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My 2019 Annual Review

The end of a decade

"A calm mind, a fit body, and a house full of love... these things can’t be bought, they have to be earned.”​

~Naval Ravikant

2019 will go down as a year to remember. A final payment and a finish line cap off a decade of growth and transformation. A proposal and pregnancy now set the stage for a new decade, and new chapter in my life.

I came into 2019 with a new career to figure out, and a goal to get out of debt by the end of the year. Things went better than expected and I found myself making my final credit card debt payment before the end of April.

Also by the end of April, I had already logged 130 hours and nearly 100 training sessions in preparation for my first ever Ironman. On May 11, I swam 2.4 miles in Lake Sonoma, biked 112 miles through Sonoma Wine Country, and then finished a marathon in downtown Santa Rosa in front of some of my closest friends to become an Ironman.

Finding a new job I love, getting out of debt, and becoming an Ironman were years in the making, and far from a solo effort. Ashley has been my rock through everything and the time felt right to take things to the next level.

On her birthday, 9/19/19, I proposed at the end of the most perfect day in Cabo. The day started with some surprise birthday roses and a few happy tears. At the end of our Flora Farms dinner, I delivered the big surprise when I revealed the ring and asked her to marry me.

The big surprises weren’t over because less than a week later we stared down in shock at a positive pregnancy test. Any thoughts of wedding plans were replaced with figuring out how were we going to tell all our family and friends of the amazing news. Baby girl due May 25, 2020.

I’m so happy, so grateful, and so excited for the future.

There are lots of other big moments to reflect on, from closing some big deals, to summiting Mt Whitney and Mt Shasta, to spraining my ankle in Mammoth and running North Face 50 Miler 3 months later. Lots of type 2 fun.

Between big moments, I just really enjoyed the process and routine this year. Waking up to no alarm, driving Ashley to work, morning training sessions or surfing, making smoothies, working in my sweatpants with some tunes on and cup of mushroom coffee, cooking dinner or going to Taco Tuesday, watching TV with Ashley, going to bed by 10pm. This is life, and I love it.

Health and Fitness

"Man, is there anything better than giving a full effort and being completely spent?" ~Cameron Hanes

I had a realization this year as I was training for Ironman, 12-15 hours/week, 5-6 hour long sessions, staying disciplined with training and nutrition. I realized that in a way, I'm experiencing my childhood dream of being an athlete when I grow up.

I have no chance of ever being a professional endurance athlete. I'm not fast, and I'll never win a big race. I won't ever get paid to be an athlete, and with the expensive entry fee for an Ironman, not to mention all the gear required, it actually costs me a lot of money to participate.

As a kid, wanting to be an athlete wasn't about the money, it was about the love of the game, trying to improve, and competing to the best of my ability.

I love to be outside and run, and ride my bike, and swim. I spent over 315 hours training and covered over 3200 miles this year. I took the training seriously. I approached my nutrition and recovery with the same discipline as my training. I set goals, worked systematically towards them, tracked my progress and kept data, and sought out ways to improve. On average this year, I exercised 5 days/week, 2 yoga sessions/week, over 8.5 hours of sleep/night, and a smoothie almost every day.

And I love to compete, to empty the tank on race day and see what I can accomplish. This year I did 4 big races - Ironman Santa Rosa, Ironman 70.3 Indian Wells, Broken Arrow 52k, and North Face 50 Mile.

I'm proud of my first full Ironman completion but have some unfinished business, coming in 20 minutes past my 12-hour goal time. I ran PRs in both the 50 mile and 70.3 distances, despite getting injured a few months prior. And to cap it all off, I earned 2019 Ironman All-World-Athlete status for being in the top 10% of Ironman points for the year.

Racing

Ironman Santa Rosa - May 2019

Official time: 12:20:39

Swim': 1:09. Bike: 6:28. Run: 4:26

Full race recap here.

