixed ropes for the summit start, and limit it to 60 or so people per day. Since you don't want to start a fist fight, people (Sherpas and Nepalis included) would be banned for life from getting a permit if they went past the check point after 60 people. (While it can be confusing to identify people in down suits, it's not that hard.) I realize this sounds nearly impossible to have a staff of say four people at the south col for a month, but with increasing helicopter technology it would not be impossible to drop off oxygen bottles. Plus, there are plenty of loose rocks at the south col, a makeshift stone hut could be built to protect a little area from the wind. Difficult? Yes. The potential to save lives? Yes. The possibility to do fascinating human research? Yes, definitely.
  • Start fixed ropes on another route, probably the west ridge. Actually, you could avoid the deadly Khumbu ice fall by going straight up to the ridge from base camp. I guarantee that announcing fixed ropes on the west ridge would attract a higher caliber of climber, because it will be hard, it's steep above 7000 meters. At this point, anything that takes the pressure off the south col route would be good.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Mountain Opportunity List

I've not put a list down in writing before because lists get people killed in the mountains. The 14 8000 meter peaks have killed hundreds of people, and dozens of people with more than five 8000 meter summits. How can a person with five 8000 meter summits put himself or herself in a position to die? There are old climbers and bold climbers, and despite what people probably frequently think of me, I plan to be an old climber. On Saturday, hours after I stood at the base of the Bastile Crack in Eldorado Canyon, a free solo climber died falling off. So for my whole climbing career up until now I've resisted a list, because I don't want to die, or take such a high risk, to stand on top of another pile of rock and ice.

I'm putting the list out now so that when other people want to do one of the same things they can invite me along if they are looking for a partner, or push me to organize an expedition and take him or her along. I've gotten to the point where I have so many climbing partners around the world, I can't keep track of what everyone is doing, wants to do, or is qualified to do. Plus, as I get older, doing all of these things while I am still very able looks like it might not be possible and I'd just like to attempt as many as possible.

In Pakistan (the coolest, most interesting, mountains I'd like to attempt):
  • Gasherbrum IV, any route, but the Southwest ridge first ascent would be super cool!
  • K2 (without bottled oxygen of course)
  • Trango Tower (Nameless Tower if there is any confusion)
  • Gasherbrum I and II... in one push
In the USA:
  • Mt. Rainier
    • Liberty Ridge
    • Willis Wall, any route
  • Mt. Hood
  • Mt. Baker
  • All Colorado 14ers in the winter
  • All Colorado 13ers (There are about 630 of them and I've done around 50)
  • All the lower 48 14ers
  • Lead the whole Casual Route on the Diamond (likely summer 2019)
  • Sykes Sickle on Spearhead (likely summer 2019)
  • Petit Grepon, any route (likely summer 2019)
  • Tetons Grand Traverse
  • Denali with a ski descent
  • Epinefrine at Red Rocks near Las Vegas
  • Nolan's 14 (attempting summer 2019)
  • Mt. Massive and Mt. Elbert loop via the ridge with Oklahoma and French Mountain
  • John Muir Trail
  • The Appalachian Trail
  • The Nose on El Cap... in a day
  • Wind River Range in Wyoming, any technical route
In Canada:
  • Becky-Chiounard on South Howser Tower
  • Northeast ridge of Bugaboo Spire
  • Anything on Snowpatch Spire
  • Anything in the Adamants
  • Howse Peak, anything on the East Face
South America:
  • Aconcagua
  • Anything in Torres Del Paines national park
  • The Matterhorn
  • The North Face of the Eiger
  • The Dolomites, any long route
Islands in the Ocean:
  • Ball's Pyramid
  • Mt. Otemanu on Bora Bora
  • Bicycle up Mauna Kea from the ocean
  • Skellig Michael a first ascent
  • Faroe Islands a first ascent
  • Cross the continent, without motors, via the South Pole
  • Any route grade V or longer
Because "everything" I want to do seems super dangerous to most people, I have my limits and here are the mountains or routes I will not even attempt because they are simply too dangerous for my comfort level:
  • Annapurna, all routes
  • Lhotse the South Face
  • NW Face of Devil's Thumb in Alaska
Finally as a disclaimer, there are lots of routes and mountains where I'm open to attempting them, but everything (route conditions, partners, political situation, etc.) would have to be nearly perfect. Nanga Parbat and a lot of ice climbing routes, like M16 on Howse Peak, fall into that category. As I recently showed on Pikes Peak May 4th, 2019, I'm not afraid to turn around even in good weather if it's not my day. This list is not definitive, there are other very interesting things out there to go up and down. It's simply a list of things, that given the opportunity, I'd like to try. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Colorado Startup Life: Week 36

