If I could summarise this year I would say it’s the year I stopped being a man who runs and became a runner. That may sound a bit odd but despite having run for as long as I can remember I think it’s only this year I’ve truly become a runner.
In the past my running has always been in fits and bursts, picking up either when I’m feeling fat and unfit or when I have a race to target. But this year it’s been truly consistent, week in and week out always running. I’ve only had maybe 2 or 3 periods of 7 days where I haven’t run and they were either through injury or a conscious decision as recover after a big race.
At the beginning of this year I set myself the challenge of running 1000 miles, mainly because it sounded like a nice round number but also when I did the maths of what that meant for weekly mileage it was at a level that would push me to be consistent without needing to go way beyond what I could manage. It’s been amazing the impact running so regularly has had on my fitness, that consistency should never be underestimated. (Incidentally Bracken has done at 95% of those miles with me and probably more given he never runs straight!)
I feel like a completely different person to the one sat this time last year planning the year ahead. I’m a good couple of inches smaller on my waist for a start, but more importantly feel good. I’ve never felt this fit before and it’s a great feeling isn’t it? Feeling lean and strong and mentally healthy too which is potentially even more important.
I’m also feeling fairly satisfied at ticking off a couple of races from my bucket list; finally doing the Scotland coast to coast is awesome, such an amazing race across incredible scenery. Also enjoyable having done it as a pair with my brother, having someone to share it with makes it somehow more real I think. I feel like I learned quite a lot about myself doing that race as well, not least from being able to keep going for over 11 hours and covering such a huge distance under my own steam.
Then of course there was finally popping my marathon cherry and all because I got my London marathon rejection letter through. I decided to just get on with it and do a marathon rather than talking about it and hoping to get into a big city race. Doing the Broadway marathon was more in keeping with me anyway and the stunning Cotswold countryside certainly made for a nice backdrop to the race.
Beyond those 2 big races there was a half marathon PB in the Neolithic half marathon, a race that was an awful lot hotter than I expected but finishing at Stonehenge is a pretty cool experience. There was also the race that started the year; a 10k in Bath in thick snow covering the other extreme temperature wise.
In journalistic terms this was a breakthrough year, one where I learnt an awful lot about running and definitely one that has given me the confidence to take on bigger challenges. As we move into 2014 that’s exactly what I’m starting to think about, what’s the next thing to tick off the bucket list? I know I train better with something to aim for so time to start getting some races in the diary. Plus I hope 2014 will be the year that I manage to get to a Write This Run conference, gutted to have missed the first 2 due to other commitments so the next one is a must do!
Happy new year everyone, I’ll leave you with my running motto.