Friday, January 6, 2017

Out with the Old, In with the New: 2016 Review, 2017 Goals

2016 Review:

Another year has passed.  While there were a number of setbacks for me in 2016, there were certainly some bright spots as well.  Let's jump into it with a review of goals:

  • Distance:  Run 2,315 miles.  Exceeded!  Final tally of 2,340 miles is my highest ever.
  • PRs:  I set 5 specific distances to PR in.  This is my biggest disappointment, as I didn't really even come close to PR'ing in any distance.  Sure, I can come up with plenty of excuses, but I have to face reality that this was the first year in my 14 years of running that I have not had a single PR.  I still think it's possible to pull another PR, but they're going to be few and far between and likely at the longer distances.
  • Return to the Marathon:  Run a full marathon in 2016.  Did it!  It was a tough day at the Sugarloaf Marathon being soaking wet, cold, and shivering, but I still managed to pull out a 2:58:44.
  • New trail course planning:  Success all around: 1) Added a 5-mile option to the BRR (only to have it last a single year as DEM said no events in the campground during campground season going forward - more on that later), 2) added the Wahaneeta 5K as WTAC's newest race and first in the Fall Trail Race Series, 3) together with a number of WTAC volunteers, planned, cleared, and mapped a new WHS XC course.  All of these were a lot of fun and personally rewarding.
  • Trail running:  Run at least one destination trail race.  Success in a major way.  During the month of July, ran both the Loon Mountain Race in NH and the Westfjords Vesturgatan 24K Wilderness Race in remote northern Iceland.  What a blast!
(before) Helping to clear a stone-laden section that would become
the new Westerly HS XC course
(Thanks to my brother Greg and his equipment above)
(after)  Looking better!  This was one of my proudest accomplishments in 2016,
of planning, and leading the clearing and marking of the new course.  The XC coach
and a number of the runners feel this is now one of the best courses in the state.
Stay tuned:  this will become part of the Run for the Pumpkins 8K course in 2017.

Miscellaneous 2016 running stats:
  • Races run:  29  (2015:  36)
  • Race breakdown by type:  Road - 14, Trail - 10, Beach - 2, Tri - 3
  • Age group wins:  17
  • Miles run:  2,340 - highest ever!  (2015:  2,315)
  • Hours run:  313
  • Days run:  290 (2015:  304)
  • Lowest mileage week:  12 (slammed by triple-whammy of tickborne diseases)
  • Highest mileage week:  68
  • Highest mileage day:  26
  • Highest mileage run:  26 (Sugarloaf Marathon)
  • Longest running streak:  17 days
  • Longest non-running streak:  5 days (see above tickborne issue)
  • Number of deerflies killed during runs:  50
  • Most number of deerflies killed during a single run:  12
  • Number of deerflies eaten:  1
  • Deerfly kill season:  Jun 22 - Aug 13
  • Number of horseflies killed during runs:  1 (New Jersey)
  • Number of states run in:  10 (including all New England states for the 2nd consecutive year)
  • Number of countries run in:  2
  • Run furthest from home:  Iceland
2016 Pictorial Review by Month:

Jan:  Started off the year with the Resolution 5K. 
2017 may be the first year I miss this event.

Feb:  Feb 7 was one of the few
snowstorms (7") to get out and run
in the snow in 2016

Mar: Was having a good run at
Ocean's Run Half, making it all
the more disappointing to find out
it was a long course.  2017 edition
is supposed to be certified.

Apr:  Cleaning up the team award at RI State Police 5K,
with WTAC teammates

May:  Running is more than just your own individual
feats.  Running is a community of support.  Above, giving
some support to Tommy 5K, who became "Tommy 42K"
for the first time at Providence Cox Marathon.
Look at the smile on that guy!

Jun:  Running what would become the final edition of the Back Road
Ramble to go through Burlingame Campground, per DEM change in
rules.  Working with the YMCA for alternatives for this race in 2017.

Jul:  Iceland!!  Vesturgatan 24K Wilderness Race, ├×ingeyri, Iceland.
Friendly people, amazing scenery, fjords, mountains, icebergs, and caves.  I crossed this off
my bucket list after decades of wanting to visit, yet I am left with a strong
yearning to visit again someday.

