Whispers in the Woods.


“In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost. Ah, how hard a thing it is to tell what a wild, and rough, and stubborn wood this was, which in my thought renews the fear!”
― Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy

I was around six years old when I first realized that something was wrong with my dad. In between times of being a loving father, he would pace through the house and whisper. Whispers about some “they” who were trying to get him. Whispers about my mom trying to get him. Whispers about the government tracking him with an implanted device. Whispers turned to yells of profanity and rage. When my dad went through these phases, I would hide in my bed with a pillow over my head. Until a few months ago, I still slept with a pillow over my head.

My mom tried to get him help. She was able to place him into an emergency 72-hour hold at a mental health facility. However, he used his connections in his State job to reach a sympathetic judge who ordered his release on the same night. In the summers after the second and third grade, my dad functionally kidnapped me (even if the law did not recognize it formally) for weeks at a time. He took me to Denver and Washington, D.C., respectively, in those summers. The latter visit even involved the Secret Service (which is a story for another day). Each trip was made to convince people that he was being bugged by the government.

Facing safety concerns at home and system that did not care to help my dad, my mom made the brave decision to move us out of our home. I have not seen my dad since the fifth grade. The years that followed were hard. My mom busted her ass working countless jobs to raise, feed, and house my sister and I. We moved some eight or nine times between fourth grade and when I graduated high school. During these years, I learned to internalize my feelings in deference to others’. Through no one’s fault, I—a mere boy—was tasked with being the man of the house. That was a lot of weight for a small pair of shoulders.

I excelled in school—attracted to the rigor and order that academic learning provided me in what felt like an otherwise out-of-control life. I put immense pressure on myself to succeed. I never appreciated any successes because they were expected steps toward the next goal. I obsessed about everything I tried in life, believing that the only way to succeed was all-or-nothing. I made poor weight-loss choices, got very little sleep, and kept my feelings deep inside. I was a master chameleon—showing people what I knew they expected and hiding from them my true self. Along the way, I just whispered to myself: “You can do better”, “You are not good enough”, “No one likes you”, “You are a fraud”, and many other negative messages.

Unbeknownst to me—as I began this past year—my mental health had been on a severe decade-long decline. I never dealt with the traumatic events in my childhood. I did not appreciate the toll that graduate school took on my well-being. A toxic professional environment away from home exacerbated the decline. I was filled with anger and hurt that I did not understand. There were times I wondered what would happen if I took my own life. Those close to me paid the price. I did not seek help because I was afraid that to do so meant admitting that I was defeated. I also worried about what others would think about me. Most of all, I was scared that I would discover I was my dad (I am not).

At each step, I was convinced that I could handle things by myself—always sure that the next external change would also change me internally. Earning a Ph.D. and winning awards from one of the best schools in my field of study did not help. Marrying my junior-high crush did not ease my angst. Having two perfect children did not heal me. Joining a faculty and making a lot of money did not change anything. And moving back home was not going to make me better either. I was overwhelmed at the prospect of starting a new life by myself when I moved back home in June. Poet Laureate Eminem said it best in his song In Your Head (with a few minor flourishes by me):

I’m packin’ up my shit, as much shit in the car as I can fit
And I’m just drivin’ as far as I can get
Away from these problems ’til all of my sorrows I forget
What’s tomorrow like? ‘Cause tonight I’m startin’ life again
Get to the corner and stop, fuck am I goin’?
Besides psycho when I fantasize startin’ my whole life over
Yeah right, oh and I might go and
Get hypnotized so I don’t even recognize no one
I try to look alive but there’s nothin’ like holdin’
Your head up high when you’re dead inside and I just hide, so
In case you’re wonderin’ why are my insides showin’
‘Cause I done spilled all my guts and those are mine, so I’m
Pickin’ ’em up and stuffin’ ’em back
Fuck it, I’ve done enough in this science shit
Weather brought me nothin’ but back
To right where I was and perhaps
This coulda been my victory lap,
If I wasn’t on the verge of collapse

I have learned over the past seven months that the only path to fixing my mental health and emerging from these dark woods was to take responsibility for myself and ask for help1. I have seen a therapist every week for the past six months and began medication to help with anxiety and depression. These have been immeasurably helpful, and I feel no more shame for seeking that help than I would if I were to see a doctor for a broken bone. Truly amazing friends helped me through this process and I can never repay them. I do not share this story for sympathy, nor do I seek affirmation. Rather, I hope to show you that even people who seem like they are living the perfect life are often struggling. More importantly, I want to give hope to those who are struggling now. Maybe the social stigma of mental health can be eliminated one shared story at a time.

