2014: The Year in Review

With everyone getting all excited to share their Facebook photo montages and blog posts about how totally super amazing their year was, I started to feel down. I didn’t do much this year, I thought. It was sort of lame. And, then, I realized I guess I did a lot actually. I crashed the car; I shattered my teeth; I did an Ironman; I moved down to L.A. for this grad program; I started school (which means I had to quit a bunch of work); I went to Turkey, Canada, Boston, Chicago, Wisconsin, Arizona, Seattle, Kentucky, other places; I wrote some stuff too. So. That’s a year.

I’m not a New Year’s Resolutions person. This may come as a shock, but I generally find the whole exercise a self-congratulatory pointless, well, exercise. If you want to draw a line in the sand after which you will raise your fist to the sky and declare that now, now things will be different, then that’s your right and that’s fine. Mostly, though, it’s just annoying for the rest of us that the gym is full for the first two weeks of the year.

But, since December usually coincides with off-season, it’s always been a convenient time anyway to make plans and sketch out schedules. The problem this year is that none of those things are true. I have no plans past May. Or, rather, I have plans, lots and lots of plans, but no sense of which of them is going to work out. No timetables or checklists. Nothing to write in your little journal and underline, to pin on your vision board.

This means I’m not thinking too hard about 2015 yet. I’m just going to put my head down and work for a few more months, get things done and learn and explore ideas. And, then I’ll draw my arbitrary line around April or May, my New Year’s Eve, after which I will declare that now, now, things will be different.

In 2014, I…

Ran: 774 miles (plus a little water running)
Biked: 3,266 miles
Swam: 256,050 yards

This amounted to about 455 hours, give or take — the biggest obvious difference over last year is that I started being a triathlete again and stopped being a lifestyle runner.

I raced…

Then, after almost two months of nothing, I went on a racing binge from late October to early December and did:

The biggest months were probably this month (clocking in around 50 hours) and late February through mid-March, when there were the training camps but before I shattered my teeth. The lowest month was August when I’m pretty sure I counted walking from the train station to class as “exercise.”

This year was some of the most concentrated, consistent and highest volume training I’ve done, but it also included some of the biggest drop-offs mixed in. That kind of thing is so frustrating, because it’s so easy to just keep thinking ‘what if…’ I was pretty fit in May/June. What if I hadn’t torn a muscle and face-planted off my bike before that? What if I could go a whole year without any major injury or accident? I raced really well at Alcatraz, but ended up a few seconds off the places I wanted to be. What if everything just came together? What if…

In case you were wondering, yes, I have those thoughts about work stuff too. What if one of the great things I wrote (which are rarer than the average things I write) actually got into the right hands? In that vein, here are a few things I wrote this year that I actually liked. There was other stuff I wrote, lots of it, that was quick and fun and light and easy, but these are the things I’m kind of proud of:

Sunny Running posts from this year that are worthwhile:

And, since I spend an absurd amount of time reading everything, here are a handful of things I read this year that I loved. This is not a comprehensive list. It is not a ‘best of’ list. It just is some things I really liked:

And, these are the books I read — slightly fewer than usual because of all the reading the news and the internet, which is boring me right now:

  • The Book of Life — Deborah Harkness
  • *Americanah — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Seating Arrangements — Maggie Shipstead
  • *Public Apology — Dave Bry
  • The Odd Couple — Neil Simon
  • The Secret Race — Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle (re-reads totally count)
  • *The Princess Bride — William Goldman
  • *Duel in the Sun — John Brant
  • The Circle — Dave Eggers
  • *Slow Getting Up — Nate Jackson
  • The Runaway Jury — John Grisham
  • Never Have I Ever — Katie Heaney
  • *Hyperbole and a Half — Allie Brosh
  • Orange is the New Black — Piper Kerman
  • *The Night Circus — Erin Morgenstern
  • Eleanor & Park — Rainbow Rowell
  • State of Wonder — Ann Patchett
  • Tangerine — Edward Bloor
  • How to Buy a Love of Reading — Tanya Egan Gibson
  • *Let’s Pretend This Never Happened — Jenny Lawson
  • David and Goliath — Malcolm Gladwell
  • *The Interestings — Meg Wolitzer

* means you should definitely 100% read this; I had no absolute-must-recommend-makes-my-top-ten-overall-list book this year, though

What if?

3 thoughts on “2014: The Year in Review

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