My "Year In Sport", v2


Strava continues to hold my statistics hostage, so we're back again with another edition of my My Year In Sport (possibly the final edition). For reference, the first edition lives here, but we'll be pulling in the pertinent bits from last year as we go along. Don't worry, you don't need to have seen the first one to get this one.

From the top

Here's a table of all my exercise compared to 2022. Percentages indicate the difference relative to 2022, so +187% means I ran 187% more than the last year.

Exercise Count Time Distance (mi) Elevation (ft)
Run 155 (+187%) 5 days, 14:29:17 (+167%) 805 (+179%) 52,226 (+127%)
Ride 275 (+37%) 7 days, 6:30:15 (+21%) 2,004 (+31%) 103,354 (+27%)
E-bike Ride 1 (-83%) 00:10:55 (-93%) 2 (-94%) 96 (-91%)
Alpine Ski 6 (20%) 17:19:29 (61%) 127 (73%) 64383 (88%)
Hike 1 (-50%) 01:41:49 (-19%) 5 (0%) 760 (43%)
Yoga 4 (-95%) 4:45:00 (-88%) 0 0
Weight Training 21 (-30%) 13:58:26 (-9%) 0 0
Totals 465 (23%) 14 days, 11:35:53 (30%) 2,945 (52%) 220,843 (57%)

Glorious summary tables! Praise be to the mighty tabular format.

Filtering out Yoga, I worked out 224 days this year versus 175 last year, a 28% increase. Put another way, I spent roughly 10% of my free time last year exercising. If we use the 5 hours of free time estimate RAND came up with that number jumps to 20%. Always great to find you've got some headroom. Here's every day I exercised in 2023, with the shading indicating more minutes spent exercising that day.

A calendar plot showing each day I exercised in 2022

One interesting thing to do with these numbers is combine them in weird ways. For instance, every second I was skiing, I descended a little over one foot. I ran a little over four million feet at a grade of about 1.2%. My average bike ride took about 38 minutes, was seven miles long, and climbed 375 feet.

Okay, with the stage set, let's take a tour of what all I did last year (spoilers: buckle up, it's a lot.)


I wrote last year that I wanted to run more, and boy-howdy I did. This year I ran nearly three times what I ran in 2022, a solid 805 miles. I ran "up" a lot more, too; a little more than double last years elevation gain. Interestingly, this means I climbed more per mile last year, which was a surprise (79.7 vs 64.8 ft/mi, -18%).

Means are good and all1, but we can learn a lot more about our output with a box-and-whisker:

A box-and-whisker plot of the distance of my runs

For the uninitiated, what we're looking at is a graph of all of the runs I did in terms of distance. The box makes up the middle 50% of my runs by distance, e.g. runs longer than the 25% shortest but shorter than the 75% longest of all my runs. The "whiskers" extending off of it describe the 25% shortest and 25% longest, minus outliers, which were runs that were exceptionally long, where especially long here is longer than 1.5x the IQR. The black line in the box is the median - 50% of all my runs this year were longer, 50% were shorter. I've graphed 2022 beneath for comparison.

My median distance was about 4.3 miles, but I tied on quite a few long-range excursions. My longest run this year was the Cleveland Marathon; I set a goal to knock an hour off of previous finish and crossed the line in 3:49:59. I was a little excited:

I also ran a solo 'thon during the training cycle and a couple long training runs in the West End, covering a pretty nice chunk of the city in my effort to platinum Pittsburgh a la Tom7. I managed to fill quite a bit of map this year; here's a fancy animation of just my 2023 progress:

My eligible runs comprise 346 miles of this years distance and 28,000 feet of my climbing, or a little over one Mt. Everest. Let's take a look at my overall progress:

A graph of all of my in-bounds runs in the city

By CityStrides accounting I'm 27% of the way there; there are definitely some "disqualified" runs (the rules), so the real number is probably closer to 20%.

Rounding out the long runs this year was another Matt Antram joint, the "Arhnman": a 22 mile bike ride from the city to the Boston Trail Half Marathon, the half marathon2, then the 22 mile ride back3 - and the Mother Fricker, a back-to-back-to-back-to-back 8, 6, 4, and 2 mile trail run totalling 20 miles and 2100 feet of climbing.

A photo of all the folks who finished the whole Mother Fricker

I also participated in an extremely wet edition of the Fineview Step Challenge, where I managed a PR despite some health headwinds. For those of you with an interest in ASMR, go ahead and grab those headphones for my Rising Main effort:

It wasn't all distance this year - there was some opportunistic speed work, too. Every year I run the York County Turkey Trot; this year I knew I'd be moving up an age bracket and I wanted to try and take a podium position in my age group. After all, I was about to be the youngest of the bunch; how hard could it be?

At some point, it became very important to me that not only should I place, I needed to be in a costume when I did it4. Dinosaurs were played out, and turkey constumes felt wrong for obvious reasons - then it hit me: corn.

Crossing the finish line in my corn costume at the Turkey Trot

I test drove the costume at the Halloween edition of my trail running club - I figured five miles of woods would be a pretty good dress rehearsal, and on the day of the race I was feeling confident. The gun went off and I began pounding towards the front.

The Turkey Trot crowd running from the starting line, my corn costume
emerging in the background.