This was another good week. Really good actually! I bicycled 108 miles and went rock climbing three times, twice indoors and once outdoors at Eldorado Canyon. My new normal bicycle ride is 35 mile from my apartment up Lefthand Canyon to Jamestown and back. My ankle can tolerate the bicycling quite well. It is often swollen after, but the physician assistant I saw last week for my last doctor's check up said that will be normal for a while and it will be swollen just from normal use for six months or so from the ligament tears March 9th. Rock climbing, even just 200 vertical feet is harder on my ankle than a 37 mile bicycle ride. Twisting at those angles just takes some time to get used to. I still can't run, but I can walk without a limp. I'm supposed to be doing band exercises and single leg squats, and ow they are hard!

Work is going well. At a meeting I did not attend tempers flared, and there was a mini restructure of responsibilities afterward, and I'm happy with it. It could have happened two months ago and saved everyone some frustration, but sometimes you really have to dig in and make the mistakes super obvious before realizing them. We learn from failure, and sometimes we have to really fail to see it.

It's fascinating watching the emotions around the company. For myself I realized this past week, when I wasn't invited to two different meetings, that I was feeling entitled to go to those meetings. My ego was telling me, 'that since I have now been here for eight months, it's my right to go to those meetings, I've earned it.' It was very interesting! Coming from a big company, I can't remember ever having that feeling of entitlement to responsibility or to be part of the decision making. When there are people in their 40s and 50s and ever 60s around, being in my early 30s I still felt like the new kid on the block. Realizing that my ego was getting the best of me, I was mentally able to backtrack and simply go with the flow and be a little more humble. I'll go to the meetings I am invited to. It's a privilege to have the job I have, I don't need to go to all the meetings.

Along those lines, I said this years ago, everyone wants more control and more money. I spent months thinking about that after I first articulated it. At the time I wanted more money and more control specifically over my work. As I've gotten older my situation has changed. I've had a few promotions and raises since then. I have enough control over my work, that I no longer really want or feel the need for more money or more control. Yet I see in some of my coworkers the entitlement and desire for more control and more money. It's like the easy money venture capital rocket ship has accelerated the gradual build up of ego in some cases. To be fair, I'm being super critical of what I perceive is honestly a small issue that only affects a few people at the moment. The funny part is when I read about past startups, Apple, Google, etc. the issues we are facing are not new at all. They've affected technology startups for 40+ years. So I'm sure we'll get through them.

I hope you had a good week!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Future Proofing Designs

I'm working with the most expensive individual parts I ever have. The materials are expensive, the processing is expensive, and there aren't a huge number of suppliers capable of making these parts. Plus, since there can be six months between ordering and receiving the part, there can be some resistance to change. The challenge is when additional sensors, tubes and brackets are added later, there is nowhere to bolt them to. The solution is to future proof the design.

In high volume manufacturing these extra features might be scrutinized so much that it is not possible, but the again I would hope you are working with all of the requirements from the start (and I mean how sensor X is going to connect to location Y) because in low volume manufacturing that is often not the case. The ancillary systems are added in later after the bulk of the design is complete.

So this has been frustrating me a bit because I can see that in the next six months there are a lot of things we will need to add to one of our products and there aren't many places to add them. Years ago I owned the engine frame design for a large off road vehicle, and it was extremely eye opening how probably every other day someone would have a request to add a clip or a clamp, and this was just a few months before going to production! The solution was to add a few extra holes and mounting features in possible locations that might be useful in the future.

In short, if you ever are responsible for the design of a core part or a base part of a product, add a couple features so that when someone else comes by later and needs to route a wire or a tube they have a place. It's easier if you ask yourself the question before releasing the part, "will anyone ever want to attach something to this part that I was not expecting?"

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Colorado Startup Life: Week 35

This was a good week, May 5th to 11th. In many respects it was a total success.