I am now the best scientist I have ever been, the best friend that I have ever been, the best brother and son that I have ever been, and the best father that I have ever been. I am stronger and healthier than I have been in more than a decade. And I am happy, positive, and appreciative about life for the first time that I can ever remember. I am learning who I am and am excited for the future. My simple goal for this next year is to be a good person, a good father, a good friend, and to make you smile should our paths cross.

If you are struggling with your mental health and are afraid to seek help, take that step. If you are unsure what the process is like or what to expect, reach out to me privately2 and I will answer any questions you have. It is a long and hard path, but I promise you that the light awaiting you as you emerge from the woods into the sun-filled valley is bright, warm, and worth the journey.

I wish you a healthy and happy new year.

Best wishes,

— Jeremy

  1. I understand some people are not in a position to get help on their own. I can only relay this story from my own experience. ↩︎

  2. I would, of course, keep any such conversations in strict confidence. ↩︎


I turned 35 today. To celebrate, I will move my body 35 miles on May 25 with a goal to raise money for The Christmas Box International. I need your help, so I request that you sponsor me with a donation. I really think we can raise $500 over the next two months. Use this secure form and please consider sharing this page so that we can reach as many people as possible.

Read below for more details and follow me on Twitter for updates.


I turned 35 today. Three years ago when I turned 32, I realized that I no longer cared about receiving gifts – I get to do science for a living and I have a wonderful wife and two great children (and a dog who is okay, I guess). It seemed far more fun giving to those who work to make life better for others, plus I was raised with the idea that when people invest in you and your dreams, you should act in kind when possible. So, I did a fundraiser for OK Foster Wishes in 2016 and a fundraiser for Teen Recovery Solutions in 20171.

I want to do something meaningful for my birthday again this year and I need your help. As I wrote previously, I love walking/jogging/running because it allows me time to think. Once again, I want to raise money for a worthy cause in exchange for a long walk/jog/run. This year I want us to all help The Christmas Box International (CBI). In return, I will make my body move 35 miles on May 25 along the Wasatch Front in beautiful Utah.

Why Christmas Box International?

As many of my friends know, my wife, Larissa, is a board-certified pediatrician who focuses on child-abuse and neglect. She sees the realities of children who are affected by abuse and neglect and is a strong proponent of organizations who work to help these victims overcome their circumstances. One such organization is The Christmas Box International.

The Christmas Box International partners with local, national, and international communities and groups to prevent child abuse and to improve the quality of life for children, teens and young adults who have been abused, neglected, or are facing homelessness. In 2017 alone, they served 10,162 unique children and teens who were victims of abuse, neglect, and homelessness.

Here are the primary services and programs that CBI operates:

  • Christmas Box Houses, which offer shelter and food, as well as on-site therapy, medical and dental evaluations, and recreational activities

  • Christmas Box Resource Rooms, which are stocked with new donated supplies including clothing, bedding, baby items, school and hygiene kits, books, household items and toys to ease the financial costs on foster families, kinship placements, and at-risk young adults starting their journey into adulthood

  • International support to abused and neglected children in countries such as Haiti, Dominican Republic, Colombia, India, Kenya, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Guatemala, Thailand, Nepal and Ghana

Why give to CBI? Because, as their motto says, every child deserves a childhood. I want to help organizations such as CBI so that every child might have the same opportunities as my two boys – to have a happy and healthy childhood filled with love and support.

The Goal

I think we can raise $500 for The Christmas Box International, although any amount will be great. So, 35 miles for my 35th birthday in an effort to raise $500.

Can I Do It?

Yes. You can trust that I will honor my commitment of 35 miles. Why? I completed the 2012 OKC Memorial Marathon with my wife through a combination of walking and jogging. In 2016, my wife and I signed up as a team for Run The Year and I finished with a total of 1,600 miles. I also completed the same fundraisers for my 32nd and 33rd birthdays. More importantly, my friends and family will tell you that I am notorious for setting crazy goals and seeing them through. Life is short. 35 miles is even shorter.


