Three years today I published my first blog post and here I am once again looking at a year of running adventure to see how it lined up with my goals at the start of the year. I was in Japan for the last month of 2013, which is where I was in 2011 when I brought my blog online, and my race diary was already packed out for the first half of the year. I do love the challenge of training for specific races. This time out I am in the UK (The Son sits his exams next week) but once again my race diary is already in place.
Complete Two Marathons
I returned to Brighton to complete my second Brighton Marathon in April and I smashed out a new PB (more on that later). The race didn’t go to plan and I faded in the last few miles thanks to a painful ankle. I suffered again at the Shoreham Power Station section even though I mentally prepared for the drop in support. I even spotted abradypus cheering during this stretch but it was hard going. I have yet to publish my blog post about the 2014 Brighton Marathon (again, more on that later).
In May I was back in Richmond Park to run my second Richmond Park Marathon. I fell apart during this race in 2013, even though I loved running around the park, and I was determined not to do the same again. The Son accompanied me on his bike and cycled with me for just over half of the course. He sat out the first small loop, cycled the big loop, and then waited for me in the café for my last lap. It was hotter than the year before (how was that even possible?!?!?!) and this time I didn’t bother aiming for any time. I just ran, hugged the shade, walked some bits, and enjoyed a lovely day out in the park. I was slower than the year before but enjoyed the run more. Yet another blog post that hasn’t been written.
Goal achieved but dropped marks for artistic merit due to lack of blogging.
Run a sub 4 hour Marathon
My training for Brighton couldn’t have gone any better to be honest. I nailed every training run. I lost weight. I ran faster. I lost more weight. I revised my goal to sub 3:50. I nailed more long runs. I revised my goal to sub 3:40. I then completed the 2014 Brighton Marathon in 3:50:30 with a faltering last few miles due to a painful ankle.
Easily the best I have felt running a marathon and the miles were ticking themselves off with ease. Still, it’s not a marathon unless the wheels come off near the end.
Just under 10 minutes under my original goal and I would have bitten your arm off if offered 3:50 when I started training. Some disappointment in not going sub 3:45 (would that have been a more realistic target?) but I was completely battered at the end and I knew that I had given everything out on the course.
Run a sub 1 hour 38 minute Half-Marathon
My plan was to gauge my fitness at the Brighton Half in February, where I duly smashed out 1 hours & 42 minutes to finish over a minute faster than the previous year. I took this as a good sign. I arrived at the Reading Half in good form, good fitness, and raring to race as part of the Ealing Eagles club championship schedule.
However, things did not start well as there was no 1:40 pacer due to illness. I then made the rookie mistake of using my Garmin to pace myself and not using the mile markers. I thought everything was going well until I reached the stadium approach, where I realised that my Garmin was measuring the course slightly short and I would not be able to meet my time goal. It was my fault because I know the Garmin isn’t as accurate as the official course markers. Still, I ran my second sub 1:40 half with a finish time of 1:39:28, which I was happy with.
So near but so far. Happy with my second sub 1:40 finish. Still haven’t published the blog post though.
Help The Son Complete His 50th parkrun
Oh dear. The Son was on 31 completed parkruns. He now has 41 completed parkruns. Getting him out of bed is bloody hard. Near impossible. He’ll get there during 2015.
Not only does he cocoon himself in bed, on the rare occasions he did come to Gunnersbury, he doesn’t always run when he is there.
Complete My 100th parkrun
I ran my 100th parkrun at Gunnersbury parkrun in September with The Son. Other Dan was out of the country on his honeymoon but he sent me a text in the morning, which was cool. Nothing special happened on the day, it was just another parkrun, but it was nice to run with The Son again back where we started our parkrun journey.
When I set this goal last year, I said that I wasn’t worried about the 100 club shirt & jacket. This turned out to be prophetic since the 100 jacket was dropped a couple of months earlier but I did get my 100 shirt the following week at Gunnersbury. parkrun now have the club shirt distribution on hold as they work to implement a new system for delivery. adidas no longer appear on the parkrun sponsors page so there may be more changes ahead*.
