Me and Linda, in Spain during December of 2018


Me and Linda, in Spain during December of 2018

Each year, I like to analyze my efforts and the corresponding results.  I call it a year in review.  Part of the review is an objective look at the numbers.  The more important part is deciding how to analyze them.  I am doing this review for the first time in the middle of typing, to ensure that my response is authentic as possible.

To start, it was a normally abnormal year.  Two big life events occurred that required highest priority treatment. First, I had to take the lead in moving my father to an assisted living facility, emptying his home and selling it.  I traveled to his house (about 5 hours round trip) 20 times last year.  This was emotionally taxing, to say the least.  Good news!  He is happy in his new place and all lose ends are tied up.  The 2nd life event was the sale of my business in October.  Before the sale, my daily work habits defined much of me.  Those constraints that came with being an entrepreneur don’t exist anymore.  Yes, I have completed a lot of items on my wife’s honey-do list, but my routine is not the same.

That said, here we go!  By the Numbers:

RUNNING: I competed in 4 competitive running events and got first place in my age category twice.  Both the number of events, the cost of the events and the time required for those events were in line with expectations.  In training, I ran approximately 660 miles in 2018 at an average speed of about 8:45 minutes per mile.  That includes trail running, road running and 50 miles or so of hiking.  I had some 6-minute miles and some 12-minute miles.  This was a good mix of speeds and distances, and I plan to repeat the number of events.  That said, I anticipate running about the same number of miles in 2019 but more of them will be at a higher intensity.

CYCLING: I participated in 11 organized bike rides.  During one of those, my son got injured and required bed rest for a week.  In retrospect, I participated in too many organized cycling events, and they took me away from home on the weekends too often.  I won a Gran Fondo but the net cost for travel, race fees and food was too high.  In 2019, I will be riding in fewer organized events.  I rode about 3100 miles at an average speed of nearly 20 mph.  That includes soft pedaling, long country rides, all out efforts and climbs on the blue ridge parkway.  With the upcoming trip that I am leading for those who want to cycle in Spain, I anticipate the distance will increase but the number of events will shrink.  Click on that link above if you want to learn more about joining me.

STRENGTH TRAINING:  I did 54 hours of strength training that included (mostly) pilates but also neuromuscular work at the start of the season and maximum efforts at our local gym.  This time investment is good, as it directly correlates to injury protection throughout the year, and it looks like I will end 2018 without suffering any injuries.  YES!  I don’t see any reason to either increase or decrease the volume or frequency.

DUATHLON: I completed in two W/C events, and I didn’t do well at either of them, when compared to past efforts.  I had plenty of fitness, but the rental bike that I used cost me 4 mph on the Standard W/C.  That said, I made some lifetime connections during those events that I wouldn’t exchange for a W/C medal.  I also competed in 2 National Championship events and did well as the last one.  I participated in two local/regional events, and I won my age category in one of them and just missed podium at the other.  Overall, a great year for duathlon!  I will only be participating in one W/C in 2019 but will be planning on doing 3 W/C in 2020 when I move to the next age category.

ULTRA-MARATHON: I didn’t participate in any Ultras as a runner and worked an aid station at one of them.  This was a direct result of the stresses in my life, as it takes more effort to prepare for an Ultra than any other event that I like to do.  There will be at least one Ultra in 2019, and I am eyeing a couple of them, already.

METRICS: I had a total Training Stress Score (TSS) of 17,760 for the year.  That is the equivalent of going all out for 177 hours, or an average of ~ 48 TSS per day.  Ideally, that number rises to ~ 65 per day for me to remain ultra-competitive.

FAITH INTEGRATION:  The God of my understanding loves measurement.  He measured the days, the height of Goliath, the size of Noah’s ark and the dimensions of the Temple.  He didn’t use the word “about” or “nearly” when measuring, as God loves the meaning of numbers and the standards of precision that they represent.  My measurements help me a get an understanding of what I accomplished.  My interpretation gives me impetus to plan for next year.

At a somewhat philosophic level, these numbers and my commentary represent how I measure my efforts.  I like the results in 2018, all things considered.   In a world of measurement, here are some of the better questions that I should ask.

How much effort did I put out?  Did I do what my plan specified, or did I go rogue in the middle of the workout?

Did I put out as much as I planned and desired?

Am I OK with these results?

Am I OK with the fitness that came from the effort?

Stay tuned for next year’s plan.  Steal all the ideas from it that you want.  I am getting better next year!

Who cares that I turn 54?  No time like the present to set a personal record!