Yes, I’m jumping on that bandwagon of writing a review of my year. Granted, there’s still 3 days left of 2016, but I’m not going to be running any races over the next 3 days so it seems like a good time to review my year in fitness and running.
I had a couple of goals in the back of my mind for 2016 – I wanted to edge my 10k back under an hour and I wanted to get close to my pre-Rose 5k PB. Neither happened, but it was an interesting year.
I started the year well with a New Year Day Double parkrun. I did the Winter Run 10k at the end of the month and woke up feeling poorly and with no idea how I’d get on. January was interesting for me as it involved a lot of drinking and partying, including a 3 night stag do at Butlins. Needless to say, I didn’t do much speed training but I got round in 1:02:59, not bad with a nasty cough and lack of training. This remains my fastest 10k since Rose was born in February 2014.
A busy month with birthdays, including Rose turning 2 on February 13th. I ran the Worthing Half Marathon on February 14th, finishing in 2:27:03, a time I was disappointed with as I wanted to be closing to 2:20. Unfortunately, after a strong start, I blew up. When will I learn? On the plus side, it was my fastest half since Rose. 12 days later, I was lining up at the start line of a cold marathon in Deal, because running 26.2 miles on the 26/2 is what all sane people do. I ran this race in hell. I was in agony, I was bleeding and I was grumpy. But I got it done. 5:45:23 – I had to really dig deep for this one and it taught me that a run/walk strategy is a perfectly valid way of getting round.
The Sidcup 10 mile. I’d rather not talk about it. The weather conditions were good, I just decided 3 miles in that I really couldn’t be arsed that day. Does that ever happen to anyone else? 1:49:11. 12 minutes off my course record. I could probably have done better if I wasn’t feeling lazy that day. Next up was the North London Half Marathon. I’ve an axe to grind with this race, so I’m looking forward to giving it another bash. I’d had norovirus a few days beforehand and was still feeling a bit under the weather. Right up until the night before, I wasn’t sure if I was going to run or not, but decided to set my alarm just in case. My alarm went off and I decided to go anyway and give it a go. I’d be lying if I said I’d had a great run – I didn’t. My legs felt like lead before 4 miles and there were a couple of nasty hills. But, despite feeling poorly, I got there in 2:34:something which I don’t think is bad for being poorly!
I was about to say that nothing happened in April, but actually, it did, I just neglected to talk about it. I took on my first ultra – the Fowlmead 50, a 50 mile race. I didn’t complete it and I will write a post about it at some point. I took the decision to pull up at 20 miles, largely because I was struggling with nutrition and couldn’t eat anything. Maybe it was nerves and the unknown, I’m not sure. I learned a lot from it though, I’m pretty sure the walk/run strategy I adopted from the outset was the right one for me. Unfortunately, I did do the running bits a bit too quickly, completing the first half marathon in under 2:30, which wasn’t the intention (and this included a short break) to try to eat something. It was interesting and I’m looking forward to having another go next year!
Still feeling a little down in the dumps from Fowlmead, I ran the Chislehurst Half Marathon. It hurt and it was epic and it was a personal worst and I LOVED every minute. Hills, trails, blazing hot sunshine…but amazing views and a lot of fun. I also took part in Cakeathon on Bank Holiday Monday again. My friend Liz was taking part with her friend and we had fun walk/jogging around the trails, taking photos and chatting a lot. A sociable and fun run, complete with cake. And my brownies won a trophy! Hooray!
Not much happened this month, I’d had a bad couple of weeks with family illness, etc. I did run the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust Olympic Park 10k though and loved it. I was expecting a bad run due to not running in a few weeks, but I got round fairly comfortably in 1:04:16 which I was happy with. I felt I’d retained some level of fitness, despite not running for a few weeks and the complete and utter lack of speedwork.
I ran in the British 10k this month and talked myself out of it before we’d even started. Elle and I ran together and I found it a struggle that day. I can’t remember the exact time – I think it was 1:06:something. I very much enjoyed running with a friend as it’s something that I usually don’t get to do in races! I also bowled a tournament this month, for the first time in a while. I missed too many spares, but played pretty well on the whole and won a bowling ball.
Oh, and did I mention that I also got awesome new hair this month? It’s utterly impractical for running, but I love it.
I tried diving this month at Southend Diving Centre, going off the boards. I absolutely loved it and would really love to try it again. I’m not a great swimmer, this was out of my comfort zone but it was a joy to take part in. Then it was time for Spitfire Scramble! I was only able to go for the Sunday and I ran 2 laps (about 12 miles total) in the morning sunshine, off-road and trying to beast the hills. This race is lovely and I enjoyed the course, although I much preferred running lap 2 after I’d had coffee! August finished with some swimming lessons thanks to Fitness First and I took on an Aquathon organised by the very lovely Havering Tri. This wasn’t my finest moment after a panic attack in the water and I was flat last. But the world didn’t end, and I survived. I might even try to do another one to conquer my demons.
September is a bittersweet month. I had a fabulous holiday in Guernsey with my friend Jo, where we went kayaking, walking and all sorts. Most importantly, we visited Guernsey parkrun and I finally completed my 50th parkrun, checking something off my to-do list. I visited The Fat Duck. That was a very special experience. But then a week or so after that, I got really ill and simply couldn’t stop vomiting. September ended with a spell in hospital.
I spent most of October feeling ill or recovering from being ill. This meant that I sadly ended up missing the Royal Parks Half Marathon as part of Team Unicef. I visited parkrun towards the end of the month and was horrified by how heavy my legs felt and how lethargic I was. The month finished though with a trip to 3ness, which turned out to be exactly what I needed to start feeling normal again.
My birthday month – 31! The weekend before my birthday was spent in Belfast, courtesy of Decathlon where I took part in their Running Series. Great event, great course. I paced my friend Lindsay round, just 3 weeks after she had a baby. What a legend she is.
And now we’re in the final month of the year! I don’t have much to report really for this month. I made it to parkrun on Christmas Day and my legs are starting to feel like mine again. I’ve also eaten a lot of turkey, but to use that annoying tag on Twitter, I’m #sorrynotsorry.
I don’t know if I have real goals for 2017. I’d like to run a good half marathon at the North London Half Marathon and I want to complete the Fowlmead 50. Training for an ultra, simply to complete it, means that at the moment, speed isn’t my priority. In the second half of the year, maybe I’ll try to concentrate on getting my 5k times down again. For now, I’m going to enjoy time on feet (and drinking beer after).
Happy New Year!