It started off with me crying in church on Sunday, and then that afternoon I went on a little bicycle ride. My first bicycle ride outdoors of the year. I definitely can't run right now, but I can bicycle, so for the month of May I will try to focus on bicycling and try to go most days because it's a great way to get back in shape. On my bicycle I don't feel the pressure to run sub 8 minute miles, or have a certain heart rate. Bicycling is so variable due to the wind alone, let alone altitude or climbs that you can have a high heart rate going into the wind on flat ground at 13 miles per hour, and a lower heart rate going up a category one climb at 13 miles per hour with the wind at your back. In short, I'm so out of shape I just need time doing cardio exercises, and bicycling and walking are the two of the moment.

Needless to say, my ankle is improving. People tell me it's miraculous, and I agree, but I also don't have much reference. This whole injury has reinforced how blessed I am to have the skills I do, and also to have done all of the things I have done in the past. I climbed Mt. Everest! I ran 154 miles in 24 hours! I ran a 2:30:20 marathon! It's possible I never surpass any of those three feats, so I need to appreciate having been able to do that at all.

Work is going well again. The customer and us are in a much better place than we were two weeks ago. We're communicating, lots of people, from our side and theirs, are involved in the conversations. We're solving problems. This is engineering, we'll figure it out, as long as we communicate with each other and have patience when we don't understand where someone is coming from.

A few weeks ago at work we had an engineering meeting with seven women and three men. It was the first time I remember in my career an engineering meeting with more women than men. Since that time we have had a couple engineering meetings with more women than men. One of my coworkers, a recent college grad, when I mentioned how it was a new experience for me, said, "when I was in college when we were working on projects sometimes we had more men than women and sometimes we had more women than men." And that is how I want to think of it. And honestly I might already be mentally there. When I go into meetings, where I don't check the list of attendees ahead of time, I want to live in a world, or work in a company, where there might be more women than men in the meeting. It's not a requirement at all, but I like that humbling feeling when people are filtering into the room and suddenly there are five women (all engineers) and me. It's a little scary, because suddenly I'm afraid I will say the wrong thing, because I'm basically never outnumbered by women in my life. Do women feel like that when they are outnumbered by men in a meeting room? I asked several of my female coworkers if I am a male chauvinist, and they've all said no so far, but I worry about it. And I also tell them to let me know if or when I say something inappropriate.

That being said, I'm not sure 50% parity in occupations is actually what gender equality means. I don't know that women will ever be 50% of all engineers. I don't know than men will ever be 50% of elementary school teachers and nurses. Maybe, and that would be great, but I don't think that's the yardstick to use. I say that because the variation over different years, companies, and regions mean that 60%/40% splits and 70%/30% splits could easily happen locally, in both male dominate or female dominate directions in a world where men and women are treated equally in the workforce. Personally, and I'm sure people will disagree with me, but I think having equal pay for men and women for the same job is a great yardstick, and I also think having women in management, in particular senior management is another great yardstick. That being said, the job(s) should ideally go to the most qualified person or people, even if that most qualified person is another white male. After all, in the USA there are a lot of hard working white males.

I have said for years, after my unemployment of 2010, that year made me more compassionate and more cutthroat than I was before 2010. What I mean, in this scenario, is I understand how an interviewee might feel discriminated against for something outside of his or her control. In my case it was not having internships, and having an MIT and NASA fellowship. Two caution flags that scared potential employers away. Sure those were mostly my choices, but I didn't know in 2006, 2007 and 2008 that 2009 and 2010 was going to be the worst recession in 70 years. In other words, I've been delighted to have several of the applicants we have recently had because they are incredible, and at my former employer, we would not have gotten those very well qualified applicants, and even if we did, we might have passed on them because they didn't seem to fit the "culture". By the same token, I'm going to try and be amazing at my job so that employers are afraid to not hire me, even though lots of people could do what I do. That being said, I think my current company might be the last traditional full time engineering job I have as an employee. Being an entrepreneur of some sort is wildly interesting to me at the moment.

