A couple weeks ago I was on what I called a mini sabbatical but in reality, it was just a week off of work before I started a new job. During that week I fully appreciate and understand why rest is important. I think the overall concept of time away from work is something more companies should figure out how to offer. I know some companies have programs like actual sabbaticals after putting in a number of years at companies. I think the idea is great and I think it could be something done on a smaller scale too. I think the most important aspect is to figure out how to allow people to have some time away from where they can really disconnect.
Disconnecting is what you hear about all the time now and after a week of being fully disconnected, I know there are benefits there. I have always taken time away to spend time with family and I would say I was “disconnecting” from work. However, I was never truly disconnected. I was still getting work emails on my phone and more often than not I carried my work laptop with me to where I was going. So in theory as much as I was saying I was “disconnected” I was still connected by checking and making sure nothing went wrong back at work while I was away. Even if I wasn’t responding to anything, I was still glancing through things to make sure nothing big was going on and filling stuff away in order to make it easier for when I got back to work.*Eerie looking sky leaving work by myself late on a Friday for the last time (November 2019, MTS Systems, Eden Prairie, MN)*
However, on this “break” I didn’t have email or work issues that came up or even could be brought my attention. When I left work on my final day, my email and connection to that job disappeared as well. I was unemployed as I was in between jobs and it was great. I was hoping that my wife and I could have escaped somewhere fun for a couple of days but seeing how this wasn’t planned very far in advance. So my wife still had to work and the kids still had school and their normal after-school activities.
However, that was honestly perfect for me as it allowed me to do more with the kids before and after school as I was still there. However, it also gave me a chance to just do random things during the day from 9am - 4pm when my kids were at school. I took the dog to the dog park where she was just in heaven as there wasn’t anyone there and she could just run around as fast as possible.*I might be spoiling the dog this week as we have been to the dog park twice already (November 2019, Flying Cloud Dog Park, Eden Prairie, MN)*
I spent the week doing things I enjoyed but honestly, I could have had another week to get even more stuff done as I had planned on taking the time to read a book (yep never happened). I did make sure to sneak in a couple of long runs, multiple runs per day, as well as a fun park that was a lot of hill running but worth the views.*Running the sloped trails to enjoy the scenery in and around the park was a great way to spend a day off (November 2019, Richard T Anderson Conservatory, Eden Prairie, MN)*
In fact, I even met up with my cousin for a run one of the days I was off. It was good to get outside as well as catch up with her.*Had a great time enjoying the beautiful weather running around Lake Harriet and catching up with my cousin yesterday (November 2019, Lake Harriet, Minneapolis, MN)*
Finally, I took my wife out on a couple of lunch dates where we could take our time eating and just enjoy each other’s company with nothing big to rush to the next event or worry we are paying some babysitter to allow our kids to watch TV at home :).
I am sad that my time away from work is over as I am now three weeks into my new job. However, I am going to think of ways going forward that I can take a week off and just be at home as disconnected as I can. Another thought is to just take some random days off here and there where I can just do my own thing without other priorities or reasons for taking the day off. I believe that would allow me to be refocused and refreshed going back to work the next day.
Have any of you ever just completely disconnected from work? If so what did you think of it and was it helpful?
Tuesday Photo Challenge - Back Catalog
Thanks to the pictures in the post Perched On A Roof In Milan where her amazing photos of the Milan Cathedral inspired me to dig into my archive and find another great photo I took from the Cologne Cathedral (i.e., Kölner Dom).
I ran a 5K a day for 365 Days in a row and counting… Most people will think that is crazy and pointless. I have run well over 1131.5 miles over the course of the past year (check out the data analysis of all my runs or give a listen to the Off the Couch podcast I was on talking about it). On September 17th, 2018 I started this journey but I didn’t have the goal of a 5K a day in my mind. Or certainly, my intention was not to do it for an entire year.
I have always been a runner, or so I say I have always been a runner. There was a time I distanced myself from running in my later college years up until about 4 years ago. I actually wrote about it a couple of times ok maybe more than a couple but I wrote about it when I got Back into Running and when I was using Running to Refocus.
There is something great about running as it is just PURE. You can only move as fast as YOU can, as far as YOU want, and as long as YOU can. However, it is all up to YOU to determine what YOU “can” do and what you get out of it.
Honestly, this is the biggest takeaway I learned over the past year was planning. If you want to make something a priority you need to plan time for it in order for it to be a priority. For me in order to make running a priority in my life, I had to make sure to keep it a priority, and sometimes I had to get creative. I would look at my schedule on a day to day or even a week out and figure out when I planned to run. This sounds a little crazy that on a Sunday night I was already planning on when I was going to run the following Saturday but honestly I had to do it. Not just for when it would make sense to me, like running in the morning, but for my family and other work priorities. I found myself running early in the morning, late at night, and sometimes squeezing it in while my son was at a birthday party. Then there was the weather. That would always through a wrench in it if I would have let it. However, after my habit was formed I just told myself it didn’t matter the weather, rain or shine, snow or ice, 100 degrees and humid or 0 degrees with a negative windchill, I would make sure to get my run in.
