Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Year in Review

It's been a quiet year for the blog with a couple attempts to restart it that just haven't taken.  It is what it is - suffice to say I'm not that keen on blogging these days.  I'll try to be more consistent in 2018.  That falls in line with other things I need to work on but we'll get to that down below.

Currently I'm sick and have been ever since I came back from my California work conference three weeks ago.  I've had a hacky cough and have had bouts of head colds and lethargy.  I need to get it checked soon as this cough is annoying.  California was a great time and running out there was an absolute joy.  Between getting up early to run and putting in long days at the conference it's not surprising that I got sick but it's unfortunate as California derailed my morning meditation ritual and since I've been sick my motivation to run has been nilch.  Sucks 'cause I'm off from work on Christmas break and I'm just not feeling it.

Running-wise I'd say this year was a disappointment overall. I finished with around 1500 miles up from 1400 last year.  I started the year strong but found myself dealing with ankle pain that forced me to take it easy for a couple months.  I picked it up again later in the summer but I never really found a good training pattern or rhythm.  And these last few weeks have seen me not running at all.  Once I stop it's hard to jump start it.

The disappointment also ties into the fact that my interest in running has been diminishing.  Part of that is that I'm limited to doing most of my runs in the city at lunch and I've grown tired of those surroundings.  I feel that if I were in the woods I'd be more enthused about things.  Of course I've been here at home for 9 days now and have barely run.  So....shrug?

This year I ran a whopping six races.  I tied last years number and continue a downward trend:

2017 - 6
2016 - 6
2015 - 11
2014 - 15
2013 - 17
2012 - 12
2011 - 3
2010 - 3

I've had injury issues the last couple years which kept me off the starting line for several months so that accounts for some of it.  You can argue chicken/egg between this and lack of running interest.  Am I not racing because I've lost an interest in running or am I not running because I'm not racing as much as I used to?  Who can say.

The reality is that I'm focusing most of my attention on mountain adventures, not races. I spend my time looking at the calendar planning big hiking trips/mountain runs rather then looking at race schedules.  I'm a lucky guy to be able to get away for as many solo trips as I take and these days I'd rather look towards the mountains than races, be they long distance or otherwise.  I'd like to run Boston at some point but that would mean putting in a lot of actual training to prepare for a road marathon and that's not something I think I can stomach right now.  I consider it every year but I just keep kicking the can down the road.  At any rate I have other goals.  There are some big races brewing in the Whites for 2018 and I damn sure mean to be there.  That means putting together an actual training plan that involves long distances and hills hills hills.

Cross-training wise I had started to get into a groove with yoga, planks, P90X3 and meditation but everything has gotten derailed at one point or another.  It sounds crazy but I actually blame my new coffee preparation which ties me up for 20 minute in the morning.  It makes greats coffee but it's surprising how costly that 20 minutes is.  Look for some exciting coffee/time management blog reports in 2018.

As I said I'm been much more interested in hiking this year and it ended up being a great one.  I spent a lot of time up in the Whites and had some fine outings, both solo and with the family.  I made my first foray into hammock camping and while it was a little rough I'm looking forward to more attempts next year.  I knocked off a bunch more 4000 footers to bring my total to 39 but I still have 9 more to go.  I hope to finish this list next year.  Let's see if I can keep the upward trajectory on this graph going in 2018!

18 4ks total for 2017 which is a new high for me

As always, let's look back at my top five races/adventures of 2017:

5. Mount Washington - July 2, 2017
I capped three days of hiking in the Whites with a trip up the Rockpile.  I had originally intended for a more epic day but rains made me switch up the weekend plans and by the third day I was too worn out for a major Presidential adventure (but I made it happen soon enough - see #1).  This was a good trek in its own right with a variety of conditions.  Lots of water on the way up Tucks and the summit was thick in the clouds.  A great end to three days which also included the Hancocks and Carrigain.

4. Run with the Beavers 10 Mile Trail Race
Another year, another Beaver race.  In a year of few races, this was a good one.  After a couple months of not running much it was nice to get out there and still be able to compete.

3. RI 6 Hour Ultra
I signed up early when entry was cheap which ended up being a good way to make myself commit.  The race was moved to dirt roads this year (much of it the same as the Beaver race) and it was good to get another ultra under the belt.  This was a fun, low-key race that I "enjoyed."  Unbeknownst to me I spent most of the race in 2nd place before being overtaken in the final lap.  Still I'm happy with grinding out 37 miles and 3rd overall.

2. Mount San Jacinto - December 8, 2017
I had a day off during my work conference and made the most of it, renting a car and driving though the badlands on my way up to the pine covered highlands and the mountain town of Idyllwild.  The hike itself was 5000 feet of incredible California climbing.  It took a lot out of me and the 18 miles trashed my legs by the end but I finished in just over six hours and got a taste of just how amazing the mountains are out west.  I want more!  I've posted a video of this hike at the bottom of the page.

Fulfilled a long time goal of a traverse on the Presidential ridge.  18 miles and a lot of climbing on some rocky terrain.  Conditions were warm and perfect which made for a journey that was hard but manageable.  Finished in 7 hours 10 minutes.  Psyched me up for more such adventures!

I'm not even going to bother summarizing last year's goals as they mostly didn't pan out.  Instead let's just look ahead to some goals for 2018:

  • Complete the 4000 footers - 9 more to go and I have some big goals that will help with that
  • Pemi Loop - Another White Mountain goal of mine is a 1-day loop around the Pemigewasset Wilderness.  Will it happen in 2018?
  • Kilkenney Ridge Race - Here's a ballsy one for next year.  Ryan Welts is setting up a badass 50 miler in the northern Whites in July.  It'll take a lot of training to make myself even capable of doing this one and hopefully it'll light a fire under me.
  • Presidential Traverse Part 2 - Here's a stretch goal.  I'd like to take another whack at the traverse and see what kind of time I can put up with a better route and less dilly-dallying.
That's plenty for 2018 and that about does it for 2017.  For anyone who still reads this blog, thanks for doing so.  Hopefully as I get back into the rhythm of things I'll keep the blog going for 2018.  One can hope!