Measuring My Year In Sweat

I don’t know if you know this, but I think sweating is cool.

Actually no, you HAVEN'T seen this photo plastered everywhere. Oh, you have? OK.

While some people measure their years in how much they achieved, or in daylights or sunsets or midnights or cups of coffee (RENT? Anyone? No. OK.), I prefer to look back on my year and assess how much I perspired. After all, sweat adds up to success, right?

Here’s how 2011 looked in terms of physical activity:

  • I ran 1,609.5 miles
  • My biggest running month was August, when I ran 163.75 miles (July was close behind at 161.75 miles)
  • I completed 15 road races, ranging in distance from a 5K to a Marathon
  • I PR’d in 7 of those races, though a few were simply because it was the first time I ran that distance (Hey there, Hamptons Marathon)
  • I spent a lot of time at the gym: In 2011 I took 37 Chisel classes, 99 Spinning classes and a whopping 16 Yoga classes, plus a handful of random classes, like Cardio Tai Box and that upside-down yoga class

I’m pleased with those numbers.

I ran many races. I enjoyed only some of them.

I never go into a particular year hoping to hit a mileage goal. I care more about each daily run than I do about the annual total. So while I don’t have a running mileage number in mind for 2012, nor do I care how many group fitness classes I attend, I do care that I make each sweat session count.

I documented my New Year’s Resolutions the other day. Remember that? Here’s the post if you’d like to revisit my detailed account of when I got bit on the butt cheek by an angry dog.

This is my look of happiness. This is BEFORE the animal attack.

At one point, I had a handful of running goals in mind for the upcoming year. I thought it would be fun to PR in the 4-mile distance, the half marathon and the marathon. Then I decided that was perhaps too ambitious, and instead I wanted to focus on one big goal.

That may be setting myself up for failure or disappointment: If I don’t hit the sub-4 hour marathon goal, then what? Will I throw myself a sad pity party, like that time I didn’t PR in Las Vegas? That was wimpy.

I’m not worried about that, though. I’m confident that with solid training and a better Race Day mindset (yes, I always capitalize Race Day, because in my mind each Race Day is a formal holiday worthy of vacation days and glitter), I can conquer a 3:59 (or faster!) marathon.

I am Ali, and I'm RUNNING!

No, I still haven’t decided if I’m gunning for that goal in the spring or if I’ll wait until the fall. Sorry. I suck at decision making.

I’ve taken a speedwork hiatus since Las Vegas. I’ve been running just to run, and to enjoy the great outdoors. And to get bitten by dogs and test my Rabies resistance. So far, so good, though Brian is on watch to see when/if I start foaming from the mouth.

Yesterday I ran 8 miles. I wasn’t going for speed, I just ran because running is cool. Here is what yesterday’s run looked like:

Not bad. Not bad.

This morning, I woke up and was like, “Wow, 30 degrees that ‘feels like 10?’ That sounds awesome! Time to run!”

Translation: Alarm goes off. Ali whimpers a little. Ali remembers her million-day vacation is over. Ali spots legwarmers in hamper. Ali perks up a little. Ali refuses to wear pants in the winter.

So out I went on a run around the Central Park Reservoir. Again, I wasn’t going for a particular speed, and I had time for 5 miles, so that’s what I did. See?

Put me in short shorts when it's cold and I will run fast. The faster I run, the sooner I'm in a hot shower.

Today’s splits are nice, I think. I like them. And for my next trick, I will try to go even faster.

I felt good this morning. The cold air felt shockingly good on my legs, and I felt speedy cruising around the Reservoir, though I didn’t feel uncomfortably fast or like I was working way too hard. I say that’s a good sign.

This is my face upon finishing the Ted Corbitt 15K. I was really excited because I crossed the finish line, which meant I was done with my 9+1 for the New York City Marathon. But really, Ali? That face? Calm yourself. Drama queen.

And that’s how the running is going. Whether or not I decide to run a spring marathon, I do plan to incorporate more hill training and speed training into my weekly workouts very soon.

Now it’s back to work. Here we go, 2012. Let’s do this.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? How do you measure your year? In medals? In miles? In seasons of love?



32 Responses

  1. Def in seasons of love! I’m totally inspired by this post! You make me want to run more miles in 2012 (which hopefully won’t be hard) and run faster. I also will be adding in some serious hill work soon and can’t wait to see what 2012 brings in the running department.

  2. I need to incorporate speed work and hill work in my schedule soon! My husband and I haven’t really done any solid speed work nor hill work (which killed us in our extremely hilly half marathon in October!) But now that we have been running for about 8 months I think it is time, also signing up for our first marathon is a big motivating factor!