Easily achieved the goal and got to run with The Son.
Volunteer at parkrun
I volunteered 3 times at Gunnersbury parkrun in 2013 and my goal was to volunteer at least 6 times in 2014. In the end I volunteered at parkrun 10 times during 2014; as a marshal, run reporter, tail runner, photographer, tokens, and token sorting. Some roles allowed me to run at the same time while some mean I don’t run. However, all have one thing in common. I love volunteering and making my time available to help others meet their goals.
The end of the year has seen me out of running action due to some minor surgery on my leg but this has allowed me to volunteer each week at parkrun and junior parkrun. It’s been an honour to spend my time with so many inspiring people. I was also able to help others my looking after a drinks station at the Eagles 20m training run, directing cars at the Osterley 10k, and captaining the Eagles male cross-country team.
I love volunteering. It’s incredibly rewarding.
I nailed Janathon but Juneathon fell apart due to injury.
Lose 5kg of Weight
Oh boy. This was my comment when I set this goal: “The easiest or hardest goal? Let’s wait and see”
My weight plummeted through December into January and my Spring race schedule. I was running six days a week and eating sensible portions of nutritionally good food. I lost more than 5kg but then picked up an injury, my nutrition started to go the wrong way, and I suffered from bouts of stomach problems into autumn. I am now recovering from minor surgery, the stomach problems have gone, and I am raring to get going in 2015.
Smashed my goal out of the park and then put the weight back on (and more!) to end 2014.
Hit the Majority of my Targets for Jantastic, Febulous, and Marchvellous
I was in peak condition during early 2014 and my training was going better than ever. I surpassed all my targets during this time.
Run a sub 20 parkrun 5k
This one was on the ambitious side. My PB was, and still remains, over 21 minutes. I didn’t get near even trying to run a fast 5k time this year. My marathon training was all-encompassing and I avoided bombing it round parkrun, simply to keep my legs in a decent enough state for the rest of the training runs. Then I picked up an injury. Then I suffered from stomach problems. Then I kept making more & more excuses.
No parkrun PB for me this year and I haven’t broken 21 minutes yet. I’ll sort that out in 2015.
Must do better. In 2012 I followed the same marathon plan but also went for it at parkrun. I then injured myself bombing it round Bexley parkrun on a freezing winter day. This led to me taking it much easier in 2014.
Run a sub 45 10k
So, so, so close. I used my marathon fitness to record a new PB of 45 minutes & 31 seconds at the Eagles 10k in May (no blog post!). I sat behind the 45 minute pacer for the first km but then they sped up and I couldn’t hang onto their tails. It really hurt to even get this close. The pacers came in roughly 30 minutes ahead of schedule. I still wonder if I could have made it if the pacers ran an even pace.
Blog Throughout the Year
“Just like losing weight… it sounds so easy.”
Ha! So many draft blog posts sit waiting for me to finish them or to write them. I ran in some amazing places this year, discovered a love for trail running, for slogging through the mud, for staring down adversity. I haven’t written about any of them. Shame on me.
Enjoy Running with a Smile on my Face
I continue to love running, the people I run with, and the people I continue to meet through an awesome community. The most difficult runs have been the best of the year for me, as I became lost on the South Downs, slipped on my arse through mud, and ran through knee-deep puddles with blood running down my leg while singing songs from the Muppets.
My only regret is not being able to share this with The Son as much as I used to. He won his school cross-country race and dominated the shorter distance events at his school sports day to win the victor ludorum for the first time. However, that was achieved by genetic talent and not hard work. I don’t push him to run very often but I harbour worries that I should be forcing him out to run more. I wish that I had the opportunities to run through events such as parkrun when I was his age, to set myself on a more healthy lifestyle much earlier in my life. Something for me to ponder as we move into 2015.
* A few hours after I published this post, parkrun announced that the 3 and a half year relationship with adidas had come to an end. An announcement on the future of club shirts will be made in the next 24 hours. I would like to add my thanks to adidas for their parkrun support over this time.