Disaster struck - the costume had these plastic streams sewn to the front, right underneath the head opening. I'm sure you can see where this is going - at my full-tilt pace and respiration, I kept sucking these stupid little things into my mouth. I was constantly fidgeting with and spitting them out.

Despite the wardrobe challenges, I managed a respectable 20:37 finish - not quite my goal, but pretty good all things considered. I might try this again next year, but the timing makes it really hard - the Dirty Dozen is in late October, so my window to focus on running is short.

Oh, and my brother-in-law got in on the action with a butter costume - this was very popular.

Logan and I dressed as butter and corn crossing the finish

I also ran the Great Race this year and took the "Great Race Challenge" - run the 5K, then shuttle back and run the 10K, which I even PR'd on! Good times.

Zach, Morgan, and I at the start of the 10K

I kept up with the 3ROC group runs in Frick Park, making it to all but 14 of the weekly runs. I even crashed the York Ridge Runners to keep my streak going5.

In addition to my York drop-in, I got some runs in a few exotic locales this year:

In addition to my weekly trail runs, I started doing coffee runs on Thursday/Sundays and a midday run at the office Tuesday/Thursdays; more on that later.

I'm sure I'm missing something, as it was an action packed year, but overall very happy with my running output in 2023.


I put quite a bit more miles on the bike this year, too; not as impressive of an improvement compared to my running, but still a hefty 30% increase. My median ride was about 6 miles long, with quite a few lengthy outliers.

A box-and-whisker plot of the distance of my rides

Many of those were commuting miles; I don't do a perfect job of labeling my commuting trips6, so I settled for pulling out the trips between Jan 1, 2023 and Dec 31, 2023 start at my work or start at my house and finish at work, leaving me with 134 rides on 83 different days7.

The GPS tracks of my commute plotted on the city

It looks much busier when you zoom in:

The many tracks around my office

Although my throughline home is choc-a-bloc, you can see a few other local stops I often hit on my commute - dinner with friends, grocery stores, a few early morning rides with friends, and the all-important trail running club meeting spot at 3ROC.

In total, I logged 786 miles and 36,890 feet of climbing during my commuting this year, about thirty gallons of gas. Not too shabby.

I also got a few big rides in; in March, a group of us trekked to Garrettsville, Ohio for the Road Apple Roubaix. Fortunately, there wasn't snow or mud to contend with; I didn't dress for the cold8, but fortunately had my trusty garbage bags for some quick insulation:

Modeling the grocery bag liners I used to keep my feet warm in bitter Ohio

I also rode the Pedal Pittsburgh (metric) century, the Matt Antram (imperial) century, raised $1000.00 for and rode in the MS150, and bagged my third Dirty Dozen ribbon.

Matt and some new tandem-sporting friends chugging along to Lake Erie in the

Mike, Matt, and the gang at the end of the 2023 Dirty

Last but not least, for my birthday I planned a ride that spelled out the number "35" via GPS which also took exactly 35 miles door to door.

The Strava activity with the map and my mileage

This was maybe too much

As the year progressed, I started adding in more and more exercise - in particular, there were some days where:

This was... excessive, and I think I've paid a bit of a price for that. As I reflected recently, I'm getting to the point in life where I need to start recognizing my own limitations and making some more realistic choices. That doesn't necessarily mean that I've got to give anything up - just that I need to recognize that I'm trading in an opportunity to do something else, e.g. house projects, personal development, or even old fashioned relaxation. So maybe fewer "Tuesdays of Doom" this year.

Everything Else

I didn't keep my promises to lift and hike more; whenever I began to get worn thin on training, gym time was the first thing I cut. I've been seeing a personal trainer to try and iron out some long-standing hip issues; hopefully that trend sticks and I'll have a healthier chart next year.

I did manage to sneak in one hike, a beaut out in Colorado on a visit to Viktor. Here's Libby and I enjoying the view:

Libby and I sat atop the peak of Green Mountain just outside Boulder, Colorado

I'd like to spend more time in the woods this year, both on the bike and on foot. I have a couple ideas on how that might come together - let's do this again next year and see how it goes!

As always, shout out to the people who inspire me to push harder and share in the joy of exercise. If you're not out there yet, well, come on down for a visit, see what your body can do - all you need to do is show up.

  1. They're not. ↩︎

  2. Inexplicibly I got 3rd in my age group, which I was pretty happy about. Then I realized there were only four of us and the 2nd place finisher could have watched an episode of Law and Order before I caught up. ↩︎

  3. I was unable to convince either Matt or Emily to swim the 1.2 miles in the Allegheny to make it a true Half Ironman. ↩︎

  4. Fancy dress is very popular at the trot; my personal favorite was a family dressed as the Mayflower, wrapped in a cardboard boat. ↩︎

  5. I've been trying to do when I travel, too; it's a nice way to get in a run and chat with someone local. ↩︎

  6. Interestingly, Strava started showing how many kilograms of CO2 saved by biking, which strongly incentivized me to be more fastidious with my logging and prompted some other greener lifestyle changes. Thanks, Strava! ↩︎

  7. I suspect I rode more often than that, but I often took the bus for most of the journey and didn't bother recording those (much shorter) rides. I also WFH somewhat frequently last year, including a COVID stint and scare. ↩︎

  8. A.B.C. - Always Be Carrying-grocery-bags. ↩︎