Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013 Wrap Up

Like many other people I am in the habit of looking back, reflecting, and planning at this time of the year. Don't take that statement wrong. I am not a "New Years resolution" guy. It's just not my thing. I review and resolve almost daily, so I rarely come up with self-help, uplifting, life changing epiphanies or motivations just because the calendar and culture incite self-doubts or aspirations. It is my shortcomings, varied life interests, and that incessant depletion of my time on Earth that continually motivate me to make changes in latitude or attitude.

With that in mind I am dedicating this post to some data and then another to some photos. Both will focus, as usual, on some of the sport and travel/adventures of my life. I also want to point out the fact that I really haven't put much thought into the upcoming year. I only know that I intend to greet the sun while I run, cycle fast while keeping the rubber side down, seek adventures in old and new landscapes, travel often cheaply, and comply with my insatiable desire to make and develop friendships.

My entry into the 2013 numbers and memories game . . .

Mileage that matters with (weekly doses):

Running miles:  869 (16.7 mpw) - at least one run* per week
Cycling miles: 1902 (57.6 mpw) - only cycled 33 weeks
Hiking miles:  225 (4.3 mpw) - appalling
Driving miles:  21,246 (409 mpw) - some long road trips

I am pretty sure that I ran and cycled fewer miles than any of the recreational and serious athletes I know of. This level suits me. I train for healthy living, not for a purpose in life. I don't get training injuries. I train smart for long term fitness and for happiness. I race to test myself and to enjoy the company of like-minded people. I drive a lot because I love the open road and because that is how I travel to most of these wonderful races and adventures.
*Many of the summer runs turned into walks as I struggled with the nerve injury.

Some other 2013 numbers that may or may not matter:

Weight:   143 lbs  (since 1986)
States Visited:   15  (not nearly enough!)
Height:   5'9"  (and holding since 1982)
Breweries Visited:   31  (a solid, but improvable mark)
Races:   15  (not including two DNS)
Nerves Damaged:   1  (pain in the neck!)
Age:   28  (since 1991)
BMI:   21  (static)
Summits:   13  (far too few for true happiness)
Wineries Visited:  14  (all in one day!)  ((not really))
Resting HR:  34  (most mornings)
National Parks Visits:  8  (a down year, but I sense an upswing)
Broken bones:   2  (hey, it was a good year!)
Max HR:  191  (based on yearly tests)
Stouts Drank:   365 (I didn't count, but this sounds dreamy)
Ultras run:   0  (SAD - see note on Races above)

Top Performances - before the nerve damage was recognized - I was already dragging my left foot and weaving down the road on the bike - I just hadn't yet realized I was broken because of the slow buildup of symptoms.

Bike: 10K for Senior (ouch) Games (Eville) - 13:54 (26.8 mph)
          The legs did not feel powerful that day and I rode the wrong
          bike or I would have also raced the 5K - it was my
          warm up in 7:28.

Run:  Oak Barrel Half Marathon (Lynchburg, TN) - 1:19:59 (6:06 pace)
          Not because I won, since I know the field was downy soft.
          I've run faster there, but I ran alone at an even pace (6 splits
          @ sub-5:50) on that tough course - and I set a PR of 7:08
          on the fifth mile up Whiskey Hill.

Du:    Du Worlds (Ottawa, CA) - The euphoria of getting to the starting line
          was as exciting as stepping onto the podium with a friend. I am
          extremely proud to have overcome the burdens of that life
          changing experience. I am also thankful for all of the people
          and technology (Polar) that manipulated my body and
          guided me to that podium. The defining effort of 2013.

Most Enjoyable Race:

Turkey Track Trail Half Marathon (Pagosa Springs, CO) This race was well organized. The winding and rolling course was scenic and tranquil. And they put together the best post-race party EVER - at the Pagosa Springs Brewery. Also, I'll admit my vertical bias leans toward this race since it marked the highest altitude I raced at in 2013 with an average of 8000 feet. I only wish I had been acclimated and healthy. Come to think of it, the mocha and ambiance at Higher Grounds Coffee rivaled any I've experienced, including City on a Hill in Leadville. Hey, Pagosa Springs, do you need a darned good chemistry teacher?

Honorable mention goes to the LBL Trail Run because I love that trail.

Most Memorable Trip:

The Colorado trip (CO, USA) - I basically circumnavigated the state as I tried to keep ahead of and away from the fires (I failed over and over). I especially enjoyed the time spent exploring and hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park and at Mesa Verde. I've experienced them both before, but not like I did last summer. Huge thank you and hug to the Idiots who put me up and put up with me during my stay in the front range.

Honorable mention goes to the Tucson trip during which I raced, spent valuable time with family, and studied the desert at the amazing Sonora Desert Museum with friends.

Best New Brewery:

Easy choice here. Elevation Beer Co. in Poncha Springs, CO. I've experimented as a brewer for 25 years and I've tasted beers in 125 microbreweries as I have traveled all over the country. Beer for beer, these boys have formulated some of the fullest flavored and balanced ingredient beers I've tasted. Heck, I even liked their First Cast IPA - and I'm not an IPA fan. Because I wasn't going to be able to get any of this fine brew in Indiana, I removed several valued personal items from the car in order to take home a generous supply of Browns Canyon, Third Base, and False Summit to share with friends.

Honorable mentions go to the Lift Bridge Brewing Co. (MN), Wicked Weed (NC), and Pagosa Springs Brewery (CO). All three make great tasting beers that are definitely worth the visit.

Given that the nerve injury minimized my training and racing while also causing me to turn home en route to a major trip, I must admit that 2013 was a tough year that tested my mettle thoroughly. As usual, I will try to focus on the high points when I reminisce and story tell. The only other thought I have right now is, "It's time to move on."  ST


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