Broken Arrow Skyrace, 52k, Squaw Valley - June 2019

Official time: 7:20:05

North Face 50 miler, Marin County - November 2019

Official time: 11:27:09

Over 1 hour faster than last year's Kodiak 50 Miler

Ironman 70.3 Indian Wells/La Quinta - December 2019

Official time: 5:12:37

Swim: 33:55. Bike: 2:45:08. Run: 1:45:17

Top 25% of age group, and over 30 min faster than last years 70.3 Whistler.

Coveathlon Summer Series - 1k Swim, 5k Run - Newport Back Bay

1 - 38:59, 31st place

2 - 36:41, 13th place

Stats

Swim/Bike/Run

  • Total miles: 3231 (vs last year 2000)
  • Total hours: 317
  • Total sessions: 222
  • Running: 1023 miles, 188 hours, 189 sessions (vs last year 1200/192/139)
  • Biking: 2184 miles, 126 hours, 63 sessions (vs last year 790 miles)
  • Swimming: 42,824 yds (24.3 miles), 10 hours, 20 sessions (vs last year 20k yds)

Healthy Habits

  • 254 days I exercised - every single day in October 
  • 120 yoga sessions - 31 hours, avg 15 min/session
  • 8h40m average nightly sleep
  • Smoothies - almost everyday :)

Travel and Adventure

I want a house with a crowded table
And a place by the fire for everyone
Let us take on the world while we're young and able
And bring us back together when the day is done

~The Highwomen

I had some rad adventures this year. Mountaineering on Whitney and Shasta for the first time was a highlight of the year, bagging summits on each. I experienced altitude sickness on Whitney, sprained my ankle during a 20 mile trail run in Mammoth, camped in a hail storm on the PCT in Oregon, and got rolled on the reef surfing in Hawaii. I scored epic powder days in Jackson and firing right-hand point breaks in Mexico. I had over 100 surfing or snowboarding sessions this year. I'm literally living my dream life, a life that my kid-self couldn't even have imagined.

By the numbers -

2 summits - Mt Whitney, 14505', June 13. Mt Shasta, 14180', June 30.

79 surfing sessions - 21 sessions not in HB - Hawaii, Cabo, Baja, Sayulita, San-O

22 snowboarding days - Aspen (Snowmass 3 + Highlands 1), Jackson 5, Snow King 2, Big Sky 1, Bridger Bowl 2, Squaw 3, Shasta 1, Mammoth 4.

In last year's Annual Review I wrote that travel isn't just about the adventure, but the friends who come along for the ride. It was cool to bring together some big groups this year. We had a crew of 5 on the summit of Mt Shasta, a crew of 6 in Tahoe for Broken Arrow, a crew of 9 in Santa Rosa for my Ironman, and a crew of 10 in Hawaii to celebrate the New Year. Epic times were had!

I love the idea of a crowded table. Friends old and new, gathered around a table, the night before a race, after a challenging day on the mountain, on New Year's Eve in Hawaii. Everyone piled into a hotel room or Airbnb. Of course, family, on holidays, on birthdays, on random Thursdays. Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving.

 

With a baby on the way, there will surely be less travel next year, but I look forward to more crowded table days down the road.

92 days traveling in 2019

Versus 88 days in 2018, 103 days in 2017, 145 days in 2016.

33 trips to 17 destinations -

  • Aspen CO
  • Sayulita MX
  • Jackson WY
  • Mammoth (3)
  • Sacramento (4)
  • Bozeman/Big Sky MT
  • Baja MX (6)
  • Palm Springs (2)
  • Sonoma County
  • Mt Whitney
  • Nashville TN
  • Lake Tahoe (3)
  • Mt. Shasta
  • Bay Area (4)
  • Los Cabos MX
  • Portland OR
  • Oahu HI

This was my final year with Southwest Companion Pass. There was no international travel besides Mexico, and this was my 2nd year in a row not traveling outside of North America. The only new destinations were Sayulita, Nashville, and Shasta.

