Happy New Year : A time for reflection & looking forward

I always like to use the New Year to look back at what has happened in the past year and what I have to look forward to over the coming year.  I thought I’d write a bit about my year of running and what lies ahead for me.

I started the year with big plans. I entered 2016 as a 4 time marathoner and had completed one 50k run in December of 2015 and I had big ambitions for 2016 having my sights set on the mammoth Race to the Stones 100k and the inaugural Nepal Marathon.

January to April

My year started with 2 muddy Rail to Trail runs. I did a half marathon at Rail to Trail South in January and then a full Marathon at Rail to Trail West on March 5th. The trail runs were a good way to start the year. The Marathon in March was super tough as the mud was so slippery it was hard to stay upright, I felt a bit rubbish afterwards but I soon realised that several people dropped out at the half marathon point that day due to the tough conditions so I am proud that I continued to finish the full marathon plus I now think that it was really good prep for the Canalathon 50k I had lined up for the end of March.

I was talked into the Dartford Half on March 13th with Darren & Natasha (@runnersknees & @NatashaElsdon) to get my confidence back up.  The Dartford half was great fun, it was a really nice route and I really enjoyed it- it was a nice reminder that I could run (when there wasn’t evil mud to contend with) and it was great to see some of the ukrunchat crowd there.

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At the end of March I made the trip up to Sowerby Bridge for Canalathon 50k. There was a great ukrunchat crowd up there and it was lovely to know so many people at the race. We had a great time meeting up for dinner for a pre-race feast, a pre-race pic & chat and then a few of us met after for a well deserved feast. This was a great 50k. I loved the route and I am super happy with my time of 5:45 for a 50k. I ran happy & comfortable throughout the run and it was a really well organised fun sociable run. I chatted to several people throughout the run and the weather was really kind to us too. It was a great Easter weekend.

May to July

3 weeks later and I was in Brighton for the Brighton Marathon. I hadn’t put time pressure on myself for this race…that is until I got on the start line and felt like it might be good day for a PB – I ended up running a great speedy first half but the 2nd half of the course is quite tough, especially the bit around the industrial estate. I probably went out too fast and that wouldn’t have helped with the 2nd half. I had a great time seeing lots of people from the ukrunchat community and enjoyed the weekend.

My next race was a last minute marathon on May 8th- Natasha asked me to do Cranleigh less than a week before the marathon was due to take place and on the Wednesday I found myself signing up. It was great to be fit & ready to do a marathon at last minute. It ended up being the hottest day of the year so far and we had a great time taking it slow & enjoying the trails around Cranleigh- I loved it & would go back if I’m available.

At the end of May I did the Weald challenge, a hilly trail 50k. I really enjoyed it and felt great at the end so that was a much needed confidence boost with Race to the Stones sneaking up on me.

In June I did the inaugural Race to the King as a last big run before Race to the Stones. It was great to do a run by the same organisers to get a feel of how it would be. I loved the route and was super proud to come 2nd lady in the Day 1 marathon. It was a bit tricky to leave the school that the marathon finishes at due to a lack of taxis & no buses put on by the company till quite late but they were lovely & gave a few of us a lift back to the car park at the start. One I would definitely be up for doing again.

Suddenly it was July 16th and time for the biggest race of the year….the longest distance I had ever attempted…Race to the Stones 100k. This was epic and I was determined to have a go at it and I am glad I did. It was the hardest thing I have ever done and I know you should never say never but I believe that I won’t tackle that distance again- it was tough and it took me a long time to recover from mentally so I don’t think I’ll ever want to put myself through that again. It turns out that I did it with Shingles too (it’s basically adult chicken pox), I just thought I’d had an allergic reaction to something on my neck until I saw the doctor the following week. Due to the Shingles I was physically pretty wrecked for a week after Stones but I think I recovered quite fast…especially considering the Shingles   I was not happy for at least a month afterwards though- I know time doesn’t matter for such a long epic race, I always knew that and my goal was always just to finish but I found myself disappointed and didn’t have the super proud happy feeling I’d been expecting. I know that is crazy but now looking back at it I am glad I finished it. I’ve found that I love a 50k run but now am uninterested in anything further than that. In the future I want to do races for enjoyment and with friends- you may find me doing a longer race one day but I doubt very much that I’ll go over 50k again.

