On the first day of 2020, I thought it would be a useful exercise to look back on the past year as an orientation to keep the momentum moving forward. I'll start by reflecting on personal experiences and then share thoughts that I think are more universal to maintaining the monkii-state-of-mind. The monkii Elders request that you share your 2019 year in review. What type of Wildness did you get into and what's next?
The biggest physical challenge of 2019 was the Spring Misogi. This consisted of running the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim. This is a 50-mile trail run with over 12,000 feet of vertical gain and loss. It's epic. I met up with a group of friends from all over the country at the South Rim on April 13th, 2019 at 3am in the morning. About 1/2-mile into the run, I sprained my ankle and was done attempting the RTRTR that particular day. I was super bummed. It is extremely difficult to get a group of friends all coordinated for an event like that and I was most saddened by not getting to share the experience. Fortunately for me, the injury was not too bad and I was able to return to the Grand Canyon three weeks later where I completed the RTRTR. My buddy Chad was kind enough to come back after already doing the RTRTR the day I was injured. We ran down to the bottom together where we parted ways and I went on a solo marathon to the North Rim and back. We rendezvoused in the afternoon and struggled back the South Rim where we arrived in the dark. I was really happy with my training for this adventure. I was not sure how my body would handle 50-miles, but overall I recovered quickly and was injury free. The training details could be an entire post on its own so we will save that for another time.
I did not climb a lot in 2019, but I did climb. I was psyched to tick off a few local classics with some good friends and favorite climbing partners. My friend Michael and I climbed the North Face of Longs Peak in July. It was perfect weather and the day went by incredibly fast. We had not been able to hang out as much recently and it was fun catching up while also doing something Wild. Then, in August with my friend Chris (who I climbed El Capitan with) I climbed the Flying Buttress in Rocky Mountain National Park. I was definitely rusty on the rock and was honestly gripped out of my mind at times. It did not help that as we neared the summit an intense thunderstorm erupted on top of us. You feel extremely small and insignificant when caught in a storm like that and it was a good reminder of what/who is really in charge.
My favorite monkii workout was this dandy that I did along the Madison River outside of Bozeman, MT. I had not been able to get out as much as I would like in 2019 and it felt good to get some reps in next to a fast flowing river amongst the Big Sky Country of Montana. Besides this truly wild monkii-sesh, I utilized pocket monkii quite often during business travel. I love always having my gym in my bag and even if I only get in a few reps, it makes a difference and keeps the momentum going. Don't leave home without your monkii.
I love podcasts and had wanted to start my own for a few years. For 2019, I had set a goal of recording and publishing 12 episodes. I am proud to say that I ended up publishing 30 episodes. I really appreciate the feedback from all the listeners and I look forward to hundreds (maybe even thousands...) of more episodes. If there is a topic you would like to discuss or have comments, please send us a note.
- Everything counts. I used to naively skip a workout if I was not going to have time to complete the entire protocol. This is extremely stupid and lazy. This past year I adopted a mindset that every little bit of movement counted towards my overall fitness. This got me in the mindset of intentionally seeking out as well as quickly recognizing opportunities for fitness as I went about my day.
- Microworkouts. This ties right in with lesson #1, but I cannot overstate the value of microworkouts throughout the day. You can achieve the same amount or even more volume than say, an hour at the gym. The benefit being that you have way more energy than if you went nuts for 60-minutes straight. There are certainly times where that is beneficial, but you can also make legit gains using microworkouts.
- Play the long game. For most of my teen and adult life I have burned the candle at both ends trying to squeeze as much as I could from my body. I luckily was able to do this relatively injury free, but over the last year I have started to think about a lifestyle that is optimized for the long game of life. Especially now that I have a child, I want to make sure that I have the energy to give my best to her now. I also want to be able to keep up with her down the road when she starts coming up with Misogis and adventures of her own.
- Food matters. I am not an advocate of any particular diet or nutrition plan other than that I am a militant omnivore. I believe that people have thrived eating a variety of plant and animal foods that are conducive and readily available in whatever environment you happen to live. If you are looking to improve your health, eat real food. It's as simple as that. Once you do that you will be 80-99% of where you need to be. From there, you have my permission to experiment with different protocols. As long as you feel good, are healthy, and your performance is solid, go for it. Just beware of doing something just because it seems like everyone else is doing it or an article comes out saying "X-food will kill you". Question everything and listen to your body.
Going off of the lessons above, I think what I have tried to do more than anything in 2019 is to focus on relationships and the little things that all aggregate to make for 'the good life'. There were some ups and downs, but ultimately I have emerged with a better understanding of who I am and what is important. I've tried to reduce screen time and social media, especially after work when I should be enjoying and relaxing with my family. I've learned to know what I don't know and ask for help, but I've also increased my confidence for problem-solving even when I may not be the expert. I'm trying to take more ownership and personal responsibility in every aspect of life. On the physical training front, I'm working on listening to my body and honoring my training intuition. Don't worry monkiis, I'm not getting soft. Rather, I'm being honest with where I am in the moment and either going harder or, if for example during some sprints I feel my hamstring start to grab, I will save it for another day. Like I said above, playing for the long game. I have also finally realized that training can be "easy" but still be very effective. Instead of trying to go to the max every day, I try to make my easy days easier and my hard days harder. I want to adapt and grow from my training, not just survive.
2020 is going to be an amazing year to be a monkii. We continue to be grateful for and amazed by the monkii family. We would not be here without you. Like I said, we don't like new years resolutions, but we are big fans of goals. Get out the pen and paper and write them down, put it up on your refrigerator and start taking small steps to get there. Remember, it all counts. monkii on and keep getting Wilder!