Something that I have enjoyed over the past 4 years of running is exploring my surroundings. In my neighborhood, I have found so many small parks, trails, and green spaces that I didn’t know existed in the first 6 years we lived there. Mostly because I would just drive by and not give it a second look. However, by increasing my mileage as well as the frequency of runs, I found myself exploring more places because I needed more routes and I was going farther.
Also, in my town and some of the surrounding areas, I went to other parks not near my house in order to find a new and interesting place to run. Some of which I then took my family back to so would could all explore at a later time to really take in the scenery.
Enjoying the new scenery on an early evening run that was a lot harder than I anticipated (June 2019, Richard T. Anderson Conservatory, Eden Prairie)
Trail running is always my favorite but I enjoyed the company on this Father’s day run even more. I might need to get her a better bike if we keep this up. (June 2019, Eden Prairie)
Nothing beats a blue sky, ice melting off the pond, and no snow on the trail for a birthday run (March 2019, Eden Prairie)
Finding new trails to run on in my extended area allowed me to find interesting places (June 2019, Bredesen Park, Edina, MN)
Beautiful afternoon running around the lake (May 2019, Rice Marsh Lake, Eden Prairie, MN)
Not only did I find some amazing places in my town, but since I travel for work from time to time, I found some even more interesting places while running in various cities. Not only did I explore near my hotel but in some cases, I would drive to find a trail to run on.
Quiet morning run in the streets of Shanghai (May 2019, Shanghai, China)
Fun time exploring Amsterdam this afternoon as I ran along a bunch of canals. Might have gotten a little lost and felt out of place as it doesn’t seem like the streets and sidewalks are geared for runners (September 2009, Amsterdam, Netherlands).
Found an observation deck on my run this morning by the lake… Not a bad view from the top but windy… (April 2019, Observation Deck at Erie Basin Marina, Buffalo, NY)
Running along the Skywalker trail in the early morning hours (May 2019, Skywalker Trail, Sedona, AZ)
Besides breaking in my new Asics pair of shoes as I feel I have gone through quite a few this past year. I might try to take a different approach for this next year. My goal is to get some longer runs in but feel I need to back off on the times per week in order to make that happen. Some of it is because of the time commitment which is partially due to my own schedule but also with the lack of daylight we have right it does add to the challenge. I am guessing it will be a slow transition as I have conditioned my body to run daily it is not super easy to just stop. Trust me I have tried. Till the next update get outside and start exploring your neighborhood.
Shoes, Shoes, Shoes… Amazing how many running shoes you can go through in a given year…
Great day biking and walking around Minnehaha Falls
Detour on our way back home today
“You weren’t born to just pay bills and die."
My wife sent me this quote the other day and it really made me reflect on things so I thought I would share. I decided to put that quote on a photo I took while hiking with a good friend in Colorado a couple of years back. In fact, my wife bought me the plane ticket to go see my friend for my birthday and looking back it was a great present as it got me to do what I had been talking about doing since I left college but kept saying to myself I was too busy.
I was more out of shape back then as I hadn’t gotten into the swing of running again but it was well worth it once we made it to the top. It was a gorgeous day and the view from the top of Estes Cone was awesome. Luckily, the trail we took, which started at Longs Peak Trailhead, wasn’t too strenuous and I would suggest it to anyone that finds themselves in the area.
Here are a couple other pictures I took from the peak, hiking up, and from the base of the mountain to give you a feel for how high up we were.*Panoramic picture from the top of Estes Cone in Estes Park Colorado.* *Picture of the other Mountains around Estes Cone as we were hiking up.* *Estes Cone is the Mountain we hiked up to get the pictures above.*
With Google Street View you can now visit Machu Picchu and walk around just as you were there in real life but from your home. Since I have been fortunate to visit Machu Picchu two times in my life I had to check this out after finding this video published today.
Using Street View to check out the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu and it is almost just as amazing walking along looking at it on my computer as it was standing there. Still to this day I remember walking around the site that is sitting at around 7,970 ft (2,430 meters) above sea level.
I decided to find a place on the street view map that I knew I had a photo of as it is hanging up in my house. Here is two pictures I took back in December 2009 when I last visited there. As you can see it was a wonderfully rainy/overcast day. However, that didn't deter us from making the most of it and wandering around the place.*Machu Picchu December 2009 with my Wife and Parents* *Machu Picchu December 2009*
The specific place at Machu Picchu we took those photos from is called the "House of the Guardian to the Funerary Rock." So I used the Google Street View to find that exact spot show below (you can start there by clicking here as well).*Machu Picchu (Google Street View)**figure>
As you can see the people at Google had great weather and clear blue sky's which makes for a great Street View to click around and see the ancient city. Another interesting find is that you can actually take a walk on the entire Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, which I have never done before so this was definitely interesting to see what I have missed (*add to bucket list).*Trail to Machu Picchu (Google Street View)*
Also, if you are into more history you should check out the Google Cultural Institute collection titled Wonders of Machu Picchu as they teamed up with the Peruvian Ministry of Culture for the initiative.
I have so many more stories of my time in Peru that maybe I will share pieces of it at a later date. However, now that I have scrolled through the Street Views and looking at old pictures again I think I am ready to go back and visit.... Anyone else?