I was sick in early February – just a cold. I was calling it the cabin fever cold. Most likely from breathing stale, dry air. It started with a sore throat and persisted with congestion that just lingered for a week and a half. There was a period of 2 or 3 days where I was up every few hours with Wonka so I didn’t get a good nights sleep. He’s 16 and in low power consumption right now. When he goes outside he needs an assist down the stairs and a boost coming back up. The only way I get sick is from lack of sleep – my immune system is weakened and I catch a cold. I ran very little during that time and gave myself a pass at not being motivated.

Looking back at past years, I don’t drive myself too hard in January and February. In the context of annual training periodization – I tend to lay low, mentally and physically let myself take a break and begin to make plans about the upcoming spring and summer.

In 2018 I ran 20+ miles consistently for 52 weeks and always tried to hit that mileage. For me it was a mix of a few lunch runs and longer run on the weekend. I made a big effort to just be consistent and it felt like a good balance overall.

The only race I have planned right now is in July – a marathon, but I’m feeling the itch to go longer. I haven’t decided yet, but with many things, past experience builds year over year. Nothing seems very exceptional to me right now. I need to think about where I should point my effort and motivation. I was reading something recently where the questions was asked, “what’s your 10 year plan? well why not just do that in 6 months?”.

I’m less “stoked for whatever” or “down for whatever”. A few years ago I started thinking about the concept of “no epics”. I’ve had many in the past – days where it was unclear if you were going to make it home or things were going to go pear shaped and get desperate. Overall, it’s just experience and maturity. Stack the odds completely in your favor, mitigate risk and go recreate. I’ve found that when people are “stoked” to go anytime, it’s because they don’t have much experience, thus they just want to log hours. That tends to get old quickly. Skiing in whiteouts, climbing when avy danger or conditions are marginal. Maybe it’s just me being older and more risk averse, but it also detracts from the fun.

There was a time in the recent past where I tied much of my identity to my outdoor pursuits — but there’s a risk there, of being one dimensional, of being … less interesting.

It reminds of Walt Whitman’s famous saying, “Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”

My motivation is coming back like a spark growing into a fire. I’m making lists of objectives. I’m looking forward to the mountains this spring and summer. Time to start getting after it.

Folding bow saw

I went down a rabbit hole in the last month as I started to plan a winter camping trip with the kiddos. I think it started at 4 season tarps, continued to canvas tents, then to hot tenting (people put little wood burning stoves inside a canvas tent – mostly Canadians) and went to too making and this obscure corner of YouTube around “bushcraft”, which I never knew existed. From what I can tell, it’s modern men who fantasize about living like neolithic soloist in the “boreal” forests (it’s got to be boreal… the videos always mention that point).

My cursory analysis is that it’s a backlash against technology and being always connected … and scratches an itch about living in a sod hut in the forest hunting small game… or something. I’m not knocking it – it’s making me want to try my hand at subsistence farming in the boreal forest… somewhere.

Here’s a folding bow saw (for cutting firewood? I guess?). It’s hickory and finished with boiled linseed oil. The pieces fit together with a mortise and tenon on the long arm and the blade folds into a saw kerf in the handle.

I know I’m going to feel like a real frontiersman when I pull it out of my pack on a backpacking trip (I don’t even make campfires when I backpack).

Before I rounded it off and cut the curve on the cross brace:

Finished without the cord:

Small box

My youngest has been hanging out in the shop with me and we’ve been talking about projects.

She’s been sanding and asking me what kind of wood this is … what kind of wood that is… “smells like walnut”.

So I made her a small box. Maple milled to 1/4″ on the bandsaw, mitered and then keyed with walnut. Top is walnut with a carved finger pull.

I agonized over how to attach the pull. I didn’t want to use anything but wood, but was worried it would break off. So I predrilled and counter sunk 2 tiny screws. There’s a hairline crack on one side of the pull. I may take the screws out and in their place, epoxy a few bundled wooden toothpicks. Or just leave it and repair it if it breaks off.