Friday, January 12, 2018

New Year New Something

2017 was the kind of year where if you went into a coma, and woke up after two weeks, you would have a hard time believing you were actually awake. Socially it just pivoted so fast! The news cycle was very different week over week and we really learned to just roll with the changing tides.

December totals:
Swim: 3700 yards, 2 swims
Bike: 0
Run: 86.4 miles, 9 runs
Strength: 0
Yoga: 0

At 86 miles running, this was my highest month of the year. Everything else was pretty much dealing with a busy work schedule and the holidays. I finished the month with a 10 day vacation that included several nights in SC with my parents for Christmas, and a couple of days getting to work on my brother Michael's new house - really a special time for us. Still, I really wish I had been able to swim more.

Other stuff that happened in December:
My goofball

Ella got to paint one of the walls at her school

Beautiful warm day on campus

Before the company holiday party

At the company holiday party

Seeing Star Wars: the Last Jedi

Trail running in Umstead

I found the chainsaw art tree!

Kelley had a birthday (again)

People near the church decorated the "road closed ahead" sign

Maness family christmas

Kids playing with the toys from Santa Claus

Then they fell asleep on the way to Grandma's house. Ella has a bunny ear up her nose.


Presents at Grandma's house

our family portrait

With my parents & brotthers

My folks with their grandkids

Got a cool shot with Ella at a pond near Michael's new house
Overall it was a stressful but good month. I love Christmas but feel relieved when it's over and I'm back home in Raleigh for some down time.

2017 Goals
Specifically, since 2016 was such an absolutely horrible dumpster fire of a time frame, I didn't set any goals for 2017. My one hope was that 2017 would suck less than 2016 did. It turned out to be a much better year than 2016.

My Health
In January I started seeing an orthopedist about my foot and the diagnosis was "something tendon related". The solution was no running and some physical therapy. Well that didn't help. I did get to keep swimming, but then my hands, elbows, and shoulders started hurting pretty good. This kind of swelling & joint pain drove me straight to the arthritis doctor, and it turns out I have osteoarthritis in my hands, lower back, and feet. I had to get xrays and everything. Getting old sucks.

At least I was able to get on some medication for the arthritis and start running again. It wasn't much, but it was glorious. Of course by that point I had already gotten myself into several woodworking and landscaping projects too, so there wasn't much time left to run. Boatbuilding is a lot of fun. I had already abandoned my September marathon (in Portland OR) for a boatbuilding class in Beaufort, NC. So my typical pattern of setting a goal, then training for and achieving that goal was completely shot. I just kind of stumbled through each week.

Then in December I had my annual eye exam. Usually I get my years worth of contacts ordered and walk out. This time, the doc said I had cataracts showing and needed to start using reading glasses. The reading glasses actually provided a ton of relief, I didn't realize how difficult it had become to read up close. But the cataracts was a tough surprise.

So there you have it. In 2017 I got arthritis, cataracts, and reading glasses. And it was still a better year than 2016.

Professionally
I did get a nice promotion this year. It's not an official title change or anything but I got moved into a leadership role on my team. Then I got tasked to lead a second team as well. Then my teams got spun out into its own business unit and I stepped into a role called Solution Architect. Now I'm officially leading 4 different teams and driving solutions for the company to advance our standards. It's really cool, but they keep me so busy. I went from one daily staff meeting to averaging 7 meetings a day. People keep scheduling meetings during my noon swim practices, so I'm about ready to put my foot down on that. This promotion also means I'm going to be doing more traveling for work, and I'm very happy about that.

The Numbers (2017)
Swim: 276,505 yards, 157.1 miles, 90 swims
Bike: 240.2 miles, 22 rides
Run: 237.4 miles, 37 runs
Strength: 38 times
Yoga: 24 times
Weight: min - 194.7 lbs, max 213.1 lbs, avg 204.8 lbs

Compared to 2016
Swim: 199,150 yards
Bike: 82 miles
Run: 1,179.5 miles
Weight: 181 min, 195 max, 187 avg

So while I couldn't run as much (or at all) I got to spend plenty of time in the water. The woodworking, career, and family time all put an additional damper on my athletic ability. I filled the time well.

Carrying all of this extra body fat didn't help my speed in the water too much, but I still had a good summer. I thought I was big in 2016, but both years are a far cry from the typical 170 pound summer training weight I used before last year. These extra 45 lbs are killing me mentally. Now my running is really suffering. And being over 40, the weight doesn't come off of me as easily as it used to.

2017 was the first year:
  • since 2008 when I didn't run a triathlon or multisport race
  • since 2009 when I didn't run a marathon or ultra
  • since 2010 when I didn't get under 180 lbs
  • since 2008 when I finished less than 8 races
We had a low bar to clear this year, and we hopped over it. I finished 7 races, 5 open water swimming races, 1 half marathon, and 1 10k.

2018 Goals
I need to start setting goals again. I need to start running again, and sign up for a race to make it attainable.

1. Run 800 miles
I'm only running 3 days a week and trying to swim twice a week as work schedule allows. Setting the modest goal of 800 miles on the year seems reasonable

2. Delaware
The Trap Pond 50k in Delaware is coming up and that's what I am training for right now. Trap Pond will be my 12th state and 25th marathon or longer race, and I can drive there.