Since the last three paragraphs are probably sexist and discriminatory and offensive, I want to explain why I went ahead and if you are reading this I must have clicked publish. The world is changing, in my life time, and I want to record it, and share it with people who don't circulate in the same circle of people that I do. If I don't say I want to work in a world where there might possibly be more women than men in an engineering meeting, who will? Equality isn't just a conversation for the Op-Ed writers at big city newspapers. Since I am involved in hiring new employees, I'm part of the conversation. Years ago I was out at a bar with five men and the conversation turned to objectifying several women that we all knew, and I was disgusted, as were two others at the table. That's my fear, that if I don't say something about equality, however unenlightened my comments are, I could live in a world where that kind of toxic conversation happens at work and permeates our whole culture.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Physical Therapy is Pretty Hard

The first couple physical therapy (PT) visits were like a deep tissue massage. I was mostly just worked on. I didn't do much, I just kind of sat there while M manipulated my ankle. I would walk out sore, but that's to be expected. However, the manipulation part is pretty small now, and I end up having to do a number of exercises now, which are not easy.

For example, while standing on one leg, my bad leg, on a 2 inch thick foam mat, I need to bend over and reach across my body to touch something, like a counter. It's super hard! I spend a quarter of the exercise just wobbling back and forth trying to get my balance. That being said, it's the kind of exercise I think that would be good to do in normal life just to keep your balance. I think it will help my poor slacklining.

The last visit my torturer (physical therapist) M came up with a new exercise. Putting a band around my bad ankle, below the actual ankle, that was attached to a couch or anchor of some sort behind me. Then with my feet about one foot apart side to side and my good foot a foot ahead of my back foot, in other words a narrow staggered stance, I would try to squat down. The band will then pull on my talus bone, which is sticking a little and doesn't have the range of motion needed, yet. Wow it hurts! Not in a damaging way, but I squat like four inches and it feels like my ankle is getting stabbed.

In short, I now understand why people might quit going to PT. It's hard and once you get to a certain level, it's like, 'I don't want to be tortured.' That's not me. I have a strange relationship with pain so a big part of me hopes if I keep going to PT, eventually I'll be better than I was last year. Meaning, I will be stronger, more well rounded, more durable because I will have addressed the small muscles and ligaments in my body necessary to do crazy stuff.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Colorado Startup Life: Week 34

I had a really good week! Of course it was capped by five of my friends hiking Pikes Peak in nearly winter conditions. It was even the first 14er for three of them.

The trip to Atlanta was really good! Both them and us have had a lot of people start in the last four to six months, even in the last month, so it was good to reset the relationship in person. Additionally, our CEO was on the trip, and having not spent a lot of time with him, I was unsure of his response to the trip. Fortunately, from my perspective, he had essentially 100% the same reaction I did! I was not expecting that. No doubt loyal readers could tell that my confidence in my company was flagging a bit the last couple weeks. We still certainly have our issues, but the guy at the top is not oblivious at all, and I told him I would work at least a month for him without pay.  He has my confidence.

On a different note, we had our first person voluntarily leave the company announce the intention this week. So far, in nearly four years of existence, one person was fired, which is really our fault for not screening for exactly the skills we were looking for, and now the first person is leaving. Here is one article shedding light on where we are. And here is an article, in a great series about startup growth, about our current phase!

I had two physical therapy sessions this week, and they both were a workout! Wow! my ankle is as sore after a PT session as it feels being an idiot on Pikes Peak. I am very excited by the progress I am making and very thankful to God that this injury appears to be quite minor.

The weather has turned warmer and I am taking little walks daily both around the parking lot at work, and also in the evenings in my local park. This injury has shown me how beautiful a little flat walk on a paved trail around a subdivision can be!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

It was stupid and I did it anyway.

I cried in church this morning during the sermon. The topic was Jesus on the road to Emmaus, "walking" with two of his disciples.

Yesterday I tried to hike up Pikes Peak via the Northwest Slopes route, about 14 miles round trip. I failed.
Pikes Peak Strava Activity
I did a two mile hike with 500 feet of elevation gain and loss last Saturday and I was making great progress this past week, so I thought there was about a 30%-40% chance of actually making the summit. Which is enough for me to try. Plus, I have 26 14ers left to do, and I want to finish them this year which means taking advantage of good weather days before all of the snow has melted or I am 100% recovered. Pikes Peak is the easiest one I have left within a four hour drive of Longmont. I announced my intentions for a 14 mile 8-12 hour adventure to my coworkers and six of them decided to join me!

