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After years of being a vegetarian I finally made the leap to eating a vegan diet. Being vegan was always the goal anyway. I simply lacked the confidence to go all the way in the beginning and for years after. After being vegetarian for years and not really missing meat I realized that I was really just making excuses for not being vegan.

Taking on a vegetarian diet really helped me get myself to a level of fitness and health that I had never been in before. But, after being used to it for a while I began to get complacent. A big part of wanting to be vegetarian was about being healthier and eating healthier, but now I was eating lots more cheese and dairy than maybe I ever did as an omnivore.

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Starting work on a new project. For a while I have had the idea of a project percolating in my mind. I wanted to create a photography project that documents the process of creating art. We all see artwork and marvel at its existence, but I think it is difficult to think about what went into the process of brining that artwork into existence. I recently reached out to some area artists that I was interested in working with on this project and over the weekend I spent a couple of hours vising with one of them, Gretchen Halpert, and learning more about her process. Gretchen Kai Halpert is a Scientific illustrator and instructor. Gretchen also teaches online through Scientific Illustration Distance Program. I took some test shots to get an idea of how to proceed. There will be more to come in the future from this project.

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The Goal

Often in the early months of each new year I write about how the pursuit my goals went from the previous year. Then I subsequently write about what my goals are for the new year. And when I write about my goals I always write about two separate lists of goals. I list of goals was for my running goals and the other list of goals related to my photography. I am not doing that anymore. There are no longer two lists. There is only one list and really there is only one goal and every other goal is a step along the way to achieving my most important goal. 

I have been a photographer for a long time. During that time I have had a lot of successes. I have been published in print publications. I have sold artwork in galleries. I have had solo art exhibits. I have photographed community events. I have sold race photography. I have done portraits.  However, all of these successes have come as I worked on my photography as my side hustle. Always splitting time between a full time job and often school and then running when I found that much needed outlet.

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Canceled

As we are becoming more aware of the potential health impacts of the Corona Virus it is becoming clear that we will have to adapt and change our behaviors and out lifestyles to some degree for the benefit of society as a whole. I big part of that is the cancelling of events and gatherings. I know many of us plan our lives around going to things or doing things that involve lots of people gathered in one place and now we won’t be able to do those things. It is frustrating and may make us sad and even angry and that’s ok. Feel those feelings. Allow yourself that. There is nothing wrong with that. But do not unleash your feelings on others. That helps no one. No one wants to be making these decisions. No one wants to be cancelling events. No one wants to have to be worried about the health of our communities like this. But this is where we are.

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The weather in Upstate, NY has been getting progressively nicer lately and today the forecast was for warm weather. The snow is currently mostly melted.

Running the Abbott Loop on the Finger Lakes Trail
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When you are a runner you eventually become enveloped by an amazing community of people.

Near the end of 2019 a fellow runner created a Facebook page for a group challenge of running or walking a given mile each day and it was going to go from Thanksgiving through the New Year. Participants could choose a distance they wanted to maintain through the challenge from a minimum of 1 mile a day to 3 miles a day to 6 miles a day or more. The goal was to keep our running community motivated to run through what can be a tough time to keep it going with holidays and sub optimal weather in our region.

Finger Lakes Trail
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Get Local

I think one area where we all struggle is in appreciating what is right in front of us. I think this especially applies to our home towns, local communities, and regions where we are from and spend most of our time. There are always people looking to throw shade on your home town and focus on the negative and dismiss the positive. Don’t let those people bring you down. Don’t let them blind you to all the great opportunities right in front of you.

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Local Flyers Exhibit

One of my favorite things in life has become working on art projects with my dad. We do different types of art, I’m a photographer and he’s a painter, so we don’t really work together so much but we show each other our work and talk about things we like about each other’s work. From time to time one of us will have an art exhibit and we often help each other hang our exhibits.

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Defeating Anxiety in 2020

In many ways 2019 was a really good year. 2019 was also a year I faced some significant struggles. I am sure this is the same for many of you. The good is always mixed with the bad or so it seems. I spent the year struggling to find balance in a lot of ways. I set PRs and accomplished huge goals I never dreamed of in some arenas, but struggled with actual physical pain like never before as well that held me back in a lot of ways. The pain and challenges I was experiencing cascaded and I am sure impacted my mental health in some negative ways.

So, I am going to take some time here to talk about my mental health. In a lot of ways I have been very fortunate. I have been relatively healthy both physically and mentally. I have seen others go through much worse than I ever have. And I think that is part of what makes mental health a difficult topic for me to talk about. I have not suffered through what I know so many others have, so some times it feels like to complain would be to do a disservice to everything they have experienced.

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100 Miles? Why?

Why run 100 miles? Well, it’s really hard to explain. The reasons are buried deep inside me and seem clear, but those same reasons are very hard to put into actual words especially into coherent thought out sentences that would seem sensible to most people. When most people hear that you are planning to or that you did run 100 miles they get this look on their face that indicates they think you might be a little nuts. They generally are kind about it but express that they can’t understand why you would do that. It is even hard for other runners who share the same love and joy of running that you do to understand. How do you explain why you would do something that is so foreign to what seems to be the natural state of human existence? Why would you put yourself through that?

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