Fill in the Blank: 2017 – The Year of ___

So my wife and I have been doing something fun each of the past two years, and if you read this blog, you know that 2015 was the year of concerts and 2016 was the year of Travel/Yes. We have kind of joked about 2017 being the year of “yes, continued,” but that kind of feels like cheating.

Here’s how the “Year of” works… Basically, anything you want to do within the general parameters of the word or phrase, you get to do without any (too much) fight from the other person.

Example:

Kelly: “What do you think about going up to Pittsburgh for a night, then doing a race there the next day?

Ryan: “OK. Then do you want to go up to Canada the next week for a different race?”

K: “Seems far, but sure! #YoY right?”

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I’m pretty sure that’s exactly how that conversation went down. 2016 ended up being probably the most fun year of my life. We traveled to Grand Cayman, Destin, Ireland, Pittsburgh, and Canada. Toss in a few trips up to Cleveland to see the family and probably one other weekend trip I’m forgetting about.

So 2017 has to be good. I don’t know if it will be able to top 2016, but so far, every year has been better than the one before. I know Kelly and I want to do some more races, and no less than one of us has some big plans for some house updates and projects, but we are otherwise fairly open.

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Maybe 2017 will be the year of business? Kelly and I have committed to refocusing our brands (Sweat Local Columbus, Local Anywhere) to figure out what the best way is to make those two things as successful as possible. We have had some high’s and low’s on both of those fronts, but I think we’re starting to figure out what does and doesn’t work and will attack both of those next year with more passion and purpose.

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Or maybe 2017 will be the year of fitness. I think having had a taste of what the OCR world can offer, I love the idea of (broken record word of the day) focusing my training so that I can be a better racer. I think Kelly and I are both learning a few things about better ways to eat and train so that we can be the best and healthiest versions of ourselves.

Side conversation – the other day, we had some siding coming off the side of our house. I fixed a piece of it with a ladder, but another piece was up near the top of the house and was too high for me to reach with the ladder. So I went through the bedroom window to the first level of our roof, and was able to Irish Table my way up on to the second level of our roof. I know this level of fitness doesn’t mean a whole lot, like, being able to get up on top of my roof isn’t a reason to get fit, but it makes me feel good knowing that I can. I feel like there is very little I can’t do, which in itself makes me extremely happy.

Or, maybe 2017 will be the year of something much more significant. Whatever the case, I’m open to suggestions and really hope that whatever we decide to do with this upcoming year, it’s as exciting and brings us as much joy as the year of concerts and the year of travel/yes.

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Things I’m Liking Lately – May 2016 Edition

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I’ll admit it from the jump: I’m stealing this idea from my wife who wrote a piece a few months back about the things she’s loving right now. Whatever, it was a good idea and now I want to do it. For legal reasons, I’ll title mine “Things I’m Liking Lately” and not “Things I’m Loving Lately” (you never know, she might sue me if we get into a fight later…).

Anyway, this is all about the things I’m into and passionate about at the moment. A lot of these are summer things I have coming up, and others are longer-arcing projects that excite me.

I should also say that these things aren’t in any order.

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Sweat Local Columbus

This began as something my wife started as a “wouldn’t it be great if…” and has turned into a pretty big deal. We pretty much laughed at the kiddy-pool idea of starting small, and created an event that will feature a 5k (complete with a police-patrolled route, timing chips, sponsored finish line banner..the works) and an expo that will feature many of Columbus’ local boutique gyms and restaurants. The event is really too big to describe in this blog post, but you should definitely check out the website and come if you’re in town (July 30, 2016). We’ve already received a ton of support from businesses and are excited to put on this event. #SweatLocalCbus

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Obstacle Course Races

So I have this tendency to fall in love with something then go all out for whatever that thing happens to be. My current obsession is Obstacle Course Races (though I’ve only competed in one race). Still, I am looking up every different race that involves mud and a wall, and I’m trying to find ways to justify driving to North Carolina for a race with my wife (Ashville is only 3 hours further south, and it would ONLY be a 12 hour drive home!).

I’m not going to spend more time on this one because I feel like I’ve driven this one into the ground with Facebook pictures, Twitter updates, and two blog posts on here dedicated to my Spartan Race. Long story short — I’m now following just about every OCR account on Twitter and have worn out the Google machine as far as “top ten races” are concerned.

Fun stuff!

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Writing

Kind of an odd thing looking at “writing,” but I’m kind of getting excited about writing again. I recently joined a site called “ClearVoice” and they basically allow you to upload some writing samples you’ve done in the past and set a $/word amount for any potential assignments. They then email you opportunities and if you want to do it and the company wants you to do it, you have an assignment.

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Anyway, it’s fun to be writing again. I still enjoy writing these posts and Sports Monte posts, but sometimes getting real life assignments about things you have to research and learn a thing or two about is fun.

I did get an “opportunity” to write a blog post about “why polyamory isn’t cheating.” I was considering it until my wife steered me clear. I guess after a certain age, the “I’ll write anything for money” mindset has to wear off. Thanks, babe, for saving me from that one!

