This is the second attempt at this blog. I got halfway through the first and stopped because it didn’t feel right. What is the aim of this piece? Why am I writing it? I am still not sure if I am to be honest. I wanted to write a review of the year, but I didn’t want it to be a list of achievements, so I started thinking about all the experiences I have had this year. Then I put them into a monthly list of moments. I enjoyed reflecting on these but putting them into a blog now feels odd. I am a little uneasy about sharing all these memories in one go and it feels repetitive.
What am I going to do instead? Well I am going to reflect more generally on the year as a whole and my feelings on some subjects.
Let me get the standard bit out of the way first. Here is the list of goals I set at the beginning of the year.
- Volunteer more (Parkrun and Charity) – Not as much Parkrun as I would have liked but twice for Mind.
- Take more Semi-professional photos (not just IG) – Again more would have been fun.
- Continue to enjoy running, especially with the amazing community – 100%
- Help make @LDNBurgerRun even more fun – I hope so 🤞🏻
- Do some run coaching courses – LiRF competed and coaching course booked for 2019
- Get a HM PB – Dreaming of 1hr 30! – didn’t get that 1hr 29 but very happy with 1hr 32
- 3hr 30 marathon in Paris – failed.
- 12hr Race to the Stones – What was I thinking? Pretty happy with just over 13 hours.
- Raise at least £1000 for @mindcharity – Over £2000. So stoked.
- Complete my 3 Ultras, 4 Marathons, 2 half’s and a 10k. – This became 4 Ultras and 4 Marathons. Managed a couple of 10k PBs, a 1st in age group and a 5km PB.
- Do a class with @redfacedrunner – So happy to have got this in, even if spin was evil.
- Try yoga – This I have very much enjoyed and continue to do so.
Ok so that’s that. Do you notice anything? To me, I see too much, I see a massive list of different things, all pulling me. I see pressure. I feel pressure from all of these. This is not what it’s about, I shouldn’t feel this way. If I could rewind back to this time last year from where I sit now, I would do many things differently. I was guilty of being swept up in the wave of doing too much.
I am glad I had the experiences I did this year though, I have learned so much. If 2017 opened my eyes to the running community, then 2018 has allowed me to become part of it. I have met so many amazing people this year and built stronger bonds with those I met last. It is a genuine honour to have you all in my life, from the little squares, to the real life adventures. I cherish the connections and moments we have shared. To the strangers I have talked to for 5 mins on a run, thank you for sharing your time with me. To those that came running me, it has been a delight.
It’s all these moments that make up the whole experience, that is what this year has been, an overload of experiences.
What pictures can’t show are deep feelings. They can draw out the memories for those present or who might find a meaning from what they see. I have so many emotions from this year, it’s hard to describe or even put them all in to words.
Running 4 marathons and 4 ultras has taken its toll on my body and mind. When I had my break down in September it was also a point of enlightenment for me. In the days after as I was starting to process what had happened and how I got to this point I realised a few things. One of those was that I had been pretty much running to a plan for 15 months. I needed a break from the pressure, what I was doing wasn’t healthy for me. I made the decision to stop working with a coach. Yes I had 3 marathons and 2 ultras to do in just over 3 months but I felt I could do this on my own terms and if I wanted to not do any, I just could. Yes I have struggled mentally and a little physically in this last part of the year but my plan worked. I managed the situation the best I could and achieved what I wanted. On reflection, I do wonder if I could have done better in Berlin but then I remember it was a struggle to just get there and I should stop thinking like that. The massive learning for me though is “less is more”. I know I am a mentally stronger runner than I was at the beginning of the year, which is ironic I know, I guess it takes extremes sometimes for learnings to happen.
So with that in mind this is where I see 2019.
1) Race less.
This is a promise I have already put into action by only signing up for a handful of events.
North Downs Way 50 miler – this is the race I want to race. I can run the route beforehand as part of my training . I want to see how fast I can do it. For me, I still want to enjoy it but to push myself. This is my “A race” as such. It’s in May, so hopefully I can get a fully training cycle in with new coach Mags. I don’t know what the time goal will be, I will be working with Mags on this next year but am excited to push myself on the trails.
Eiger E51 – my first mountain race. As many of you know, I have dreamt of running in the mountains for a while now and finally I get to do it. This will be a fun run, I will definitely be taking many pictures. In fact I am super excited as the family are coming and we are turning it into a trip to Switzerland and then the coast of Northern Italy in the summer.
CCC – lifetime goal race. I have no idea if I will get into this one, or even if I will be able to go, (due to work), but let’s see. This will be a survival one, lol!
Łemkowyna 100k – a trip to Poland. I have always wanted to visit Poland and now running should take me there, if I get selected on the ballot. I am planning on going with a whole bunch of the cool cats group too, which should be awesome.
There might be a couple of short races in there as part of training but that’s essentially it.
2) Complete my Coaching course.
I haven’t done a course like this ever. Really excited to learn again. This is not happening as a career change but I would like to take on a couple of people to coach once I feel I am ready to give them the best advice.
And that’s it. The rest of the time I will be spending with family and enjoying a few adventure runs.
2018, you may have broken me but you are also fixing me.