  3. I giggled at your Rent reference. I can appreciate Broadway musical humor, if nothing else.

    Also, in that picture above, I like how the lady to your right is giving you the stink eye, like “Look at that girl and her legwarmers!” She’s jealous of your sass!

  4. In the marathon picture, the chick is checking out your leg warmers with a very jealous look on her face.LOL love it! Love your blog 🙂

  5. I have never kept track of miles ran in one year, but this year I thought it would be cool to run 2012 miles or more. That is my goal, I have to average roughly 39 miles a week to hit the goal. YOU can definitely run a sub-4hr marathon. I generally run my training runs on average much slower than you and I’ve run a 3:35 – YOU can absolutely PR this year. 🙂

  6. You have made me curious to figure out how many miles I ran this year. I have them all on spreadsheets from the beginning but I have never totaled up yearly mileage.

    Oh and you are crazy for wearing shorts. I wore shorts in a snowstorm and icy sidewalks in michigan this past weekend and slipped and fell on the ice. Actually I also slipped and fell another day there too but I was wearing pants. It hurts a lot more to fall in shorts!

  7. I’d say I would measure my year in love, first and foremost! Love for my sweet husband and for myself! I also ran A LOT, but I was new to running and didn’t keep track of my miles very well. I think I’m going to try to track my miles better this year…more out of curiosity than trying to meet a mileage goal.
    I also have the goal to run a sub-4 hour marathon this year…so I understand your thoughts about accomplishing this. I’m super scared that I won’t be able to, but I think I can. We can do it!!!

  8. Thats a lot of miles! Awesome job! I only tracked from April – October. I ran 680 miles in those months.. ran my first races of a 10K and a half (times 2). This year I want to really track all of my miles!

  9. What a neat idea to look back on. love this

    Wondering if you can help me a bit. Just got a Garmin and I’m trying to figure out how to do my splits. I bought it used, so I can’t register it because it was already registered with its first owner. Any ideas how to be able to upload my runs without registration? Thanks, Ali!

  10. You rocked some serious milage this year! You are awesome! I like the idea of having one big goal like run a sub 4 marathon and really putting all effort into that. My big goal is to run a 4:45 marathon. I just have to decide which race I’m going to do this in. Decisions decisions..

    Also, you are a champ for running in shorts in 30 degrees! Good thing you have leg warmers!

  11. Last year…would be measured in work, but not in a bad way (I finished grad school! and got a job! not a full time one, but 2 half time ones…whatever) and in wedding planning (got engaged in 2010, getting married in 2012)

    ps, also singing the RENT soundtrack in my head now 😉

  12. I am like you, don’t care a lot about total miles (although that’s a lot of miles lady! awesome!) just care more about making each workout count. It also doesn’t help that I’m not a numbers / math person. And I’m A.D.D. which further complicates things.

    I did order the little chip thingy that syncs your Garmin to your computer so I can start recording my split times. Can you believe I’ve had the same Garmin for 3 years and have NEVER done that?

    Oh, I ordered some legwarmers! Pretty sure you’d be happy to hear that news.

    Anyway, Happy NY to you! Excited to see what you will do next!

  13. holy crap, that’s a shitton of miles!! Go you!! I think I ran about 600 last year…so hopefully more this year given my renewed focus on running! I burned 153,800 calories though and did 395 workouts, that counts for something right? 😉

  14. Oh, and now I’m going to be singing RENT all day. Thanks for that, Ali.

    And I can’t believe you run in shorts when it’s this cold. Brr. I walked to my car in 9-degree temps this morning and my hands hurt by the time I walked like 10 feet. Seriously. You’re nuts.

  15. Oh RENT, possibly one of my favorite shows in history.
    I failed miserably at tracking my miles for the year so I have no idea if it’s 50 or 500, and I probably only ran 3 races (not counting coaching and/or pacing) for myself.
    This year I need to keep better track of these things!

  16. True story: I was actually really surprised when your 2011 resolutions recap and things you learned posts didn’t include seasons of love. But then i saw today’s title…. 😉

  17. I was JUST talking to my mom about Rent on the phone. When I joined Daily Mile last year it was just a way to log my runs in an organized place, but I look all the little stats they tell like, like how I saved 57 gallons in gas…too bad I don’t get those back when I drive from Boston to NY

  18. great post speedy lady! I’m not exactly sure how I measure my year. Mine was challenging but I think it made me grow so much stronger! I am currently coming off of an injury so my goal right now is to just run pain free again! dr. appointment today, fingers crossed!

  19. You ran in shorts TODAY???!! You are officially on my insane list. Seriously. Be careful! I like the idea of one main goal, I think the other smaller ones will happen naturally but the big one requires work and focus. I have the same thing in mind this year for the half marathon, but I won’t be back out running until it gets warmer out. Happy new year!

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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