I plan to move my body 35 miles on Saturday, May 25. That will give me around 9 weeks to get in better shape and to collect donations.

I never concern myself with speed. My knees are getting old enough that running the whole time is unlikely. I prefer a deliberate walk and jog. I am not an athlete, so do not expect world record speeds. I estimate that it might take me 8-9 hours. The main thing is that I will finish.

I need your help to make this happen. Every donation matters, no matter how small. I am collecting donations using Donorbox. You can use the secure form below, or visit my page on their site directly. Donorbox and I specifically do not collect any information about you. You will not be signed up for any lists. Your email is required at donation time only as a means to deliver your receipt. You can even donate anonymously.

Donorbox charges a 1.5% fee when monthly collections surpass $1000. Card transactions are handled through Stripe, which charges 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. You also have the option of Apple Pay if you visit the campaign page. You have the option to pay this fee at donation time, but are not required to do so. I will pay any fees associated with donations so that the amount people choose to donate will be the amount that CBI receives.

I will present CBI with the final donation following my walk and will provide evidence to everyone, that way you have confidence in your donation. I promise to be 100% transparent in this regard.

Please Share

I would appreciate if you would share a link to this page.

Keep Updated

Follow me on Twitter to keep up with our progress.

Thank You

Your donation will help CBI provide for and empower abused and neglected children in Utah and around the world. I am very thankful for your support.

  1. I was forced to skip 34 for 34 in 2018 due to a persistent quadriceps injury. ↩︎

Streaking Into 2019.



I like New Year’s resolutions, although I used to think they were dumb (you can change any time of the year). Life is short, so we should celebrate when people want to better themselves. Personally, I found that I tended to start new things on beginnings in our calendar system, such as starting a new workout routine on a Monday, or a diet on the first of the month. What better time to make a life change than the first of the year?

I have made resolutions to lose weight, walk a lot, and take time away from social media. This last year was all about consistency. I had two daily goals for 2018: read and close all three activity rings on my Apple watch. The former was motivated by a desire to be a better writer and the latter was motivated by my pal Justin who is now well on his way to 500 consecutive days of working out. I succeeded, in large part, by following the same approach as my friend Ross, who wrote about his similar goals for consistency:

The basic answer is to focus on just a couple of things and to integrate those things into your daily life.

I am a numbers kind of scientist, so below you will find details and statistics about each resolution. This post is deeply navel-gazing, but I hope it might serve as some motivation for your 2019 goals.


As a scientist, I write often: manuscripts, course notes, peer reviews, presentations, proposals, and more. I also stepped out of this arena to write fiction by participating in NaNoWriMo 2018. In preparation, I read Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft. He offered this useful advice:

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.

I have a wife, two children under age five, and a full-time job. Related to the aforementioned activity ring challenge, I also like to get in some type of daily physical activity. That is a long-winded and whiny way of saying that my time is constrained. Given my commitments, it would have been self-defeating to proclaim that I would match the efforts of some friends who read a book a week. I decided to set a goal to read an average of 30 pages every day and complete at least 12 books in 2018.

How you frame your goals is as important as following through. I allowed myself daily deviations from 30 pages by shooting for an average. Not to mention that 10,950 pages should hopefully be more than 12 books. I purposely set a low bar for an easy win in that case. On the other hand, a goal that is too vague can make success seem impossible; be specific and realistic.

I used two apps to track my progress. Goodreads is my long-term solution to tracking what books I have read, planning what to read next, and writing reviews. The service has a social component and I often find useful recommendations and additional motivation from friends. Bookly is the app I used to track my daily reading progress. I also bought the pro upgrade for its added features. I really like its interface, built-in statistics, and automation support (Hey, Siri, start reading).

I achieved my 2018 reading goals. Here are the relevant details.

Reading Stats My 2018 reading stats

I came across a few observations during this project. First, I am a relatively slow reader. Second, 19 (and 30% into 20) books is not very impressive, but the average length of each book (~570 pages) was above average. Finally, I read as few as 10 pages in a day and as many as 168. That last one is a good reminder that goals can be achieved through small steps, no matter how modest.

