2019 Running and Triathlon Year in Review

 2019 RUNNING AND TRIATHLON YEAR IN REVIEW

I had another great year of running and creating memorable moments in 2019.  So very thankful that I can still do what I enjoy doing and reflecting back on the memories I made.  I have kept track of my running miles since 1989, so I only tally up the number of runs, miles, and time spent running in my stats.  Here’s how 2019 went for me with running and triathlon.

JANUARY – Not much to reflect upon here.  Most were treadmill runs and nothing out of the ordinary.

  • Total Runs:  14
  • Average Weekly Miles:  22.4
  • Total Hours:  11.8
  • Total Miles:  89.5

 

FEBRUARY – Another winter month to get through and focus on recovery.

  • Total Runs:  10
  • Average Weekly Miles:  15
  • Total Hours:  9
  • Total Miles:  60

 

MARCH – Ironman Chattanooga training begins! I chose to be a little loose with the training this time around starting out by following the “Just Finish” plan but then decided to commit to the competitive plan like usual.  I did drop the swimming down considerably, mostly just doing two 45-minute swims per week.  The monthly totals for March reflect what miles the beginning stages of the plan prescribes, plus some time off for a trip to Nashville to see some colleges with Rebecca.

  • Total Runs:  12
  • Average Weekly Miles:  12.1
  • Total Hours:  7
  • Total Miles:  48.3

 

APRIL – Weekly training going well, as long as I don’t ruin things for myself.  For example –  I’m My Own Worst Enemy

  • Total Runs:  16
  • Average Weekly Miles:  23.8
  • Total Hours:  14
  • Total Miles:  95

 

MAY – Still swim/bike/run training and getting into the swing of things.

  • Total Runs:  18
  • Average Weekly Miles:  24.8
  • Total Hours:  13.3
  • Total Miles:  99

 

JUNE – I officially kicked off the racing season this month with a 5K and a sprint triathlon in June.  (See below for the race reports.)

 

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Me with my Short Run on a Long Day 5K age group medal post-race, trying to stay dry.

 

  • Total Runs:  20
  • Average Weekly Miles:  30
  • Total Hours:  17.5
  • Total Miles:  119

 

JULY – Time for a vacation and some more racing!

 

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The final stretch of the 2019 Manteno Tri.

 

  • Total Runs:  20
  • Average Weekly Miles:  33
  • Total Hours:  19.5
  • Total Miles:  130

 

AUGUST – It got hot just as the training ramped up big time.

 

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Just two Ironman trainees wondering why we love this sport so much.

 

  • Total Runs:  19
  • Average Weekly Miles:  38.4
  • Total Hours:  23.4
  • Total Miles:  154

 

SEPTEMBER – September came with the wrapping up of 30-weeks of Ironman training and racing a very hot 2019 Ironman Chattanooga.  Even with the heat and all the suffering, it was an epic day.

 

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The first 100 feet of the Ironman Chattanooga marathon leg.

 

  • Total Runs:  19
  •  Average Weekly Miles:  36.7
  • Total Hours:  22.5
  • Total Miles:  146.6

 

OCTOBER – I debated with myself as to whether I should defer the Chicago Marathon to 2020 seeing that it was two weeks after Ironman Chattanooga, but I committed to it and decided to see if I could parlay all that Ironman training into another Boston Marathon qualifier.  I did!  But not by much.

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If it wasn’t for the crappy winds, the day would have been perfect marathon running weather.  
  • Total Runs:  15
  • Average Weekly Miles:  24
  • Total Hours:  13.5
  • Total Miles:  95.7

 

NOVEMBER – Looking back at 2018, November 2019 was almost a mirror image in terms of the stats below.  I ran a couple of races, which probably did more damage to me than good.