Style

I’m notorious for “shopping” online, but never making it past putting things in carts. I probably have expired items in so many digital carts. But recently, I had a look I wanted to pull off for a wedding that’s coming up in two weeks. It’s a navy suit with a Kelly green knit silk tie and some kind of a pale blue, minimal-print shirt underneath. I’ll also have the obvious cognac shoes-belt combo working.

I’m also keeping an eye on some other sites like Gustin and JackThreads. I like the idea of stepping my jeans-game up. I’ve gotten away from the Express and American Eagle jeans phase and am currently in a Levis-from-the-department-store phase. I like these jeans, but I’m intrigued by a really quality pair of denim. Haven’t pulled the trigger on the jeans, yet, but I did make the plunge on a Navy suit!

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Travel

2016 is still the #YearofTravel, and I am still really excited about Ireland and the on-again, off-again Vegas vacation in August that is currently a full-go! (We have our plane tickets now so I feel confident). We’re Vegasing to help out my in-laws (Hi, Jim and Kathy!) at a PGA show. So, while I still plan to have plenty of fun this trip, it is a business trip and I think Kelly and I are going to have to keep a young, upstart putter maker in check and make sure he doesn’t get lost in the lights (he’s 26ish, will be going to Vegas for the first time, and kind of has that frat-mentality from having met him just the once).

Of course, the headliner for 2016: The #YearofTravel is Ireland and, again, I’ve written about that enough on this page. If you want to know more about that, check out that article. I think those two trips might be all we can handle, but if a weekend adventure, wedding, or some other opportunity presents itself, I might be hard pressed to say no. Because aside from it being 2016: The #YearofTravel, it’s also 2016: The #YearofYes, so I’m trying to say yes to as many things as I can and see what kind of year it was when I look back at it from 2017.

Anyway, those are the things I’m liking at the moment. If you think there is something I’m missing out on, please comment and I will see if it’s something I might add to my list of likes!

 

 

Sweat Local Columbus

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Last year, my wife and I decided that 2015 was the year of concerts (sorry to those of you who read this blog regularly and have heard this before, but I promise I’ll move on to the point soon). So, as 2015 was winding down, we decided to dedicate 2016 to travel (and also the year of yes for me personally). We had planned a trip to Grand Cayman with Kelly’s family in March, and we have our biggest trip as a couple planned to Ireland in September. We also have a weekend in Nashville planned, and I am sure one or two other little weekend-trips will pop up as the year wears on.

But 2016 is kind of morphing into something else for us. It’s kind of turning into the year of Sweat Local Columbus.

For those of you who don’t know, my wife and I live in Columbus and are very active in the fitness community. Aside from being a spinning instructor, my wife attends yoga classes, strength and cardio classes, and just about any other class that will get her to break a sweat. I go to a lot of those same classes, but also run in just about any race that sounds like fun, and I’m also training for my first Spartan Race (next month!). I can also do a flip aided by the pull-up bar that hangs in the door frame over one of our guest rooms. Just saying… impressive stuff.

Being that we do just about as much as we can do fitness-wise around Columbus, my wife had the idea of Sweat Local Columbus — a 5k and fitness expo that aims to bring all of the boutique studios and gyms around Columbus together and put their brands and message in front of the people who consume “fitness” in our city. I remember when my wife came home with one of those ideas that start out as a “hear me out,” and turn into a “it’s really happening” in the matter of a few days. We’ve sunk a few big dollar deposits down on event space and race coordination, so, we’re kind of past the point of no return…it’s REALLY happening.

It’s exciting to see something like this come together. My wife has for sure had the heavier hand in getting SLC off the ground and running. We’ve both been pushing the event like crazy to all of the small, locally-owned gyms and studios around the city. A lot of the feedback has been positive and we’ve already secured some really great sponsors and vendors to help support.

So while we aren’t giving up on the year of travel (still looking forward to Nashville, Ireland, and wherever else we end up this year), I’m equally as excited about Sweat Local Columbus and what this might mean for us moving forward. Now the only thing we are going to have to worry about is how to top it in 2017, the year of…?

Travel, tacos, and missing shoes?

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I have two confessions I should lay out there before I get into what I think I’m about to write (because knowing what you want to say when you start to write is SO OVERRATED!).

  • I am 36 hours away from boarding a plane from Columbus–>Charlotte–>Grand Cayman
  • Nah-nah-na-boo-boo, stick your head in doo-doo

With that being said, the point I want to get at is that I am traveling as someone who hates spending money if I don’t have to spend money. I am fine spending money on a nice dinner here and there with my wife (though I can honestly say that every time I see the check, it hurts a little bit inside). I will spend money on nice clothes every now and then because I think it’s important to have quality pieces in a man’s wardrobe. I will spend money on playing a nice golf course because it is something I love. Finally, I will spend money gambling because even though you can tell me the house has an edge, I think I can outsmart the game and give myself an advantage and I don’t care if I am irrational about it, I believe it, so let’s just leave it alone (for the record, total gambling net probably is in the red).

Other than those things, I don’t really like spending money. I like seeing my savings account and my checking account grow. I like knowing that I can afford something, but never actually pulling the trigger on buying it. I like filling up digital shopping carts, and slowly removing item by item until there is one “sale” t shirt left, and I will leave that tab open for 5 days until I want to restart my computer and I just close out of the tab.

