It was, as regular readers know, a tough year emotionally, with my dad's illness and his passing in November. However, I took a full 11 days off for the holiday break, and I’m feeling a bit more spunky coming out of it than I was going in.
With the break, I’ve had some time to consider my athletic year, separate from the crush of everything else, and was surprised to realize that it was extremely successful, especially based on my ever-increasing reliance on the smiles-per-hour (versus miles-per-hour) metric.
I did things I’ve never done before, including my first-ever season of cycling dirt roads, trails, and even some straight-up single-track. This I accomplished on my Salsa Vaya (a 2011 purchase): an on/off road bike with drop bars, no suspension, and narrowish 35 mm tires. Not bad for a guy of 47 to pick up his first dirt skills on that puppy, eh?
I did things I’ve been trying to do for a few years – such as finding a well-established local road riding group I could fit in with. I went on five or six outings with them, had fun, made friends, and managed my share of the work load respectably.
I also did things I’ve been longing to get back to for decades. I had long thought that running, which I enjoyed quite a bit as a college student, was out of the question for me, due to creaky, aching joints. Turns out that, using a very slow and deliberate introductory schedule, I was eventually able to build back up to the “runner’s high,” and even complete a 5K. I ran most often at 7:00 a.m. on weekdays, through inches of snow and the coldest winter on local record for years.
Finally, I returned to another activity I’d been away from for years: Cross-country skiing. I rented at the (pretty good) local ski area three times, and had a blast. Good way to make use of the record snow falls last year. I got Mrs. V out with me once, and she really enjoyed herself too.
I’d say that’s a pretty good list for one dang year. To celebrate, Mrs. V and I just went out and bought ourselves presents to make the coming winter a little more exciting:
Have a great, active new year. If an office-bound, middle-aged dude like me can get out there all year ‘round, so can you!