As the year draws to a close, I wanted to document my running memories to try and spur me into 2017. It's no movie list or a trip to the emergency room. It's just me putting one foot in front of the other. If you find that likely to be boring then I forgive you.
In both 2014/15 I had run the same three competitive races but I knew that a renewed sense of priority could take me to a new level if I applied myself and made sacrifices and that would allow more challenges and more races so in 2016 I made progress with a simple set of monthly vows.
All in all I ran 6 races this year which is double what I've run previous and now that I can drive it does allow me a lot more freedom in my choices. For example, in July, I ran the Southport Half Marathon, which although not far, also gave me a chance to practise driving both before and after a race. Since running a marathon, I doubt my driving capability post race. I achieved a Personal Best in nearly every race I ran and in the one I didn't, I paced someone that did (Wirral 10K) and that felt just as good if not better. 2016 was also the year I finished a race in my own town. Having just started races in Liverpool I did the Half Marathon and also a similar if not near exact route in the Rock and Roll Half Marathon. My favourite race remains the Tunnel 10km as I love affecting traffic and adding to the woes of commuters. It was also the first and still only time I've come under 50mins for a 10km run. But the biggest challenge this year was obviously my first ever Marathon. The scene, Chester. The mood, scary. I had barely scraped in the car park by mere minutes before they closed it off and I wasted my prep time on stupid FB Live rather than stretching and going the toilet 3 times. Earlier in the summer I envisioned a time of 4hrs which I sensibly scaled down to 4"30. That being said, I was not prepared for the challenge of 26.2 miles. It was gruelling, it was hell, it was soul destroying and I can't wait to do it again next year. I couldn't run beyond 22miles and it then became a stop and start 4 mile nightmare but seeing family at the finish line was very emotional and I have to train harder this year to get my stats up.
This year I found a website that changed my running life and appeals to my very core. RunBritainRankings basically ranks everyone who's ever ran a race in the U.K. It is my new goal to the the top runner in the L20 area. In the summer I was 7th but after 2 runless months, I've dropped to 9th. I know it's not super scientific but honestly for a competitive man such as myself, it really did help me achieve better runs.
Firstly, I trialled not having McDonalds for a month and it stuck so then the next month (after a reward of McDonalds) I added more to the list. No maccies, no Coke, no Haribo. After that I noticed the weight slowly coming down. I ended up at my best losing a stone based on running and my core sins...Chicken Selects and soggy chips. Eventually although I was benefitting from this, I found a compromise in that I could have these urges...IF I ran that day. Skip forward to right now and Christmas feasting has caught up with me and McDonalds has been a salty mistress to me this winter.
I bought a second hand Garmin running watch from a guy on Facebook and I love it. It's a great bargain. (Apologies to Sarah who had bought me a running watch that I didn't use - I've never lived it down). Add to that the following:
- Bluetooth Earphones- may come more in handy since Apple stole my jack port.
- Stretchy bum bag for want of a better word. It keeps all my stuff handy, what can I say?
- A running magazine subscription. Each month I see a training plan and every month I never use it, one of 2017's many new years resolutions.
For those not in the know, Parkrun is a free 5k race held weekly near you, no matter where you are in the UK. This year I attended 4 meetings (2 in sandy Crosby and 2 in leafy Croxteth) and my best 5k time was 23:03 where I came 17th/86th. It really is a nice introduction to social running which I find difficult at the best of times.
Depending on who you listen to, shoes can either be the 'be all end all' or you have to forget pronation and gait and run. I did both. I said goodbye to my pair of Nike DS Lite Run 'a which I loved but felt didn't give me enough support and soon after that, I got injured. I googled plenty and came up with the scientific explanation that "I had a funny bone in my foot." My new Nike Structure trainers seem to be going well and got me through my first marathon. I think I'll re-buy my beloved Lite Run's as maybe we were sole mates after all.
13/03 Lpool Half - 2hrs20secs
29/05 RnR Lpool Half - 1hr56min29secs
19/06 Tunnel 10K - 49min42secs
03/07 Southport Half - 1hr54min49secs
11/09 Wirral HM - 2hrs5min33secs
02/10 Chester Marathon - 4hrs42min44secs