New Years and Resolutions

The last time I really posted anything, it was December 31st.

Obviously, we’ve started a new year since then.  Looking back over it, 2011 was a roller coaster: we adopted our beautiful daughter, Angelica, early in the year, so much of 2011 was spent suddenly realizing that two kids is a LOT more than just one kid plus one kid.  Last Spring I decided to leave LGJ, where I’d been teaching for the last six years, and ever since I traded the South Bronx for East Flatbush I’ve been adjusting to Kurt Hahn and Expeditionary Learning.  This summer we decided to buy a house, and this fall I ran my third marathon and started training for my first ultra.  And, of course, 2011 ended in chaos, with our family having no where to live as we frantically tried to close on our house.

2012 started with the obvious extension of that chaos, but there was, at long last, resolution — I’m typing this post on the couch in our new house while I wait for the laundry to finish washing in the washing machine I installed last night.  With little control over the FHA or HUD or the underwriter or anything else at the time, I started the year with the one place I consistently can find solace — running.  It wasn’t far or fast, since I was far to exhausted both emotionally and physically from all we were going through, but it was enough.  For good measure it was  after dark, and it was raining, and I ran barefoot, through downtown South Norwalk then along the harbor, leaping up to run atop a stone wall that ran along the water, bare skin on wet paving, leaping over the gap where a foot-path split the wall, the slap of the sole of my foot on the damp stone as I landed, breath steaming in the cold, dark, damp air.  I started 2012 with a run.


There was the new calendar year, of course, but I myself entered a new year as well — I turned 33 on January 7th.  If you’ve read my blog at all, you know that my plan for months now was to turn 33 with my first ultramarathon, a symbolically tidy 33 mile race to match the start of my 33rd year.  Obviously, that didn’t happen.  The week before, winter break had ended so I returned to work, but we still had not closed on our house and were living with A’s mother in Connecticut.  Each day began at 5 in order to leave at 6 for a two hour driving commute to Brooklyn, and ended with my picking up A and the kids, then driving two hours back through rush-hour traffic on I-95 just in time to eat and fall asleep.  By the time race-day rolled around, I was exhausted and in no shape to run 50K.  I did head out for a 3 mile run, but it wasn’t an the ultra I’d been anticipating.  On the other hand, I ran around in the mud at the playground with Nat, and later he insisted I wear a party-hat as I blew out my candles.  I got to snuggle with my daughter as she fell asleep, and then fall asleep myself next to my partner of almost 13 years.  All in all, not a bad start to 33.


And then, suddenly, everything went from chaos to order again.  We signed our mortgage on the 10th, and started moving in that afternoon — we spent  that night sleeping on the carpet of our bedroom.  Our furniture arrived the next day, and I don’t think there’s been a day in the last two weeks where I haven’t assembled something from Ikea.  I figured out how to wire our dishwasher, install a gas dryer, and been to Home Depot and Lowes more times in 13 days than the last ten years combined.

I’ve also been running.  Nothing long and epic on the weekends (since I’ve been at hardware stores!) but I’ve run to and from work every day, and been getting back into my running routine.  I’ve started looking for a new ultra to run, and there seem to be a number in New Jersey in the next few months.  My plan is to just run one — between settling into the house, work, and everything else, I don’t think I’ll be training per se, but I think at this point I can run a 50K whenever one comes up.  I’ll let you know when I’ve signed up.  It didn’t happen in 2011, it didn’t happen when I was 32, but its going to happen, when the time is right.


So I’m back.  I’m sorry that for the last few weeks this blog has been less what I talk about when I talk about running and more what I talk about when I’m not running and stressed out.  The running and writing both took a bit of a hit over the last month or so, but being homeless will do that to you.  I’ve got some runs planned and some musings to share (and an article I started for Vanessa months ago), but right now I’ve got to go check on my laundry.  In my basement.  (I don’t get tired of saying that).  But I’ll leave you with some pictures.  One of my co-workers said I reminded him of superman, ducking into the restroom in work clothes and stepping out in my super-hero running outfit.  So here’s my Clark Kent and Superman:


About Chris Van Dyke

I am a 33 year-old high school English teacher and long-distance runner. I live in Brooklyn with my partner, our 3 year-old son and 1 year-old daughter and a growing collection of muppets and trains. Besides running and teaching I like to draw, read, write, cook, and play the harmonica. While I didn't get to run my first ultra-marathon on my birthday, I've got a few more I've set my sights on. You can follow my (seldom updated) twitter feed @aboutrunning. I also blog as part of the Run Smiley Collective.
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6 Responses to New Years and Resolutions

  1. vanessaruns says:

    Ha awesome pics! Glad you’re back!

  2. m. says:

    you need a cape. our son says so.

  3. Malva says:

    Love the pictures! Do you have prescriptions sunglasses? Do you like it better than the contact/regular sunglasses combo? Why?

    • Chris Van Dyke says:

      They ARE prescription, but as cheap as you can get — $40 or something from I don’t wear contacts, so if I want sunglasses they need to be prescription, and I’m too damn cheap to buy real prespcion glasses.

  4. Haha! Fantastic pics! And I’m digging the coat and bow tie with the untucked shirt. What would Mr. Lee say? 😉

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