Although it’s hard to say that 2021 was a great year it was better for me than the prior two years so at least that’s something! From a running and triathlon perspective it was pretty awesome and I hit a bunch of new milestones. I ran the most miles I’ve ever run in a year. I ran 50K for the first time and even got a couple extra miles in for 33 total miles. I did a 1/3 Iron-distance triathlon which is the longest one I’ve done. I did a very adventurous 10-leg triathlon. As if all of that isn’t exciting enough, I FINALLY broke 3:34 in the marathon (where I’d been hung up for years) with a time of 3:28:55. Definitely a good year. Here’s a closer look at how the year played out.
As the pandemic raged on, I didn’t do any real races until June. Half of my schedule this year was already set thanks to deferrals from 2020. The Martian Marathon didn’t take place in person this year either so it was the one virtual race I did with a 5K / half marathon combo.
I had planned to run my first 50K in 2020 but it was canceled plus I got injured in the process of training for it. Fortunately my body held up this year and I was able to do the 6-hour Twilight Zone trail race in June. It was warm and humid but I made it through 33 miles in just under six hours. I had never run longer than a marathon so it was exciting to officially get into ultra running territory.
My body recovered so well that I was able to do a sprint triathlon a couple weeks later. I did one sprint in June and one in July.
I was really intrigued by the thought of a 10-leg triathlon and decided to give it a shot. It included segments of swimming across one lake while carrying running gear in a buoy so I could run to another lake, swim across, run again, and so on. I felt VERY accomplished after that race.
I figured if I could get through that race I could manage a 1/3 Iron-distance triathlon. The longest I had done was the Olympic distance so this distance fell between that and a half Ironman. The hills left me feeling pretty wrecked but didn’t completely break me!
In addition to the four triathlons I also swam a 5K. I did the race in 2019 and it was a fun challenge so I knew I had to try it again. My swim training wasn’t very impressive this year thanks to avoiding the pool for half of the year due to pandemic worries. I was slower this time but actually felt better. I’ve already signed up to do it again next August!
Aside from those adventures, I spent most of my time running. I ran a half marathon at the beginning of July and a 4-hour race toward the end of the month where I ran just under 25 miles.
In August I ran a 10-mile race then did my second half marathon of the year in September.
By the middle of the summer I started to train for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon that had been canceled in 2020. It wasn’t much of a surprise when it got canceled this year as well. I decided to try the Vermont City Marathon instead but then that one got canceled too. I was still determined to put all of my training to use for a fall marathon and kept hunting for a replacement. I chose the Indy Monumental Marathon as my third option which turned out to be a wise choice. After aiming to run a 3:30 marathon for at least six years, I was THRILLED that I came in a minute under my goal. With an 11-minute qualifying buffer it also assured me that I would be able to sign up for 2022’s Boston Marathon.
That probably should have been enough for the year but I couldn’t resist the challenge of running back-to-back half marathons on Thanksgiving and the day after. I got through it successfully then took recovery more seriously and didn’t do any races in December.
I accumulated a nice collection of shirts and medals after all of that racing!
As I already mentioned, I ran more miles this year than I’ve ever run – a total of 2,184 miles. For the first half of the year all of those miles helped me “Run the Mitt” – a fun challenge that included checkpoint pins for cities throughout Michigan as I worked toward a total of 1,035 miles. The more I run, the less I do everything else. When I was injured and couldn’t run for a chunk of time in 2020, I biked a ton. I went from 2,500 miles on the bike last year to 943 this year. It’s nice to change things up now and then but I was relieved that I could run more this year because that’s what I enjoy the most. This year I also swam over 86 miles and did 70 strength sessions. I do core/weights workouts in the basement for 45-minutes to an hour and usually have some adorable workout buddies there with me.
All of those miles allowed me to see a lot of great scenery. I love getting to combine my passion for running with my passion for photography. The last few years I’ve made a calendar with pictures I’ve taken while running and biking. Here are the 12 images that made the cut for my 2022 calendar.
I definitely had a lot of great highlights this past year. Looking forward, we’ll see if I finally get to run the Toronto Marathon in 2022. Boston Marathon training officially began during the last week of 2021 so that’s pretty exciting. Boston and Toronto are the main goals for the next year so hopefully this never-ending pandemic doesn’t mess with those plans. I keep thinking that I should try a half Ironman sometime. I don’t know if 2022 will be the year but I’m pretty sure I’ll find plenty of fun challenges that will keep me busy!