Personal Theme for ’17 Unwrapped

The new year brings with it a spark of hope… a fresh opportunity… a real life reset button. Carefully considered resolutions can provide a jumpstart and are a long-standing tradition about which we’ve written many times in the past.  With that said, we’ve found a step even more powerful than resolutions: identifying a PERSONAL THEME for the year. It can be a phrase, a word, or even a picture. This is the 5th straight year I’ve had fun creating a personal visual to jumpstart the year. This year focuses on the phrase  Run Fast(er)… Live Slow(er) with the visual layout as you saw with this link.

To most, this phrase would be meaningless. However, for me, it’s packed full of powerful meaning about the vision I have for the coming year. That’s the great thing about personal visions – they’re personal!  I’ll attempt to unwrap this one just a bit in an effort to (hopefully) provide you with a little food for thought as you consider developing your own personal theme for the coming year…

Live Slow(er) – this is at the heart of the theme. The past couple of years (and frankly – most of my life), I’ve packed my schedule of pursuits as tightly as possible. I make the most of every minute, from the time the alarm clock goes off in the morning until it’s time to hit the pillow at night. But I’m not sure that’s truly accurate. I do fit a lot into my schedule – but am I really “making the most” of every minute? Is efficiency really the ultimate goal?

The word “linger” has stuck in my mind in recent days. The more I think about it, the more that’s an accurate depiction of how I’m looking to change my focus in the coming year. Lingering is defined as “staying longer than necessary.” Exactly. Most of my life, I’ve “stayed” as long as necessary, but not a minute longer. I had things to get done, and “lingering” would only throw everything off schedule. This natural habit/strength/weakness was exacerbated in the past 2 years with the added pursuits around long distance competitions (Race Across America and multiple Ironman events, both of which ate up 20+ hrs/wk of training on top of running a business and soaking in time with the family). This year, I’m still looking forward to competing at the highest levels (see below) but the pursuits will require only about 10-12 hrs/wk of training (at most). That’s a 10 hr/wk difference.

The Fermata – the odd looking symbol next to the “Live Slow(er)” wording is called a fermata. It’s a symbol used in music to signify a pause or hold at the Director’s discretion. That’s so perfect!  So where am I going to invest those “extra” 10 hours? Oh – there were plenty of ideas floating around in my head 🙂 But in the end, I decided I’d like to try to invest the time “lingering.” Whether it’s in a conversation, an event with friends, a morning devotional, the view of a sunset or any other number of opportunities throughout each day, I’m looking to learn how to “stay longer than necessary” (or linger). It’ll obviously be a challenge after 50 years of developing the habit of “efficiency,” but it’ll be fun learning along the way.

The (er) part of the vision – Living “slow” likely won’t ever be a goal. There are so many incredible opportunities out there in the world and I want to make the most of them. So “slow” or “slowly” are off the table, but slow(er)? Absolutely.  If I’ve been driving 100 MPH the past 20+ years, even dropping to 90 MPH will likely have a big impact on enjoying the roses everyone keeps talking about that exist along the way :-).

Run Fast(er) –  Not much in terms of philosophical explanation needed here. In a nutshell, I went back over 35 years of race results and pulled out my lifetime PRs (Personal Records) at every major distance. My goal at age 50+ is to see how close I can come to each one of those PRs. Obviously there are a number of changes the body goes through at age 50 that weren’t true at 20, 30 or 40. But I’m curious – with a few extra years of wisdom and by focusing in on those things I can control (regardless of age), how close can I come to those personal marks?  Thus the word “Fast(er)” in the theme – a goal of going faster than ever before. If I can even come close to a few of them, I’m hoping it’ll be an encouragement to others to not allow age to determine physical goals. I’m planning to provide occasional updates within this blog under the title “#ExperimentOfOne” if you’d like to occasionally check in on the lessons learned on that front.

For the record, lifetime PRs are as follows: Mile (4:53), 2 Mile (11:01), 5K (16:25), 10K (32:58), Half Marathon (1:16:20), Marathon (2:47). It’s an intriguing (and challenging) goal – stay tuned!

So there you have it. My own personal theme/vision for 2017 – the foundation on which my goals and plans can now be built. Do you have a theme of your own for 2017? I’d love to see it! Email me at

Here’s to a fantastic year ahead in 2017!


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