13 of the 33 trips were road trips, 6 of those being surf trips south of the border and 4 up to the Eastern Sierra. Feeling more and more dialed in with those 2 places.

Honestly, if I could only travel to Mexico, Hawaii, mountain towns and within CA for the rest of my life I'd be okay with that.

44 of the 92 travel days were weekdays, and most of those I was able to work remotely. To this day, I've never used an OOO email responder, and prefer a blend of travel and work vs a complete disconnect.

I tally the travel days, but more doesn't necessarily equal better. I traveled in 30/52 weeks this year, and I'd say that this is about the maximum that I would ever want to travel in a year. I remember feeling so good and relaxed on the weekends spent at home in between trips.

I'll admit that most trips are for me - I plan them, my races, surf trips, etc. I made sure to do a few Ashley trips this year, and I'm glad I did. I went to Stagecoach (country music festival) which was awesome, and Wanderlust (yoga festival).

Derek, Evan and I did our 5th Annual boys camping trip, experiencing rain and hail in the Columbia River Gorge east of Portland.

The best trip of the year was to Oahu, an 8 day trip with a 10-person crew, staying for free in Ashley's company's house, with some surfing, trail running in the jungle, golf, and good meals. A close second was Jackson, a 5 day trip that turned into 7, multiple feet of fresh snow, and Delta basically paid for the whole trip since I gave up my seat on the flight home.

Career & Financial

"You might ask: 'But isn’t this a privileged way to live? It must be so nice only having to work a couple hours a day.' Yes, I do feel very privileged that for me happiness is relatively cheap. My ideal day doesn’t require me to be rich or powerful or important." ~Ryan Holiday

Career

If you read my 2018 Annual Review, you'll know that I went through a career change and lots of failure last year. This year I found much more of a rhythm.

As a recruiter this year, I helped 19 people land better jobs, including a few of my past employees. I helped 11 different tech startups hire great new sales reps, including 2 startups where my good friends are the CEOs. As a health coach, I helped 7 people establish better health habits.

I enjoy the work, and the impact is rewarding. On top of that, I love the lifestyle.

I was talking to my 10 year old sister the other day and she asked me if I went to college. Then I asked her if she knew what I did for work, and she said, "you're a runner!" I laughed, and was reminded how awesome it is to have a job where I get to manage myself, work when I want, and devote a lot of time and focus to my hobbies.

Financial

"Money is often a negative art. It has a lot to do with the actions you don’t take and things you avoid."

~Morgan Housel

Seeing career success and being debt-free put me in a position to make some moves. I bought an engagement ring and started to envision providing for a family.

On a deeper level, I thought a lot about financial wellbeing this year. What now, now that I'm out of debt? How to approach money, being in a commission-only role? What's a realistic timeframe for buying a house? What money-related stress/pressure is necessary or unnecessary?

I started investing again. My initial urge was to download the Robinhood app and pick stocks. That quickly turned into checking the app multiple times per day and stressing over if and when to buy more stocks. Classic young-Jarric-move.

I deleted the app and decided to embrace a far less mind-consuming strategy: index funds and chill.

I read the Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins this year, and it's the best book on investing I've ever read, highly recommend. Also read Ramit Sethi's book, I Will Teach You to be Rich, and implemented some of his automation tips. With recurring auto-transfers into an investment account, I'm optimizing for less mental energy, less bad decisions, sleeping at night. New-Jarric-moves.

This is now my 3rd year tracking my monthly spending. I spend 1 hour/month manually categorizing expenses in an excel file. This isn't really about budgeting, but rather a game in maximizing life on minimal spend. Wanting less, intentional spending, finding hacks and deals, knowing the scoreboard are all part of the game.