Workout Rings

I previously wrote about my love of the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch can track fitness activity, where users are encouraged to “close” three activity rings. The Move ring is closed when the wearer burns a set number of active calories (my daily goal was 500 calories), the Exercise ring is closed after she completes 30 minutes of brisk activity, and the Stand ring is closed after she stands for at least one minute during 12 different hours.

I spend a lot of time sitting at a computer writing code, so I had to make a conscious effort to achieve the stand goal. Which is the point of the ring system; I was forced to think about about being active every day. There were a few close calls (especially during travel), but I met my goal of closing all three rings every day. Here is what a year of activity rings looks like.

Activity Rings My 2018 activity rings


Although I didn’t set out to do so at the beginning of the year, I also completed a few mini-streaks in 2018.

NaNoWriMo: I’ve long felt like there are some cool stories locked in my head. However, between my kids and lack of confidence, I always put off writing a novel. My pal Marissa Mohi is a writer, but more importantly she is hilarious, self-deprecating, and inspiring. Her series of videos on writing really motivated my desire to write this year. I told her on Twitter that I was thinking of participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and she encouraged me to do so. My wife, who always supports whatever hair-brained thing I want to do, did the same. Sometimes it just takes a little encouragement from someone you love and someone who is good at what you want to try.

The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words (a healthy start to a novel) in the month of November. This can be daunting due to the tight timeline. You have to average 1,667 words per day to reach the goal, so even one missed or lackluster day can put you way behind. Given my busy schedule, I decided at the start to focus on consistency since I knew playing catch-up would be very hard. As plans often go, I immediately fell behind in the first two days, only achieving 800 pages per day. Damn, two days in and already one day behind. I am glad that I stuck with it by distributing the needed words over the remaining days. I hit 50,585 words on November 30. Based on my time-logging app, I spent 57 hours and 35 minutes to achieve this goal. That sounds like a lot (it is!), but it is doable when broken down into small chunks.

So, what’s the book? I am not telling. For one, it is not yet complete. For another, it is in a sorry state of prose and logic and will require substantive editing. Stay tuned!

Writing Stats My 2018 NaNoWriMo writing stats

Water logging: This is a short one, but I started tracking water intake later in 2018 as part of my health objectives. I used the app WaterMinder and successfully drank at least 100 oz. of fluid every day for the final 100 days of 2018. I also made use of Streaks to track my progress for all of the above goals.

Your Resolutions

Thank you for enduring this post. I promise the goal was not humble-braggery, rather I know how important a little motivation can be to accomplishing your goals. As I wrote at the start of 2017, there is nothing special about me (seriously, see gashed shin). I’m a regular guy and I like to challenge myself. You can do the same. Remember: You will want to quit, so persevere; Life does not care about your plans, so adjust; Support is important, so ignore resolution grinches; You have goals, so do the work and accomplish them. As for my 2019 goals, I will report back. Until then, good luck!

Farewell to the First Apple Watch.


Apple unveiled the original Apple Watch on September 9, 2014 as a “one-more-thing” during their iPhone event.

Back then I was a serious post-doctoral scientist doing serious scientific things.

I recall knowing immediately that I wanted the device. I didn’t exactly know why I wanted it, or what purpose it would serve. As it turns out, neither did Apple. The Apple Watch was originally marketed as an app-centric device that played to fashion and communication. In the intervening years, it was clear that apps did not drive the Watch like they did on the iPhone. The screen was small and using apps with multiple levels of navigation was tedious. However, the device excelled at a few things: health, fitness, notifications, and communication. That is certainly how I primarily used the Watch.

The Apple Watch finally went on sale at the end of April in 2015 and I received mine soon thereafter. While it may look outdated now, I felt like I was wearing the future on my wrist.

It was around this time that my wife and I were planning a move from Oklahoma to Utah so that she could pursue a medical fellowship at the University of Utah. I did not handle the stress well and started to gain weight, which is something that I have struggled with since childhood. By the time we arrived in Utah that June, I had gained some 25-30 pounds. I felt bad, both physically and mentally, and was determined to stop the downward spiral before it overtook me. So, I enlisted the new Apple Watch to track my activity, which included P90X workouts and other exercises like walking, running, cycling, and more. The Apple Watch essentially gameified my fitness. It worked! I lost 21 pounds, gained muscle, and felt great.

