In the past, end of year for me means there is one post I should upload: My Annual Golf Game Review.
Not this year.
It’s not because I didn’t play much golf this year. Despite pandemic, I still managed to play a decent 17 rounds. But because other sports actually took my time more than golf. And yes, it’s because of pandemic.
When lockdown was first initiated early this year, all golf courses were closed. And we were all forced to stay at home. To keep me active inside home, there were two things I did: played drums and ran my wife’s treadmill.
The latter opened the pandora box for me.
I never knew that I could enjoy running for many Kms. As I wrote in this post, running was too boring for me. But as I didn’t have many choices, I learned to enjoy it. And then I started to get outside to run. Although it’s just inside my complex. Which then I found it was refreshing and satisfying. The endorphin produced boosted my mood in the morning. I began to fill my Strava with running activities. I started to improve my pace.
Then after I was able to finish my first 10K couple of weeks lateer, I officially declared myself as runner. And set sight of my next move: triathlete. I’ve been an avid cyclist and swimmer before. So it’s a logical after I can be a runner, then finishing a triathlon is a possibility.
So I bought myself a road bike. And upped my swimming endurance. Thanks to pandemic, all of these activities were made possible because I work at home most of the times. The time formerly used for commuting, is now productively used for sessions of cycling, running and swimming. This is one of the positives in 2020.
Hence, when I’m about to write about my Sports Review – instead of looking at GolfShot application (as I did in previous years), I looked at Strava. And thanks to them, they created Year in Review feature. Which came handy for this post. Here they are.
2020 Year in Sports: As told by Strava
Thanks to pandemic year, I performed exercise significantly more than last year. In total I had 159 active days of exercise. That means, out of 365 days, I had 43.5% of the days with exercise.
This is remarkable. Last year, I think I only exercised on weekends. And not every weekend. If I exercised only on weekend, that would take me 104 days. This is 55 days more. Meaning I also exercised during weekdays (thanks to WFH!). So to put that in perspective, this 159 days of exercise is really something, and I doubt if I could repeat this next year when things gradually return to “normal”.
Out of those 159 days, cycling becomes my top sports. 42% of the exercises for riding my bicycles. I think I put up good use of my road bike and my Bromptons.
Running, my new hobby, occupied 36%. The thing I like about running is from relatively short time of exercising, I already got a really good sweat. I normally run for 5 kms in the morning. For 30-35 minutes. While listening podcast. That’s already gave me endorphin to start the day in good mood.
Swimming 11%. I only do them on weekends. Also as exercise to prevent my back pain. And the other 11% were for golf. Those 18 rounds of golf. I’ll write a special section on this later in this article.
You can also see from the chart above, that my exercise picked up starting from March to April. That’s when I started running. It was a bit down on May because of Ramadhan month. But then for the remaining of the year, the exercise remains to be high month by month. The highest was on month of August, that’s when I took block leave, hence I could spend every day for sports. I even participated on my first Golf Triathlon that month. More on this later.
Strava also features the longest activity and the highest climb on their Sports Review feature.
It’s funny my longest activity in cycling was spent on Brompton, not road bike. I actually had a chance to join my friends for Grand Fondo 100 km cycling last week. That would certainly be my longest activity. But as I already spent most of my long weekends on exercising, I chose to stay home. Resting day.
The highest climb happened when I rode with Rafif in Sentul for conquering the popular segment of Km 0. We used my Bromptons. It was hard climb, and Rafif struggled big time. But he refused to give up, and finally we both made it. It is good to see Strave highlighted this, as that was one of the highlight of the year for me and my son.
Lastly, Strava provides the average pace and speed for my running and cycling activities.
As a new runner, my average pace 6:48 is not bad, actually. Even some of my friends who were runners before me, had slower pace. But I set my target to have a sub 6 minutes pace. By that, I can run 5km under 30 minutes, and my target is to complete 10K under 1 hour. That needs sub-6 minutes pace. And I’m still way behind. Although Strava kindly give me adjusted pace of 5:34. LOL. I wish that was really my pace.
On cycling, the average speed is also “only” 23 kph. If in 2020 I only rode my Bromptons, that’s a relatively good pace. But now, as I’m more serious cyclist with road bike, the target average speed should be above 30 kph. With more structured exercises, both on running and cycling, hopefully I can improve my pace next year.
Golf Year Review
Given the shift of my exercises above, I don’t think I make any progress on my golf. But here I give you the stats, as recorded in GolfShot app:
- My Handicap Index was down to 10.5, from previously 9.9 in 2019.
- My tee off fairway hit significantly improved to 71%. Previously in 2019, I only hit 59%. I think finally I got the hang of my Callaway driver.
- However, the improved fairway hit was not followed with my approach shots. The GIRs was down to 31%, from previously 34% in 2019.
- Putting was slightly better than 2019, although not much. The overall putt of 1.89 per hole was 0.1 better than 1.90 in 2019.
- And finally, the score. And it’s not surprising that my golf game was worse than in 2019. I scored less par (30% from 32% in 2019), although slightly more birdies (4% from 3%), and less bogeys (42% from 48%). But I had more of my double bogey+ holes, or aka “blew up holes” (23% from 17%). So all in all, worse, although not much. Perhaps if I start to play more regularly, I could improve my scores again. Although, you can’t be too sure in golf. It’s a strange, fickle game.
Whoa. I have quite plenty of new gears this year. With the new sports, new exercise, of course I need new gears. Here they are:
- Garmin Forerunner 945 – Initially I bought Fitbit Charge 4, only to find the GPS is so unreliable. So I plashed cash to buy this fitness smart watch. Such a great watch, with a lot of fitness tools and functionality. Run, swim, cycling, even golf are all covered!
- Cannondale SupersixEvo Ultegra – My road bike – which was the upgrade from the Groupset 105 I bought initially. It won Bike of The Year 2020 from Bike Radar, and I can see why. Great performance and great value road bike.
- Brooks Ghost 12 – When I get serious in running, I found my usual shoes for running is not comfortable enough. So I bought this pair of shoes, and it does help me to clock faster pace and more comfort run.
- Aftershokz Swimmer – My latest gears acquisition. This is to beat boredom in swimming. I used to have Sony Walkman NSW 11 which accompanied me for swimming for the past 3 years. But I lost its ear tips and couldn’t find replacement. This MP3 player is a bone conduction method. So it is not plugged to ears. So far I only used once, and find it a great buy.
Well I didn’t win any golf trophies this year. While I participated in few golf tournaments, but I didn’t have any luck (or skills for that matter) on that event. Hence I don’t have the usual achievements from golf which I can brag here.
But wait. I have something.
So yes, it’s the achievement of my Sporting Year in 2020. And I’m quite proud of it. As it’s an event where I can use all of my (newly) acquired sports skills, particularly in running and road cycling, in a competitive environment. And I can happily say that I completed it in healthy manner, and managed to post a respectable score. Not bad.
So there you go my Annual Sports Review in 2020. What’s next in 2021? Here some of my wish list:
- I wish I can improve my average pace and average speed
- I wish I can lower my handicap (never ending quest)
- I wish I can participate in actual running race, probably 10K
- I wish I can compete in “real triathlon” next year
Until then, thanks for reading. And hope we all can live in healthy and happy live in 2021! Cheers.