Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2015 Year in Review

With another year of running in the books, it's time to look back on my highs and lows.  Last year ended one of those lows, with my knee all janked up from two long punishing races spread two weeks apart, NipMuck trail marathon and Bimbler's Bluff 50k.  As a result the yearly recap was doom & gloom and I didn't even bother to list some goals for 2015.  Oh well.

The year started off with low mileage and lingering knee soreness.  The crazy amount of snowfall made winter running impossible in both the woods and the city.  I spent a good amount of time on the country roads of Seekonk where at least there was a shoulder to run.  During these cold months I didn't do much in the way of long runs and the highlights were mostly restricted to the 4th Season trail races.  I ran the Ocean's Run 1/2 which confirmed that I was much slower than last year and not in great racing shape.  Additional, I had a pinched nerve from doing push-ups so I spent much of the winter going to PT and avoiding any cross training all together.

As the weather warmed I began to increase my mileage but my appetite for racing wasn't there.  I didn't have the base for a long spring race and I didn't have the speed for shorter fare.  I stuck to maintenance miles instead.  By late summer I was getting back to longer runs but they were usually capped at 16-17 miles.  Running in East Providence this year proved to be less than ideal - running on city sidewalks isn't great and the nearby trail offerings got boring after a while.  I did push myself to the brink for a Strava elevation challenge in July of 16k feet which was grueling but satisfying.

With the fall came a return to racing.  In addition to the standard Mews and L'il Rhody races, I also finally tackled another ultra and had a grand hiking adventure (see below).  November wore me out and my mileage crept down after that but I finished the year with just over 2000 miles, a goal I had in mind but one I didn't want to articulate until I was near the finish line.  In December I also got to go to southern California for work, taking advantage of the amazing canyon trails that Chris Garvin now calls home.

And now as always, the top races/adventures of 2015:

This race wasn't particularly memorable but in a year when my road speed was clearly down, I still managed to put up a good time on this mix of beach and easy trails.  This was the last race before Mother Winter beat the shit out of us.  It's also memorable as the last time I'll probably ever beat Matthew Walker.  It took a serious fall on his part to make it happen but I'll take it.

This is always a fun mid-summer race with top notch competition.  The second lap is a bear but I managed a 18 second PR on the course.  WTAC also bested Super Hammett Bros. and pocketed a goodly amount of beers.

I had been interested in trying a trail relay for some time and was delighted to join Bob Jackman's squad of Rhode Island runners.  The camping, night laps, beer drinking and exhaustion made for a memorable and challenging experience.  Highly recommended!

I thew my hat in the ring for this race at the last minute.  I had never done a timed event before and the short loop format was more enjoyable than I would have thought.  Despite my lack of long runs my legs performed dutifully, carrying me past the 50k mark before damage control kicked in.  I ended up 4th overall and the third male, reaching a new distance record of 40.5 miles.  A true confidence booster that made me excited to try something long in 2016!

I had thought about a long solo backpacking trip for some time.  It came together in October with an attempt to complete the 31 mile Pemi Loop in the White Mountains.  Weather and gear ultimately prevented me from completing the loop, but I got to camp on my own and brave the elements.  The second night I stayed at the Greenleaf Hut and my buddy Rob joined me on Day Three for a frosty ascent of Mt. Lafayette.  A truly memorable trip. 

So we say goodbye to 2015.  Not a PR year for Seth, but a solid rebuilding year.  Looking ahead, here's what I hope to accomplish in 2016:

  • Set some PRsMy dream of matching Seth 1.0 may never happen.  I'm just not that fast and I don't know if I have the drive to push myself to a 5k PR at this point.  But there's definitely room for improvement at longer distances.  I will need to get back to some honest speed work to make this a reality though.
  • Run a sub 4 hour 50k - I'm leaning towards running the Pinelands 50k again.  It will depend of family plans, etc but if I do, I want to really race it and push the pace.  I ran under 4:06 in 2014 and while six minutes is a lot of time I think with the proper training I can get it done.  I have a tendency to underestimate my goals so this may be veering too far in the opposite direction but whatever.  Let's do it!
  • A return to cross-training - My P90X days may be over.  Or maybe they're not.  Either way, I definitely need to get back to consistent strength/core training.  I also want to hit the yoga studio more often. And finally...
  • More mountain adventures - I hear the call of the White Mountains all the time.  The family got snowshoes for Christmas so I want us to head up there for more mountain adventures in 2016.  Hopefully we can work some more hut trips into the mix as well.

Thanks to everyone for reading my blog and thanks to my running friends for making it another fun year.  Thanks to my wife for being supportive of all of my grand adventures.  See you on the trails!


  1. Great year! All the best for 2016!

  2. Great recap, Seth! I hope to join you on some of those outings!!!

  3. Great write-up, indeed. I am pining for a 50K trail run myself, but no immediate plans. Snowshoeing that I did last winter with WLT was a lot of fun. Happy 2016!

  4. You did some really cool events in 2015. You are a monster in those long races. Hope 2016 treats you well! Go get em.