Thursday, 31 December 2015

Year of running 2015

The end of 2015 a time to look back, reflect and celebrate. I have enjoyed looking back over my year of running, have a read through and explore any previous posts if you wish.

Looking back over 2015 my year seems to split into distinct sections:

Early part of the year, starting off injured with calf trouble and not running much due to starting a new job and buying our first flat. 

Mid part of the year, marathon training and marathon running. Firstly learning through how not to train and running my slowest ever marathon at Vanguard Way in August and then running my marathon PB at Chelmsford in October

Spring, improving over three half marathons while still struggling against injury and not coming anywhere near PB territory as a result. Tunbridge Wells 1.51, Hampton Court 1.48 and Run Hackney 1.42 were all great races which I really enjoyed.

End of the year, shorter mileage but faster training for a sub 20 minute 5K which didn't end up happening but the emphasis on speed work at the end of 2015 will see me in good stead for 2016.

Overall 2015 has seen me run in excess of 1000 miles including 2 marathons, 4 half marathons and one 24 hour relay. On top of the events I have also experienced running in different places on my travels including Manchester, Birmingham, Reykjavik and Venice. 

There are many ways to summarise the year and every blogger more or less will be doing it in some shape. I have decided to follow the format of Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC who is hosting the 'Year in Running 2015' link up again, so here we go....

Best race experience:

The obvious choice is my marathon PB at Chelmsford marathon in October and more specifically feeling strong in the final miles. 

Making a friend with a fellow runner in the second half of the Vanguard Way Marathon was also a great experience as it was great to pass the time chatting as we ran.

Best run 

I suppose my 5K PB of 21.00 had to go down as my best performance but there are few other training runs that go down as being enjoyable as well as successful in other ways. 

Recently I headed out for my first long run in 2 months and tried to get into the mentality of a long run of just taking your time and enjoying the run and the surroundings you pass.

There was also a long run back in the summer as part of marathon training where I covered around 26K and really felt great and enjoyed the experience of running long and running strong.

It's funny how certain runs and certain sections of runs stick in your memory. 

Best new piece of running gear 

The two pieces of running gear I have bought this year that have made a big difference to my training are my zipper sweatband and my tuvizo vest.

My zipper sweatband I spotted on Amazon for about £1 and is a simple but incredibly effective piece of kit. Basically it is a sweatband with a zip in it that then allows you to easily carry your keys or cash. Simple but effective, genius! 

And then my tuvizo vest is a high vis piece of kit that keeps me safe in the winter darkness. Its easy to wear, light and doesn't bother me at all when running and has fast become a piece of essential kit for dull and gloomy mornings or dark winter winter evening runs.

Best running advice received this year 

Not so much a piece of advice more a motivational saying 'Pain is temporary pride is permanent'. It was on a banner during the Chelmsford marathon and really hit me and had stuck with me as motivation both in races and for training. 

Most inspirational runner 

Two rather cheesy answers for this one I'm afraid. 

Firstly so many runners from #ukrunchat, social media or from blogs I read. There are a few that stand out as true inspirations but I don't want to name names as there are so many great runners and it is the strength of the community of runners that is the true inspiration.

Sickening I know, vom fest over. 

Secondly, this is probably also a bit cringe worthy but since moving into our new flat I often walk past the field at the end of the road popular with dog walkers and there is one particular dog that always catches my attention. It's a young spaniel who as soon as he is let off the lead sprints around the perimeter of the field with such exuberance it always makes me smile. He just goes for it ears flapping in the wind and tongue hanging out of his mouth with a slightly crazed look in his eyes as he sprints across the grass. 

It reminds me to enjoy life and enjoy running and not be bogged down by training plans and split times. Or maybe it just remind me of my own running style! 

Favorite picture from a run or race 

I didn't buy any race photos this year and there haven't been many great photos of me running. 

The ones that spring to mind as being my favourite running photos are these three: 

Running the last lap for #ukrunchat #teamred at Spitfire Scramble. You can read about my race experience here

A photo with my running buddies from Asics Target 26.2 Tony and Chris, at one of our regular Hackney Marshes parkrun meet ups. This year it has been great to have the camaraderie, support and advice of these guys. 

Surely the most fun I have ever had running, fancy dress running Bacchus half marathon with my brother in law Tom. I think the photo captures the race really well, so much fun! 

Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat

It goes without saying that I would love to do Bacchus again as it was so much fun but at the same time you know you can never recapture the same experience again. I know a lot of runners have the rule of never repeating the same race in consecutive years just to keep things fresh and to have new experiences and I think that is a good idea in most cases. 

So in that case I would pick the feeling of running strongly in the final miles of the Chelmsford marathon. I hope that I am able to recapture that feeling and finish future marathons wherever and whenever they may be just as strongly. 

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words...

First part of the year frustrating, painful and injury filled. Middle part of the year The word would be progressing and successful. End part of the year would be summed up with not as good as I would have hoped, struggling to see progress. 

Thank you for reading and I hope you had a successful 2015 and I wish you many happy miles in 2016!