December 31, 2011

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! :-)


  1. So fun to read both of your recaps. You both live life to the fullest and I love that about you. 2012 will be a great year for you. Thank you for sharing your journeys and being a huge inspiration to so many that look up to you.

  2. Man, you had quite the year. Your mileage and consistency are amazing, and your results were a reflection.

    I just can't believe you did a summary of your year without mentioning Mtn. Dew!

  3. Fantastic report. It's amazing to think that you fit all that in. Crazy. When you are ready to do that 'epic' trail run, let me know, I've got some ideas that you'll love.

  4. I really should have written something about mountain dew - quitting for 2 months might have been the most impressive thing i did all year!

    Craig - if the planets align this year, and I know off some of my racing goals, I'd love to organize a group for a R2R2R... or something up in the Wind Rivers or Tetons... or anything like that really!