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The start of the 2019 Hot Cider Hustle, Wheaton, IL.  I’m in 2nd place!  It didn’t last long.
  • Total Runs:  13
  • Average Weekly Miles:  21
  • Total Hours:  12
  • Total Miles:  84

 

DECEMBER – I paid for the four races I did, which ended up causing me some weird leg left leg/knee pain.  I never had pain in the rear portion of the leg/knee area before.  It wouldn’t hurt during the run really, but afterward, I would have some dull pain that would linger.  I would rest it a few days and then feel fine only to go back out and get the same result.  I decided to shut down running on December 26th for the rest of the year.

  • Total Runs: 12
  • Average Weekly Miles: 17.9
  • Total Hours: 11
  • Total Miles: 71.5

 

2019 RUNNING TOTALS

  • Total Runs:  188
  • Average Weekly Miles:  25
  • Total Hours:  174.5
  • Total Miles:  1193.2

 

LIFETIME RUNNING TOTALS (31st Year of Running)

  • Total Lifetime Runs:  4777 – 154 runs per year average
  • Total Lifetime Hours:  3509.5 – 113 hours per year average
  • Total Lifetime Miles:  26188 – 844 miles per year average

 

2019 RACE REPORTS

I had a pretty successful year racing again, getting some more age group and finisher medals to add to my collection.  Here are the summaries with a link to the race recaps.

 

TRIATHLON REVIEW

I think I had a pretty good year with triathlon.  Ironman training went well and ended with a very good effort on an extremely hot day in Chattanooga.  And I medaled in the other two sprint tri’s that I did, which is always the goal.  I’m really looking forward to another year of racing.

SWIM TOTALS:   Total Swims:  34  /  Total Distance:  69,461 yards (39.5 miles)

BIKE TOTALS:  Total Rides:  132  /  Total Miles:  3694

 

GOALS FOR 2020

In May I registered for a race that had piqued my interest.  The race is called the “Big Hill Bonk” (read about it here: My First Ultramarathon?) and is in Beloit, Wisconsin in early April 2020.  It’s an elimination/last runner standing type race format in which you run a 4.16-mile loop in an hour and keep doing that until only one runner is left.  So this run could be my first ultramarathon if I decide to keep going past eight loops.  I was training pretty well for it and starting to build some decent weekend long run miles, but the leg/knee injury thing has screwed up my training.  I think I will still be able to get to the starting line and get in enough loops to push me over 50K.

I decided to take a year off from running the Chicago Marathon.  I have legacy status, so I should be able to sign up again in 2020 for the 2021 race if I want to.  My Gunner teammates and I were discussing doing another Ironman in 2020, but I’m not sure how serious everyone is.  We’re at the point that we have done the races nearest to us and may to commit to traveling farther to do a different race, or just sign up for one we have already done.  A lot of the fun in doing them is experiencing a new race locale.  I hear that Ironman is returning to Idaho in 2021, so I definitely have it on my must-do list.  If the Gunners shoot for another go-around I will definitely be in.  I just have to fit it around getting my youngest off to college.  I’m not missing that.

If the Ironman thing doesn’t pan out and I survive the Big Hill Bonk run, I may look to sign up for a 100-mile ultramarathon.  I have a local friend who is fond of the Tunnel Hill 100 Miler in southern Illinois, but I have also eyed the Hennepin 100 race out by Sterling, Illinois.  We’ll see.  Got to get some experience first.

 

 

 

2018 Running & Triathlon Year in Review

2018 RUNNING AND TRIATHLON YEAR IN REVIEW

 

 

30th Running Year

I can wrap up 2018 in a couple words:  overtrained and rainy.  In 2018 I turned 55 years old and it certainly feels like it.  The work I did in the three prior years while maintaining a three plus year run everyday running streak turned me into a pretty good runner and triathlete until it became too much.  By the beginning of 2018 I was starting to feel beat up and it only got worse.  By the time I made it to the starting line of my first Boston Marathon in April I wasn’t sure I could even finish it, but I did, in the rain, the first of  many 2018 events run in rainy conditions.  The day after running Boston, I ended my running streak and spent the rest of 2018 trying to recover and rebuild.  There was a little bit of success there, but I am still searching to recapture the ability to get the personal bests that were happening consistently in 2016.

