This was the year that my good friend Ben Ingram finished up his PhD...
It's also the number of miles I ran this year, which is the most I've run since I started keeping track in 2005 (I wonder how many I was running during college, when my average weeks through the year were more like 80 instead of 40...)
I capped off the month of December with 216 miles, also the most I've run since March of 2009 (two months before getting hit). My last four weeks have been: 30, 44, 53, 60 and with yesterday's long run, this week was 61. It feels mostly pretty good to be running slightly higher mileage right now, of course, I have not touched my bike this month. That wasn't by design, rather by laziness. And just the fact that I only have so much energy, and on a whim I signed up for the Charleston Marathon (Jan 14) so I figured I'd be better off not riding and instead focusing on running a little more. I've gotten more comfortable again running in the 70-90 minute range, and I've even done a few workouts, like this little gem on Tuesday:
4800m: 17:50 (5:55, 5:58, 5:57)
3200m: 11:48 (5:54, 5:54)
2:45 rest (to wait for Dustin to come around)
The 6 minute pace or just under felt okay, I certainly don't feel as comfortable running that as I used to, but the fact I can still do it is pretty cool.
The pool this month was weird. I felt great in the beginning of the month, still somewhat fresh after AZ, but as the weeks went on, and the running mileage went up, I was no longer feeling as good. I ended the month with 30,000m of swimming, which was well up from the 17k I swam last December. However, the 0 miles on the bike was well below the monster 40 miles I rode last December. So it evened out.
If I were going to grade myself for the month of December, it would look like:
Swimming - A. 30k in the pool in my "off" month is pretty good, and I actually did a few things like a) attempted to swim more strokes, including butterfly and even attending my first ever swim practice. (7 people in my lane!)
Cycling - F. Ha. I mean, I can't justify any better grade for that considering I put up a goose egg. Would you get a grade if you didn't go to class and didn't turn in any assignments? Well, depending on your major. I suppose my friend Greg still did at least earn a 0.42 GPA that first semester of college...
Running - A+. 216 miles for the month, a 7 day stretch of 68 miles, workouts, feeling good. That's a very positive end to the year for me. I don't think I've had to do any runs completely by myself, we've had an awesome group lately, so I'm very thankful for that. The friendly weather for December certainly helped, as I haven't been cold yet. Even my chilblains haven't showed up in full effect, so that's been good.
My long run yesterday KO'd me. 17 miles in Mt. Washington area with Dustin, Nate, Conrad, and Seth. After getting back to Gilman, I hopped on the track for two miles at 6:50, 6:45, and that effort felt much easier than most of the rest of the run. I'm hopeful it's enough to get me to the line in Charleston in good shape. Not ideal, but then again, neither was this abbreviated training cycle. I didn't go out on NYE, didn't have anything to drink, so I could be ready for Sunday's run, and afterwards I felt like I had been out until 6 in the morning. I kept my New Year's Day tradition of Chinese food following the run, with Alyssa, and basically sat on the couch all day and watched episodes of ABC's Once Upon a Time.
I'm going to do something a little different for my end of the year wrap-up this year, but I'll get to that this week. For now, I'll do my final overall grades for the year:
Swimming - B+. You can study and study and study, but if you don't do well on tests, what would your teachers have to grade you on? This year I took a slightly different approach to swimming, and it offered mixed results. In my shorter distance races, I did not feel like I performed very well, but in 3 of my 4 longer races (half IM and up) I felt like I did pretty well. I had a poor swim at Columbia, and while I thought I did well at Eagleman, I still lost a lot of time. Part of this was, due to the very warm spring and summer, water temps prohibited wetsuits, and I didn't pick up a speedsuit until August. NJ Tri was probably my worst swim of the year, but then I had a great day at IM Louisville, Waterman's Half, and a good result at IM Arizona. I swam 443,500m (275 miles) this year, which was way down from 2010 (I think something like 550k), but in the end, had better IM swims. I'll be changing it up again for 2012 to try and improve on my weak areas.
Cycling - B. Good rides at Columbia and Eagleman were overshadowed by a summer of incredible bad luck. Flats were the trend for me this year, and the most frustrating episode came when I rode the Luray course with my rear wheel completely jammed up against the chainstay. I felt like I made progress to get back to where I had been, especially at the races that I could compare previous performances, but then I had lackluster days at some, including the big two (IMLou, IMAZ). I rode 5569 miles this year, and at least I enjoyed most of my rides. Need to figure out what I'm doing for 2012, which will feature fewer triathlons, so it may feature less riding overall.
Running - A. Hard to not at least pat myself on the back a little bit for some of my performances. Two 17:46 5k track races within a month of each other, on either end of an Ironman, and a half marathon PR of 1:18:38 just three weeks after the IM were pretty good results for me. I would say my best triathlon run of the year was at Waterman's, when I was comfortably able to go 1:33:03 on a challenging course, or the 5k at Randolph Lake Sprint. Every other race was a worthless piece of garbage on the run for me. I did also manage a 1:00:12 at Club Challenge, which was, looking back, a great race for me, and the 1:21:49 half in January was a big result, especially considering when it was. I ran 1968 miles, as I mentioned, which was a lot for me. Average of 37/week, next year's goal is going to be around 40/week for the year, which I suspect may be a little higher as I focus on running for more of the year.