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Here it is: one year of Anyone Can Enter boiled down to 4 minutes. Watch the video now to relive all the wacky competitions and to see how I lost 30 pounds. If you’d rather relive some of those competitions in more detail, check out the 7-minute extended cut of the video.

A little more than a year ago, I read Christopher McDougall’s fantastic book Born to Run about a Mexican tribe of ultra marathon runners. The way McDougall described long-distance running, I was instantly inspired to run a marathon. Only problem: I was in miserable shape. I had never run more than 5 miles at one time and I was carrying a little more than 190 pounds on my 5-feet-9-inch frame.

So when I started my quest to compete in at least one offbeat, obscure, wacky, or just plain ridiculous event each month, I decided to add some more traditional events to the list. A marathon was the ultimate goal.

One year later, I can proudly call myself a 165-pound marathon runner. Not to mention a potato decorator. And a CN Tower Climber. And an idiot, a hollerer, a pack burro racer, a stone skipper, a pepper eater, a warrior, a half marathon runner, a polar plunger, an ugly sweater loser, a doughnut-eating failure, and a national champion egg tosser.

And I owe it all to you. Yes, you, blog reader. Your comments, support, and blog views over the past year have been an incredible source of motivation to run farther than I ever thought I could go (26.2 miles, to be exact), without stopping (not even once), 20 minutes faster than I planned (3:37:21).

Whether you were my adventurous wife/No. 1 fan Carie, who was willing to sacrifice vacation for an opportunity to watch me run with donkeys; my co-national egg toss champion (Mike Hepp); my supportive family; a generous friend who designed my logo (Thushan); a frequent commenter like Rob, Andy, Pumpkin, or Mike M.; a superfan like Jodie, Megan, or Jim; a co-worker who regularly asked about my training; or an anonymous follower—you inspired me to keep going.

Thanks again.

And don’t forget to check back later this week for a year-in-review video.

A few weeks ago, I sent out a cry for someone to find me a December contest within my home state of North Carolina. Fortunately, a few members of my family were listening.

Even better, they found a contest that required little work on my part.

My mom and sister, Beth, each told me about the News & Observer’s Ugly Sweater Contest. Since I already made a horrific sweater for a company Christmas party, all I had to do was upload a picture. And since I lost the company’s contest, this will give me a second chance at ugly sweater glory.

Check out my entry here.

This is an online voting contest and the entry with the most votes will receive a $50 Visa gift card. Naturally, that means that I’ll be begging you to vote for me when the polls are open between Dec. 30 and Jan. 6.

But I’m not just asking you to do this for me.

If I win, I will donate the gift card to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. That’s right. That means your vote for my goofy Grinch sweater could actually help somebody in need.

It’s not exactly the Grinch saving Christmas, but it’s better than nothing.

 

Nearly halfway through December, I may be forced to do something unfortunate.

For this month, I may have to count a contest that doesn’t exactly fit the rules of Anyone Can Enter. And by that, I mean that not just anyone could enter my company’s tacky Christmas sweater contest last night. Although, I suppose that anyone could technically apply to work there, which would in turn lead to an automatic invitation to the party, thus granting the new employee an opportunity to enter the contest.

Of course, that makes no sense. So I’ll continue looking for events to enter before the year’s end. But just in case that pursuit falls short, you might as well see the sweater I made.

That’s right. Instead of going the store-bought, Goodwill-found, or hand-me-downed route, I designed my own sweater. I sliced a Grinch stuffed animal in half and sewed him onto the front of a red sweater.

That’s right. I sewed.

Then I sewed a little gift bag onto his hands, which I stuffed with candy canes. I even sewed the Grinch’s backside on the other side of my sweater.

Unfortunately, spending $25.14 on supplies and sewing for an hour on a Friday night doesn’t translate into success, as I didn’t win the contest.

Maybe I’d have better luck in a Grinch-themed sweater contest. If only I could find one…

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