Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015: The Year in Review

I was 2 seconds away from naming this post "The Year of the Knee" because that's exactly what it turned out to be. But then my other "Year in Review" posts wouldn't match with this one so I resisted the urge. Just remember the unofficial title.

It was promising...

Back in January, I called 2015 the year of the athlete. After completely crushing all expectations in 2014 by both running my first marathon that January(Disney) and a positively huge Half Marathon PR in November (Philadelphia) you could say I was riding pretty high. You know how people say that you shouldn't go grocery shopping while hungry? Maybe it applies to planning future goals while being in a "runner's high" as well.
The Machine
I decided that it was time to aim high and finally try a tri. I have triathlon in the brain folks. I've had it for a long time now. This was gonna be the year and to prove it I bought The Machine and started cycling. I also talked about cross-training and to crown the Year of the Athlete, I would start 2016 by running The Goofy Challenge, which I signed up for.
First "big" ride


In all this goal planning (which included some lofty mileage goals) I seemed to have forgotten that I had gotten into some serious trouble with my right knee and that even though the doctor cleared me to run Philly, it was essentially a patch job and I would have to return and deal with it. I didn't.

During the race in Philly, the knee was a total non-issue. Hardly felt a thing. So I guess I just thought I was gonna be OK but...

In March, I ran the Puerto Rico Half Marathon and while the knee did not give me much trouble, the bonk during the final 2 miles as the Sun (and heat) reared it's head let me know there was some work to be done.
We need more Half Marathons in Puerto Rico

It wasn't all bad

After the Half, things were looking pretty good. My wife and I both started to make changes in our eating habits that have been very positive and I finally started cross-training by doing P90X3. The short, but tough workouts are a good complement to a runner. I also found out that I enjoy cycling as much as I enjoy running. Even did a 40 mile charity ride that included the steepest hill ever and survived. I felt I was on the right track and finding balance. I even PR'ed at the 5K distance even though I hardly raced this year.
5K PR... those are hard to come by
Trying to do P90X3...
The past starts to creep up on you

By the summer though the wheels started coming off. I noticed my knee wasn't recovering after my runs and the pain became more prevalent more often. Afraid to put the Goofy Challenge in jeopardy, I decided to stop cycling and focus on running so I parked The Machine for the rest of the year. Then, I went on a mini vacation to take our girls to the Frozen Summer of Fun in Disney World and the 2 long walking days took a toll on the knee. It swelled for the first time through all this and that's when I really felt like it was serious. Obviously, any possibility of a tri this year went out the window as well.

I got to see 2 awesome friends while at Disney World
By this time, it was do or die with the Goofy Challenge so I have been training as best I can but it's been slow and painful. I missed some crucial long runs and fell short on others so I will go and just do my very best.

I know all this sounds a bit grim but overall, I have to say that I'm quite happy with my year. Things didn't exactly go as planned for sure but think about this: Here I am, trying to figure out how to pull off the Goofy Challenge. Here I am, thinking about the steps I have to take so I can continue running and hopefully cycling and swimming and accomplishing the goals I have set for myself.

Here I am realizing that this has truly become important to me.

What can be better then that? At any other time in my life, this could have been an excuse to stop. "I got bad knees. Can't do it." The old me would have said. Just seeing it written like that makes me shiver. I want to keep going. So I'm going to tentatively call 2016 the Year of Recovery. I want to do what I can to deal with this and if it means surgery or even an extended resting period so be it. I'll come back even better than before then. 

So here's to a good year and hoping for an even better one in 2016. Hope your 2015 was good as well and that you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.


  1. Even with all the pain I was in last year, I knew I would finish the Goofy even if I had to walk. You will do the same thing!

    Frank, your workouts and healthy eating has been paying off. I can see a change from the top pic to the one you posted below. You look great! See you at disney!

  2. Hang in there Frank! I hope 2016 shapes up to be way better for you and your knee!

  3. Even if the year didn't go exactly as you planned, it sounds like you've kept prepping for Goofy and will be able to push through to finish! Here's to 2016 and I hope that it truly is a year of recovery :)

  4. Year of Recovery. I love it. And will be a ready and willing participant with you! Who needs damn knees anyway??? 😝

  5. I know how you feel about Goofy. I missed 4 weeks of training for Dopey because of my knee, right at the pinnacle time of ramping up the mileage. I know I can finish it, but I wanted to be more confident going into it. We can both do it. Good luck!