Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 - It also happened

We runners have great short-term memories. Run a PR a week ago, and we're flying high. But this what-have-you-done-for-me-lately attitude toward our bodies creates a near-depressive state when we're in the throes of an injury. This is the story of my 2016. I know that some good things happened at some point, but that's ancient history as far as I'm concerned. The life I now know consists of everything but running -- some swimming, a little lifting, the occasional hike, some painful yoga, and many failed attempts to resume running. Even cycling isn't an option. I know I will eventually be able to run again, but the "when" and its accompanying uncertainty are crushing my spirit on a daily basis. 

But you can't have downs without ups, and since this year-end post is not meant to dwell in the present, but to visit the past, let's look at the year in its entirety. 


A few bullets to summarize the year, with a positive spin...

  • Ran my fewest miles in three years, BUT it was only slightly lower than the last two years despite missing a bunch of time with various injuries. 
  • Only ran five races, BUT three were road PRs (5K, 4-mi, and Half Marathon). Placed in top-4 in all five races.
  • Nearly eclipsed 100,000 feet elevation gain without specifically targeting hilly/mountainous runs. The benefits of living where I live...
  • Experimented with some new training plans that seemed to work well without overstressing my fragile body.
  • Ran in four different countries (in a single week, no less) - US, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Germany. The latter two were places I'd never visited before.

A graphical summary of the year

2016 mileage was in line with the previous two years' mileage. A plateau is forming...
Weekly workout time by activity (top), daily weight (which I tracked for the first time ever this year), and sickness and injury timelines. The darker colors in the injury timeline indicate when an injury became too severe to run/bike.
Holiday-themed summary of last year's injuries.
I had the data, so I threw this together just to see how things shook out. No surprise here that the weekend dominates, as opportunity and motivation tend to align. The Tuesday bump was unexpected, though. (Note: this only includes the activities in the chart above, so no lifting, hiking, or yoga.)


Now for a not-so-positive review of the year. Here are my goals with their associated outcomes:
  1. Run more miles than in 2015 FAIL
    • 1088 vs. 1136. Was on pace for my best post-college annual mileage, and then the hip happened. Maybe next year...
  2. Get and stay injury-free FAIL
    • Did a nice job recovering from and holding off the knee and Achilles injuries earlier in the year, but the ankle sprain in July and hip injury that struck in October made sure there was no doubt I'd miss this goal.
  3. Sub-1:16 half-marathon FAIL
    • Ran 1:16:47. Close but no cigar.
  4. Sub-16 5K PASS
    • Just eked out a 15:59 in May. I'll take it.
  5. Jump and touch a 10-ft rim (this was inspired by Greg's blog. Who knows what's after this. Maybe a two-handed dunk in 2017??) FAIL
    • I didn't even remember this goal until pulling these together from last year's post. I think this may have to wait until my next life.
  6. 20 consecutive pull-ups FAIL
    • Hadn't counted on not having a convenient place to do pull ups to train for this. Let's try again in 2017.
  7. More data analysis! PASS
    • Lots of this in 2016. I'll have to post some of the results here for proof at some point in the next few weeks.

Miscellaneous Stats

  • Highest mileage week (Mon-Sun) = 35 miles (7/25 - 7/31)
  • Highest mileage 7-day period = 53 miles (6/24 - 6/30)
  • Lowest mileage week = 0 miles (4 times) - Knee pain (Feb), Hip pain (Dec)
  • Most hours run/bike in week = 9:00 (7/25 - 7/31) - Rest of family on vacation, so I played
  • Longest run = 15 miles (9/18) - Trail race, plus long cool down
  • Most climbing on a run = 3018 ft (7/5) - Kearsarge North in Maine (ironic, given that there's so much elevation to gain in California). Also, coincidentally, this was the same exact day as my highest elevation gain run in 2015.
  • Longest ride = 32.8 miles (8/6) - not the best year for biking, thanks to the hamstring issue
  • Most climbing on a ride = 2135 ft (7/30)
  • Number of races = 5 (1st place -1 time, 2nd place - 2 times, 4th place - 2 times)
  • Number of states run in: 8 - CA, WA, OR, NY, ME, MA, NH, RI
  • Number of countries run in: 4 - USA, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany
  • Total running elevation gain: ~97,000 ft. Just missed 100,000, which would have been cool. Doubtless I've ever get this much again after moving back east next year.

My favorite photos from runs in 2016

Seattle and Mt. Rainier in the distance (February)

Descending San Bruno Mt outside San Francisco with college friend Ben (June)
View of Sky Top and Mohonk Mountain House from Eagle Cliff in New Paltz (June)
View of the Trapps from Laurel Ledge in New Paltz (June)
Descending the Bonticou rock scramble in New Paltz (June)
View from the top of Kearsarge North (July)
Aftermath of ankle sprain (July)
View back toward our house from the flanks of Boney Moutain (Aug)
How my legs and feet often look after running on these dusty trails (Aug)
Silhouette of Mike with ocean in the distance, short walk from our house (Sep)
My occasional partners in crime (September)
View of Dos Vientos from hills near home (September)
Unexpected view toward Santa Rosa valley near Amgen (September)
Munich Olympic Stadium (October)
Downtown Breda, Netherlands (October)
Sunrise in Ireland (October)

Goals for 2017

  1. Get and stay injury-free
  2. PR in at least one distance
  3. Set personal best in two of my favorite RI races: Blessing and Li'l Rhody
  4. Do 20 consecutive pull ups
  5. Swim consistently 
  6. Do drills and strides at least once a week (when injury-free)
  7. Maintain consistent training after the new baby (March) and move back to RI (June)
Happy New Year, everyone!


  1. All in all while there are many more fails (5) than passes (2), it was a good year wasn't it? You and Katie have a new family member on the way, you no longer have to worry about Muddy strutting around in your spikes naked in your garage after June, and you can label correctly on a gingerbread man where you have boo boos! Happy New Year Chris!! You really can't do 20 pull ups?

    1. Thanks for always putting a positive spin on things, Beth. I'll work on those pull-ups...

  2. Sorry about the injuries but a hell of a year end write-up. Looking forward to running with you again when you move back to RI. Oh and congrats on the forthcoming new addition!

  3. I absolutely love this post. So many things to look at and "aspie" over. I'm overwhelmed.

    Beth, I will continue to do naked pull ups in Chez Garvin, whilst wearing spikes, through June and beyond.

    1. Oh good! I'm sure the neighbors will be entertained!

  4. I like #7! Get back soon though, before Mr. Puddin' befouls all that you hold dear in the Ocean State...

  5. Cool post! Comments / questions:
    - Were aqua jog and kayaking one-time events? They don't seem to repeat in other months.
    - The "aftermath of ankle sprain" picture should be in your blog header. It's a nice color spectrum of purple, red, and black.
    - Dusty trail legs pics get runner-up vote.
    - You get sick way too often. What's wrong with you?
    - What the heck is "uvulitis"? Is that some affliction of your vulva?
    - Breda looks like a very cool place to run.

    1. Replies, in sequence:
      - I kayaked a couple other times but didn't log it. And I aqua jogged once recently for just 10 minutes, so that didn't make the cut either. Thanks for noticing.
      - Thank you - it's my own flavor of body art.
      - I knew you'd like that one.
      - Katie asks me that every day.
      - Uvulitis - infection of the uvula. It is painful. Though less painful than the same of vulva, as you no doubt know.
      - Breda was awesome. I'd live there if given the opportunity.

  6. Just don't run slow like Grandma Seth Acton and you should be good to go!