This is a summary of my hikes and walks for the year 2013. Last year I put together my first such summary and I thought 2013 would be an interesting comparison.
The activities I’m summarizing are those I track: basically, any time I record GPS data. This means my hiking and fitness walking-type activities, but not any other day-to-day activities like running errands or walking around the house/office. Sometimes I also use a pedometer during fitness activities, and sometimes I estimate my steps based on the terrain and my experience.
Similar to last year, I separated my activities into 3 categories: rehab walks, training walks, and hikes. The rehab category is related to a hamstring pull that actually occurred in late 2012, but I didn’t really back off my walking or slow down until March(!), after a kind-but-stern conversation with my physical therapist. After a few weeks of reduced and gentler walking the pain finally started to go away. In a way, it was a good lesson on taking care of myself: recognizing an issue, doing appropriate exercises and stretching, and taking it easy until the injury is healed. In fact, I started to have an issue with my other hamstring during the summer, immediately took the above actions, and recovered much more quickly with much less interruption (I was training for a marathon at the time). Lesson learned, I hope! – and I hope that 2014 will be injury-free.
Here is my summary:
My hike and training walk distances were both about 50% higher in 2013 than in 2012, and of course my rehab distance was much less. My elevation gain was also about 50% greater in 2013, reflecting that my rehab walks were relatively flat. Total mileage and number of steps were about 25% higher in 2013. To see the changes more easily, here is a comparison of annual totals for 2011-2013:
(My 2012 numbers have been updated as a result of going through my entire log more thoroughly.) Because I spent more of 2012 in rehab than either 2011 or 2013, the 2011 to 2013 comparison is the most relevant. Compared to 2011, in 2013 I logged almost 120 more miles total, but 100 fewer miles of training walks and 200 more miles of hikes. I guess I hiked up a storm in 2013! In 2013 I walked one marathon and in 2011 I walked two, so I must have done a greater number of long training walks (over, say, 13 miles) in 2011. The number of steps scales pretty closely with the total mileage, indicating that my stride averaged over my activities is pretty (amazingly?) consistent. I note with amusement that my roughly 3.65 million steps in 2013 average out to almost exactly 10,000 steps per calendar day – not counting my usual non-fitness-related day-to-day walking around.
Looking at numbers is one way to gauge a year’s accomplishments, but I want to mention several notable events and experiences. The journey is so much more than just the numbers! (even though I’m focusing on numbers in this summary)
Hiking: I started this blog as a way to chronicle my adventures hiking the Bay Area Ridge Trail. I am rapidly approaching completion of all dedicated segments. In fact, my magic number (of remaining hikes) now stands at just 6. I am looking forward to becoming an official Ridge Trail circumnavigator! At the same time, I am exploring and discovering more parks and open spaces unrelated to the Ridge Trail. A particularly memorable hike took place in the Fall in Henry Coe State Park. This 15-mile hike included a 1.3-mile section with nearly 22% grade and a friendly challenge involving the climb time relative to each hiker’s age. This appealed to my competitive (with myself) nature, and I was happy to finish a full 18 minutes ahead of my benchmark time.
Fitness walking: I completed two half marathons and a full marathon in 2013, achieving personal records in all 3 events. In the first half marathon my official time (2:50:10) was just barely under 13 minutes per mile, a major milestone for a walker. My time for the second half marathon was actually a little slower (2:51:22), but still a personal best for the course: I added some extra distance, possibly a couple tenths of a mile, due to a more crowded course and not following the most efficient path around the numerous corners. In the full marathon I finished in 5:54:42, well under my goal of breaking 6 hours.
Rehab: While it was painful, literally, to deal with the hamstring issue for roughly 6 months, I learned a lot about dealing with that type of injury, and that was a growth process. And when I tweaked the other hamstring a few months later, I recognized the situation and took appropriate action quickly, resulting in less of an issue and a much quicker recovery. I have incorporated more stretching into my pre- and post-walk (or hike) routine.
What lies ahead in 2014? I should complete hiking the remaining segments of the Bay Area Ridge Trail early in the year and hike all the new sections that are added during the year. I am already planning my next hiking “project,” and it will introduce me to even more parks and open spaces in the Bay Area. Also, I look forward to more hiking in the Lake Tahoe area, possibly experiencing some more sections of the Pacific Crest Trail. I will do at least two half marathons, and hope to get to an exciting, new-for-me destination for a third. And I hope to stay healthy and injury-free!