A number of the runners and cyclists I follow online have been posting their totals for the year: total miles run or ridden, total RACE miles, total trail versus road miles … I think it will surprise no one who has followed this randomly (and all-too-rarely) updated blog that I am not doing that. 2014 was a great year, and there were lots of great runs and rides, and the miles just don’t tell the stories, like wearing two different sportswatches on my ride from New Hope to Brooklyn, and having both of them die as we crossed the Hudson River on a ferry, so the last few miles went unaccounted. (And even having the miles doesn’t tell the story of the most catastrophic flat I have ever witnessed, followed up by the friendliest cop, who also turned out to be a cyclist, and who enlisted the aid of a local bike shop even though they weren’t really open at the time. The map doesn’t tell the story of what it’s like to scoot across the Hackensack and Passaic rivers on route 1/9, with a big group of cyclists and a car protecting us from behind with its flashers on. See, those are the kind of stories I’m supposed to be telling here, because all Strava does is record mileage.)
I did get in a lot more miles on the bike this year, though not as many as I’d hoped. (I ended the year somewhere shy of 2,000 miles, when I had originally set myself a 3,000-mile goal for the season). Many of my friends and fellow club members are still out there, riding in this cold weather; I stopped riding pretty much the minute the temperatures stayed below 60 degrees. (The added wind chill of riding is not kind to anyone dealing with symptoms of Reynaud’s.) I love seeing their updates — which I see often, as the Ride Coordinator for our club. One of the awards we give out every year at our Winter Banquet is the “Knights of the Cast Iron Crotch”, recognizing everyone who rides over 5,000 miles for the calendar year. The number of people in the club who blow that number out of the water is really astounding.
Here are some of the rides that really stood out for me this year, not necessarily in chronological order:
- “St. Peter, Don’tcha Call Me!” This is an annual ride led by a few different people (for different pace groups) from my cycling club. We ride from Collegeville, PA, to the bakery in St. Peter’s Village, where we hang out on their pretty deck overlooking French Creek, sample some incredibly tasty baked goods, and then head back to Collegeville. It’s a loop ride, not an out-and-back, so we get to explore some different roads on the way home, and return to Collegeville via Limerick, with a short stop at an awesome, super friendly coffee shop called Java’s Brewin’. The owners sponsor a local cycling team, and are always happy to see us and refill our water bottles. Not only are they a friendly crew, they make amazing green smoothies! Highlights of this year’s ride, for me: helping lead a portion of the ride, hanging out while the group stopped to fix flats (twice), getting complimented on my strength, just generally having an absolute blast with a great group of people.
- Peter Odell Memorial Ride: this annual ride from New Hope, PA, to Brooklyn, NY, is hosted by the Bicycle Club of Philadelphia and is always an amazing experience.
- MS City to Shore Ride: This was my first-ever complete road century (100 miles) and I returned to it this year a much stronger rider AND with an amazing, kickass new bike! This year, instead of riding by myself the whole time, I had a good friend (who is an amazingly strong rider) stick with me for the entire ride, and that made it even more fun. We really set a good pace and worked well together.
- Riding from Philadelphia to Ocean City, NJ.
- Every Monday night: riding with my club from the start location in Wayne, PA, and hitting some beautiful country roads and challenging hills with a great group of people!
- Every Thursday night: riding with my club from the Collegeville start location. Late in the season, I set out with the faster pace group and had an exhilarating, beautiful ride.
- Keeping up (barely!) with the crew out of Phoenixville.
With the return of cool weather, I’m getting a little more running in — though, again, not as much as I should! And I haven’t had many trail runs so far; just a couple times back over Mt. Joy and some flat runs along the Betzwood River Trail. Tomorrow — New Year’s Day — I’ll be starting off 2015 with a trail run in Ridley Creek State Park with a bunch of great people, so hopefully that will set the tone for the year!
Some memorable runs in 2014:
- Tyler Arboretum 10k: I ran this with friends again this year, and it remains one of my favorite places to run. Well-organized event, excellent trail system, just all-around fun– even when I have a less-than-great day of running.
- Marsh Creek Raptor Run: I ran this one with a great group of friends, and it was a blast! Neat trail system out there, really pretty area, and a finish picture that involved a giant hill of manure. What could be better?
- Running Mt. Joy in Valley Forge Park, both on my own and with friends.
- Coach Pete’s farewell run with the Misery Loves Company crew, which took us around the perimeter of Valley Forge park, introducing me to areas of the park I’ve never explored. What a great run that was!
Another big change in 2014: I became certified as a personal trainer and started working at a gym not far from my home. In addition to training others, I’m also working with an amazing kettlebell trainer. I fell in love with kettlebells during my personal training internship, and decided I wanted to train for StrongFirst Level 1 certification. I’m fortunate enough to have a Master Strongfirst instructor in my area, and spent several months working with him. I’m now in a phase where I’m working mostly on my own, and will be touching bases with him once per month to make sure I’m making the right kind of progress. My goal is to take the certification in Boston in August. I’ve also completed the Functional Movement Systems certification, and am working with some great clients on fixing broken movement patterns before we work on any loaded movements.
As my focus changes, this blog may change as well. One of my goals for the beginning of 2015 is to really review how I’m using social media, this blog, and other outlets, and how I can best utilize them to support my invigorating (and sometimes scary) new career. If anyone reading this wants to share advice or ideas, hit me up in the comments!