Tag Archives: 2012

2012 – The Fitness at 50 Year in Review

IT’S STILL A BIT HARD TO BELIEVE that 2012, my “year of being 50” is over and done with, even as full a year as it was.

As a forward-looking guy, I’m more interested in what I’m doing and learning now, and training for events to come. But readers who joined me during the year (thank you, thank you!) may not be fully aware of everything I’d planned for, and did, during 2012. So, in a nutshell, here’s what I’d set for myself to accomplish last year, and how it worked out.

2012 – The Setup

The idea to do something special at age 50 began in 2007 as a “500 at 50” bike trip, in which I would ride from home to our campground near the Sleeping Bear Dunes and back (500 miles) in the summer of 2012. As I continued to train and get in better shape, however, I thought of other things I could do to celebrate being 50, and gradually the plan developed for all the 50-related goals in 2012 – including creating a blog to tell the story.

In addition to the bike trip and a total running/cycling goal of 2,500 miles (50×50), I set monthly targets in the various activities and hobbies I pursue.

With such a great coach, success was a near guarantee.

With such a great coach, success was a near guarantee.

Calisthenics (January):  I kicked off 2012 with a modest goal of 50 pushups per day in January, and despite getting a cold a couple of weeks in, made the goal. A good start!

Cooking (February & March) – This part didn’t work out so well. My initial goal was to cook 50 new recipes in February. I didn’t get near that number, even when I extended it to March. A key certification effort at work meant I didn’t have the time or energy to get there. On the plus side, I created or found some recipes that became family favorites. Later in the year I tried out a few new truffle flavors, too. My experience with durian in December was less pleasant, but a learning experience nonetheless.

Of course, these are all "calorie-free" - since I don't sell them, all the calories are free.

Of course, these are all “calorie-free” – since I don’t sell them, all the calories are free.

ReverseHandThrowAikido (April, July) – Goal: attend 50 classes in one month. I chose April because the big push at work was over, and it wouldn’t be too hot in the dojo (our school doesn’t believe in air conditioning). By attending my regular Rec & Ed classes and getting in lots of extra training at the main dojo, I wound up with 55 for the month. We celebrated by doing 55 pushups at the end of the final class.

Bokken - KamaeIn July my goal was buki (wooden weapons) practice in increasing sets of 50. So at the end of the month I was doing 200 sword strikes per day. I think I improved my technique as a result, although I’ve been told it takes 1,000 strikes per day to get really good.

Cycling (May, August) – The August “500 at 50” bike trip was the main event, but I wanted to get some serious BIS (butt-in-saddle) time before then. I decided on some all-weekend rides in May, with the goal of visiting 50 small towns during the month. Town #50 was Honor, which I reached during our Memorial Day weekend trip up north.

Doing my part to save lives!

Doing my part to save lives! (Breast cancer walk fundraiser in Clinton.)

Daughters - the best welcoming committee!

Daughters – the best welcoming committee! (Arrival at the campground.)

The August 500-mile trip wound up being 600 miles due to back roads (and getting lost a couple of times), and despite some unexpected detours and riding an entire day in the rain, made it there and back on schedule, meeting a number of wonderful people and eating a lot of cookies and scones along the way. You can read about it here.

NaNoWriMo 2012 Winner CertificateWriting (November) – November was National Novel Writing Month (fondly known among writers as NaNoWriMo), whose annual challenge is to write a novel of at least 50,000 words during the month (how convenient!). I selected a story idea that had been bouncing around in my head for a couple of years, and finally put electrons to it. I got over the 50,000 word mark with a day to spare. Now comes the fun part – completing it, then edit, revise, and repeat.

Mile 19 - State Street - croppedRunning (year round) – Wow. When did I turn into a runner? My count shows 20 races from December 2011 to December 2012, with age group awards in 12 of them, a PR (personal record) in every distance, and a finish under 20:00 in a 5K, something I’d been working toward for two years. I also set a distance PR by running a 50K (31.2 miles) ultramarathon at Run Woodstock in September (and did something else for the first time that you can read about here). And you couldn’t ask for better support than my coach, Marie, and the wonderful folks who run with PR Fitness.

The PR Fitness teams at the Crim 10-mile. (I'm the last row, far right.)

The PR Fitness teams at the Crim 10-mile. I’m in the back row, far right. Marie is center, bib #2875.

You may have noticed that not every month is covered. June was the Dexter-Ann Arbor half marathon and the Ann Arbor Marathon, so I figured that was enough to go on. October I just couldn’t think of anything, so I let it go. (That was the best part of this whole thing. My year, my rules!)

So, have I set goals for 2013? Yes – and no. Details to follow.

Whatever Begins…

Whatever begins, also ends.     — Seneca

WELL, THE DAY HAD TO COME. Today was my 51st birthday, and my “year of being 50” has come to an end. And what an incredible ride it’s been, kicking off one year ago today with the 2011 Holiday Hustle 5K and ending with the same race last Saturday. (More on that one later – it was a really special race for me.)

With adventures in running, cycling, Aikido, novel writing, cooking, and calisthenics, it was a full and busy year, and I enjoyed every moment of it, even when I biked all day in the rain or gasped my way to the finish line and first aid station in the Ann Arbor Marathon. Somehow I stayed healthy and free of significant injury the whole time, and for that I am very grateful. And there are no sufficient words to express my appreciation for my family, who put up with my nights of training and weekends away from home, and worried about me biking 600 miles by myself but let me go anyway. And to my coach who helped me reach the goals I’d set for myself, and to all my friends who encouraged me, thank you all so very much.

So, what’s next? Technically, I still have a couple of goals left in 2012, with an Aikido test next week and the 2,500 combined run/bike miles. I will also be compiling my list of “50 things I did at 50” list and recapping the year’s highlights. In 2013, if all goes well, I will test for black belt in Aikido, and maybe have a go at a 50-mile ultramarathon. (Hey, I did a 50K this year, what’s another 16 miles on top of that?) And as for the latest craze in outdoor endurance events – so far I’ve resisted the siren call of the triathlon, but I get the feeling that sooner or later I’ll get sucked in. Maybe I can hold that off until 2014. But in any event, I’ll be blogging about it all.

Next year, too, I hope to get back to my fiction writing. Now that I’m 50,000 words into a novel, it wouldn’t be right to just set it aside. Lots of short stories to clean up and send out, too. And, of course, there’s always more interesting stuff to cook and more flavors of chocolate truffles to try. I’ll keep you all posted on those, too.

But for now, time to get some rest. Sensei celebrated my birthday tonight in class with a final set of 51 breakfalls and 51 buki strikes, and then I capped it off with 51 pushups. Watch out when I turn 100!