I left my apartment at 3:30 in the morning, stopped at a coworker's apartment in Longmont at 3:45, another coworker's in Louisville at 4:05, another coworker's in Broomfield at 4:20, and then another coworker's to change vehicles in Westminster at 4:35, and then the seventh coworker in Highlands Ranch at 5:15. The seven of us carpooled down to the trailhead getting there about 7 AM and starting hiking shortly after. I quickly led us on a wrong turn wasting about a half mile. Initially the trail was good. Stable footing, very shallow grade. I was feeling great! Out with friends on a beautiful day, life is good! My ankle wasn't feeling too bad, and the adrenaline of attempting a 14er was coursing through me so I wasn't feeling all the pain.

Near treeline the route became very steep and only one of the six people with me know how to properly flat foot and break trail, so either him or I led, which tired me out and put my ankle at poor angles, which strained it more. It was a struggle, but it was okay. I've had worse. I put myself about at a D in terms of how I was doing. When we crested the broad ridge the trail leveled out a bit and we made good progress, but even some slight downhills were torture on my ankle. I had a few moments where I choked up and my eyes watered. I didn't exactly cry, but I was close. There were a lot of emotions going through my head.

The last year has not been totally delightful. I had a pulmonary embolism, which can kill people. Fortunately I am here, and my dream for nearly a decade of being on the USA 100 km team was fulfilled, but I was unable to even run 9:30 pace consistently and it is not a race experience I want to repeat. Then I broke my leg and strained my ankle ligaments. The recovery is going excellent! People can lose their foot from especially bad ankle crush injuries. My mom is battling cancer. It seems to be going very well, but this past fall it was not going well, and people die from cancer. Another relative had cancer and a different relative had a health scare last summer, all in the past year. My mortality and fragility has been fully reinforced. Are my competitive running days over? Is going to high altitude too great of a risk for me? As I was doing this difficult and painful thing yesterday I was on cloud nine, high from the prospect that I could still go into the mountains. Why me? And I mean that in the most positive way, that others will never experience even the minor mellow hike I experienced yesterday. Plus it was only eight weeks after a serious injury. Even with all of these adversities, I have the ability to hike from 9,700 feet up to 13,000 feet over 6.5 miles on mostly snowy terrain. Why has God so blessed me with these great abilities?

We reached the first road crossing and I was still optimistic, however in the short less than half mile section to the next road crossing we went up and down on snow that led to some post holing and my ankle just couldn't take the irregularity. I felt like an F, I had failed, it was time to call it quits, at approximately 11:30 AM. One of my fellow hikers is recovering from a metatarsal stress fracture and he called it day too. We hitchhiked down in a rental car thanks to a nice couple (including a helicopter pilot) from Utah. The two of us spent the rest of the day bumming around Colorado Springs down town, eating, drinking, and napping in a park with the homeless people. As we grew worried about our friends we finally heard from them at 7:30 PM, only an hour from when were were planning to call Teller County search and rescue. They all made it down safe! Despite it being harder than they expected, they summitted and had fun! I was afraid when they picked us up at 8:40 PM for the drive home that they would want to kill me.

One of my [probably genetic] gifts is acute inflammation. My body will swell up and then recover quickly from traumatic things. My ankle yesterday afternoon grew, probably a quarter to half inch in diameter due to the twisting on uneven ground. However, today, after getting some sleep, and icing it it actually doesn't feel too bad or look terribly big. It's still clearly bigger than my right ankle, but it's been that way for eight weeks. I'm going to wear the ankle brace most of today, because I can feel my ankle is weak, but frankly it feels better than I expected after the stupidness that I put it through.

So this morning in church, when the sermon was on Jesus walking with two disciples on the road to Emmaus, I cried. For years I've through of my running, especially my long runs, as dancing with God and I think of hiking and climbing in the mountains as spending my time in the greatest cathedrals in the world. Yet today, I felt for the first time that my limping slow walk is also with God. He meets us where we are at, when we are hurting and desperate and sad, and doing things which are probably detrimental to ourselves.

I feel that these many experiences I have had in the last year are a lesson to me that my time on earth is limited. I need to speak out. I can't stay silent. I can't leave things until tomorrow. No guarantees that I actually make any changes to my life, but I am definitely thinking about the big things I want to accomplish in life and doing them sooner rather than later.