2014 in Books

You may or may not have noticed, but a while back I threw a 1001 Books page up there. I never said anything about it or drew attention to it because it is something I keep track of for me. However, now seems like as good a time as any to talk about it.

Several years ago I was looking for something new to read and I stumbled across the 1001 Books to Read Before you Die list. It’s actually a book…but for convenience sake, I’m calling it a list. Because I love crossing things off a list, I decided I would read my way through all 1001 books. (If you click on the page, it goes into a little more detail about the list and why there are actually 1305 books.) Will I read all the books? Probably not, only half the books I read this year came from the list. But, if nothing else, I would always have something to read, I will probably read books I never would have otherwise, and I still get to cross things off a list.

At the beginning of the year I set a goal of reading 20 books for the year.

I read 21 books. (Including Atlas Shrugged…which is so long that it should count twice.) I WIN!

Books I read in picture form. Because I'm too lazy to write the list out and no one would read it anyway.
Books I read in picture form. Because I’m too lazy to write the list out and no one would read it anyway.

My favorites: The Harry Potter series (which I re-read for the 179th time); Atlas Shrugged (not everyone’s cup of tea, but I really liked the message); The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Agatha Christie gained a new fan)

My least favorites: Almost Transparent Blue (it was weird…a little too weird)

The theme of this year seemed to be dystopian/political novels (Animal Farm, 1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, Atlas Shrugged). Basically, I’m convinced that all these authors can see the future and we are all doomed. Okay, maybe not that extreme, but I found it fascinating how accurate some aspects of these books are today when they were written decades ago.

What did you read this year that you absolutely loved? I’m thinking of setting my book reading goal for 2015 to 25 books. Pretty big time. (You can follow me on GoodReads if you are interested in seeing my actual reviews of these books. Or I’ll probably end up copying Amy and do a monthly feature recapping the books I read that month in 2015.)

Runners Tell All: Recap and Goals

For the last Runners Tell All link up of the year, we are recapping 2014 and talking about our goals for 2015. Sounds like a perfect opportunity for a bullet-point post.

2014 Recap:

  • We lived in El Paso for the full year, and it took a while, but I finally got into a some kind of running routine and mostly acclimated to the dry, elevated climate here. But not the hills. Is it ever possible to get used to the hills?
  • I took a very laid back approach to running this year. My training plans were more likes “suggestions” and I stopped beating myself up for missing/cutting short/doing terrible on a run.
  • Races: one half marathon (the Flying Horse); one 10 miler (10 Miler in the Heat); an 8k (Fort Bliss Holiday 8k); anda couple of5ks (Turkey Trot, Hop for Health)
    • I apparently don’t recap the smaller distance races. That’s a shame. I should start.
  • I got involved with a wonderful running community (Wear Blue: Run to Remember). They make long runs significantly more enjoyable.
  • I ran a total of 462 miles (as of today) for the year. That’s about 100 miles less than the average of my last 5 years. So a little disappointing.

2015 Goals:

  • I have a spring half marathon on the schedule. I can’t share it with you yet because our PCS orders are not official-official and I don’t want to make the location public knowledge yet. But, I will say, it’s a big race, I’ve heard great things about it, and I’m pretty pumped about getting to do this one. I want to aim for a PR here.
  • Even though the laid back approach to running was nice, I want to get back into a more disciplined mindset this coming up year. I feel like I need that.
  • Run more than 462 miles.
  • Write recaps for the shorter races.
  • Will 2015 finally be the year I run a full marathon? I don’t know yet, but I’m not ruling it out a fall marathon.

Lastly, I have a question for you. I’m writing up a running bucket list that includes major races (for my unofficial 50 state challenge). I have a few in mind in a couple states, but what is your favorite-can’t-miss-must-do race that I should add to my list?

Having too much free time…

You know how when you are really, really busy and you think “man, if I had some free time then I could get all these things on my to do list done!” Then, you get some free time, and NOTHING on your to-do list gets done?

That’s what my life feels like sometimes.

I love the job I have out here in El Paso. It is different, and it tests my skills and knowledge in new ways. I really like that. I could sit here and list a million reasons why this job is awesome, and I feel so very lucky to have the opportunity to work here. The only downside is that I work 12 hours a week, and I have SO MUCH FREE TIME!

Before you call me crazy for listing that as a negative, hear me out.

I have so much free time, the “I’ll do it later… because I can” mentality really comes back to bite me in the ass. More often than I care to admit. Take this morning for example. Instead of running first thing when I got up, I piddled around until I would not have enough time to get the run in before I had to get to work.

Now, its late in the afternoon, I’m tired from work, and I still have not run (yes, I realize I am sitting here writing a blog post, when I could be running, but whatever. Technicalities.) And I’m thinking of all the excuses reasons why it would be a good idea to put off running until tomorrow.

Back when I was working full time with lots of crazy hours, if I didn’t run the first chance I had, I wouldn’t have time later on. So if something was important (ie: running), that shit got done. More often than not, anyway. It kind of amazes me how much more productive I was when I had very little free time.

Here it is in graph form. Lots of free time = no productivity.
Here it is in graph form. Lots of free time = no productivity.

Are you one of the lucky people who can stay productive when you have nothing you have to do? Tell me your secrets (unless your secret is to schedule things like running into your free time because I already do that, and it only works sometimes.)