Saturday, January 12, 2013

Diving Into The 2012 Numbers

Ah, it's that time of year again. No, not the time to face and lay out New Year's resolutions. It's time to dive into my dailymile summary.

I admit I anxiously await this report at the start of each year, with its bright colors, fun graphics and all sorts of analysis of my running and riding life (at least as recorded on dailymile) way beyond what I keep track of during the year.

This year, however, I had an itty-bitty bit of dread as I awaited the report. I knew it was going to show me what I already knew. This past year hasn't measured up to the past two, when it comes to running and riding.

I looked back at my thoughts on my 2011 report. Then I turned my thoughts to how 2012 compared. Wow.

  • I logged 1,321 miles in 2012, compared to 2,529 in 2011. That's 1,208 fewer miles this year. 1,208! 1,208? 1,208!? That's 100 miles a month fewer miles than last year. It almost seems impossible to me. But I know it's right. I knew I dropped back in miles. I guess I just  didn't realize how much my mileage dropped off this year. Certainly my Boston Marathon training miles gave a huge boost to the start of 2011 that I didn't have this year. But, more than that, the fact that my bike spent much more time in my front hallway than on the road contributes to the paltry number of miles I logged this year. 

  • Surprisingly, I logged 10 more workouts (192) than I did last year (182). Obviously, these were much shorter workouts.

  • The average number of miles I logged each week took a deep dive, from 48 miles per week in 2011 to 25 miles per week in 2012.

  • Also taking a nose-dive was the stat showing the number of pounds I burned through logged activities, from 41 pounds burned in 2011 to 26 pounds burned in 2012. That means, all other things being equal, I gained 15 pounds this year. Yup, sounds about right. (Ugh.) What's most interesting about this is that, as I take on this 26.2-pound weight loss journey, I'm struggling with changing my eating habits - or, I should say, struggling with wanting to change. Certainly there's enough there for a whole other post, so I'll jump into more of that at another time. 

  • I had six months of the year in which I logged more than 100 miles (running and riding combined). But 100+ miles a month when you're using two wheels, rather than just two feet, isn't that hard. Even still, it wasn't long ago that I set the standard to run 100 miles a month. What happened? In 2011, I had only three sub-100 months. Interestingly, they were the last three months of the year - which I could credibly argue were just the lead-up to 2012.

  • When I reviewed my 2011 report at this time last year, I noted it was a year of the highest-highs and lowest-lows - with one month topping 700+ miles and one barely reaching 20 miles. This year, I seemed to be more consistent (but consistently low?) and avoided the extreme peaks and valleys. I was surprised to see that my lowest mileage month, December at 31 miles, was higher than 2011's lowest month, also December. 

  • Speaking of consistency, this is what might stand out to me the most on this year's report (aside from 1,208 fewer miles this year?! I mentioned that, right?). Last year, one of the things I wanted to work on was balance. I wasn't talking about balance in running and riding; I wanted to work on the balance between work and life, between running and riding and life. Just general life balance. I think I did that. What's interesting, however, is that it resulted in a huge imbalance in my running and riding. I went from a 56/44  run/bike split last year to a 67/37 run/bike breakdown this year. 

  • When it comes to "Karma"- how much I interacted with my dailymile community - the imbalance is even more stark. In 2011, the split was nearly even. This year, I sent 332 comments, compared to the 1,672 I received. It may be hard to realize why this is important, but the motivation that the dailymile community has given me in previous years is notable - and perhaps a reason that my mileage slacked? I don't know for sure. But I do know that I started to use the site this year more as a place just to log workouts, rather than a place to connect, learn and be inspired.

I give a lot of credit (and thanks) to dailymile for pulling together this report. I've been struggling a lot to figure out the motivation behind these numbers, but being able to see these stats and compare to previous years is a step in the right direction to figure out what happened. But more importantly, to figure out what I want to happen in 2013.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Way For New Year's Resolutions

It's probably no surprise that for the past few weeks my mind's been swirling with resolutions - or, as I prefer to think of them, my goals for the upcoming year.

