Monday, December 8, 2014


A few days ago, there was a rainy, dark, and bitter cold evening. Now I had been trying to run every day, for my health and for my spirits. I was in the middle of final projects for grad school, and my strained muscles itched for movement. All this aside, I knew on this evening, if I went for a run, I was going to get wet, and I was going to get cold.

They say the hardest part of a training run is getting out the door.

I did get out the door. And if you know me, you know I don't plan much. In fact, I even decide where to run sometimes, while I'm running. I took a page out of my high school cross country team's playbook and went for a "scrambled eggs" run --an improvised run without a destination. I wound up at Brookdale Park in Montclair. I preferred the muddy paths to the concrete paths, and soon I was darting around the many trees in the park, blazing my own trail. This evolved into a game. Mimicking the orbital paths of planets shown in the TV show Cosmos I love right now, I slingshot myself around the "gravity" of the trees, dodging left and right and left again. It was so fun because I was running in the moment, and I rarely ran in the same direction for long. Of course, getting whipped by tree branches I couldn't see in the dark or sliding on muddy tree roots wasn't ideal. But it was exciting. What's my game called? Well, I know what I won't call it. I won't name it after one of the boring research papers I've read for my literature review project. No, this game will not be called, "Small-scale Kinesthetic Modeling of Planetary Orbits As a Coordination Building Exercise and Dopamine-inducing Event"
Maybe it can be called, simply, "Orbits!" It reminded me how necessary PLAY is in my life. Adding variety, and curiosity, and the space for discovery to all parts of my life is to invoke my inner child's playfulness, to enjoy life more.

Happy Trails everyone,

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Quit Facebook

Hi again!

I forgot to share something. The reason I have the time now to post on my blog and CREATE (as opposed to just consume) online content, is very simple. A few days ago, I made the choice to quit Facebook. Here's the explanation. It was my last post on Facebook:

"Dear Friends,
I think I'm going to leave Facebook soon. Facebook can be a good tool for communicating with far-flung friends. And sharing pictures and memes and online article links. But it's got nothing on real face to face meetings. And posting protest images on your profile page isn't as effective as staging real protests and writing real letters to politicians and leaders. It feeds our desire for instant gratification. I can waste so much time on Facebook without realizing it. Lastly, I just don't need some group of strangers to organize my friendships.

I want to create a REAL sense of community. I think texting, social media, TV, and fast food can alienate people from each other, their surroundings, and their impact on other beings on this Earth. I think we would be so much healthier if we all lived in caring communities.

I want to stay in touch with all you friends out there, so here's how:

you can email me at And if you don't have my cell number, you can message or email me for it. Or visit my blog at And let me know your blog, email, and phone if you don't think I have it yet.

I hope to see you in the real world!"

It's only been a week since I quit Facebook, but I feel slightly different. I've been calling friends and emailing them more frequently, and that's more satisfying and intimate to me. On Facebook, I was just perusing mass-publishings of social content that wasn't meant for me alone. Replacing the wasted time on FB is a focus on my self-growth. And I don't mean growing out my hair : ) I'm creating goals and priorities for myself, which is timely, since I'm in Finals Week for Grad School now. Of course, as you know, the most exciting goal for me right now is running the Western States 100 miler in 2016. It's strange...I've never been this excited about something so far in the future.

Keep dreaming y'all,

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Grad School

So here's a sample of what I've been studying in Grad School. The assignment was to create an artistic representation of a social justice issue.

It's a comic explaining school funding inequities in the USA. Excuse the mirror image, I took a picture of it with my computer. The story starts in the middle. The man represents a U.S. state, and he's handing out equal amounts of funds to two types of schools. The school on the right resides in a low poverty (richer) neighborhood while the school on the left has high poverty. With more property tax funds, the richer school can still fund Physical Ed. classes, has ample computer access, and highly educated and experienced teachers. The poorer school, on the other hand, has inadequate temporary buildings, overcrowded class sizes, and poor student achievement. Federal education funds are being dropped from fighter jets and helicopters. The US government spends 19 times as much on the defense budget as it does on Education. Feeling the sting of injustice, the poorer school's student is asking, "How is this fair?"

Do you like it? I'm proud of this poster. My professor liked it so much, she hung it in her office.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

I'm back!

Hey everyone, it's been a long time since I last posted. I know. I've been busy with Grad School! I'm getting a masters in teaching elementary school at Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ. It's a great program. I had no idea that it would click so well with my interests. The social justice and multicultural education is right up my alley. I will post some assignments to give you a window into my studies.

So - I have a big goal I want to share with you: I want to run the Western States Endurance Run in the summer of 2016. If you know anything about the race, you'll know that it's one of the toughest footraces in the world. You run 100 miles over the Sierra Nevadas in California. You run from snow-covered mountain-tops down through brutally hot canyons.

I want to run this race for a lot of reasons. The elite ultra runners around the world compete in this event. The course is so beautiful and natural. It's also the gnarliest terrain I've ever heard of. To me, it's like the Olympics of Ultrarunning.

