December 31, 2011

2011 in Review (Andrea)

I have to say, 2011 has been an awesome year for me. This was my first full year living in Utah, and the place has definitely grown on me. I already anticipated lots of fun and lots of adventure this year, but my expectations were far exceeded. (Jake made a recap too - Link)

Just a quick recap of the year -

Ran 2930 miles! Average of  8.0 miles a day/56.3 miles per week. Wow, I've never even run 1500 miles in a year before. Quite a leap.
Ran 16 races. Lots of 5ks, a few half marathons, and a mix of other distances thrown in there as well.

58 days of skiing (mostly in the Wasatch, but also including a trip to Lake Tahoe and Mammoth).
150,000 ft climbed during ski season! I'm convinced that this is what made the difference in our athletic pursuits.

Trips to  -
Phoenix (visit family, race, hiking)
Park City (ski trip with family)
Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Lakes (ski/mountain bike/running adventure)
Knoxville (visit family, rafting)
Long Beach CA (half marathon)
Southern Utah (hiking, Moab, Arches, Zion, Snow Canyon)
Philadelphia/NY/CT (visit family, marathon)

Highlights of the year for me -

Personal record in EVERY DISTANCE I raced. 2011 has been such a special year for both Jake and I in our running. We began to realize our potential in the sport, and it was much better than we had ever expected.  For example, last year at this time I couldn't even dream of running a sub-3:10 marathon, much less than a sub-2:50. My goal for the 5k was sub-20 and I ran 17:16. My goal for the half marathon was 1:25 and I ran 1:17:03. Best race of the year was definitely Long Beach Half Marathon. I have to give a ton of credit to Jake for coaching me - helping me to stay consistent and motivated, outlining all of my workouts, etc. His knowledge of the sport is great, and I have learned a lot this year about training correctly.

Epic ski days. A couple of my favorite ski days of the year are -

Silver Fork Meadow Chutes April 4th

Stupid Chute and Elevator Shaft May 1st

Super Fun Mountain Biking - I've decided that cross country trails are the best for my mountain biking skill level!

Lake Tahoe XC Biking Trails 

Hiking - We ended up not hiking nearly as much as in 2010 (skiing and running took priority!), but all of the hiking we did in Moab was pretty awesome! I loved Fiery Furnace especially. Another trip back to southern Utah is a must next year.

Getting promoted at work. I am now a Super Engineer nerd!

Best decisions of the year - 

Joining the This site has been a great resource for finding other runners in the area and being able to get running groups together, train with others, make friends, etc. I have found so much motivation in my running through this site.

Buying mountain bikes. Our mountain bikes are awesome! They have become so useful in the warm months for cross training and trail riding. Because Jake run much more mileage and farther workouts than I do, I have been able to hop on the bike and ride along with him.

Eating ice cream EVERY NIGHT! I tribute at least 15% of my happiness to getting to eat ice cream every night - one of the great benefits of exercising so much!

Overall, a pretty amazing year. I feel like I missed so much of this year in this recap blog because we were so active! It's going to be hard to beat it next year, but I have a feeling we'll find some way to have more fun :o)

2011 in Review (Jake)

A quick rundown of the numbers, highlights, and some final thoughts from 2011... I'm a total dork and have tons of data on everything! (Click this link for Andrea's Recap)

First, some data, starting with running - I ran
5806 miles this year (average of 112 miles per week). That is at least 2000 more than I have ever done previously. I wish I had more complete training logs from prior years, but I am 100% certain that I never ran more than 3500 miles in a year before. So this year was a huge leap forward in terms of consistency and health. Obviously the payoffs were huge, as I ran PRs in every distance from 5K to the marathon (more on that shortly).
The month-by-month totals - obviously June and November were the lowest, when I ran my marathons
Build the base, and the cycle up and down for important races
To keep my upper body from getting too scrawny, I did a pretty good job on perfect pushups this year. My final pushup total was 26,500. About 90% of those were perfect pushups, the other 10% was regular pushups (when I was traveling and didn't have access to my shred-handles).

Perfect Pushup-ing
While I didn't put in 100+ days of skiing like I did during the 2009-2010 winter in Vail, we still did a ton of high-quality skiing. The final tally was 60 ski days (48 human-powered, 12 lift-served) and were did a little over 160,000 feet of vertical climbing on those human powered days. The quality of the turns we earned was almost unreal - we only skied a handful of days in marginal conditions - almost every day was either light powder (winter) or creamy corn (spring/summer). The Wasatch range received over 750 inches of snow during our first winter skiing here!

On a resource conservation note, I only drove my car to work 98 days this year. The majority of days I ran back and forth from home, thus saving valuable time and gas money.

Now, some personal highlights, starting again with running - this was quite a freaking year! I didn't expect to accomplish even a fraction of what I did, but as the year went on I just kept setting my sights higher and higher, and ended up having the best year of running of my life! In total, I ran 17 races (full list) and notched personal bests in every distance from 5K (15:04) to the marathon (2:21:47, which was my debut at the distance). A pair of half-marathons (1:05:40 at Top of Utah and 1:05:45 at Long Beach) were probably my best performances of the year. Halfway through 2011, Andrea and I started running for Saucony, which has been an awesome relationship to date. We love the company and representing them out on the roads and in the running community. 

This year has been the most FUN I have ever had running as well, which is a big contributing factor to the success I've had. Joining the Fast Running Blog was one of the best things we did all year - I not only learned a lot from some of the other great runners on the blog, but made some new friends, gained new training partners, and now have an unbelievable support system.

