Thursday, January 5, 2017

2016 in Review

Twenty sixteen, how did I love thee?
Let me count the ways . . . .

It was a good year for me in several ways. Primarily this is a glance back at the year from an athletic standpoint and the glance over my shoulder shows that I ran well, swam well, and lifted well.

However, the year did not end well on a running note. I have not run in December because of a gimpy knee. My running may or may not be over forever, but oddly I am not wigging out about it. Maybe that is due to the fact that I have other sports on which to focus. If I can't run anymore, the water will grow weary of me, moss will grow on my back (Oh wait, it already does), the fish will call me brother. Also, the backyard gym, Plate City, has reached new levels of functionality and my love for spending time there is at an all-time high. But that is another paragraph.

I did not do any adventure runs or set any records. Twenty fifteen saw me complete my decade old dream of running to Noxapater, and I have thought long and hard about another such goal but nothing has captured my imagination the way The Great Noxapater Journey Run did. But despite not running at the end of the year, I shuffled 1,067.6 miles and performed pretty well over eleven of the year's months, pretty well for a sixty-year old man. 

The past year also saw me reach new heights in my gym building and weight lifting. I have collected many more plates. Every time Penny and I make a trip to Jackson, I always go Play It Again Sports while she is hitting some of those women stores she loves so much. They sell new and used exercise equipment. Mostly I purchase weight plates there, and over time I've acquired an impressive collection. Also I have done some woodwork and created a station for doing partials on the bench press. 

Notice the blue cords in the picture. This is a new purchase and a new technique. Also notice the chains. The cords and chains cause the weight/resistance to increase as the bar gets higher where the lifter normally begins to receive a mechanical advantage. With this change, I can put more stress on my underdeveloped triceps, a much used muscle in swimming. The triceps is very important in the second half of the swim pull. In addition, the new lift starts at my normal sticking point for heavy bench presses.

Early in the year, I hit a new modern record for my standard bench press at 166. Later (December) I hit first 170, then 171, 175, and 178. My record from thirty-five years ago was 185, but that was a cheat lift as my butt came way off the bench, so really 178, done without a spotter and without a cheat move, is my real all-time record set in my sixtieth year of life. I am proud of that. It may not be much weight to a real lifter, but I am a small man, and an endurance athlete who lifts primarily for athletic performance in all-day swims.

Swim wise, 2016 was a banner year. The Chicot Challenge saw me swim non-stop for almost fourteen hours and hit a new high of 22.38 miles. For that week, I set a new weekly total record of 46,309 meters. For the year, I did not set a new record, but I came in a close second with 866,651 meters (538.6 miles). My yearly record was set in 2012 with 873,842. My total for 2015 was a mere 533,015.