Happy New Year 2020!

Happy New Year, friends! Sonja and I hope that, no matter where you are or whether or not you managed to stay up until midnight last night, you’re enjoying the advent of 2020 and all that this new decade promises!


Yesterday began with “Noon-Years Eve” at the Durham, which would have been more fun if it wasn’t a serious fire hazard.  I don’t love crowds at all, and it was nearly impossible to move. In the end, Titus and Zooey had some fun when the balloons and confetti fell, but both of them wound up crying or angry before we got to the car. Oh well.


Later in the night, Sonja and I had friends over. Between Cards Against Humanity and poker, we grazed and noshed and imbibed and enjoyed. It was a terrific night, and fun spending it with people we admire and whose company we enjoy. No better way to start a year! We shared one of our favorite wines with those who wanted wine, a Riesling from our friend in Sonoma, Tom Meadowcroft, who is an absolute wizard in wine making. Sonja was kind enough to humor me and pose for the picture above, but of course, she had her own glass.  It was a beautiful night. I got to bed around 1:30, I think. A great ringing in of 2020.

This morning, however, I was greeted by, well, by this:


Bearing in mind that weight is entirely relative to the person, let me just tell you that my knees, which I struggle to see these days on account of my protruding belly, do not like me to carry more than about 190, and would prefer 180.  So, in response, I hopped on the track at the gym today and pounded out a half marathon.


My “A” goal this year for running is 2,020, which is completely unreasonable for me as a runner and also counter to my other goals, which involve the same number for spinning and 5,000 sets of lifting. I’ve set myself up for failure in that I can’t conceivably reach all of my “A” goals for exercise. On the other hand, I don’t think we should spend a ton of time setting goals that are easily met, and if I get even close to most of my “A” goals, I’ll have had my best year of exercise ever by far. My ” B” goal for running is 1,200 miles, which would still be a record for me, but seems within reach and is consistent with my hope to run my first full marathon since 2008.  If you’re interested in my running, I’m keeping a daily log at markgudgel.com.  If not, well, I can’t say that I blame you.

By the numbers, 2019 was pretty cool. I’ll share a few of my “stats” with those who might be interested:

Classes Taught: 19 (14 at North, 4 at Nebraska Wesleyan, 1 at Southeast Community College)
Students Taught: 535
Miles Run: 1,133.5
Half Marathons Competed In or Paced: 3
10K’s Competed In: 2
5K’s Competed In: 5
Miles Biked: 885.7
Sets Lifted: 4,976
Average drinks per day: -.75 from the previous year (the goal is not zero, just to exhibit self-control)
New Tattoos: 1
New Countries Visited: 1 (Ireland)
Broadway Musicals Seen: 5
Books Read: Approximately 45
Poems Published: 7
Academic Articles Published: 2
Wine Articles Published: 2
Books Written: 1
Books Published: 0 (Wah-wah)
Husker Games Attended: 1
Chiefs Games Attended: 1

I guess the classic question of “How do you measure a year” from RENT isn’t quite so rhetorical if you’re willing to count and quantify everything you can. I’m honestly not entirely sure why I do that, but I do sort of enjoy looking back over things like the list above and finding those numbers I think I can improve upon in the future.

With that being said, there are so many things, frankly more important things, that I can’t quantify: how many hours did I spend with my kids? How many times did we have friends or neighbors over? How many hours were spent on the patio this summer and fall? How much time was spent in an adrenaline rush while coaching? How many kids did I have a great moment with in class? How many songs did Titus sing? How many giggles did Zooey share with me? How many people did I somehow help? We can count parts of this — I know that I’ve read almost two of the Harry Potter books with Titus now, and I know that I’ve seen Frozen with Zooey approximately a billion times. But in all seriousness, the things that count can so rarely be counted, and while I’m looking forward to 2020 and, hopefully, to hitting some workout goals and other things, I’m mostly looking forward to those things that I know won’t appear on my stat sheet. I hope you have similar plans in store for 2020, and I hope I get to hear about them!

Cheers to the advent of a new and promising decade!


PS: One more goal I have, an arguably minor one, is to be a bit more consistent with blogging. Feel free to nudge me from time to time! ~MG


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