Saturday, January 11, 2014

2013 Dailymile Summary

I love the day that the year-end dailymile summary lands in my inbox. Usually just a few days after the new year, it's almost like Christmas all over again. 

It gives a nice snapshot of my running and riding year - from miles to "streaks" to pounds burned. No surprise, I like looking back on the year and picking apart the numbers. And comparing it to the previous year. And now, with a few years on the site under my belt, the year before that.

Usually, there are fewer surprises than there are confirmations of what I already know. There's something comforting in that.

So, here we go. My thoughts on the 2013 summary. And, for reference, here's the 2012 summary and the 2011 summary.

  • I logged a total of 1,543 miles in 2013, up a bit (222 miles or 17 percent) from the previous year. I'm definitely happy with the upward trend, after having a complete free-fall (1,200+ fewer miles!) from 2011 to 2012.  But I'm still about 500 miles short of where I need to be to feel really accomplished... whatever that means. Since my goal is to log 2,000 run/ride miles this year, I'm aiming for that "accomplished" benchmark. That means adding more than 450 miles - almost 30 percent more miles! - during the next 12 months. An extra 37.5 miles per month. Or, if I'm on two wheels, an extra long(ish) ride per week. Seems do-able.

  • I logged 10 fewer workouts in 2013 compared to 2012, but increased my per-week miles by four to 29 miles per week. So, fewer workouts, more miles. I credit more bike miles.

  • Speaking of that, 2013 was the first year that cycling overtook running as my "most popular" activity. I spent only 43 percent of my workouts running. It's also the year that I finally decided to change my profile description to read "athlete" instead of "runner." Is is possible I'm just moving away from running?

  • My month-by-month graph is a little more consistent this year, with six months with 100+ miles (including two with 200+), and several in the 60-80 range. What's most noticeable is the glaring blank in September, reminding me that I let "life" get the better of me. Granted, I was putting the finishing touches on my October wedding and finding a new place to live, but I rarely let life push running and riding that much to the side. Plus, my 40-miles in October are a single ride on a tandem bike during my honeymoon. Essentially, that's two whole months (!?) off from running and riding.

  • Like the past three years, I seemed to fade a bit during the last few months of the year. I can't promise that won't happen again this year, but I'll give it a good shot to stay consistent throughout the entire year.

As always, big kudos to dailymile for compiling this report and feeding the insatiable need for stats, trends, facts and figures that us runner-types need. I'm already looking forward to seeing 2014's report.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Four Things for 2014

Normally, I have my goals for the year set in stone, more or less, by the time the calendar flips. This year, despite the fact that I've given them a lot of thought, they've seemed a bit murky until now. 

Perhaps it's because I've done a rather poor job of sticking to my goals - or rather, keeping them in the forefront for the entire year. 

So, what happened? It's probably a combination of things. Big life changes, shifting focus (and sometimes complete lack of focus), declining obsession about miles, tracking and recording less and less. 

Oh, I actually just run and ride less. A lot less.

Despite the fact that I rounded out 2013 with more than 1,500 miles and topped 8,000 miles since I joined dailymile in January 2010, I still only went a fraction of the miles of what I did in years leading up to 2012. I kinda fell apart - mileage-wise - that year and haven't quite gotten back on track. 

In many ways, this year and last, running and riding just became something I casually did, when I found time or when the feeling hit. It wasn't something that the daily routine. It wasn't a given. Gone are weekly long runs with friends, bunches of races on the calendar and cycling adventures, big and small, to fill our weekends.

That said, I've still never been happier - and had probably the biggest year of my life (so far). I became a wife, an auntie, debt-free, an American citizen and moved to a new state. That's a lot for one year, miles or no miles.

But when it comes to running and riding, it seems like 2013 just wasn't enough. It wasn't satisfying for me.

I've been thinking a lot about my goals (still avoiding that r-word) for the upcoming year. My problem, I think, it that I want to do too many things.

So, I've spent the last few days whittling down the list to something tangible, do-able and something I can really focus on for the long-term. Most importantly, I need to keep the list short. Sometimes I just want to do too much. So I'm limiting myself to four things. 

My Four Things for 2014
  • Log 2,000 run/ride miles. That will put me at 10,000 miles since joining daily mile in January 2010, and since that's my main way of tracking, it seems like a wonderfully perfect round number to shoot for. Oh, how I love round numbers. I think, though, I'll probably also go back to good old-fashioned pen-and-paper tracking, too. I did best, I think, when my log/calendar was posted on the fridge, reminding me when I started to slack or had too many "rest" days.

  • Do a race/event each month. I only did two - TWO!? - races in 2013, one on New Year's (a mile!) and the other on Thanksgiving. Somehow I'd become that person who only does holiday races. The Thanksgiving race, the Feaster Five, gave me a bit of the racing bug again --- the vibe, the crowds, everything. I miss it and need more of it. So my plan is to do one organized event -- running or riding, any distance, any format -- each month of the year. It will be fun to plan out a calendar and explore all of the new race options in my new home state. 

  • Run a sub-25 5K. This one might scare me the most and is the biggest question mark on the list. For most of my running "career" (I use that very, very loosely), I've focused only on distance. I've tackled and completed two marathons and countless half marathons, so I know I can log long, slow miles. I think it's time for a change - and a challenge. Shaving this much time off my 5K time (based on my New Year's race time, I have about 4 minutes to go!) will certainly be a stretch. I've signed up for a coaching/track program through the local running club that I hope will get me well on my way. The good thing is that there are so many 5Ks, I can just keep trying. And trying. And trying.

  • One "big" adventure! I'm not sure yet what this will be, but I want to do something big, fun and adventuresome. Something that scares me just a bit. It might be an overnight hike in the mountains or a multi-day cycling adventure or something like Reach The Beach. I'm still looking and planning and weighing the options. Suggestions welcome.

So there you have it. Short and sweet. That doesn't mean I might not still come up with mini "30-day goals" - things like, no sugar, all a.m. workouts, something like that.  And, of course, I'll still have my own personal goals for health, finances, career and life. Lucky for me, I seem to have those under control.

Stay tuned, friends. Here's to 2014!