The Year That Was: 2019

My 2019 was a year of contradictions, marked in equal measure by thrilling successes and crushing failures. I raced my longest-distance race to date at the Forget the PR 50K and I got a new full marathon PR one month later at The Flying Pig … but I also experienced the longest furlough in my running career after breaking my ankle.

A spring filled with mindful training and successful racing was followed by a fall filled with nothing.

Thanks to my injury, I fell out of the normal rhythms maintained by my running community. Muscles in my left leg atrophied. My estimated VO2 Max dropped by nine points. I gained nearly 20 pounds. As my frustrations mounted, my love for endurance sports simply faded away.

Once I finally got out of my cast and completed physical therapy, life started throwing other challenges my way, too. The workload at my job expanded exponentially. My dad experienced—and luckily recovered from—a serious health scare. My wife developed a stress fracture that derailed the rest of her fall training. Our furnace and our washing machine both crapped out on the same day. My car crapped out during my morning commute to work the following week. There seemed to be no end to the shit parade marching through my life. Trying to make time for exercise became the least of my worries.

My #yearinsport as of Dec. 30, 2019, courtesy of Strava
My #yearinsport as of Dec. 30, 2019, courtesy of Strava

So I am very happy to say “goodbye” to 2019. It’s easy for me to succumb to cynicism as I look back over the last seven months. I’m sure that I can look forward to plenty of years in the future that will be as challenging as 2019. I’m sure that I will get injured again at some point in my life. I’m sure there will be other health scares in my family. I will continue to struggle to maintain a positive work/life balance. But I am also sure that there will be years ahead that will make 2019’s challenges seem tiny in comparison.

I am making a conscious decision to leave the past behind when I turn the page on my calendar from 2019 to 2020. I am going to embrace the naivety that comes with New Year’s Resolutions. I’m drawing a line in the sand. 2019 already happened. Sure, it sucked. A lot. But I also ran my longest-ever race distance: 32 miles. I maintained my longest-ever run streak: 100 days. Despite the steady shit parade, I still managed 1,000 total miles of running and 1,753 total miles of biking/Peloton-ing for the year. On top of that, I was able to travel to Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia, Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and New York. I got to visit numerous National Parks, see some great live music and drink a lot of first-rate craft beer. I joined the Honey Stinger Hive and renewed my role as an ambassador for BOCO Gear. I might be overweight and undertrained at the end of it all, but I’m still standing.

My completed "No Days Off" calendar for 2019.
Not quite “No Days Off” in 2019 … but then that never really was the point. Despite the bad breaks (pun intended), I tried to live the last year as intentionally as possible. That’s something to be proud of in and of itself.

2020 offers me 366 new opportunities to be the best possible version of me. I started this blog roughly one year ago as part of an effort to take a more mindful approach to my endurance training. Things didn’t always go as planned, but that’s life. I have big things planned for 2020—including a new longest-ever distance run—and I’ll take things one day at a time. Goodbye 2019, hello 2020. Here’s to new beginnings!

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