    Aug:  My favorite triathlon, the Block Island Tri.


    Sep:  My dazed, cadaver like expression
    and sweat-drenched clothes were
    just too frequent in super humid and hot
    racing this summer.  (Surftown Half:
    my 6th and perhaps final for a while.)
    Brutal summer racing conditions were a
    real turnoff for me.

    Oct:  Run for the Pumpkins trail race.  I've put a lot of effort into this one,
    as have many volunteers, and I'm super thrilled with the way this nascent
    trail race has turned out.

    Nov:  Rhody, a perennial favorite.

    Dec:  Christmas 10K:  A fun team outing, race, and lunch.
    By December, after a long miserably hot and humid summer,
    I was finally getting comfortable with road running again.

2016 Runs by Terrain:

Notable observations:
Beach runs were quite sparse, especially in June/July when tick disease medicines kept me out of the sun.
2016 trail runs were the most in quantity that I ever ran.  The uptick is especially notable from Sep - Nov,
where I would go weeks without a road run after a depressing hot and humid summer.

2017 Goals:

  • Mileage:  2,400.  Time to up it again!
  • Marathon:  Run a spring marathon.  Not signed up for any yet, but Ocean's Run (Westerly) and Newport Rhode Races are both possibilities.
  • Run at least one new trail race.
  • Run a destination race.
  • Run a mountain trail race.
  • Run a 50K trail race.  Could this be the year?
  • Document history of one of my favorite and most frequented running areas:  Woody Hill.  The WLT has requested that I research and write up the history on Wahaneeta, which I'll do but include adjacent Woody Hill and Sunnyacres Preserve.
 Well, running friends, that's a wrap!  Happy New Year, and happy running!



  1. Your obsession with deer fly stats is unhealthy and immature. Focus on more important stats please......

    Also, be sure to rub it in Matthew's face that you were "crushing him" in that Iceland race photo. Also, looks like Tommy 5K running next to you.

    Good write up.

    Here's to 2017!

    1. I appreciate that, Clark. Since I aspire never to grow up, based on your comments, in 2017 I'll be looking to expand my deer fly stats.
      Gisli (Icelandic running rival) does look a bit Tommy-5k-esque with his knee socks and long shorts. Didn't notice that before.

    2. Christmas Vacation reference? Love it!

    3. Absolutely! My favoritest Christmas movie.

    4. Gazelle..can't you just be honest with Muddy and let him know that you like me so much that you brought me along with the family on the Iceland trip? I was a little taken aback when you didn't let me pose with the family pictures. Who else would wear basketball shorts in a race?

      Lots to be proud of from you'll have plenty of other great accomplishments in 17! Great post.

  2. I think your post had more stats than mine did, which is unacceptable. Some thoughts, in Jeff Walker bullet style:
    - I hadn't realized the lack of a PR in 2016. It was inevitable, given that you've been knocking off a half dozen or so every year for the past few years. Did you finally go off the EPO? Time to start running obscure distances.
    - I'd forgotten about the tick illness situation. Incredible that you were still able to get that mileage PR.
    - The deerfly stats are wonderful, but you took it to a new level with that horsefly count. And killing a horsefly is an accomplishment in itself. Those buggers are quick as lightning.
    - 10 states in a single year is tremendous. I'm not sure I've ever done that, even when traveling to many meets during my college days. Of course, now I'll have to go back and check...
    - My favorite photo is that one from September. It reminds me of some of the old Emil Zatopek photos (like this one:
    - Really looking forward to that Woody Hill history write-up

    Great year, Jeff! Can't wait to see what 2017 has in store for you.

    1. Obscure distances - that's it! So technically I did have a PR in 2016, at the 24K. Redemption!
      Yes, that Zatopek photo looks equally suffering.

  3. Good year! Sorry about no new PRs, well isn't 3 tick born illnesses in one shot a PR?

    As an aside, we (a variety of mt bike people on a snowshoe hike today) were just talking about the change in DEM rules at Burlingame, more in relation to the never ending biking events, and the mysterious trail markings appearing recently. Good that LRR didn't get impacted as it is off season for camping. Major bummer on BRR.

    On to 2017! Look forward to seeing the new things you conquer!

  4. I agree with Beth - good year! Hopefully we'll have more runs together in 2017!