While there were ups and downs in the years to follow, the Apple Watch remained a useful tool to manage my health and fitness. Although my friends know me as an Apple fanboy and a frequent upgrader, life and kids happened so I was content with the original Series 0 Watch. It served me well for 1,224 days, up until I recently bought the redesigned Apple Watch Series 4 (I’ll write about my initial thoughts in a separate post). Here are some statistics showing what the Apple Watch helped me track over more than three years.

  • 1,064 workouts
    • 400 P90X, P90X3, Yoga
    • 343 running
    • 244 walking
    • 63 rowing
    • 14 cycling
  • 58,483 minutes of exercise
  • 2,235 miles of walking and running
  • 290,794 calories burned
  • Move Ring closed 1,112 times (91%)
  • Exercise Ring closed 1,102 times (90%)
  • Stand Ring closed 1,175 times (96%)

It is a completely first-world thing to get nostalgic about a piece of disposable hardware, but here I am. I wore the Apple Watch every day for over three years and it helped me manage my worst impulses in self-care. It was one of the best pieces of technology that I have ever owned and I look forward to what the Series 4 has to offer. Until then – good bye, friend.


I turned 33 on March 22. To celebrate, I will move my body 33 miles on April 29 with a goal to raise $3333 for Teen Recovery Solutions (TRS). I need your help, so I request that you sponsor my run with a donation to TRS. Visit the TRS donation page before April 29 and enter gibbs33 in the Donation Note box (see below for what this looks like). This code will allow TRS to track our progress. Please consider sharing this page so that we can reach our goal.

how to donate

Read below for more details and follow me on Twitter or Facebook for updates.


I turned 33 on March 22. Last year I realized that I no longer cared about receiving gifts. I found that it is far more fun trying to express appreciation for those who make life better for others. As I said last year, I was raised with the idea that when people invest in you and your dreams, you should act in kind when possible.

I want to do something meaningful for my birthday and I need your help. As I wrote earlier this year, I love walking/jogging/running because it allows me time to think. Once again, I want to raise money for a worthy cause in exchange for a long walk/jog/run. This year I want us to all help Teen Recovery Solutions (TRS).

Why Teen Recovery Solutions?

I spent the first 31 years of my life in Oklahoma. It is my home. I saw firsthand in junior high and high school how addiction can negatively impact people’s lives. Unfortunately, society often allows these people to fall through the cracks. Based on data from the Office of Adolescent Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 5% and 4% of Oklahoma high school students aged 12-17 needed, but did not receive, treatment for alcohol and illicit drug abuse, respectively, in 2009-2010. From 2011-2013, Oklahoma had the 14th-highest rate of youth drug overdose deaths in the nation. That rate represented a 300% increase over the preceding 12 years. If we all believe in the Oklahoma Standard, then these statistics are not acceptable.

TRS has provided long-term addiction recovery tools for Oklahoma City teens and their families since 2000. TRS began by offering financial assistance to qualifying parents unable to afford the high cost of residential treatment programs. Upon seeing how many teens relapsed into abuse after they returned to their home high schools, TRS began a recovery high school in 2006. Mission Academy High School is one of only 37 recovery high schools in the United States. In 2012, TRS launched an alternative peer group after seeing the need for a teen recovery community for after-school and weekend support. Mission Peer Group provides teens with weekly and weekend positive social activities, individual and group counseling, family support groups, age-appropriate recovery meetings, and regular retreats. In 2014, TRS added the Real Talk for Teens series to focus on prevention by educating teens about the realities of substance abuse.

Why give to TRS? These teens are our future and helping them recover from addiction is our moral imperative – allowing them to suffer unattended is our shame. If our elected leaders do not prioritize aiding their plight, then let’s do it on our own. I want to help organizations such as TRS so that every teen has the opportunity to lead a happy and fulfilling life and every family can rejoice in watching their children prosper.