2018 just wasn’t my year for running.  I was in a groove the past five years or so, claiming at each year end that I had just had the best running year ever.  But not this year.  It seems like I have plateaued, hit a wall, or just plain have gotten old.  I’m not sure about the excuse of being old, as I have set plenty of personal bests the last few years in both marathons and Ironman and qualifying for and running my first Boston Marathon.  I think I may have just pushed a little too hard toward the end of 2017 and into 2018 that I need to reset myself.  It’s hard for me because although my body reminds me daily that I’m in my mid-fifties, my brain still acts like a twenty-something.  The brain is writing checks that my body cannot cash any more.  I think I need to put my training on some sort of budget, but my brain has already declared that I’m doing two more marathons next year.  Dumb brain.  Anyway, I did try to dial it back into a rebuild this year, dropping my 3 year running streak and taking more rest days, as well as not trying to set a personal best on every damn training run (thanks a lot, Strava).

30 YEARS – WOW!  One thing I’ve been thinking a lot about as I run is that I have been doing it for 30 years now.  I started experimenting with running in my teens and college days, but I didn’t start keeping track of my miles until 1989, when I started to see myself going farther and getting faster and wanted to see how I improved over time.  I just kept writing it down.  Now I log it with an app, which has taken some of the fun out of it because I used to write down comments and notes about my run when I logged it by hand, but I do not do so as much now.  I used to hand write this yearly wrap up as well, but I think I enjoy sharing it on this blog page more.  I can add photos and leave and share memories that I can look back on easily.  Some day I will get around to writing about the years and miles of running I have accumulated, but for now I will just keep on running and enjoying the miles.

 

 

2018 – RUNNING REVIEW

Here’s a monthly wrap up of my running miles and milestones.

JANUARY

  • Total Runs:  31
  • Average Weekly Miles:  35.5
  • Total Hours:  20.4
  • Total Miles:  142

Nothing much of note in this month.  Training for the Boston Marathon had begun.  I do remember it being super cold and occasional runs in the snow.

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I tossed some older running shirts that I never wear.  That is a big move by me.

FEBRUARY

  • Total Runs:  28
  • Average Weekly Miles:  29
  • Total Hours:  17
  • Total Miles:  116

Still training for Boston in the cold.

MARCH

  • Total Runs:  31
  • Average Weekly Miles:  40
  • Total Hours:  23.4
  • Total Miles:  159

The plan upped the mileage this month preparing for my date with Boston.  I did my one long run on 3/23, an 18 miler.  I had no intention on doing any longer runs.  I was pretty sore and had no energy.

APRIL

  • Total Runs:  23
  • Average Weekly Miles:  27.5
  • Total Hours:  16.3
  • Total Miles:  110
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My first Boston Marathon!  I think that might be Des Linden behind me.  Maybe not.

Yay!  I ran my first Boston Marathon!  It was quite an experience that I will never forget.  I beat Galen Rupp!  Okay, he dropped out and I didn’t, but technically I think that still qualifies as a win.  (The link to my race reports will be at the bottom of this post.)

Immediately after finishing the Boston Marathon I kept the promise to myself that I would drop my running streak. I needed to recover from 3 plus years of running at least a mile every day.  It was a good challenge, but it had worn out it’s welcome.  Here’s the wrap up of the running streak:  RIP Running Streak

MAY

  • Total Runs:  17
  • Average Weekly Miles:  25
  • Total Hours:  14.75
  • Total Miles:  100

Recovery from Boston was pretty quick and I started enjoying some milder running weather.  I was kind of surprised that I hit 100 miles this month.

JUNE

  • Total Runs:  18
  • Average Weekly Miles:  23
  • Total Hours:  13.3
  • Total Miles:  93
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Had fun running the 5K with the youngin’s, Ben and his girlfriend Emily.  Ben was the overall winner and Emily grabbed 1st in her age group and 13th overall.

