Looking back on 2013, I can reflect on a great year of running and probably one of my best despite only a couple of PB's. I ran Seventeen races and didn't start in at least four that I can remember due to injury. There were Four races that I nearly didn't finish to due weather conditions and injuries picked up along the way. I am lucky never to "DNF" in a race, or just stupid enough to keep running regardless of pain ;) I also ran more parkruns in 2013 including Southsea, Cardiff and Winchester. I also finished my first ultra marathon distance of 50K on the Salisbury 5-4-3-2-1.
I ran a total of 1354 miles last year. I was hoping to reach a thousand miles, something I couldn't achieve last year due to more injuries. Above is a picture of things I got from races. I did forget to include two t-shirts in there. One from Snowdonia and one from Marathon du Beaujolais.
In the last Three months of the year I managed to complete Three marathons, Two half marathons and a 10 miler. A great achievement for me with some amazing memories captured.
1. The Bratton hilly 11.4k race.
A friendly little race, with friendly local villagers. Running the first mile up a big hill and taking in the sights of Wiltshire. You can read more about this race on my previous blog entries.
2. The Salisbury 5-4-3-2-1.
My first ultra marathon distance of 50k. You can choose various distances to race. A very scenic look at Salisbury. Just eat the cake and walk a bit ;) You can also read about my experience of this on a previous blog entry.
3. Marathon Eryri.
Or Snowdonia marathon as it's also known. Intimidating race when you see the course profile and they tell you its UK's toughest marathon. Great views and lots of hills to speed down as well as the uphills. Read more on here again.
4. Wimborne 10.
A great race but clashes with our Hrrl race "Gosport half". Great atmosphere and a crazy downhill start where I thought I was running way too fast but you pay for it on the return anyway. Great finish and support.
5. Marathon du Beaujolais.
Those French people sure are crazy! What a weekend away this was. Lots of wine, cheese and meat. Everything you need for a marathon right? Visiting vineyards and wine cellars and chatting to other crazies in fancy dress.
Those are my top 5. My worst ?
1. The Wales half marathon.
Hottest day of the year and the start of the race was midday. Can't remember seeing more than half a mile of flat on this course! Great support from the locals but the heat exhausted me after only Three miles. Country lanes with no shade. Would be a good race if it wasn't for the dangerous conditions. Saw Three ambulances come on course with people collapsing and was delirious when I crossed the line with all the marshals running over to my aid.
2. The Meon valley plod.
Again, crazy weather conditions. A 21 mile race, this time it was torrential rain and strong winds from start to finish with clay to wade through at certain points. Many people dropping out at 10 miles and I was close. Shivering and tired. Had to run as fast as I could just to try and get warm. Wet t-shirt stuck to me and painful lungs. Probably a great race in better conditions.
Above are some other mementos from various races. I managed a 10 mile PB at Salisbury 10 miler in March with a time of 67.57 but after the race I picked up shin splints. I actually went to hospital for an x-ray as I thought I had broken something. It was so painful to walk. I put this down to running a hard 10 miler two days before the race. Stupid thing to do as I thought I was lacking the training. Obviously not! I would later beat this PB at the Wimborne 10 race in November with a time of 66.59. Still don't believe I can average a 6.41 minute mile for 10 minutes! Seems absurd to me. I also ran a sub 20 parkrun at Southsea parkrun but only just with a time of 19.59. This was my first sub 20 in Three years.
In reflection, it was a brilliant year with less injuries and more awareness about running. I still feel I am learning a lot about myself and about running and the two combined. I am lucky to have met so many great runners from my club who have taught me a lot about running and life in general. Race days are exciting and making jokes of others is part of the camaraderie. I also get to eat lots of lovely food in pubs afterwards :) Looking forward to 2014 with more emphasis on speed work. Track sessions and less distance running hopefully but we all get easily enticed into these races :P Hope you all have a great year and have set your goals and challenges for the year ahead.x