The goal: workout in some way every single day. At minimum spend 20 minutes getting my heart rate elevated—a few sets of jumping jacks, squats, push-ups, and I’d be set. But there was no limit, mountain biking, swimming, weight lifting, running, yoga, I had big plans for this year. On top of it all, I had an idea to track body weight, body mass index, muscle sizes, endurance maxes, like how fast I could run a mile, 1-rep bench press, leg press, squats. And do a before-and-after comparison. I even considered buying a Garmin watch to track even more. Perhaps bookend it with a blood-work panel and physical with my doctor.

Unfortunately, I failed. At all of it. Circumstances and my own will worked against me. I didn’t write much about this project throughout the year. But I think posting some of the events might help one understand why this project ended up the way it did.

January 1

holy fuck.
It’s been a year since I’ve run on anything other than a treadmill. So, either treadmills are endowed with magical powers or sidewalks are evil incarnate. Gasping, aching, and headache-ridden after only ten minutes, I truly felt the sidewalk had cast a spell over me. Where I was  given feet made of lead and the sidewalk punched my soles with every stride. And what’s with the spitting?! I’ve run miles on a treadmill and never felt I had gallons of spit I needed to gift to the concrete of this world! Gah!
Sidewalk: 1 Dean: 0
Challenge accepted.
You’ll be my bitch by December.

I was motivated in those first weeks and month, I was going to the gym multiple times a week and I had not missed a day of some sort of exercise until the end of January.

February 2
Alone, I have been confined to my bed for nearly two days. It feels like weeks. Delirious, my sleep comes and goes in fractions of the hour. Too weak to move, food feels like a dream. Hunger, which began as pangs, has subsided into a low throbbing. My skin burns and my body aches like someone has beaten me with a baseball bat a thousand times over. There were honestly times I thought I was dying.

Thankfully my cough subsided and my nose stopped dripping. I can leave the bed without my body screaming and the world spinning. So, I think I’m getting better.

I did not get better, at least not right away. Now, I’m not usually someone who gets sick, and when I do it is normally not too terrible. This was abnormal. Later, my housemate would tell me they were diagnosed with pneumonia just prior to me getting sick.

February 18
Sickness number two. A cold. Scratchy throat and a cough. I think I was fully well for two days before this clubbed me across the back of my head.

Still weak from whatever attacked me the first half of the month, this cold hung around for the last half. Granted, I pretty much lost an entire month of my project in month #2. I was disheartened, but definitely not ready to throw in the towel.

March 19
I attempted the YOGA today for the first time!!! Oakley has a free class twice a week. It was an advanced class. It kicked my ass. I’m pretty sure I kicked my own ass. Literally.

This was going to be my saving grace, five days a week during my lunch break I would be doing yoga. And if I skipped a session, I could always hike, or work out at their gym. I was back on track.

March 30
ice and elevate. 😕 Anyone have a pair of crutches I can borrow? Walking is mighty painful.

I rolled my foot when I unknowingly stepped down on a sloped curb helping my friend Curtis move. I tore some ligaments in the top of my foot and the pain is quite overbearing whenever I put any pressure on it.

One is reminded of how much working out requires functional feet when they are taken away. All my plans and activities were again thwarted. I managed to do a few things, like knee pushups and bench-based weight lifting, but it was definitely…lesser. I began to miss more and more days as April and May wore on. But there was also another distraction.

April 9

There were many hours spent chatting with a certain lovely girl. :]

I met someone special. And we were hitting it off really well. Thus, more distractions from my project. Sadly, it was not meant to be, in early July the relationship ended. While reeling from that, the summer was also unrelenting in other ways.

July 14

My friend Ian: While we argue about #Zimmerman, the market broke more records today, Glass-Steagall version two is on the table. Indiana made same-sex marriage a criminal offense. Meals for kids who can’t afford them apparently became unimportant in a budget. Speaking of the well-being of children, though.

Texas pulled a move akin to Florida, funneling money into the pockets of friends and family of its Governor by hiding it in legislation tied to the hot button disagreements we have. That is abortion practitioners cut by 90% to companies tied to Texas’ Rick Perry, and (wasteful) drug tests for welfare recipients performed by companies tied to Florida’s Rick Scott.

I don’t even think I need to mention casualties in the middle east conflicts, which we steadily remain a part of despite public outcry. Or Guantanamo, or drone killings, or Israel and Palestine.

We see these sweeping masses of issues we can influence with our opinions and actions, things attached to politics, our laws that govern us, and our Government. Clear and present, a laundry list of issues we can influence with our voices if shoved into the ears of those who represent us with enough force. But we don’t.

We sat back and watched the entire trial hinge on laws in Florida that were slid into place which violates the sixth amendment of the constitution… but we focused more on the people and the racism. When we could have addressed the fundamental flaws in the laws which permitted such atrocity in the first place.

We, as a society, seem to stare only at the parts of a problem we can’t solve or have a place in. When we ignore the glaring majority of the problem that we can influence, with our voices. No one asks “Why did this happen, how can we fix it?” We’d rather argue our opinions on it. Destroy each other based on the disagreements we have instead of correcting it.

I find it hard to not be sardonic in this day and age.

It felt like the news had been amped up in a way that seemed to fuel anger and resentment, especially on social media. I found myself discussing this a lot and asking why?

July 16

Ask yourself, what SHOULD news be? What do we need to know about this world in order to make it better, to make our own lives better? To make sure what happened to Trayvon Martin, happen less. His story, like many before it, in many ways, is propagated theatrics. Every news outlet has an agenda; it is controlled by money, by backers. Their story and word choices are made to sensationalize, to target a specific audience, in order to sell their attention to advertisers.

Know and vet your news sources. Or understand you’re being manipulated.

I feel this is only getting worse and I shudder to think what the future holds for us if it continues unchecked. So, yeah, my mind wasn’t super focused on my project, plus it was bloody hot this summer!

August 15
Attempted and succeeded my first “wheel” pose in yoga today. A brief 3 seconds of not-zen. #yoga #possessedbyaspiderdemon

I was continuing to yoga, hike, and work out most days and determined to redeem myself and make the back half a return to form.

October 20

I told my friend, Stephanie about this project and we created a shared Google Doc tracking sheet to keep us motivated and accountable.

A friend decided to join me and we tracked our minutes of exercise. We even categorized different types (Strength, Flexibility, and Endurance) A week after tracking I fell ill, again. I didn’t recover until November. Then, my body failed me.

November 12
Back is going crazy. Started with dull pain two days ago. Then sharper pains when I twisted a certain way and took a deep breath. Now random spasms that literately take me to my knees. Perhaps time to see a doctor.

I’ve never had a year like this before. With so many illnesses and injuries. I had a final push at the end of November, but at this point my energy level and morale was low. By December, I had stopped tracking. I continued to exercise a few times a week. But the failure of this project cast too big a shadow.

Some people believe I took on too much this year. I do not believe this is true. I think I wasn’t prepared enough. I didn’t have a plan for sickness and injuries. Also, adding a partner to the mix that shared in the goals, hold us responsible, was huge. It just happened a bit too late in this case.

So, my first failure. But not really. I learned a lot about myself, my health, and what these projects mean to me. I’m already excited to revisit this idea sometime in the future.