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Hello 2011!

January 9, 2011

What a long December it was indeed. 2010 had its ups and down, its successes and failures. I spent the beginning of the year without a job trying to figure out where I wanted to take my career. Then I saw an infomercial on late night TV about real estate investing and thought that it could be something I enjoyed and be good at. The income potential looked pretty good too!  So it was, I got some credit cards, bought some real estate study courses, went to seminars, racked up a little debt, went through a crazy intense process to purchase a house with hardly any money, fixed it up on my home depot card and lots of elbow grease, tried to sell it, didn’t work out, and so now I’ll be renting it instead, only, all the debt it took to get it is still on the books… Meanwhile, racing was out of the picture. Couldn’t afford it and didn’t have time to train. It was a necessary sacrifice, but one I knew I’d be able to redeem when the business was up and running…Meanwhile, I got married to my Colleen Rose. We moved in together, got a dog, consolidated stuff, and began our life as a happily married couple. Then one day late summer I noticed this 24 hour race was around the corner and even though I had sworn off racing in 2010, this one race I had to prepare for and do…and so I did, and somehow won. Then a month later another 24 hour race that wasn’t even on the radar but netted a big return. Then it was December. Colleen was out of work and real estate investing wasn’t quite what the gurus had said it would be, at least not yet, so it was back to good ole contract architecture work. Lots of it. It’s been enough to pay the bills and put food on the table, thank God, but nothing more. To say that things have been a little tight at the Parham house is a slight understatement, but we’ve got all the necessities of life and lots of love. It’s actually nice going through a period like this because you learn to truly separate need from want. After a few weeks of living without some of those “wants” you wonder why you ever wanted them in the first place, and all of sudden you are spiritually and financially more independent. But I digress…

Falling off the wagon may hurt a little, but getting back on is what really hurts. Riding, nutrition, sleep, and general health/sanity have all taken a back seat to work and just trying to make end’s meat since the 24 hour race in November. I did dabble a little in some cross races mid december, but the last one in Pflugerville was a real butt whoopin and set up a slew of sickness that Colleen and I are just now getting over. I ate horribly over the holidays. I didn’t exercise at all. I’ve been putting in 18 hour work days.  It isn’t the most interesting work, but it’s paying the bills and putting food on the table while Colleen seeks out a new job. I really hate to abandon my real estate efforts since I had just covered an exciting new program that I felt pretty confident in, but the problem was that it would need more money to start marketing and I wasn’t guaranteed a profit for perhaps 60 days+. So I went back to doing something I’m good at and pays a bit quicker. As mentioned, I’ll be holding on to the first investment house as a rental. After weeks of looking for an investor friendly lender and countless “Sorry, we can’t help you’s”, Colleen’s folks agreed to co-sign (Thank you so much Quindlens!) and the refinance was approved. I’ve very good tenants in place so at least it will start cash flowing instead of cash sucking and this December headache will be a nice asset in the years to come. I just wrapped up a large architecture project, so I’ll be able to go back to 8 hour work days and start training again. I would like to try for a 3 peat at the Dirty Dozen 12 hour in a month. That gives me 3 solid weeks of training. Not much to work with, but I’ve done it before and I reckon I’ll do it again. Hopefully the new custom made frame from YBS bikes will be ready to try out by then. If not, Proud Mary is always ready to go. Speaking of bikes, I’m thinning the herd to make room for the new bike, and to pay off some debt that is dragging me down. Big Tex the fully 29er, Miller the singlespeed cross bike, and Ross the lugged steel commuter are all for sale. I’m also considering selling the 1986 Trek Elance 440 road bike. Let me know if you or anyone you know is interested!

So, it’s back to the saddle, back to P90X, back to strict Paleo Diet, back to caveman workouts, and back to pain. Lots of character building pain. Maybe mother nature will throw me a little luck again this year with some epic mud and freezing weather to slow the competition down. I can’t say that I particularly enjoy these conditions, but I do excel in them! On a positive note, I did get off to a good start New Years day with the Polar Bear Swim at Barton Springs, then a nice 3 mile run in my boxers for the 2011 underwear run, and topped off the day with a nice mountain bike ride at Walnut Creek. Here’s to a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2011!

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