2016: The short version
I recently finished this book called Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. In it he describes, among other things, the critical role that cognitive dissonance in human psychology has played in our biological and cultural evolution as a species. Harari argues that the absolute power of cognitive dissonance is something so significant and so significantly overlooked: that human beings can simultaneously hold contradictory thoughts and genuinely believe that all of them are true.
This allows our psyche to be incredibly flexible, allows us to explain and understand the world in very complex ways and enables us to adapt to the world around us as circumstances dictate, while still holding true to multiple core and contradictory beliefs. For example, in the United States, we believe in competing ideals in the Declaration of Independence of equal rights (“all men are created equal”) and individual liberty (the inalienable rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”), even if equal rights and individual liberty can at times be at odds with each other.
Cognitive dissonance has been running high for a lot of us in 2016. On the world stage, ’16 has been a year of madness and uncertainty. I don’t need to recap that here. I think most people can probably relate. And yet, 2016 also had a lot of bright spots for a lot of people, especially if you are a Cubs or Cavs fan.
For me, this year was defined by two profoundly emotional personal events: expecting my first child and my mom’s diagnosis of stage 4 cancer. I’ve spent the bulk of my year bouncing between these two events. On one particularly crazy week, I visited my mom for surgery one day and flew back home that night for an ultrasound appointment with Jess the next day. In one scenario, we are working and fighting hard to stop rogue cells from spreading and in another scenario, cells are rapidly growing to sustain life for my daughter-to-be. Talk about cognitive dissonance. 2016 has had some of the highest highs and lowest lows. It’s been quite the mindfuck in ways that I don’t think I can even process right now.
It has been, though, a very good year for me to run. It has allowed me to exert some level of control and regularity, how ever fleeting, over this crazy up and down year. If I have learned one thing this year, it’s that stress and emotions don’t just disappear into the ether once you’ve experienced them. They go somewhere and they manifest in different ways. Some people take that toll physically, some put it into their art, their careers, their relationships, their crafts, their vices. I’ve seen a little of all of that. A large chunk of that emotional byproduct has made its way here, into this ambiguous goal I’ve put out there for no real purpose than just going along for the ride. It has not been perfect, but it has been a start, and in a year like 2016, just starting and moving forward has seemed to be enough.
If you add up the time foot to pavement, I spent over three days running, and I ran 100 times this year, on average of 5.9 miles per run. I ran at an average clip of 9 min, 2 seconds per mile for 590 miles, which is approximately the distance from DC to Montreal with a few miles left over to look for a hypothetical Montreal bagel spot. I was fortunate enough to run in ten different cities, one of which was in Copenhagen. I’m looking forward to setting new goals for ’17 and seeing how the numbers play out. Happy new year to all, and best wishes for a
good great 2017!
2016: The long version
2016 overall stats:
Some overall stats for the entire year:
|Total time||3 days, 16 hr, 51 min, 50 sec|
|Avg. Distance Per Run||5.90 miles|
|Avg. Pace Per Run||9 min, 2 sec per mile|
For reference, 590.24 miles is approximately the driving distance from Washington DC to Montreal Canada.
I averaged just under a 10k per run, and ran at an average pace of around 9 minutes a mile.
All in all, I’m pretty happy with that. If I’m honest, when I was hitting my training in September, I was eyeing for a 1,000 mile year, but the craziness of November and December pushed that goal away this year. But, hey, always something to reach for next year!
The big volume months were predictably those leading up to the Baltimore Marathon in October. I was pushing towards running the Rehoboth Marathon in December, but I got sidelined with a medical issue that was quasi-run related. December was really low as a result.
Avg. Distance Per Run
Same trend as above, with a core distribution showing up from May to November.
|January||3 hr, 3 min, 14 sec|
|February||0 hr, 20 min, 0 sec|
|March||2 hr, 25 min, 57 sec|
|April||3 hr, 38 min, 9 sec|
|May||7 hr, 36 min, 34 sec|
|June||9 hr, 0 min, 17 sec|
|July||11 hr, 17 min, 56 sec|
|August||13 hr, 42 min, 12 sec|
|September||13 hr, 54 min, 15 sec|
|October||15 hr, 28 min, 30 sec|
|November||6 hr, 29 min, 0 sec|
|December||1 hr, 45 min, 28 sec|
Note: If audiobooks weren’t so hard to listen to while running, I’d get some serious learning in while I’m out there. I save that stuff for the work commute.
Avg. Pace Per Run
|January||8 min, 44 sec|
|February||7 min, 41 sec|
|March||8 min, 51 sec|
|April||7 min, 49 sec|
|May||9 min, 34 sec|
|June||8 min, 46 sec|
|July||9 min, 0 sec|
|August||8 min, 49 sec|
|September||9 min, 10 sec|
|October||9 min, 33 sec|
|November||9 min, 11 sec|
|December||8 min, 43 sec|
There doesn’t seem to be too much to glean from the charts below. January to April and November to December are essentially outliers, given that my run output was pretty low those months. I still kept them here for reference.
One thing that might be worthy to note is that my avg. pace held relatively steady between 8 min, 30 sec to 9 min, 30 sec from about June til October. This pace held steady as I went for a lot of runs during this time and as my total miles and avg. mile per run trended up.
Avg. Pace vs. Total Distance:
Avg. Pace vs. Avg. Distance:
Avg. Pace vs. Workouts:
|2016 Capitol Hill Classic||10k||52 min, 23 sec|
|2016 Lawyers Have Heart 10k||10k||53 min, 56 sec|
|2016 Baltimore Marathon||Marathon||4 hr, 41 min, 35 sec|
I ran three official races this year:
Capitol Hill Classic 10k:
Lawyers Have Heart 10k
I had planned two more, the DC Half & Half Marathon and the Rehoboth Marathon. I didn’t do the Half & Half out of pure laziness, and I missed Rehoboth due to a medical issue.
2016 Run Locations:
|City||Number of runs||Total miles|
|Warrensville Heights, OH||1||10.15|
|New York, NY||1||3.24|
As shown above, I ran in ten different cities in 2016. Note that in some of these places (probably only DC, actually), I crossed over different cities/states. Most of my runs in DC started in DC but traversed portions in either VA or MD. I have yet to do the three state DMV run, but that can be an early goal for ’17.
I almost was able to add Rio to that list, since Jess and I visited at the end of last year, but we came back right on New Years Eve. Obviously, between home and work (and the Baltimore marathon), the vast majority of my runs were in DC and Baltimore.
2016 Run Pictures:
Taking pictures during most runs this year has been a lot of fun. It’s going to be a complete disservice to even try and do this, but I am going to select one picture to summarize every month (starting in April, when I took the first one). Not necessarily my favorite picture from the month, just one that jumps out to me for whatever reason.
I started off this marathon goal with the intent to raise money for kidney cancer awareness, in honor of my mom who is fighting the battle. Since then, the goal has evolved beyond simple fundraising, but instead, the idea is to provide a positive contribution back for each race that I run, whether that be through personal donations or personal service.
-For the Baltimore Marathon, I made a $250 donation to the Stand Up To Cancer organization.
-For the Rehoboth Marathon (which I did not end up running), some friends volunteered with me to plant trees in DC with an organization called Casey Trees.