The Goal

I want to raise at least $3333 for Teen Recovery Solutions. So, 33 miles for my 33rd birthday in an effort to raise $3333. I happen to think this is a modest goal. I believe we can beat that number. Help me make a small dent in the operational needs of TRS. Let us do a good thing.

Can I Do It?

Yes. You can trust that I will honor my commitment of 33 miles. Why? I completed the 2012 OKC Memorial Marathon with my wife through a combination of walking and jogging. In 2016, my wife and I signed up as a team for a run/walk challenge and I completed 1600 miles. Last year I successfully completed 32 miles for Oklahoma Foster Wishes for my 32nd birthday, where we raised very close to our goal of $3200. More importantly, my friends and family will tell you that I am notorious for setting crazy goals and seeing them through.

Life is short. 33 miles is even shorter.


I plan to move my body 33 miles on Saturday, April 29. That will give me 4-5 weeks to get in better shape and to collect donations.

I never concern myself with speed. My knees are getting old enough that running the whole time is unlikely. I prefer a deliberate walk and jog. I am not an athlete, so do not expect world record speeds. I estimate that it might take me 7.5-9.5 hours. Last year, I finished 32 miles in a little over 8.5 hours.

I need your help to make this happen. Every donation matters, no matter how small. I worked with TRS to create a tracking code for our effort. Here is how to donate1:

  1. Visit the TRS donation page
  2. Fill out the web form and select a donation amount.
  3. Be sure to type gibbs33 in the Donation Note box.

Please Share

I would appreciate if you would share a link to this page.

Keep Updated

TRS will update me on the status of donations every week. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook to keep up with our progress.

Thank You

Your donation will help TRS improve the lives of teens in Oklahoma. I am very thankful for your support.

  1. Note, this donation is tax-deductible if that is something that matters to you. ↩︎

Three Years Later.


Our son Everett joined my wife and I on this day three years ago. His first year molded us into parents, while the second year allowed us to take the smallest of steps backward to watch him bloom. As I wrote last year, the pace of life is disquieting. As I reflect on his third year, I am once again astonished at how a single year can seem like a second.

Three years. In a flash.

If the second year was an unspoken transition, then the third was a year of growth.

Everett’s knowledge has grown so much this year. Every time he proudly shares something that he learned at preschool, each problem that he diligently solves, whenever he speaks a long sentence using words that I was unaware he knew, the times we catch him singing a new song, or when he understands that someone is feeling bad and tries to cheer them up - those are my Christmas morning. I had a lot of Christmas mornings this year.

Growth is, of course, most apparent physically. It is easy to miss incremental height changes in your child, but occasionally you look away for a second or you reminisce with old photos. In these moments you are forced to add up all of those small changes. I know it must be one of those things that non-parents find so very annoying, but when you fully appreciate the sum total of that growth, your brain quite simply cannot believe it. No matter how many times his new shoes or clothes let slip that he was growing, I always found myself stupefied.

Just as Everett grew this past year, so did our family. We welcomed Campbell on February 2, 2017. It was the joy of a lifetime to watch Everett share in the process. He loved to hear Campbell’s heartbeat and look at his ultrasound photos, he was fascinated by my wife’s growing belly, and during the third trimester he developed a sympathy pregnancy. One of our favorite memories was introducing Everett to his baby brother. Although he was initially unimpressed, “Hey! Campbell’s not talking!” (exit stage left), he is proud to tell us everyday that he is a big brother. Watching Everett’s love grow beyond the two of us has been a wonderful experience.

No matter what the next year brings, let us grow together.

Happy Birthday, Everett.

Two years

Campbell David Gibbs.


I hope you will indulge me in an expanded version of my previous short story. Almost 30 years ago, a boy was born in Oklahoma. Ten days later, a girl was born in Germany.


Fate made their paths cross in the 7th grade. They were best of friends. Unfortunately, the boy had to move away in 10th grade and they lost touch.


After three years apart, fate would once again force their paths to cross while at college. The boy (finally) asked the girl out in October of their freshman year.


Nine years later, the boy asked the girl to marry him. She said yes.


The boy and girl were wed following a two-year engagement.


After two years, the boy and girl learned their family would grow.


The boy and girl finally met their new son. Everett Hines Gibbs. He arrived at 4:45a, weighed 8 lbs. 3 oz., and was 21”.


