Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Year in Review

As the year comes to a close I have just finished a crazy day of skating and running. 20km on the Halifax oval to kick off speed skating season and 13 km of running to finish out the year and the week. I'll admit that has tuckered this boy out.

So how was 2016? In general, pretty darn good. Some great highs, horrible lows and loads of other goodness as well.

The year started with my first real season of speed skating. I logged many laps at the oval, having joined the Nova Scotia Masters. That lead to some fun racing, a few falls, and a some great fun and new friends. Did I become a great skater? Nope. Did I win races? Not really. But it was a great new experience and I am so glad I took it up. The only sad thing was not having a full season to compete in as the winter was so mild they had to shut the oval down at the end of February.

Throughout the winter I really upped my game when it came to swimming. Still not the great crazy amount that some swimmers hit, but for me, I made it to the pool a minimum of twice a week and really put in a solid effort. I was hitting 6000m a week, but of solid good swimming, some endurance work and some speed work I also spent some time with my chiropractor to help free up my shoulder, which was always holding me back in a  lot of things in life. As the summer approached I switched as much as possible to swimming outdoors, usually in Chocolate Lake. There I was lucky to often be joined by my friends Craig and Mark, which was great. As the water warmed up I even stopped using the wetsuit and got in some of the longest outdoor swims of my life, well over 2500m at a time. What did this mean? 2 of my 3 triathlons ended up having great swims. 27 minutes for an Standard/Olympic distance triathlon is a okay in my books. The one bad swim, well that just sucked. In the end I had just over 103 km of swimming.

This year my cycling took a back seat. I wasn't commuting to work via bike but I did try to get a decent ride in each week. Plus my usual easy paced group rides, which are fun, but more of a recovery session for me.   I had 4809 km of cycling, from easy paced to race, and even started a cyclocross club with some friends. And this November I managed to finally race in a cyclocross race. It was cold, wet, windy, muddy and snowy. All the best things rolled into one.

Running? Ah, running. Such big plans, many good results but also 2 sidelining injuries. My goal was to focus on 5 and 10km runs and things were going well. I won the first 2 races I entered. I was in the final prep work for the Bluenose 10km race when my first injury hit. Achilles tendentious. I was off running for 2 weeks, then managed to start to work back up to running thanks to physio. By the time the race came I managed to feel confident in doing well, but was unsure of my goal time of getting under 37 minutes. Ultimately I didn't achieve that goal, clocking in at a high 37 minute run. While the time wasn't great I did win my age group, came in 7th overall and won entry into next year's race. And that was my season. Great build session, then a nagging injury, followed by good come backs but never able to get that top end speed I so wanted. I won a few other races, including Leg 2 of the Rum Runners Relay, so I can't be too unhappy altogether. Low point? Walking the final leg of my final season duathlon (booo). High point? Coming back the next week to take 3rd place overall in the hilly 5K race in Shubie, the place where I hurt my IT Band weeks before.

Total running mileage for the year? 1865 km. Not bad for having to take close to 5 weeks off from running during the year.

Multisport had some great moments as well. Duathlons went well. No wins, but a second and 3rd overall with some great runs and an almost points championship. I ended up in second overall as I had to walk that final run of the final race. Still, I put up a good fight.

In triathlon I opted to race longer, doing the standard distance races. The first 2 went really well. Great swims, good bikes and awesome runs. I manged to keep all my 10km runs under 40 minutes. My 1 bad race still wasn't too bad. The swim went horribly, meaning I was so far behind exiting the water I thought it was all over. But a really good bike ride and a great run brought me right back. Not the way I wanted to finish the year overall, but still I felt pretty good.

Now for less selfish reasons. Two big big big highlights for me this year? First was helping to start the BLT Runners running club. What we thought would be a good idea, turned into a great idea. Starting in June we managed to really gather members as it turns out that the BLT Trail is a true nexus for runners in this area and in neighbouring areas. We focus on the social aspect of running, with recovery runs, coffee runs and occasionally a wing night run. With the addition of coached speed work session this winter, we are starting to grow our group and grow some serious runners as well.  Check out the website

And finally, my Movember charity run was once again a success. Our best year yet with a great donation to men's health issues. The race went smoothly, it sold out and we couldn't have been more happy. And there was coffee and cake. Next year will be awesome!

So 2016, how was it? Great. I've added to my group of friends, I've found fellow runners ans cyclists and swimmers to train with, and my sporting life got a little more social. Bring it 2017.