Looking Ahead Without a Spreadsheet
As mentioned in a previous post, I track the miles I run and ride. I keep tabs on the number of days I do each activity.
Bike ride? Check.
Trip to the gym? Check.
Miles ridden or run? Write them down.
I usually take great pleasure watching the trips and miles add up over the days and months until they culminate into a great big digit fest at the end of the year.
Enthusiastically I review and compare the information, consider what the various numbers mean, and draft out plans and goals for the upcoming 12 months.
This December, I found myself scrutinizing all the digits and instead of feeling fun, it felt like math homework. Rather than the numbers revealing something exciting, they just sat there looking at me blankly from within their cell on a spreadsheet.
In the end, the story the numbers told was the following: I have been on the same basic program for the past three years. Same overall mileage, same number of days ridden, and the same number of trips to the gym. The only difference was that my 2012 running mileage increased noticeably from 2011.
I think I would be ok with the story of sameness, had I felt like my program was satisfying. But it feels like something was missing from my 2012 endeavors.
This year I experienced an overhwelming, albeit brief, urge to quit on a brevet simply because I was not into the ride. There was nothing physically wrong. I wasn’t bonking. The weather was not unpleasant. The distance did not intimidate me. The course was pretty. I just did not want to be riding my bike 300 kilometers that day.
That desire to quit shook me. If I ride the brevets, I want to be all in. If I time out or something happens that’s outside of my control, fine. But to mentally check out? That is not acceptable and it is something I need to think about for this upcoming year.
Given my waning enthusiasm midway through the Super Randonneur series, I was proud of Felkerino and I for our perseverance. We thoroughly dug in and enjoyed ourselves on June’s 600K brevet, which was also a qualifier for the 1200K distance. We agreed to focus on forward momentum and be efficient at the controls and any other stops.
Our solid team effort on the 600K redeemed my confidence in us taking on the Colorado High Country 1200K in July. As long as we could execute a similar plan in Colorado, we would be good.
To my relief, the High Country 1200K proved to be the event highlight of my year. Incredible course. Good riding company. Felkerino and I rode well and were synchronized throughout. While the year did not necessarily leave me feeling satisfied, the Colorado High Country certainly did.
As I noted in my wrap-up post, 2012 stands out largely because of all the new people we met, particularly the BikeDC community. It was not a year about numbers.
That said, I want 2013 to be different. I don’t care if the miles are the same. I don’t wish to ride or run fewer miles or even less frequently. I want to allocate the miles differently somehow. What that means in concrete terms, I am still puzzling through.
Maybe I need to throw my spreadsheet away.