Judge if you want, I can take it.

I’ve posted not too long ago about travel –> SEE HERE — and that my wife and I are going to Grand Cayman and Ireland this year. I think we also booked a trip to Nashville to see some friends (shout out to Josh, Kenzie and Arlie). Normally, the thought of spending the kind of money we’re going to be spending would make me wall up and start biking it to work, but I am coming around to the idea that travel, for those of us who don’t have kids, is one of the best and most important things you can spend money on at this stage in life.

Here’s the thing, if you come at me with “you should save because you should pay off debt… or buy a house… or for a new car… or whatever,” I’m sure you have a point. I wouldn’t advocate traveling if you can’t pay your electric bill or if you are struggling to keep gas in the car. But what I’ve come to understand about myself is that I was to save for things that don’t really exist. Seeing my bank account grow is like watching the time pass on a clock. The numbers go up, but if you don’t turn around and enjoy life a little bit, you won’t ever get to see what really matters. I think back about the places my wife and I have gone over the last five years, and I can’t tell you how much it’s added to our relationship.

It’s kind of like food. Staying at home all the time is like eating tacos every night for dinner. I love tacos. I’m comfortable with tacos. I can bank on the fact that they’ll be as solid tonight for dinner as they were last night. Sure you can add avocado or sour cream to tacos every now and then, or get real crazy and put some new salsa in there, but at the end of the day nothing really changes. Traveling is like saying, “you know what, tacos. I love you, and you’re where my heart is, but I’m going out for Italian tonight. I might even have a few appetizers before I settle on pasta.”

Sure you have to have someone watch your tacos every now and then, and make sure the trash gets taken out and they get the mail if you are away from your tacos for a few days, but those are all minor details.

Traveling has given me some of the best memories I’ll ever have and I still laugh about them to this day. Sure it takes a big chunk out of your bank account, but in a month or two, you won’t remember it was there anyway. But you will remember standing in an elevator with no shoes on and an open bottle of champagne when a couple checking in sees you and the only thing that comes to your head to say is, “I don’t have any shoes!”

Traveling lets you get out of your kitchen and taste life a little differently. And trust me, you’ll appreciate your tacos that much more when you come back to them (at least until you decide to plan a sushi trip!).

 

Take me to Ireland or Lose me forever

So in about one year, the plan is to pack the wife up and go on a vacation to Ireland. I’ve only been out of the country on work trips and our honeymoon to Cancun, but that was paid for as a wedding present and we stayed at an all-inclusive resort which was super-nice but it didn’t really feel like a vacation. It was more of a release from all the planning and stress of getting ready for a wedding and we just laid around and drank and ate some sush and beached it all week, which is fine — don’t get me wrong — but it’s not what I would draw up as my “ideal vacation.”

Ireland is what I would draw up as my “ideal vacation.”

I remember being in 5th grade and my teacher, Ms. Bonita (for those of you who know Spanish, the irony in that name gets funnier and funnier every year) would go on vacations and I remember her saying Ireland was her favorite.

I remember her talking about renting a car and driving the roads and seeing the castles and now that I am an old-man 30 year old, I want to do all those things. I want to rent a car, drive the hilly landscape, see some castles, go to pubs, pretend like I like the food while wishing I was eating pizza and sushi from our favorite places back home, golfing, getting rained on, forgetting a poncho or rain jacket because you never remember to bring those things on vacations, seeing sheep — touristy things like that. I want to go on a vacation where we have a very light agenda of things we want to do, but ultimately getting lost in the country and making friends with people whose accents are too thick to really understand what they’re saying.

The food thing does make me nervous. I went to Japan for business and, while I know enough of a smidge of Japanese to excuse myself for being an American, I wasn’t able to convey what I wanted to eat because being a vegetarian in Japan is like being a raccoon in a pet store — nobody wants you there and you can only blend in so long before they try to get you out of their space. The first night there, I knew how to say vegetables to the cook, and my dinner that night was a tomato and a side of mayo. I also had two giant beers so don’t feel too bad for me. KAMPAI!

But in Ireland, I won’t have to worry about the language barrier, but if I want an authentic meal, will they have something on the menu or will I just have to get used to eating potatoes all week? I’m cautiously optimistic, but I’m sure I can google something to make sure we know what to eat and where to eat and how to eat vegetables in Ireland.

Food aside, I’m excited. I’m curious to know how people really live over there as opposed to how Gerald Butler lives in romcoms where everyone in Ireland is a musician whose family has a fantastic farmhouse that’s equally rustic and modern and where people don’t seem to work, just meet socially and end up at the right place at the right time. It’s like movies set in New York — I doubt the people are always so calm when they probably had to spend 3 hours getting from Long Island to Manhattan and nevermind how they afford their apartments and $20 cocktails on a waiters salary…

I’m losing myself… let me get it back…

I can’t wait to go and see Ireland. I’ve always wanted to go and it’s been my #1 dream vacation spot since I was a kid. I have a lot of time to wait before I go, but it will only make going that much better!

Take me to Ireland or lose me forever!