I jumped back into the 5K race season with a decent but slower than usual finish time, but still nabbed a first place age group award in the getting old division at the Frankfort Short Run on a Long Day 5K.  As nice of a finish that is, I had my first ever Did Not Start to a race I had signed up for.  The weather on race day morning of the Batavia Triathlon was threatening enough for me not to waste my time driving up there, thinking it would be canceled.  I took a gamble and lost, as the race was delayed and shortened, but it’s a punch to the gut when you drop out when others committed to it and got it done.

JULY

  • Total Runs:  17
  • Average Weekly Miles:  33
  • Total Hours:  19.7
  • Total Miles:  135

The corral seeding came out for the Chicago Marathon and they put me in the E corral, which is weird because the time I used to qualify for the race should have put me in the D corral from the start.  So, I applied to move up to the D corral based on that previous qualifying time and hatched a plan to move up to the C corral by trying to run a qualifier in a half marathon.  So on 7/21 I toed the line in Hoffman Estates and attempted to run a sub-1:35 half marathon.  I was kind of shooting for the stars, and missed it by about 4 minutes, but it was a pretty good time for a rainy half marathon in July.  I was happy to be in the D corral.

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‘Murica!  The people behind me were finishing the 10K as I wrapped up the half marathon.  I love when that happens.

I also did the Manteno Tri at the end of this month, with Kari doing the duathlon.  We both did well, placing 2nd in our age groups.  Fun race.

AUGUST

  • Total Runs:  20
  • Average Weekly Miles:  39.5
  • Total Hours:  23.4
  • Total Miles:  158

Marathon training was ramping up again.  I did the Chicago Triathlon with my Gunner mates and our side kicks.  That was a hot race.  First time that I HAD to walk a portion of a running race as the temp was into the 90’s.

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SEPTEMBER

  • Total Runs:  19
  •  Average Weekly Miles:  42
  • Total Hours:  24.2
  • Total Miles:  167

Highlight of this month was running the Frankfort/New Lenox Running Club’s 20 mile training run.  I did surprisingly well and built a lot of confidence on a mid-September Saturday.  Since it’s not a race, here’s the link to that report:  The Dreaded 20 Mile Training Run

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Last few feet of the F’NRC 20 mile training run.

OCTOBER

  • Total Runs:  17
  • Average Weekly Miles:  25
  • Total Hours:  15
  • Total Miles:  102

I gave my best to the 2018 Chicago Marathon but it just wasn’t my year.  I held on and was on pace for the first half and slowly lost it from there.  The highlight of the race was running with my son Ben, who was running his first.  And boy did he, finishing in 2:47.  Impressive!  I dialed it way back after the marathon.

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Running the marathon with my son was the highlight of the year.

NOVEMBER

  • Total Runs:  13
  • Average Weekly Miles:  21
  • Total Hours:  12
  • Total Miles:  83

I really went into recovery mode in November and I think it paid off.  I find that my feet and calves were no longer killing me like they were in 2017.  I did start adding some bike spinning on non-running days.

DECEMBER

  • Total Runs: 15
  • Average Weekly Miles: 20
  • Total Hours: 12
  • Total Miles: 82

 

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2018 RUNNING TOTALS

  • Total Runs:  249
  • Average Weekly Miles:  27.8
  • Total Hours:  211.5
  • Total Miles:  1447

 

LIFETIME RUNNING TOTALS

  • Total Lifetime Runs:  4589 – 153 runs per year average
  • Total Lifetime Hours:  3335 – 111 hours per year average
  • Total Lifetime Miles:  24995 (Really?!  Missed it by 5 miles!) – 833 miles per year average

 

TRIATHLON REVIEW

This was a dial back year of sorts for triathlon.  I signed up for three and only started two  as I chickened out for the Batavia Tri.  But the year was pretty much dedicated to doing the Boston and Chicago marathons.  I was thinking that 2019 would be a bigger year for tri’s but I’ve already signed up for two more marathons!  I am definitely planning on another Ironman in the next year or two.  Swim and bike totals were way down from 2017.