It’s funny looking back at that one- it was so tough. I would recommend people do it if they are up for a massive challenge and have their sights set on it. The organisation was great and it is a beautiful course. I loved seeing people I knew at various places (mainly in the first half and thankfully ran into Darren at the last check point so we could get through the last bit together). I hope I don’t sound too negative about the experience- although I felt negative about the race itself it is one I am positively happy that I did. I dared to imagine I could go that far and I went out there & did it – it shows you can do anything you put your mind to.

August to December

I was talked into a 10k on August 18th to get me out of the post stones fog that had descended and it was nice to get out & run a race again. Then  it was time for the Bacchus half marathon In September- my favourite race of the year. It was SO much fun and the ukrunchat gang had a great time dressed as unicorns and drinking our way round this much loved half marathon- many people go back again & again & I can see why- I will be back in 2017. Drinking, dancing, running, chatting in the sun dressed as a unicorn- I can’t think of a better way to run a half marathon.

My next big race would be the inaugural Nepal Marathon so at the end of October I had signed up for the Beachy head Marathon to prepare myself for the mountains in Nepal. I really enjoyed Beachy Head- the first half was quite entertaining as everyone had said “Go & enjoy the views” and it was really foggy so there wasn’t much to see but the weather cleared for the second half and it was a beautiful and challenging course. I would definitely do this one again if I am available as it’s well organised and there is a great atmosphere- it was tough but I loved it. I already have a race planned for that weekend in 2017 but I will be there again if I am free in the future.

The race I had been most looking forward to all year was the Nepal Marathon. The inaugural marathon by Impact Marathons. It’s so much more than a marathon and you get to experience the culture and do something that really makes a difference, camping in the mountains and finishing the week off with a marathon. It was an incredible experience. It was beautiful, touching and I made some great friends. We spent 2 days laying 5k of water pipe from a water tank to a village which was a special and gratifying experience. The marathon was beautiful and the hills were tough, my legs felt fine but I found breathing was difficult just walking up the hills. I would love to go back and do something similar to this again in the future- it is an amazing experience and it was brilliant to be a part of something so special.

A week later and a bit of a change of scenery & I was in Battersea Park for the Santa Run. It was fun to run with Kaya and Darren with 100’s of others santas as I played Micky Bubbles Christmas album from my phone. It was a great way to finish off the year.

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Pics from Kaya @kythespy

Looking forward…

2016 was a MASSIVE year of running for me. It’s hard to see any year be full of such massive challenges in the future but I am sure they will be.  2016 totalled at 6 marathons & 3 ultras….since I took up running I have now completed 10 marathons and 4 ultra marathons including 100k.

This year I have had a lot of fun but have also done super tough challenges.  From looking back at the year I know that some challenges leave you feeling down but with time you realise that those are the races you are most proud of completing.

I have lots planned for 2017 but not quite as much as 2016. The first half the year was all about building up to stones and then the later part of the year was all about building up for Nepal. I had a brilliant year, ran with some fabulous people, took on some crazy & epic challenges and conquered each and every one of them. I’m quite proud of what I’ve achieved in 2016. Now bring on 2017.

I have already done my first race of the year at Brixton 10k organised by RunThrough.  It was a fun way to start the year & it’s a great medal too.  These are the races I have planned so far in 2017.  It’s going to be a super awesome & fun year:

12th February 2017

Bowie-athon

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6hr/   3.74 mile loops
12th March 2017

Barcelona Marathon

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26.2
May-17

Brecon Beacons

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50k
26th August 2017

Zermatt 46k

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46k
19th September 2017 BacchusThe ETL Surrey Bacchus 2016 Summer #running #bacchustime #racephoto #sussexsportphotography 2:05:38 PM 13.1
8th October 2017

Yorkshire Marathon

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26.2
29th October 2017

Lucerne Marathon

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26.2
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One Comment Add yours

  1. Running Fish says:

    I ran Edinburgh Marathon last year not knowing i had shingles. One of the worst days of my life. Took me months to get back on track. I’m doing Canalathon this year so was interesting reading about that.

    Like

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