3. Colorado
The Estes Park Marathon will make Colorado my fly-to state for this year. It's in June and I've already bought the plane ticket. Should be state #13 and marathon #26.

4. Get under 200 lbs
Watch what I eat and how much I eat so that I eventually can get down under 200 lbs again. I got over 200 lbs in February 2017, and it's not that much weight to lose.

Those are modest goals. I prefer to set really stretched goals, like finish an ironman or 100 miler, but these are attainable and should keep me focused. If the spring marathons go ok I might try a double marathon weekend, knocking down Maine and New Hampshire in one road trip in September.

Let's make 2018 a good year!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

November Recap

Just in time for Christmas! Really been slack about blogging lately.

Swim: 6600 yards, 2 swims
Bike: 8.8 miles, 1 ride
Run: 54.8 miles, 9 rides, 1 race
Strength: 2 times
Yoga: once

Wow, I really thought I swam more than that. Work has been crazy planning stuff for 2018 so I haven't been able to make the noon practices, which are my favorite. Actually, I thought I ran and rode more than that too. November saw the start of official marathon training the weekend after my last race of the year (City of Oaks 10k). I missed the 12 mile long run thanks to the Thanksgiving weekend, but the rest of the month was pretty regular. Clearly I need more cross training in December, and the 21st is a difficult time to realize this.

I didn't write up a big Thanksgiving post either, but there is a lot that I'm grateful for. Family, a wonderful job, living in a fun city, you name it. This year has been so much better than 2016 was, while still being pretty terrible by most standards.

Here's some of the fun we got to have in November:

The magical "flying" race photo where both feet are off of the ground!!

Sunny day driving with the top down

Snuggle time with my sweet Ella

Lofting board and new tiny sawhorses! Starting to work on the next boat

Kelley and I had our 19th wedding anniversary

We started a massive kitchen remodel

Ella and I built a guillotine for a school project

The rabbit bit through the power cord of my laptop, I had to crimp it back together! Nerd alert

Thanksgiving was wonderful at home with my big family

Got the Christmas tree up!

And Ella got to put the topper on (she's also well over 5' tall now)


rippin down plaster, Bane style

I did some electrical work on that wall too

Replaced the floor underneath the old refrigerator location

with new flooring that is almost an exact match! freaky cool

And I framed up for some new cabinets at the end of the month
November really was a good month. I was busy, there was always something interesting going on. Between the holiday and this kitchen remodel and the start of marathon training it was kind of a blur. This kitchen remodel is getting huge!

Monday, December 18, 2017

2017 City of Oaks 10k

On 11/5/2017 I made a triumphant return to running races at the City of Oaks. My company sponsors the afterparty so I got a discounted entry fee, and when the emails came in I jumped on it. Ok, so triumphant might be a bit of a stretch. I'm still very overweight, it wasn't going to be fast, and I had no idea what the arthritis would let me get away with. In 2016 I ran the full marathon here, and that has remained my last marathon.

Packet pickup was smooth the day before, I had no problems getting up and getting to the starting line, parking was easy and I made my way to the starting line with a few nerves starting to kick in.

at packet pickup

Big crowd ahead of me

bigger crowd behind me!

Ready to run? it's a little chilly

NC State's bell tower served as the start/finish line area
The course at City of Oaks is beautiful. It winds through downtown, into Cameron Village, then back around to campus. Short, sweet, plenty of steep but short hills, and very scenic. The full marathon course gets lots of time on the greenways as well, but the 10k course didn't come anywhere close to that.

My only real hope (not even calling it a goal) was to break an hour, and sure enough I finished in 57:31, a 9:16/mile pace. Mostly it just felt good to get back out there and be among the crazies again.

Finally at the finish line

at 8:30 am, bud light is actually a breakfast beer
This is still a great race and I'm really glad I got out there for it. My last race of 2017 gives me hope that I can return to marathons again next year.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Hurricane Championship Swim

This might be the first year that I've been able to successfully complete all three of the local races in the Triangle Open Water Swim Series. Last year I did the first two and the 3rd one was cancelled thanks to Hurricane Matthew. This year it was game on. Sunday, 10/15/2017 for 1.2 miles of open water fun at New Hope Overlook boat ramp in Jordan Lake.

Foggy day!

FS Series getting it setup

Can't even see the first buoy

Ready to swim
The FS Series organizers asked at the beginning if anyone could sing the national anthem, I think they were having trouble streaming the copy they usually play. I stepped up to sing with no warning, no warmup, and no practice! At least the second half of the song sounded pretty good. For a singer, performing the national anthem in front of this many veterans, there's no such thing as a good performance. You either do it right or screw it up. I think I did it right, it's an honor when you do it right.

Eventually we did start swimming at 8 am. It was really foggy outside, but the fog burned off pretty quickly after we started swimming. You couldn't see much further than the next buoy, but at least there was some direction in there. And the water was like glass. No kind of current or chop at all.

There was an unexpected sand bar out there, so they positioned the return buoys in a little bit and suggested we keep them on the left. The 2.4 milers had to go back out for a second loop, and when I kept those buoys on my left, once I looked up to see a couple of those 2.4 mile swimmers heading directly at me! Surprise!

I finished in 34:54, good enough to place 52/101 overall, 31/53 men, and 2/6 in the 40-44 age group! I'll take an age group award any way I can get one.

The finish line when I was done

the non-selfie version

happy to have that bread

RAM swimmers

With my AG award!