After 2015 was a frustrating year of running injuries for me, I focused a bit more on cycling the last several months. On January 3rd of 2016, the minute that the Lumberjack 100 mountain bike race registration opened, Ted and I signed up. I knew I would need a lot of time on the bike to get ready for such a race. We also sent in our postcards (that’s a fun way to register) for the Almanzo 100, a gravel race with a lot of history located in the back country of Minnesota. I got to work on the bike quickly and started racking up time in the saddle like never before. I usually end up riding somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 miles ever year; but in 2016, when I crossed the finish line of the Lumberjack 100 in June, I had already ticked over the 2,500 mile mark. That was all good, and I was riding pretty strong. But I was also burned out. I got tired of the early Saturday and Sunday morning long rides. I rode a hundred miler on my road bike, cross bike, and mountain bike. And after putting in all of those long training miles, my body needed a break.
The first six months of 2016 went by pretty quickly and I learned a lot about myself, training, and bike maintenance. I wanted to focus on running for the last 6 months, but, like my typical over-eager self, I did not take enough of a break to recover from those 2,500+ miles. I started running too soon after the Lumberjack and ramped up in mileage too quickly. My left foot flared up again with plantar fasciitis and general pissiness. I struggled with running because of my foot; I struggled with riding because of burnout; and I struggled with resting, because I don’t like to rest (even when my body is telling me that’s what it wants). The last 6 months of 2016 I spent lifting weights and riding a little. I really started to enjoy weight training, and I also fell in love with stand up paddleboarding. It is a great workout but is also relaxing. Giesla and I love going out on our paddleboards with a few beers and snacks and just soaking in the sun all day.
In July, Giesla stopped bringing beer along for herself, because she is pregnant!!! We are expecting our first (a boy) in late March 2017. We could not be happier or more excited. Just as her bump was starting to get noticeably larger, we embarked on a dream trip to Hawaii with Adam and Joni. Hawaii was our 50th state, and we celebrated with a lot of food and relaxation and an equal amount of hiking and exploring.
With our baby on the way and visiting our 50th state and me being able to check the box of finishing a 100 mile mountain bike race and finally doing the Almanzo with Ted… this has been a huge year! I am so glad I was able to get a ton of training and some longer races in just before I become a dad. Training and racing will definitely take a backseat to my new favorite job of being a father, but we want our kid(s) to understand the importance of pushing yourself, learning your body through sport, and relating the experiences of struggle, perseverance, and success in racing to the parallels they have in every day living.
In 2016, I moved 4,159 miles and spent 405 hours training and racing – 725 miles running and hiking and 3,434 miles cycling. I definitely got stronger and definitely was burned out. I hope to be smarter and do more with less in 2017. I think the last 12 months have taught me (again) that I have more than enough stuff going on in my life and that squeezing in more training is not necessarily better. Some of my best racing seasons have been during (and likely thanks to) some of my most minimal training times. 2017 will bring on all kinds of new adventures. I’m more than ready.
2016 races below:
- 3/12/16 Death March 3:02
- 4/9/16 Ferdy Flyer 10K 46:27
- 5/7/16 Spirit of Jasper Duathlon with Giesla (Bike Leg) 42:26
- 5/14/16 Almanzo 100 8:34
- 6/18/16 Lumberjack 100 9:58
- 11/26/16 Gravel Grovel 4:56