For the past several years of my running-life, I've laid out specific, track-able goals for running and riding. Things like miles, paces and other black-and-white markers that would tell me whether I succeeded or failed.

For years, I did great at these. Success after success, reaching farther and pushing harder to do things I never thought I could (or would) do. I continued to raise the bar higher and higher.

But the higher the bar got, the less I tried to reach it. I simply stopped thinking about my goals. Somehow - and for a reason I haven't yet figured out - they didn't matter any more. Flat out, I failed.

Last year, I declared a do-over to 2011, as a way to redeem myself for not hitting my mileage goals. This year, I ended the year without even knowing how many miles I logged. I used to know that stuff inside and out. I don't need to tally things up to know that I missed it, again. By a long shot.

So what do I do now? A do-do-over? I certainly can't bear the thought of that.

I think the first thing I need to do is figure out why I'm not hitting the marks any more. Or, I should say, why I'm not trying to hit those marks.

What I do know is that I'm happier, life-wise, than I've ever been. And I love that. I love my life, my career, my wonderful sweetie, our lives together. I honestly have a strong sense of calm and satisfaction when I think about my life.

If I'm so happy with everything else - the important things in life, maybe those mileage goals just don't matter to me anymore? It's a strange thing for me, who's always been driven by goals, track-able things with charts and graphs, to face. I love coming up with a big goal or project and breaking it down into manageable, achievable parts.

So, here I am on New Year's Day, thinking about the upcoming year and the best way to line up my goals. Again. But this year I'm going to try it a little differently.

I'm not going to create my usual checklist of things to do this year. Instead, I'm going to focus on some things I'd like to improve - both for running/riding, but mostly in life.

And this year I'm going to forget about that whole year thing. I'm only focusing on one quarter at a time (I guess that corporate world is rubbing off on me). I'll get through the first quarter of the year, then assess how I've done and adjust, add, edit and delete from as necessary.

That said, here's what I can expect in the first few months of the year.

FITNESS & HEALTH. Instead of specific mileage or pace goals or races on the calendar, I've made a commitment to get fitter. At this point in my life, it means dropping some of the pounds that have added up over the past couple of years. (Hmmm, correlation between not hitting my running/riding goals and added pounds?) In my last post, I declared that I wanted to drop 26.2 pounds - because, hey, I like when I can tie numbers to things. This somehow seemed appropriate. I started this very, very slowly, cutting back on portion sizes and passing on the drinks with dinner. I dropped five pounds, but after a week or so of vacation (and dinners out at fantastic restaurants and, basically, too much holiday cheer), I definitely need to get back on it. I met with a personal trainer and talked about my goal(s). I have my first session on Friday. Yikes!?

BE IN THE MOMENT. I've often prided myself on my ability to multi-task. But even good things can go too far. I've noticed, more and more often, that I'm always trying to do two things (or more!) at once. And, with my attention divided, I often end up missing the moment I'm in. No, I don't need to answer emails while I'm on a conference call. No, I don't need to scroll through Facebook while watching television or check my phone while someone's talking to me. Maybe I'll even just drive during my commute, instead of always using it to return phone calls. It sounds simple enough, but this one with be a tough one for me.

DOLLARS & CENTS. I made good - no, great! - strides in the finances department in 2012. I hit my goal, and then some, to reduce my debt by half. I'm so close to being debt-free that I can taste it. I'll continue to consciously chip away at it and enjoy the light at the end of the tunnel. Along those lines, I think the first part of the year is a good time to focus on finances, in general. Saving a little here, a little there will go a long way to helping us with some of the big plans we have this year.

MISCELLANEOUS STUFF.  Remember that morning workouts are a good thing. Keep up with weekly running dates with my running buddy. Be aware of my posture and sit up straight. Don't text and drive. See friends and family. Work hard. Do things outside. Write more. Just enjoy life. Oh, and do some thinking about why those goals for the past two years didn't work.