I entered 2019 with more optimism than I have ever had going into the new year. I just felt like big things were on the horizon. I was right. Just as my time at Runcoach was coming to an end I found a new job at Nutrien and have spent this year immersing myself in the world of agriculture. It may seem like a shift for me to get away from fitness technology, but the similarities between optimizing human performance and equipping farms to feed the world are surprisingly parallel. It has been a fascinating education and I have so much more respect for how food gets produced.

To send 2019 into the history books, here are some lists that represent my output and input from the year…

Writing

1. The U.S. Navy’s $100 Million Checkbox
2. Cybertruck vs. The Zombie Mobile
3. Mental Spacecraft: Two Contradictory Views from Space
4. The 5 Whys of Running
5. Negative Space
6. Regaining Write-Access to Your Brain
7. Abandon Your New Year’s Resolutions and Perform 6 System Checks

Running

In total, this year I ran 1,111 miles which averages out to a 5k every day. That seems like a lot, but It was the fewest miles I’ve run since 2014. I made up for it by cycling my most miles ever at 1,274 miles (571 miles more than last year).

Running Mileage by Year
2019: 1,111 miles
2018: 1,774 miles
2017: 1,454 miles
2016: 1,193 miles
2015: 1,422 miles
2014: 642 miles
2013: 199 miles
2012: 204 miles
2011: 180 miles
2010: 264 miles
Total for the Decade: 8,443

I ran two races, the Horsetooth Half Marathon and the Loveland Turkey Trot. I didn’t have a marathon this year, my goal for 2019 was to stay healthy and maintain fitness in preparation for next year’s Boston Marathon. In September I was officially accepted into the Boston based on my time from 2018’s Twin Cities Marathon. As I dreamed about the Boston Marathon, I created a website called the Boston Marathon Data Project that analyzes a century’s worth of race results. In case you missed it, here are the stories that the data revealed:

1. Boston Marathon Demographic Visualizations
2. Why is the Boston Marathon So Slow?
3. Boston’s Evolution: 1897–2018
4. Qualifying for Boston in 2021 Will Be Harder than Ever

I also put lots of work into my side project, Tread1st.com, the website where all my fitness data is logged. It is a labor of love that I hope to continue developing in 2020.

Art

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Multiple Exposures from House on the Rock
On our family vacation we visited the House on the Rock in Wisconsin. If you haven’t heard of it, it is a huge collection of oddities and eccentric objects. Hard to explain, but I recommend it. The images above are multiple exposures from the tour.

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Straw Camera
I built a few cameras made out of straws. Imagine a grid of thousands of drinking straws or coffee stirrers. Each straw allows a cylinder of light to pass through. The average of that light lands on a surface creating an image. I capture that image with a digital camera. That’s how these images were produced.

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Post-It Note Graffiti
This project started when I drew a piece of candy on a Post-It Note for a friend at work and left it on her desk. That grew into a habit and now the cubicles of my teammates have drawings on them. I took the show on the road, leaving Post-It Note drawings in restaurants, hotels, and gas stations while on vacation.

10 Week Theme
For ten weeks I posted photos to instagram with a different theme for each day of the week. Below are the photos, grouped by theme. You can see my matchbook collection, images from my Textploder app, some of my whiskey bottles, textures, face drawings, assorted circles, and some impressive sunlight distortion. Yes, I realize there are only 9 in each set, but I wanted to keep them in nice 3x3 grids, so one image is missing from each set.

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Matchbook Monday

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Textploder Tuesday

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Whiskey Wednesday

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Texture Thursday

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Face Drawing Friday

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Circle Saturday

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Sunlight Sunday

Books I Enjoyed:

Top 10:
Quiet, by Susan Cain
Range, by David Epstein
The Innovators, by Walter Isaacson
Technopoly, by Neil Postman
Grunch of Giants, by R. Buckminster Fuller
Stealing Fire, by Steven Kotler
Loonshots, by Safi Bahcall
Loserthink, by Scott Adams
Antifragile, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Dune, by Frank Herbert

Honorable Mention
Essentialism, by Greg McKeown
The Obstacle Is the Way, by Ryan Holiday
A Dream About Lightning Bugs, by Ben Folds
Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla, by Marc J. Seifer
The Black Swan, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, by Tom Wolfe
Natural Born Heroes, by Christopher McDougall
Endure, by Alex Hutchinson
Running with the Buffaloes, by Chris Lear.

Music I Enjoyed

Happy New Year, and thanks for reading. Don’t forget to sign up for my User Zero mailing list so you can find out about User Zero. Stay creative.

Author of User Zero: Inside the Tool that is Reshaping Dystopia

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