As I sit in Japan visiting family again across the Christmas & New Year period, it’s time to look back at my running through 2013 and see how I matched up to my goals for the year.

Complete Two Marathons

I ran the Richmond Park Marathon in May and the Abingdon Marathon in October. Result = smiley face.

Run a sub 4 hour 15 minute Marathon

This one still rankles me as I know that there is a good marathon in my legs. My training for Richmond was way ahead of schedule for a sub 4 hour marathon and I was decimating all my shorter distance personal bests. I then pulled on my beanie of stupidity and attempted a fast parkrun 5k in the freezing snow without any attempt of a warm-up. The result? A leg muscle injury that curtailed the last 6 weeks of training, my weight increased and I ran a marathon with poor fitness and the remnants of a sore leg.

It took me the rest of the summer to shake all the resulting aches & pains before I could find my running mojo again and this fed into inadequate training for my autumn marathon. Richmond completed in 4:24:12 and Abingdon in 4:35:40. A new PB at Richmond Park but short of my target. Result = angry face of stupidity.

Complete Three Half-Marathons

BOOM! Smashed.out.of.the.park. Result = shiny happy people face.

Run a sub 1 hour 50 minute Half-Marathon

I think the above times give the result away on this one. This goal was blown out of the water as I took 11 minutes off my PB at the Brighton Half, which was followed one month later at Reading with a staggering 13 minutes taken off my Brighton PB.

This was a direct result of a solid running base through the autumn, racing cross-country and then hitting the marathon training hard from December. I also lost a staggering amount of weight through a combination of hard training, ditching fizzy drinks and carefully watching what I ate.

My Brighton Half race report has a photo of me and The Son and I was amazed to just read through the report again and see how slim I looked. Not at my ideal weight, but certainly well on the way to achieving it.

I am equally proud of running every 2013 half under 2 hours, including the Royal Parks Half that I ran as the last 13 miles of a 20 mile training run. The 2 hour mark was a real barrier for me for a long time and I now take this down each and every time. Result = jaw dropping happy face.

Complete 50th parkrun with The Son

I certainly ran my 50th parkrun and I wear my lovely red 50 shirt on most parkrundays. Unfortunately it’s not been as easy getting The Son out of bed and running each week so he only made it up to 30 runs in total. It’s always been my stance that he runs for his enjoyment and I do not pressure him (too much…) but he wants to win the school cross-country title and retain his sports day titles in 2014 so I suspect his parkrun attendance will increase. Result = tiny bit sad face.

Run and Blog Through Janathon & Juneathon

My blog started thanks to  little Google-fu in December 2011 as I was relaxing in Japan, looking for online marathon training inspiration. I saw Janathon mentioned on several blogs and I made up my mind to participate, register the runningdan domain and get blogging. Reading all the blogs on a daily basis was fun and spurred me on as I ran or exercised through the month.

In 2013 I enjoyed myself once again by maintaining a running & blogging streak through the month. However, I did not do so well through Juneathon thanks to being in  general running funk and not being able to find my running mojo. Even reading through all the other blogs couldn’t get my going so it was bit of a mixed bag for me. Result = half a happy face.

Hit the Majority of my Targets for Jantastic, Febulous, and Marchvellous

I do love an online challenge and the kind folks at Marathon Talk expanded their start of year running extravaganza to include  challenges on number of runs, length of long runs and a final finish time prediction.  It helped that Jantastic dove tailed with Janathon, which meant I could double up on my good work for bonus point marathon training,

My targets were met through Jantastic and Febulous but met a tragic end in Marchvellous as I succumbed to my injury of stupidity. It was great motivation though and I will be taking part once again in 2014. Result = nearly full happy face.

Lose 5kg of Weight

Win.Win.Fail.Fail.Fail.Fail.Fail. Yes, I dropped so much unwanted & unneeded weight as I gradually dived down towards my ideal weight and then I put it all back on again with interest. Such a damn shame.

When I wind up my training and I get in full flow then it’s easy to drop all the bad food & drink from my diet and to eat healthy food in moderation. Once the running mojo slips from view and hides behind the sofa like a young Running Dan hiding from the Daleks, then my willpower falls off a cliff.

On the positive side – I know what works for me and I am back on track for 2014. Result = big bag of FAIL face.

Blog Throughout the Year

A tough one. My grandfather would call me a fair weather sailor. When things are good then the writing flows and the blog entries are posted on time with seemingly little effort. When the evil running mojo monster sits on my shoulder, whispering nasty messages of laziness into my ear, then my blogging whimpers in the corner.

Let’s take a step back and look at why I blog in the first place… it’s certainly not for the high readership numbers and attention, not for the bountiful chests of free swag that I get sent to review and definitely not because I have any aspirations to become a writer.

I continue to write and post on my blog because I enjoy it. I use it as a record of my running achievements that I often look back on to check my personal best results or to map my fitness against specific times of the year to see what does or does not work for me. The writing side also takes me away from the monotony of writing technical documents, or updating project plans or constantly replying to torturous work emails.

There are still some race reports for me to finish and post but I have mostly continued to blog my way through 2013. Result = happy face.

Enjoy Running with a Smile on my Face

Boy oh boy. A running tale of two halves.

The first half of the year saw me take down PB after PB with a big smile permanently stuck on my face. The training regime of six runs a week became tough, both in terms of effort and dedicating the time over family and work commitments, but I enjoyed every minute.

The second half of the year so me lose my running mojo, gain weight and struggle through training runs and races alike.

However, I did keep smiling through the year thanks to the wonders of Summer League, running at the Olympic Stadium with The Son, churning through the mud at cross-country and enjoying parkrun each week as a runner or a volunteer. Result = smiley face.