Forty… Yep, you read that right I hit the big 4-0 this year which besides the number I don’t feel much different today.

Looking back over the past year all I can say it has been a strange one indeed. I have always wanted the chance to work from home and boy did I get it. In the past year, I have only gone to the office three times and taken one business trip (which was just a month ago to the middle of nowhere Indiana).

*How we spent most of our weekends after purchasing the RV in July (July 2020, Minneopa State Park, MN)*

However, some good things came out of last year as the whole family spent a lot more time together than typically. We purchased a Camper in July of last year and after getting it we found a way to use that thing almost every weekend until we put it in storage for the winter. We had been thinking of buying a camper for a while so once we saw that we probably wouldn’t be traveling like our normal road trips that we had been thinking about it seemed like no better time than to pull the trigger on the RV. I won’t say every trip was magical with the family but overall everyone enjoyed it and enjoyed exploring the various State Parks in our area. It was a good way for us to get away from our house and all the electronics that are inside of it. However, April and I did work on some of our camping adventures. We figured since we were both working remotely and if we didn’t mind having to be creative to connect to the internet it would be great to squeeze a couple more days on the front and back end of weekend trips.

*Hiking on one of our many camping adventures (August 2020, Minneopa State Park)*

Working from home has been interesting (ok bad sometimes) but in other ways good. It is hard to really slice and dice my complete thoughts on this but I think simply put I enjoy being able to get my kids on and off the bus each day. I appreciate this school year as opposed to last where they were learning from home full time as I am not a great teacher myself and those days it was harder to focus on my work. However, being honest my wife took the brunt of the teaching and keeping the kids on task and I am forever grateful for her always keeping the family in order. The hardest thing for kids I think to understand when they would have days off and mom and dad are working from home is they are not sure why we won’t play with them NOW. As smart as all my kids are, they are still shocked when they have a no school day and I still have to work. I think the kids believe that we should all be on the same schedule.

*The Boo waiting for the school bus (March 2021, Eden Prairie, MN)*

One of the benefits I have really been reaping this year working from home is Running. I used to be a morning runner by default because I wanted to get it done before I went to work each day. I knew myself and if I didn’t do it then, then I might not do it at all. This past year things have changed, I not only didn’t want to wake anyone up in the morning but I also realized that I could avoid running in the dark often as I could duck out for an hour during the middle of the day.

*Taking advantage of working from home and hitting the trails to create some fresh tracks in the snow (October 2020, Edenbrook Conservation Area, MN)*

Embracing was the theme of last year and I feel like that was accomplished with how our family got to spend more time together doing different things and how more recently I have doubled down in focusing on my running personally. I came in strong last year thinking about running a Marathon but then when the pandemic hit and everything got canceled it only took me a month later to start lagging in my motivation to keep running a bunch of miles. However, I did get a spark of new hope after we got the camper again as we were visiting all of these cool State Parks that had miles of trails. So I made sure that every park I tried to explore as much as I could by either hiking with the family or just going out for a run at some point during our stay.

Sometimes a change of scenery is a great motivation to get out there and explore (or run).

*Trail running in the morning hours (September 2020, Charles A. Lindbergh State Park, MN)* *Sunrise run while the family is hopefully still asleep in the camper (October 2020, Willow River State Park, WI)*

Since the start of January, I have decided to take a different approach to my running by really trying to get more longer runs weekly. Previously, I would have probably only run one or two 6.2 mile runs a week and that was about all I could handle with other 3.1 mile runs sprinkled in. Right now I have a goal of running the Twin Cities Marathon later this year as it has been exactly 20 years since I have run a marathon (that one in fact). I have something else up my sleeve as well but still working on the execution to make sure it goes through. If so it will be fun for sure and make that Marathon extra hard with the little rest between the events. I have been pleased with my efforts so far but the road is still long ahead. If anything, I have continued to build on longer runs throughout the week, and as a benefit, I have been able to explore a lot of new places around my house by going outside what was a 3.1 mile radius.

As things are ever-changing in the world today with the virus and vaccine rollout, I am optimistic to see what this next year will be as I am rolling into another decade. As I still am thinking Embracing seems like another fitting theme, I will expand that as I would like to continue “Learning”. More on that topic but this is long enough and the kids are about ready to get off the bus ☺.

Previously: 35, 36, 37, 38, 39 ..