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  • Writer's pictureMarcus Kowal

Summarizing 2021

Updated: Apr 11, 2022

This was supposed to have been posted a week ago but Covid put a stop to that! Yet another reminder that no matter how much we plan, sometimes life will take us in different directions.

Taking a look back at the year that passed is both healthy and necessary in order to both remember and reminisce, as well as hold oneself accountable to one’s goals. Around the same time last year when I wrote a similar post, the coming year didn’t look too bright, considering we were in the midst of a pandemic. We are still in a pandemic but in the year that passed, we have found a vaccine and even though we have new variants of COVID and we don’t know when all this will be over, I think and hope we are through the worst of it.

Our brains tend to be stuck in the negative or so preoccupied preparing for the future, that we forget to take a look at our accomplishments and experiences throughout the year. Analysing where we need to improve and what we can do differently is of utmost importance, so we can plan and prepare for the coming year.

I think many started 2021 with a reserved skepticism. We had just lived through an unprecedented year and it was hard to predict what the year would look like. It’s hard to prepare for the unknown but here are some of the main milestones and realisations.

  • Running a 72 mile Ultramarathon. On February 27th, me and a team of 4 others ran 72 miles for our non profit, Liam’s Life Foundation. It was both as a statement for ourselves and the opposition; even during a pandemic, we are still here and we will continue to fight. It was mentally one of the toughest tests I’ve ever put myself through. With a hip that was injured throughout most of my training leading up to it and then the gruesome 36,500 feet of elevation change on less than 10% flat grounds with all loose rocks and gravel tested every ounce of my being. The expected 18 hours turned into 23.5 hours of the toughest of mental resilience trials I’ll ever experience. The Backbone Trail will always have a piece of me.

  • Running a 1,000 miles. In the year was one of my goals, along with running every single day of 2021 (minimum of a mile). It was looking good for the first six months but after the Ultramarathon, my hip never recovered and I finally had to go to the doctor. I was told that I will need a full hip replacement and at this point, the pain was so immense that I had to stop running completely. I had to break my run streak and for six weeks, I didn’t run at all. To hit 1,000 miles seemed impossible and I even wrote a post about not hitting goals that you can read here. Then, during vacation in Sweden after a ton of rehab, stretching and mobility training, I realised I could run again. I focused a lot on posture and biomechanics and I’ve continued the mobility and range of motion training daily. I took a look at my mileage and realized if I ran 3.5 miles on average every day for the rest of the year, I could do it. I ended up running a total of 1,016 miles! I have since the injury ran both a half marathon and a full marathon. It certainly hasn’t been easy but sometimes, our minds give up before they have to.

  • 100-hour Yoga certification. My goal was never to become a Yoga instructor per se but as part of my continued education on the human body and understanding my own injuries, I decided to get the certification. In general, mobility and the performance of muscles with access to their full range of motion is something that has really caught my attention lately. The Yoga certification helped me further that fascination as well as increases my understanding of optimal human biomechanics.

  • TACFit certification. TACFit is something that has interested me for quite some time now and I was finally able to get certified. It offers an incredible amount to human performance and I’m very excited to continue my education with the program.

  • Launching This has been a long time coming and my vision with the online self defense program was always to be able to provide basic self defense skills cheap for as many people worldwide as possible. I can’t think of a more important skill set to possess and I enjoy being able to provide it. The idea was actually born from Shane Fazen of FightTips who recommended me to create it a long time ago but due to many reasons, it was put on the backburner. The pandemic gave me plenty of time to spending time creating and developing the program. It was also during the pandemic that TikTokers Dominic DiTanna and Josette Pimenta also convinced me to start an account. I really had zero interest in learning yet another social media platform, I had just figured hashtags out! However, I’m glad they did because it has really helped my vision of being able to provide self defense to as many people as possible! Check it out for yourself: Click here to get 10 days of free self defense training!

  • Liam’s Life Foundation’s first group event in almost two years. We wanted to have an event where people could partake in the fight against drunk driving, which has been hard to do during the pandemic. A virtual run where people could do it from anywhere at any time seemed to be a good solution to the current state of the world. Our goal was to get 100 people to sign up and to raise $5,000. We didn’t reach our goal of 100 runners but we did raise $5,326 and an additional $1,600 through donations which will all go towards reaching 20,000 highschool kids over the next couple of years to teach them the dangers of drunk driving and how to prevent it going forward. Liam’s Foundation will continue to fight drunk driving and the need for organ donation until we reach our goals, no matter how uphill of a battle we have to face, fighting corruption and greedy politicians.

I’m really excited for a lot of what we have happening in 2022, starting with our Krav Maga & Yoga retreat in Costa Rica from March 26th-April 2nd! To join us for an unforgettable retreat, click here! And what will hopefully be the end of the pandemic and the new goals we’ve set forth, both my own personal goals as well as those for Systems Training Center, Your Krav Maga, Liam’s Life Foundation, and several other projects we are working on! One of the most important parts of goal setting is accountability and celebrating accomplishments. What were some goals you hit this year or set for the coming year?

I'm excited for the year to come for many reasons, some that I can't reveal yet but my goal is to be able to continue to share some of these news in the near future! I enjoy hearing about readers' and followers' success, so please write your biggest accomplishment in the comment section below!

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