SWIM TOTALS:   Total Swims:  11  /  Total Distance:  14,475 yards

BIKE TOTALS:  Total Rides:  75  /  Total Miles:  1484

 

RACE REPORTS

 

GOALS FOR 2019

I was really planning to take it easy in 2019, seeing that I didn’t re-qualify for Boston, but that just made me mad.  Ben and Emily qualified for Boston 2020 and now I wasn’t content to be a spectator, which I was just fine with in October.  But I thought it over and decided to give it one more shot at qualifying.  I looked around and found the Spring BQ 26.2 in Batavia, IL in early April 2019.  Fortunately, I met the qualifying standard to get into this race and I look forward to running it.  It’s an 8 lapper on a bike path, and they treat you like an elite with a table for your own sports drink and nutrition – cool!  I hope to dial it in, lock it down and run sub-3:35 for another BQ and join Ben and Emily in Boston.  But if it doesn’t happen, I’ll once again be glad to be a spectator in Boston.

Speaking of dialing it in, I’m going to utilize Don Fink’s Mastering the Marathon plan for us older athletes.  It’s geared to the over 40 runners, which I certainly qualify.  There’s more recovery and I can swap some runs in the plan for running related activities, in my case cycling.  This will hopefully still prepare me to do well at the marathon as well as allow me to gear up for the triathlon season.

Regardless of how I do in the spring marathon, I plan on taking it easy for Chicago.  The only way I push hard is if my buddy Jeff wants to run it together, but I don’t think I can keep up with him.  I’m thinking I might put that race away for a while even though I have legacy status to maintain.  Running it every other year would maintain my legacy status.  I might focus on 70.3’s and Ironman for a while instead.

Of course I still plan on running my favorite local 5K’s and the triathlons I like to do.  I’m already signed up for the Batavia Tri and will definitely sign up for Manteno again.  It’s a fun race.

That’s it for 2018.  See you on the trail in 2019!

2017 Running & Triathlon Year in Review

29th RUNNING YEAR 

I think most people will say “good riddance” to 2017, but as far as running and triathlon went for me, it was a pretty good year.  As is the custom, I like to wrap it up with a year end summary.

2017 – RUNNING REVIEW

I wrapped up my third straight year of a running streak, managing at least a mile every day.  There weren’t too many issues in maintaining my streak.  Even the post-Ironman mile was no big deal the day after the race and a 4 hour car ride home from Louisville, Kentucky.  I really felt like I could do 2 or even 3 miles that day, but I didn’t push it.  Maintaining a streak takes some discipline to know when not to overdo it, and so I played it safe with just a mile.

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I will have to say good bye to this little running data app that I have used for the past several years.  The developer refused to update it for the new iPhone operating system.  It served me well.  I received a new Garmin 935XT watch that is pretty impressive.  I will be using Garmin Connect from now on to log my running miles.  Fingers are crossed.

 

I finished the year with 1682 total miles, 142 miles less than last year.  Even so, it’s still pretty impressive to me.  After 29 years of running, this brings my yearly average to 812 miles per year.  So I have done approximately double the miles this year than my annual average, which is increasing every year.

One item of note is my average pace this year was 8:35 min/mile, which exceeds last year’s 8:47 min/mile average.  Not sure why that is, because it wasn’t intentional, but I will take it.  I have learned somewhat through training for Ironman and marathons that long, slow distance with occasional speed work thrown in is probably a better training method for performance than the constant tempo runs at faster paces that used to be my bread and butter.