Somehow, I spent exactly the same amount in 2019 as 2018, almost to the exact number. Here are some numbers:

  • Over the last 1.5 years, I reduced my annual spend by 1800 on health insurance, 1300 on car insurance, and 1100 on my cell phone. Because bills suck.
  • Ramit talks about guilt-free spending in the categories you care about, and cut mercilessly in the categories you don't. I spent 29% less on eating out, 16% less on shopping, and 93% less on credit card interest. I spent the same YoY in travel and gas, and spent 7% more on activities (race entries, Ikon pass, etc).
  • I only bought 2 new pieces of clothing this year, a Faherty flannel shirt and Outerknown shorts. This is excluding "gear" though. On gear I spent about 2000.

Inputs and Outputs

"For most of history, it was always about getting more, achieving more, knowing more. In the 21st century when we have access to everything, the way to grow and improve is by narrowing our focus. Finding the handful of really good sources of information, relationships, and pursuits."

~Mark Manson

I re-read The Art of Non-Conformity this year, and it's undeniable the impact it's had on me since reading it a decade ago. Being dissatisfied with the status quo, how to set your own rules and live life on your own terms. It's author Chris Guillebeau is who I originally got this Annual Review exercise from.

I enjoyed Training for the Uphill Athlete so much that I read it twice this year. Science was never a favorite subject in school and the book reads like a kinesiology textbook, but the science and coaching philosophy is so applicable to my training that I wanted to understand every little thing. The book makes self-coaching fun.

Books I Read

I read 21 books this year vs 13 last year.

This is Marketing - Seth Godin

Sales Development Playbook - Trish Betruzzi

Simple Path to Wealth - JL Collins

Money: Master the Game - Tony Robbins

Awaken the Giant Within - Tony Robbins

Superlife - Daren Olien

Endure - Alex Hutchinson

Training for the Uphill Athlete - Steve House and Scott Johnson

Fastrack Triathlete - Matt Dixon

Set For Life - Scott Trench

How to Change Your Mind - Michael Pollan

I Will Teach You to be Rich - Ramit Sethi

The Art of Non-Conformity- Chris Guillebeau

We Learn Nothing - Tim Kreider

Kitchen Confidential - Anthony Bourdain

It doesn’t have to be crazy at work - Jason Fried and DHH

Wild - Cheryl Strayed

Permanent Record - Edward Snowden

Range - David Epstein

Daily Stoic - Ryan Holiday

Stillness is the Key - Ryan Holiday

Quotes of the Year

I kept a quote journal for the first time this year. I love quotes, wisdom condensed down to a few words. If it resonated, I wrote it down. If I read an insightful article, I'd find the best 1-2 quotes and write them down. I've already sprinkled a few of my favorite quotes of the year throughout this post, and here are a few more -

On lifestyle...

"I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel. Life is art."

~Helena Bonham Carter

“Style is the answer to everything. A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous thing. To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without it. To do a dangerous thing with style is what we call art… Boxing can be art. Loving can be art. Opening a can of sardines can be art… Not many have style. Not many can keep style… Style is the difference, a way of doing, a way of being done.”

~Charles Bukowski

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20%. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80%."

~Miles Davis

On speed...

“Just slow things down and it becomes more beautiful.”

~David Lynch

“Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.”

~Emerson

On parenting...

“I’m a believer in the ordinary and the mundane. These guys that talk about ‘quality time’ — I always find that a little sad when they say, ‘We have quality time.’ I don’t want quality time. I want the garbage time. That’s what I like. You just see them in their room reading a comic book and you get to kind of watch that for a minute, or [having] a bowl of Cheerios at 11 o’clock at night when they’re not even supposed to be up. The garbage, that’s what I love.”

~Jerry Seinfield

Writing

On jarricramos.com...

On healthmtn.com...

Favorite Photos of 2019

Sunrise, Mt Whitney

Morning surf session in Cabo, I proposed to Ash later this day

Mammoth, Ashley is pregnant

Previous years Annual Reviews - 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015

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