Looking back on 2014: Health and fitness

Jan 1, 06:15 PM

2014 was a pretty good year for me in terms of staying active and getting my weight under control. I didn’t do as much cycling this year as I did last, but I took up running again. I pushed things too far in late April and early May, exacerbating a 2012 injury to an area below and outside my right knee, where the fibula ends, so I had to take a couple months off of running, but that’s now under control.

Physical activity

A summary of this year’s activity:

Activity Distance   Time   Weekly average
Cycling 3,204 miles 236h 10m 4h 33m
– on rollers/stationary bike 402 miles
Running 364 miles 52h 54m 1h 1m
Walking/hiking 262 miles 90h 30m 1h 44m
Canoeing and erg rowing 88417 m (55 miles) 12h 33m 15m
Cross-country skiing 14 miles 6h 21m 7m
Strength training 28h 59m 33 m
TOTAL 4301 miles 427h 27m
=17d 19h 27m
8h 13m

My longest bike ride was only 82 miles, a hilly ride (6,716 feet of climbing) that I did in preparation for D2R2 the following week. My D2R2 ride was shorter, only 77 miles, but featured 7,566 feet of climbing. My longest run, on the other hand, was only 6.5 miles.

I didn’t do that much strength training, mostly bodyweight exercises to help preserve lean muscle mass as I lost fat. That’s an area on which to focus in 2015.

Weight loss

After losing 47 pounds in 2013, I took off another 18 in 2014, most of it in the first eight months of the year. I’ve reached a reasonable weight for my height and build and will focus on not regaining weight. I joined the National Weight Control Registry, so that my experience can be used for ongoing research into weight loss.

Health

I’ve been pretty healthy this year: a couple of colds, and one upper respiratory illness that might have been strep throat in early spring, but no major illnesses or injuries. I did reactivate my February 2012 cycling injury by running too much and too far in the spring, not helped by all the standing and slow walking that came with graduation events. And I lost a tooth to an olive pit in September.

Looking forward

I’ll be taking a week off of physical activity this month when I have a sinus lift and dental implant to replace the molar that I lost in the fall. It’s probably not a bad idea to take a week off anyway, and I’ll need rest as I recover from surgery.

Barring any new injuries, I plan to keep running regularly, three times a week for a total of 15-20 miles. I’ve decided to do the UMass 5K Dash and Dine race on April 11, which will give me about 12 weeks to train once I’ve recovered from surgery. I might run more often when I’m traveling for work, since it’s easier to pack running shoes and shorts than a bicycle!

I’ll continue to cycle regularly, too. My travel plans for the summer are still up in the air, but I imagine I’ll be back in western Massachusetts in time for this year’s D2R2 on August 22. Presuming that I have time to train adequately, I’ll tackle the 115K again. I’m not sure I’ll do any other organized rides, though I might do a few Wednesday night rides with the Northampton Cycling Club if I’m around.

Now that we have a canoe and a roof carrier, I expect that we’ll try to work in a few days of paddling every month once the spring melt comes. That, in turn, will probably mean fewer bike rides, so I’ll aim to do a couple of shorter rides during the week and then one long ride on the weekend.

I’m also going to make a habit of hiking the 2-mile loop trail at the Mount Warner Reservation that opened last fall. My family gave us snowshoes for Christmas, so I might even give it a try in the snow, either by myself or on the hot chocolate snowshoe hike in a few weeks. I’d like to make a point of hiking more regularly elsewhere, too.

I enjoy seeing improvements in my strength and endurance, especially cycling and running faster and farther. But I don’t have much of an urge to compete against others. I’d rather be a good all-around athlete, someone who can go for a long hike or tromp around a city all day without getting fatigued, than a competitive cyclist or runner. I might enter a couple of running races, just for the experience of participating with hundreds of others. That was the enjoyable part of the 25K River Bank Run I did back in 1995 (my first, and to date only, organized race). I don’t see myself cycle racing. I can imagine doing more randonneuring, perhaps a 200K and 300K brevet in the fall or in spring 2016. It’s a sport in which everyone who finishes the distance within the allotted time is a winner. That’s my style!

Mostly, though, as I approach my fifth decade, I want to do fun stuff outdoors in a way that will help me preserve my mobility and independence for decades to come. The one weak spot in my routine is strength training: I should add a little more every week, probably bodyweight exercises that are easy to do when traveling. I don’t want to end up looking like the cyclists in Les Triplettes de Belleville!

Brian W. Ogilvie

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