Speaking of the running streak, last year I mentioned in my wrap-up that I might give up the running streak in 2017, but it didn’t happen.  The main reason for stopping the streak at the end of 2016 was injury, mainly to my foot.   But I managed to train through it fine.  The reason this year for the consideration is basically the same.  I’m pretty sore after another long season, and I just don’t think I have anything left to prove with keeping the streak going.  At 54 years old, it’s not like I’m going to set a longevity record for streaking.  I would have had to have started that in my teens probably.  And with two big marathons on the calendar for next year, I think that I might benefit from having some rest days after tough or long workouts.  If I do end the streak, I’ll write up a blog about how I felt it affected me.  The original goal was to last a year – mission accomplished.  I think year two of the streak I saw the benefits, and this past year I’m starting to see some diminishing returns with it.

BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT

My biggest accomplishment for 2017 was making the cut for the 2018 Boston Marathon!   Of course I actually qualified for the race in 2016, but I had to wait until April to apply and then wait to see where the ax would fall for the cutoff to get in.  I had a -4:51 BQ cushion, so I wasn’t really too worried about it even after missing the cut for the 2017 race by 28 seconds.  When I got the email I was relieved.  So, basically being patient and waiting was my biggest running accomplishment.  Funny.

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I guess the information I provided was accurate!  I was very excited to get the official invite booklet.

 

2017 RUNNING STATS

  • 1682 TOTAL MILES – 32 MILES PER WEEK / 140 MILES PER MONTH
  • 365 TOTAL RUNS – 7 RUNS PER WEEK / 30.4 RUNS PER MONTH
  • 240 TOTAL HOURS – 4.6 HOURS PER WEEK / 20 HOURS PER MONTH

LIFETIME RUNNING STATS

  • 23,549 TOTAL MILES – 812 MILES PER YEAR
  • 4340 TOTAL RUNS – 149 RUNS PER YEAR
  • 3124 TOTAL HOURS – 107 HOURS PER YEAR (Nearly 130 days spent running over 29 years!)

2017 TRIATHLON REVIEW

I had a pretty great year with triathlons in 2017.  In all, I took on three races, finishing on the podium at Manteno, Illinois and once again qualifying for the USAT Nationals.  I think that is my second time qualifying for nationals, and is always a big feather in my cap.  The race will be held in Cleveland in 2018, and I will not attend seeing that I am already committed to the Boston Marathon in April, and the Chicago Marathon in October.  Some day I hope to attend, especially if it is a little closer to home.

The ET Batavia Triathlon is becoming a favorite for me, and I did well this year, but did not place in my age group.  I’ve already signed up for it again.

My big “A” race this year was 2017 Ironman Louisville.  I had big expectations for this race and I put in a lot of hard work to achieve my goals.  I PR’d every discipline this time around, lowering my Ironman personal record to 11 hours, 46 minutes, 55 seconds.  The finish was awesome, but once again pales in comparison to the fun and experiences I had with my buddies training for and racing Ironman Lou.  Lots of great memories.

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2017 TRIATHLON RELATED STATS

  • 119,174 TOTAL YARDS SWIMMING (67.7 MILES)
  • 3308 TOTAL MILES BIKING
  • 1682 TOTAL MILES RUNNING

2017 RACES

I did six total races in 2017 and had fun in them all.  Here’s a brief recap with a link to the race reports for each.

GOALS FOR 2018

I’m looking forward to running my first Boston Marathon.  I plan on following a 16 week beginner training plan for it, as I don’t really have any real desire to do this race as fast as possible.  I kind of want to take my time and enjoy every step.  The plan, although labeled as a beginner plan, has plenty of mileage and work in it for me to do well.

I’m already signed up for the Chicago Marathon in October and the ET Batavia Tri in June.  In talking with my Gunner teammates, there’s a strong possibility they will be back at the Chicago Triathlon in August, and I am planning to join them this time.  I’ve skipped it the past few years.

I ran two miles on January 1, 2018, so the streak is alive as I wrap this report up.  But we will see.  If I do decide to let the streak die, I will do so when the marathon training plan has rest days, and I’ll probably throw in some cycling or weight workout on those days.

That’s it for 2017!  Thanks for reading.