Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Year in Review

Another year gone. Craziness! Looking back at last year's review, I had laid out several goals, and accomplished most of them one way or another.  While I didn't tackle the Providence marathon again, I smashed my times at all distances.  I had wanted to run a 1:35 half marathon this year and ended up with a 1:24!  I didn't end up wearing the Vibrams that much but I did transition to more minimal footwear for a good portion of my runs on both road and trail.  I'm pleased with the results.

This year was yet another big jump in mileage.  I had an unofficial goal of hitting 30 miles every week and I was successful 85% of the time!  From 1265 miles in 2012 to 1800 in 2013!  I don't see myself stretching out into Hammett territory any time soon and I think we'll be seeing my mileage output peak in the near future due to commitments and time/desire to run.  However I'm very happy that I was able add 500 miles each of the last two years (especially since I was able to do it staying mostly injury-free this year.)

This year also marked my first foray into the world of ultramarathons.  The TARC 50k Spring Classic didn't go as well as I would have liked (went out way too fast, no doubt about it) but I still finished in under 5 hours and didn't feel completely beat up by the experience.  Eating a mountain of chinese food the night before probably didn't help either.

Towards the end of 2012 I began to incorporate some P90X routines into my workouts and I kept it up through 2013 (back issues after our backpacking trip in October put the kibosh on P90X through the fall but but December has seen the return of Tony Horton in my basement.)  As you can see from the following color coded spreadsheet, I switched up the workouts but was always doing something.

I really liked mixing my running with the P90X.  I often only ran four days a week this year but I made big improvements at every distance.  Certainly the cumulative miles is the #1 reason but I don't discount the benefit of these workouts, especially for the longer trail events.

I would also be remiss if I didn't mention the incredible work that my wife Amanda did this year.  Three triathlons, several 5ks and an 8 mile trail race.  She has a full list of challenges she's planning for 2014 and I can't wait to see her in action!

And now, my top five running accomplishments of 2013:

The fourth race of the South County 4th Season Trail series, it was originally planned as a 10 miler through the Burlingame campgrounds.  By all rights it should have been cancelled by the blizzard that hit us two days prior.  However RD Mike Galoob was crazy enough to hold it anyway and about 18 of us were crazy enough to run it.  The resulting race was shortened to five miles and became a brutal slog through snow that was knee deep in places.  As exhausting as it was, it was awesome running through a pristine winter wonderland.  I ended up finishing 4th out of 9 who completed the full 5 mile race - almost catching Jonny at the very end.  A completely unique event that probably won't be duplicated in southern Rhode Island any time soon and that's why it made the list.

Not my fastest 10k of the year but I'm really proud of this race because I finished 8th out of 542.  I'm especially happy with the push I mustered over the last 1/2 mile which was uphill and brutal.  This is one of the more unique races I ran this year- racing over the Jamestown Bridge was a tough but fun experience.

This was another mid-distance race where I really surprised myself.  After not doing stellar in 2012, I didn't have much interest in returning to the madness that is the Blessing of the Fleet.  Yet the allure of this race is strong and somehow I decided to register again.  It proved to be a smart move.  I ran very even splits and finished in under 64 minutes, good enough for 79th place in a competitive field.  Special thanks to Ben Folsom for passing me at Mile 6 and pulling me along the rest of the way.

2: Half Marathon Mayhem

I ran three great races at what I think has become my favorite distance. Long enough to feel suitably epic but short enough to warrant little recovery time, I think the half marathon plays to my strengths and gives me a chance to make moves. At the Ocean's Run 1/2 back in March I improved my PR from 1:53 to 1:25. This was a huge confidence boost and showed me what I was capable of. A month later, the Big River 1/2 trail marathon proved a different sort of challenge. Running alone on the twisty singletrack wore everyone out and many people lost their way as a result. I managed to stay the course and finished 9th overall. Then as summer came to an end, I set a new PR of 1:24 at the Surftown 1/2 in Westerly. This was a big race and I was really happy to place 2nd in my age group. I was also really pleased with the push I had on a hill with a few miles to go as it gave me some distance over my competitors.
I returned to the NipMuck in the hopes of running a sub-four hour race. I ended up surpassing all my expectations and finishing third in 3:42:52, despite the rainy conditions (or because of them?)  I was in third place for most of the race and spent much of the race alone, putting a good amount of distance over my competitors.  What really stands out is just how good I felt throughout - there was no running on fumes like at TARC or the previous Nipmuck.  I was completely in the zone and was able to keep my pace up all the way through to the finish.  This was easily my best race of the year.

Looking forward to 2014, I've a couple challenges in mind:
  • While I'm not 100% sold on the idea yet, I'm looking at tackling another road marathon in the spring.  Most likely it will be the Providence marathon again.  I've now run three trail marathons to my one road and while the idea of 26.2 miles of pavement doesn't exactly fill me with joy, I do want to see what I'm capable of.  I feel that with proper training, a sub three hour race can be mine.
  • I want to attempt another ultramarathon, likely in the fall.  I've got a comped entry into 2014 NipMuck so I'm thinking I'll use that as a long training run for a 50k in late October/November.  Of course, after seeing Crutchley and his massive cahones sign up for the Cayuga 50, it makes me wonder about...other races.
  • I guess a mileage goal of 2000 miles is an appropriate benchmark.
  •  Of course I'd also like to improve my PR at other distances though at the moment no particular numbers come to mind.  Save one.

As always, thanks to everyone who has read my blog over the last year.  I've enjoyed writing about my adventures and documenting my various hobbies and I hope you all found it interesting.  Thanks to all my WTAC cohorts for some great group runs this year.  I'm looking forward to another great year of running and racing in 2014!


  1. Admirable accomplishments this year! You really did have a great year. Road marathons suck. Congratulations on awesome accomplishments and Good Luck to Amanda too!!!

  2. Nice recap and a stellar year, Seth. That Snowy Sufferfest was really cool. Here's to more fun in 2014.

  3. Dude, you fully killed it this year...miles, races, beer making, what have you - the "I'm running outta my mind!" quote during the Nipmuck race was awesome. Good times in 2013, looking forward to even more in 2014! (And you're welcome to join me at the CT50...should be a helluva good time, and Ithaca has unreal scenery/beer)

  4. you had a great year - stay away for XBOX

  5. thought you would enjoy this

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  6. Spreadsheets and graphs?! This is my kind of post. Congrats on the great year, Seth. Looking forward to more runs together in 2014.