Not just anyone can run this race. You have to qualify by running a 100 mile or 100 KM race the year before. The qualifying race I'm picking to run is the Vermont 100 next July. The funny thing is that you have to qualify for the Vermont 100 as well! Thankfully, I completed the NJ Ultra 100 miler in 2013 so I qualify.

All of this is very exciting for me as I haven't really DREAMED BIG since deciding to apply to grad school last spring. And the big dream I had before Grad School was to apply to Peace Corps, which came to me two years ago. DREAMING BIG really motivates me to do my best. I hope all of you readers out there have BIG DREAMS lifting your spirits and efforts every day too!

Happy trails everyone!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Spring is here.

I didn't think a bad day could be helped, but I went for a run and thought, in the words of Barney Stinson, "I can turn this around."

I haven't been running much lately, and I certainly haven't been training as I'd like for a 24 hour run. But I still go out for a 45 minute easy run. And now that I am with my girlfriend Becca in Monterey Bay, California, I have the good fortune to run on the beach anytime I'd like. I also get to pick wildflowers, a simple delight of mine. Although recently I did learn that picking Poppies in California is illegal, as it is the state flower. My bad, Cali, my bad.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Peace Corps Continued

The last few weeks have been unfortunate for my Peace Corps bid. After a depressive episode this past fall, I told Peace Corps what had happened. In February, they decided I was medically ineligible at this time for service. Their decision contained false information, though, and I've filed an appeal. I hope to hear back from them soon. They said all their mental health advisors are currently busy with volunteers in Ukraine. As if my Peace Corps hopes couldn't be delayed any longer, they are now dependent on the Ukrainian crisis to resolve.

Instead of just waiting around, I'm looking at other options now. Outdoor education programs near Santa Cruz, California, the Quaker school and camp named "Woolman" in Northern California, and Waldorf teacher's programs in New York are just a few options that I'm exploring.

After hibernating to stave off a head cold, I've climbed out of my den and started to dream about training for another ultra marathon. Last year at this time, I was pulling long cold slogs on the road to prepare for the NJ Ultra 100 miler at the end of March. This year's bucket list includes a hope to run over one hundred miles in a single push. Training will be exhausting. My toes will turn ugly again. The final crust of winter will burn my flesh. But I will keep my convictions solid and explore my limits.

Happy trails everyone,

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Peace Corps address


I am excited to be only a month away from leaving for Peace Corps. That is, if I can get medically cleared before then. I leave on March 4 and for the next three months, we will be trained in the capital of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo. I have two mailing addresses. One for regular mail:

Steven Humphreys, PCT
Cuerpo de Paz
Av Bolivar 451, Gazcue
Apartado Postal 1412
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

The other one for expedited mail will be:

Steven Humphreys, PCT
Cuerpo de Paz
451 Avenida Bolivar
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Telephone: 809.685.4102

Note: If you are going to send me a package, please send it in a PADDED ENVELOPE as these containers are less likely to be tampered with or taxed. Mail can be unreliable and letters sent via air mail can take 10 days to several weeks.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Getting lost never felt so good.

Tonight, I started a small run at sunset that turned into something altogether inspiring. The temperatures in the town in Connecticut where my Grandparents live had been below freezing for days, like much of the Northeast. Over six inches of powdery snow had fallen overnight. It was so fluffy that Grandpa and I used push brooms to sweep it off the walkways. It tasted like Pop Rocks. Can you tell that I love snow?
So on this run I went, excited to be out and about in an Arctic wonderland. Down to the park trails around the lake, where the snow bit my bare ankles and my breath clouded my glasses. Up a new mountain trail I huffed. At the summit, I stopped to watch the thin strip of pumpkin orange glow at the horizon. For the first time in a while, I felt okay, relaxed, and calm. An episode of depression and a tumultuous breakup with someone I love had left me feeling anxious and hopeless for months. Now, I found some peace again, alone on a mountain trail. In the low light, I hopped up to streets I'd never been to before. Now this was an adventure, an exploration. Zig-zagging around residential streets, I soon grew much less certain of just where I was going. But wherever I was headed, I was running, and smiling. Now past dark, the car lights blinded me and the ice was hard to see. I had to admit it now: I was lost. I called my Grandpa, who offered to pick me up. Never! I shouted in my head, and answered, "It's okay. I'll see you soon." One hour later, I stopped at the steps of the house my Grandfather built, dizzy with sweet exhaustion. My face was aching from the cold, but I barely noticed. Whatever it was, endorphins, the thrill of danger, or a fresh accomplishment, I was inspired tonight. Inspired to run more, longer, and stronger. Inspired to set goals again, like I used to. I'd like to run a 24 hour race in the Dominican Republic, where I'll be training in Peace Corps. I'd like to regain my Spanish before I leave in March. I have goals and dreams again, and Joy in my heart, and as my friend advised me to say, "Nobody's gonna' stop me!"