The focus for the fall was the Philadelphia Marathon, where I attempted to qualify for the Olympic Trials. Needless to say, that race ended up being a bit of a disaster and huge disappointment (I was on 2:18 pace through 21 miles, then blew up and finished in 2:25:57). But character is often defined by how you bounce back from adversity. This quote pretty much sums up how I feel about that experience - "If you don't fail at something at least once, you haven't set your goals high enough." If I've learned anything about myself as a runner this year, its that 1:05 / 2:21 is far, far below what I am capable of. My ceiling is a lot higher than I ever thought, and over the next couple years (starting in 2012) I'm going to dream big and run a lot faster than anyone (including me) ever imagined I could.

Enough about running - lets get back to more highlights... trips and skiing!!!

This is our backyard! How can you beat living in Salt Lake City?
Some of my favorite ski days... nearly impossible to narrow this down to eight... I can rattle at least 20 memorable days off the top of my head...
Of the trips we made this year, there's no doubt that our summer vacation to Lake Tahoe and the Sierras comes out on top! I absolutely love the Sierra Nevada range, and Tahoe is a great place as well. Its hard to even want to plan trips to other places because there is so much I still want to do in those areas! We also made a few trips to southern Utah - I thought Snow Canyon was an especially cool park, and Arches is also a fun place to visit. A fishing trip to the Uinta mountains with my Dad and uncles also definitely gets a spot on the best of 2011 list!

The best purchase of the year was definitely our mountain bikes (because technically the BEST PURCHASE EVER - Dynafit bindings - was done in late 2010) - the bikes ended up being a lot of fun and we're looking forward to using them even more next year. I would have to say that my favorite rides of the year were both in California - the trails at Tahoe XC and the Inyo Craters Loop in Mammoth Lakes. I also enjoyed the challenge of riding Park City's mid-mountain trail after doing a long run at Jeremy Ranch - that was a tiring day!
Biking the Inyo Craters loop in Mammoth Lakes

Considering that everything I listed above is only a fraction of everything we did in 2011, it doesn't seem possible, but I still managed to get promoted at work!

There's no doubt that 2011 was the best year of my life. I've been trying to write this post from a "me" point of view instead of a "we" point of view (since
Andrea has written her own 2011 in review post)... but I can't overstate the fact that none of this would have been possible (and certainly wouldn't have been as much fun!) if Andrea and I weren't doing all of these things together - attacking life, dreaming big, and following our passions. We make a great team and I completely realize how I lucky I am to be on this journey with her. [Here is a post I wrote on this topic back in November... about how 1+1 equals way more than 2, in our case]
Some photos out of the hundreds and hundreds of good ones... I can't narrow things down so I just randomly picked a few...

Ascending the ridge to Lone Peak
Big Cottonwood Canyon
Andrea climbing Mt Superior
Skiing Mt Superior - big mountain skiing 20 minutes from home
My parents at Snow Canyon
Biking at Lake Tahoe
Summer skiing at Alpine Meadows
Climbing Ellery Bowl
Relaxing in Mammoth Lakes
The High Sierras - One of my favorite places in the whole wide world!
Running in Mammoth
Little Cottonwood Canyon
Andrea and I on Mt Baldy - skiing in mid-July
Fishing in the Uintas with my Dad and uncles
Summertime at Snowbird with my Dad and Andrea
Arches National Park
Andrea and I underneath Delicate Arch
Long Beach Half Marathon
Post race with friends at the OktoberFAST 5K
I like ice cream...
... Andrea also likes ice cream!
Well, we didn't make it to the 2012 trials - but now we know that its
very realistic to shoot for 2016!
Thanksgiving w/ my parents and sister
The one time we dressed up this year!!!
(Yes - Andrea is gorgeous, and No - I'm not sure what I did to get so lucky!)
Goals for 2012: continue living the dream - attacking life!, sub 1:05 half-marathon, redemption in the marathon, ski some steep lines, choke on powder, keep track of even more things (like perfect pullups?), eat lots of ice cream and still manage to get skinnier, do an "epic" trail run, be less annoying (this one is for Andrea), have absolutely no regrets, plus whatever else comes up! :-)

December 30, 2011

Christmas in Tennessee

Day #3 of Christmas
We've been bad bloggers recently and haven't updated anything but our training logs in the last couple weeks. I guess this would be as good of a time as any to wish a Merry Christmas (though slightly belated) to all of you reading this!

For Christmas this year we headed down to Knoxville. This was my first big extended family Christmas in about 5 years, since my parents moved to Arizona and I moved out west as well. For the past couple years, I've done Christmas in Arizona several times, one in Colorado, and last year my parents came up to Utah. But in all of those cases, it was pretty much just immediate family. Since almost everyone on both sides of Andrea's family lives within driving distance of Knoxville, we celebrated Christmas and opened presents for three straight days!

Other than one morning that was a rain downpour, the weather was really nice and great for running. I put in my time, averaging a little over 20 miles a day on the nonstop rolling hills, and definitely earned my moose tracks! After taking a few days off to nurse her hamstring, Andrea was able to get back into the swing of things and run 10 miles a day with me.

2011 in review posts coming this weekend. For now, some pics from Christmas...

Andrea's immediate family, with her brother (who is not Zack Galifianakis) and his girlfriend
Christmas Eve - Andrea and cousins
Christmas morning
Andrea got this quilt... she needs lots of things to stay warm!
When in doubt, I just buy her anything made with down.
This one wasn't taken in Tennessee, but deserves to be added...
I am seriously looking into getting an entire bedroom set to match it.
Andrea's cousin Amelia. She is super cute!
We were best buddies - she never cried when I was playing with her!
All I need - 4.5 lbs of Mike and Ikes and a guidebook to my favorite place in the world.
Funny side story - at the airport, the TSA made me go through additional screening
because of my giant candy bag!
We met up with my buddy Nate (college roommate for 2 years) while we were in town