The boy’s world grew from one to two.


The boy, the girl, and their son enjoyed life together.


They moved from Oklahoma to Utah and had a lot of adventures.


After more than two years as a group of three, the boy, the girl, and the son learned their family would grow.


Today, the boy, the girl, and the son finally met their new son and brother. Campbell David Gibbs. He arrived at 12:46p, weighed 7 lbs. 10 oz., and was 19.75”.


That is the short story of how the boy’s world grew from two to three.


1,600 Miles.


Shoes These shoes were made for walking.

The Goal

My wife and I signed up for a walking/running challenge on New Year’s Eve 2015. The idea of Run The Year 2016 was simple – an individual or team tries to walk/jog/run for a total of 2,016 miles during the year. That amounted to a daily average of approximately 5.5 miles. Due to my wife’s hectic work schedule, we decided that I would do 1,464 miles (4/day) and she was on the hook for the remaining 552 (~1.5/day). My wife and I announced her pregnancy in August, which complicated the running plan toward the end of the year. We adjusted my responsibility to 1,600 miles to reduce her burden. As a non-athlete, the thought of moving my body an average of 4.37 miles every day was daunting. But what is life if not an opportunity to challenge your own abilities?

Walking vs. Running

The vast majority of my miles came by way of walking. I am perfectly capable of running the entire distance (I did several times), but I find that doing so requires a lot of mental overhead in terms of breathing and pacing. I favor a brisk walk because it allows my mind the freedom to appreciate the beautiful Utah scenery, to work through whatever problems are running through my head, and to simply exercise my imagination. With running, the goal is to spend the least amount of time moving over a particular distance. I prefer not to feel rushed.


There were twists and turns, but I hit 1,600 miles on December 31. Statistics and tidbits are presented here to illustrate the journey.

  • 318 runs (87% of days)
  • 5.03 miles per workout (median = 4.1 miles, standard deviation = 2.3 miles)
  • My longest streak was 32 days
  • The longest workout was 32 miles and the shortest was 0.62 miles
  • The fewest miles in a month was 92 (June), while the most was 210 (December)
  • Weather included heavy snow, fog, smog, rain, strong winds, brutal UV indices, single-digit and triple-digit temperatures
  • I endured a broken toe and a gashed shin

As noted, I missed 48 days. Many of those were rest days, while others were due to travel and life not caring about my plans. Regardless, I was able to remain very steady. The figure below shows cumulative miles (orange) and the pace line (dashed black). You’ll notice the bump in June when I did 32 miles, followed by dips in late June and September that were caused by travel. The steep slope at the end shows my effort to adjust to the new goal of 1,600 miles and to make up for lost time.

Cumulative miles Cumulative miles.

These subtleties are seen by breaking the workouts down into monthly summaries. My output remained fairly steady through the first two-thirds of the year. September made things difficult and then my goal changed in late October – both of which put me in a hole. You can see what it took to climb out.

Monthly miles Monthly breakdown of miles.

Beyond my own nerdy desire to see what a successful year-long goal looked like, these graphs hopefully show you that a seemingly impossible goal is attained through consistent work.

Your Resolutions

This post is not designed as an exercise in dreaded humble-braggery. There are people who train by running 100 miles in a week, so averaging 133 in a month is not really all that impressive. My intention is the opposite. As we enter the season where you might be setting goals for 2017, I hope that my 2016 success will inspire you to achieve whatever it is that you want to accomplish. There is nothing special about me (seriously, see gashed shin). I’m a regular guy and I like to challenge myself. You can do the same.

I have a few takeaways from last year that I hope will help you frame your goals.

First, you will want to quit. The first day of a new goal is euphoric, but on the next day you will find that nasty voice in your head telling you to stop. Our brains are very good at trying to make our existence as easy as possible, and that voice is very persuasive. Ignore it. I found that after a couple of weeks the voice was reduced to a whisper and I finally told it to shut up.

Life does not care about your goals. Unexpected things will happen and your perfectly laid plans will go to shit. Do not let this make you quit. Instead, get rid of the guilt and move on. You have to be okay with failing.

