This year was not going to be just another when I went out running on my own on local roads. I was going to step up.
Before 2013 my races comprised of struggling around 2 half marathons, half of a 30 mile ultra, 4 park runs (I know I shouldn’t call them races, but…) and a beerathon. Now I am comfortable running half marathons such that I can do them on consecutive week ends, with a stress fracture in my foot; my 30 mile ultra race distance increased to what I was aiming for, 25 miles, on one of the hottest days of the years; parkruns have become an integral part of my life, including 3 on New Year’s Day and 7 on the Sunday closest to mid-summer’s day and the beerathon is still running, drinking eating and meeting mad people. And of course there was the big one.
The low hit in January, in the midst of Janathon and training for the Jerusalem half marathon. On holiday in Zanzibar I misjudged the last step on the stairs on the way down from dinner and ended up with a grade 2 quad strain. The suggested recovery time of 6 weeks took me to the day of the Jerusalem half. With race entered, flights and hotel booked you can imagine the trough I was in.
The upward climb did began, literally, on the hills in Jerusalem as I was able to compete and finish; it continued to a high in July with 10k and parkrun targets met a half marathon pb after running a parkrun earlier in the day and an exhilarating 5 mile Anniversary run finishing in the Olympic stadium.
Things unravelled at the end of August to be confirmed in September a couple of days after being the first home in the 60-64 age category at the Bacchus half. A metatarsal stress fracture with no hope of running for a least 6 weeks. That would be the day of my proposed 1st marathon, Amsterdam. The deep low really hit after another 2 weeks when there had been no significant improvement, even walking was incredibly painful and I had to accept that Amsterdam would not be possible. Because it was to be the start of significant project, not to be able to run it would mean the 2nd marathon which I had already booked, and subsequent ones planned would really be redundant. But…
The saviour came in the form of The Athens Classic Marathon with a date 3 weeks after Amsterdam. I was fit enough to run it, the project was back on the the high afterwards (and still now) was immense. And to keep the crest up there, even though the announcement came in January, it was for December, I received the Riddlesdown Sweatshop runner of the month award.
So the year has taught me that some setbacks do not necessarily mean that all is lost, but I was lucky that both of the injuries (which actually meant for 20% of the year I was unable to run) gave just enough recovery time; however for some time I will be nervous during the final few weeks before key races.
There were some other highs that I enjoyed. My son coming in 16th place in the Surrey 100 cycle ride in August, my daughter being first lady home in 3 day, 90 mile ultra-marathon The Toad Challenge and a number of other marathon podium finishes, and accompanying/supporting my son-in-law to quite a number of the 30 marathons (and an ultra-marathon) he ran during the year.