2022 year of training and racing in review

Another year has come and gone, so it’s time to write a little about it. Last year, I shared that I only had 3 races planned, Uhwarrie 40, Florida Sea to Sea, and Barkley Fall Classic. Well, a couple weeks before Uhwarrie, I got sick, and while a week out I was feeling ok, I thought it wasn’t really wise to push the body as much as a 40 mile race would take. And I knew there was no way I could go to a race and not push. So I ended up racing just two events: Florida Sea to Sea and BFC. S2S was good — 73 hours across Florida on foot, bike, and boat, with lots of navigation, but the navigation can be frustrating due to the quality of the maps. And BFC was a great day for me — started pretty slow, but worked my way up to 28th overall out of 400 starters! I was very happy about that. Very tough course this year, too!

Last year I shared that I was keeping the same goals, so I’ll just share the graphs here which show again that I missed on most of them!

First up, elevation, and this was the lowest in 3 years! I still want to hit 365,000 one day, but that day likely will wait until we live in the mountains full time.

Next up, total time. Pretty close to 500 (though the goal was 550), and more than I’ve done the past couple years, but all in the same ballpark:

Running was basically in the middle of the past couple years, but still not even 1000 miles:

And next biking, my lowest in a while:

And next, strength training, which I had mentioned last year was going to be a focus going forward. And it certainly was this year, as you can see in the graph. I surpassed most of my strength goals (though not all of them) and find myself stronger now than I was back in Weightlifting 101 at NCSU in 1990!

And next just a couple more summaries from Strava:

Next year will be more of the same — running, biking, strength training as the focus, but always looking for outdoor activities like hiking and paddling. As of right now, I only have two races: Uhwarrie 40 and Mt Mitchell Challenge. The latter is a race I’ve tried to get into for years with no luck. This year they’ve changed it, so everyone can run the Black Mountain Marathon (which I did in 2002 or so), but if the Mt Mitchell Summit is open, the 1st 250 runners are allowed to go up. The rangers normally don’t give an indication of whether the summit will be open or not until just a day or two before, and I have to admit, I’m not that interested in running the marathon. So if the summit isn’t open, I may skip this. I am on the waitlist for BFC and do hope to run that again. And apparently I’m joining the Knight Crawlers for the Blue Ridge Relay again this year, but the “mountain goat hard legs,” that I got to run last year, are going to the ladies.

I do have at least one adventure planned — plane tickets and hotel room booked for Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim across the Grand Canyon with a group of friends that I’m really looking forward to in April. (This is something like 48 miles and 10,000’+ of elevation change). I still want to run the Grand Loop of the Linville Gorge (34 miles). Weather permitting, I may do the little loop (23 miles) there in a few weeks, but the Grand Loop is going to have to wait until after the February races.

I still have a couple crazy ideas I’d like to attempt, like an Everesting attempt either on bike or foot (or both!), maybe even a vEveresting attempt on Zwift. On a bike I’m looking at 12-15 hours, and on foot, probably 28-30, so they are serious undertakings. I also saw someone do a marathon (42k’) on a Concept 2, so that would be a challenge.

I’m still extremely focused on strength. While the extra muscle is a pain to carry around the mountain, I think it is much healthier going forward into my mid 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s! I’m intrigued by Peter Attia’s “Centurion Olympics,” where you backcast from goals you have in your marginal decade… Let’s just call that 80-90, or even 90-100, and what you want to be able to do then. (Examples: Load your own luggage on an airplane, hike 3 mph, get down on the floor to play with your great grandkids..) And then you work backwards. Things like VO2Max look good for me (though I need to continue to train both zone 2 and VO2Max!), but some of the strength goals were pretty far off. And I definitely need some mobility work! 🙂

Two benchmarks that he has mentioned are a dead hang for 120s and being able to farmers carry your body weight for 2 minutes. I’m up to 90s on the dead hang, but farmers carry is just at 2×35 and I need to get to 2×75! (I’ve not tried the latter at the start of a weigh training session, only at the end, so it’s a little unfair. I will do one of these at the start with 40 lbs and see how it goes. I have carried 75 for 45-60s but it recked me for the rest of the workout!)

I also created a table of strength benchmarks based on both my weight and age, and looked at what intermediate lifters can do. Then I set my target at the lower of those two numbers. Upper body strength is in-line or very close for pull-ups, bench press, overhead press, and bar row. But lower body strength for squats and dead lifts has some serious work to put in this year. (Note, if I don’t have a measured 1 rep max, I use 120% of my best 5×5. This worked out well for most of the lifts for me where I have both, so I think it’s a decent approximation.)

Here’s the chart as of today, a little small but this is the best way to share it.

I don’t know if I can make all those green by the end of the year, but I’m going to work towards it!

See you on the mountain!

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