Support is important. I could not have finished 1,600 miles without the encouragement of my wife. Tell someone your goal, because even having just one person who believes in you will make a huge difference.

Along with people who make earnest New Year’s goals are the resolution grinches who belittle them. Treat these people like your voice of doubt above and ignore them. Your life is short, so anything that you want to do to improve your limited time on Earth is worthwhile.

If you have goals, accomplish them. You need not be special, only determined. Ignore those who doubt you. Embrace those who help you. Regarding these things, poet Eminem said:

You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime, yo

No matter what your 1,600 miles are this year, enjoy the journey. As for my own 2017 goals, I will report back in a year. Until then, good luck!

'Twas The Night Before the Election.


‘Twas the night before the election and all through the House, only Paul Ryan was stirring, like a sad listless mouse;

His chamber’s majority he knew he would hold, but the Senate was dicey and he felt very cold;

The voters were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of ballots danced in their heads;

And Donald in Michigan and Clinton in Philly, they made one last pitch, the air - it was chilly;

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, Ryan sprang from his chair to see what was the matter;

Away to the window he flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash;

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow, Psyche! Just kidding. Climate change, yo;

When what to his wondering eyes did appear, But a vision of Lincoln, had he drunk too much beer?

With a tall lanky driver so lively and quick, What was he seeing, this must be a trick;

More rapid than eagles his friends they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

“Now Teddy! Now Ike! Now Reagan! Even, Romney! My goodness, that Trump, what has he done to my party?”

“He courted the racists and planned a big wall, Immigrants and muslims, he said ‘ban them all’”;

“He boasted of assault and claimed it as privilege, In the inner cities he said that blacks would pillage”;

“He fought with the family of a soldier who died, He mocked a reporter, and when confronted he lied”;

“To women he hated, he called them fat pigs, To everyone who crossed him, he got in his digs”;

“His commercials were often anti-semitic, He yelled and he tweeted at all of his critics”;

“He derided a war hero, said he shouldn’t have been caught, he claimed bone spurs, you can bet he never fought”;

As Ryan drew in his head, and was turning around, Down the chimney Abe Lincoln came with a bound;

He was dressed all in black, from his head to his foot, And his top hat was tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of papers he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack;

His eyes—how they glistened! his dimples, not merry! He approached the Speaker, and his path he did parry;

His slim little mouth was drawn down in a cinch, And his beard was dark, befitting a grinch;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a thin face and not much of a belly, In the background a Trump ad played on the telly;

He was tall and commanding, not much like an elf, And Ryan flinched when he saw him, in spite of himself;

A tear in his eye and a bow of his head, Soon gave Ryan to know he had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, He checked Clinton on his ballot; then turned with a jerk,

“How could you Lincoln?” Ryan asked, nearly spit, “How could I not, Donald Trump is not fit!”

In conclusion he said, “What this party sows, so shall it reap”, And as he departed, Lincoln did weep.

Five Years.


Today my wife and I celebrate five years of marriage. Five years. Five. Years.

It feels like five minutes.

Too fast.

But numbers do not lie. Five years ago we were in Florida getting married and enjoying our honeymoon at Disney World.

Holding Hands Just married.

Little did I know then how many great things were ahead of us. We have completed a marathon together, we have traveled internationally, we adopted a puppy, and we had a son. In that last one, my wife gave me the best thing to ever happen in my life - Everett. We have celebrated two birthdays with Everett and look forward to many more. Our first, second, third, and fourth years1 of marriage were memorable.

Holding Hands Everett.

This year was like every year with Larissa - filled with adventure

Holding Hands Skiing in Utah.

after adventure

Holding Hands Rafting the Merced River in California.

after adventure.

Holding Hands Celebrating our five-year anniversary in Yosemite.

During our five years of marriage we have argued and we have agreed. We have raised our voices and we have whispered. We have been angry and we have loved. We have frustrated one another and we have inspired each other. The important thing through our journey is that we have been we.

I don’t know what the next five years will hold. If they are anything like the previous five, then I look forward to all of the memories our family will make - together.

Holding Hands The three of us.

  1. Notice the fourth year is missing a link. We were busy packing to move across the country from the only home we’ve known - and I missed posting. Trust me, it was a fantastic year. ↩︎