Now that 2012 is about gone, I find myself putting 2011 into better perspective. It turns out that last year was a good year.
I started out last year by getting back to running after a long layoff due to chronic tendinitis in my left ankle. I participated in a walk-to-run program which kick-started my return to running. I have Coach John to thank for showing me the path back. I also started running at noon on the Mall with a workmate, and we slowly increased our pace from twelve-minute miles to ten-minute miles. I also enjoyed an occasional lunch with my former mentor from oh-so many years ago, now retired from my agency. He taught me practically everything I know, including how to enjoy a pizza with an egg upon it.
In February, as I have done for years, I had lunch at the Lost Dog Cafe in Westover at noon on the birthday of each of my estranged sons. I continue to hold out hope that one or more of them will show in the future, because I love each of my children. Hey Johnny, I'll be there next week at noon on your birthday.
In March I continued my comeback to running, enjoying the early Cherry Blossoms on noontime runs. I was also able to post a sub-thirty 5K time in my first race in a year and a half, on the W&OD Trail a half mile from my house.
In April I participated in a tree planting day in my home town. My volunteer crew planted five trees and dug six holes. Can you believe that one homeowner waited until we had completely dug the hole at the marked spot on her lawn next to the tree the city dropped off days earlier before she came out of her house to tell us that she no longer wanted the free tree she had ordered? We definitely were ninety-nine percenters as we dutifully filled the hole back in as this one-percenter disappeared back into her air-conditioned house.
In May I underwent hernia surgery but was able to finish a Memorial Day 3K fun run in under twenty minutes five days later.
In June I attended a minor league baseball game in Trenton. Across Lamberton Street which fronts the ballpark was the Lamberton Liquors package store.
In July I traveled across the upper plains, touring Indian battlefields and visiting prominent features in the region like Devils Tower in Wyoming.
In August the DC area experienced a rare earthquake, which closed the Washington Monument due to structural cracks and it remains closed today. At home the tall plastic toy figures lined up on the shelves in my children's bedroom tumbled over willy nilly, with several soldier and monster figures pitching onto the floor below.
In September I went down to North Carolina help my college roommate a buddy clean up after Hurricane Irene roared through his waterfront property. The storm surge registered 9 feet high on his 12 foot house stilts so the valuables inside his residence were safe, but the outlying storage units were a sodden mess. Here I am holding his family bible during the cleanup phase. My buddy spent hours restoring this family heirloom with its priceless personal inscriptions, recordations and notations, basically slow-baking it.
In October I started occasionally taking my noontime runs through the Occupy Wall Street camps in DC, a movement I wholeheartedly supported.
In November I went to spend Thanksgiving with my sister and her family in Columbus. We ran a race.
In December I was detailed to assist a regional office with a two-week trial in a southern city. A finer bunch of line staff you could never hope to meet. I got in some great early morning runs though very historic places like the Grassy Knoll, and I picked up some invaluable professional pointers by observing people at work. I made several life-long friends, like Erez, Gary, Shereen and the others in this picture.
The year ended with a run on New Year's Day with a good friend who was coming back from major surgery. He outpaced me badly that day on the C&O Canal Towpath, although I used as an excuse that I was wiped out by a Hot Yoga session an hour earlier. I'm not a fan of Bikram Yoga for a number of reasons. Unfortunately my friend underwent essentially the same major surgery six months later, and I pray that the surgery this time will do what the surgeons promised him and he will be running with me again soon.