So, of course, today is the final day of 2013 so a recap post is due. I think these sorts of posts are really fun to write- I love going back over old race recaps and looking at photos.
This year we have had some awesome holidays, which can (through a rather convoluted set of circumstances) link back to when I was really ill a couple of years ago. I ended 2011 in hospital- this turned out to be due to a large ovarian cyst that had to be removed. We were meant to be going to New York, Washington, Philadelphia and Florida for the Christmas holidays, but had to cancel as I was not allowed to fly. Luckily we had insurance, so claimed it back (or cancelled things) but before we knew for certain Andy said to me that if we did have to cancel we could go to Hawaii in the summer (2012) instead. So we did. It was amazing. On one of the islands we went to Volcano, a National Park, and it turned out cheaper to buy a yearly pass than for the days we were there. So then we returned home with a pass for the year for all US National Parks….
Easter saw us visit Disneyland in California, before an epic road trip across several western states. We went to the Grand Canyon.
Monument Valley (not a National Park, but Andy wanted to see it)
We went to Zion National Park.
And Bryce Canyon for the day.
Plus Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas and the most amazing place, Yosemite.
I am still not sure how we managed to fit all of that in the Easter holidays!
In the summer we had another epic road trip, starting in Seattle (went to Victoria in Canada for a couple of days) and taking in more National Parks including Olympic, Glacier, Mount Rainier, Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, Grand Tetons…
We did a 10 mile round trip hike through grizzly bear country to see this beautiful lake filled with icebergs (and saw no bears).
The next day we did a short walk (2 miles) and saw several bears, including a very close encounter!
“There’s a bear in the bush”!!! Exciting and also terrifying!
We certainly got good use of our year pass.
(This has reminded me that I have not posted a holiday recap on here for that holiday- something for a rainy January day perhaps).
This year was a great year for me running wise too. I finally felt like I was back to full fitness and not only got back to my old times, but achieved pb’s in several race distances.
I ran the Brighton Half marathon in February, and got a pb- this race was great to do because I couldn’t do it the previous year as I was still waiting for my op. I also met the lovely Lara in the starter pen 🙂
I have been trying for ages to get my 10K pb under an hour, but at my first attempt this year I didn’t make it, (60.34!!) although this was a cross country course. I made up for it back in Brighton in November, when Andy paced me around and I managed 56.14! I also coined the phrase “Royal Flush negative split” which I am pleased to report has been used several times on Marathon talk now! (Each mile faster than the previous mile).
In June I managed another half marathon pb, getting my time down to 2.10.09, and then in July I had the most fantastic experience running 5 miles in the Olympic Park. Most of the course was not that interesting, but coming out onto that track at the end was just amazing. I met up with Anna briefly at the end too which was lovely. That was a pb too, as I had only ever run one 5 mile race before, which turned out to be a cross country course.
The race I most enjoyed (apart from the final stretch of the Olympic run) was probably the local 10 miler I did. It was a week after another half marathon (that didn’t go so well), it was cold and pouring with rain, but it had the most marshals I had ever seen, it was so friendly, there was a cow on the route- what more could you ask for? Again I got my fastest 10 mile time but that is because my only other 10 miler was the Great South run a few years ago.
I also started going to Parkruns this year. My Dad persuaded me to go, and I am really glad he did. I have been to 11 this year, and helped out at about 3- I don’t go every week but when I do manage it I love it. I have managed to get my 5K pb down to 26.29 which I am really pleased with.
There have of course been some disappointing moments this year. I developed a bad cough in the summer, so could not do a 10K race I had signed up for, and I have spent the last month with this little hip niggle. But I am so pleased with how my running is going- I think running with Sweatshop has helped me run faster over slightly longer distances, and going to Parkruns has helped me to get used to that feeling of really pushing yourself. I also did the marathon talk Jantastic challenge (Go Team Run Blog Bake!) and I am sure having a good base of training at the start of the year helped. All my times have gone down this year, so I am hoping 2014 can continue. When I finished the Stockholm marathon back in 2011, I felt a bit like I had unfinished business. I would love to do another marathon, but I wanted to be faster over shorter distances first, because being out running for over 5 hours is just really tough. And I am getting closer to my target time so who knows in 2014 I may sign up for another one. Maybe.
I don’t tend to set new year resolutions or anything like that, but I like to have goals to work towards. I have signed up to the Bath half and the Oslo Rock ‘n’Roll half marathon (so excited about this) so would love to beat my half marathon time in one of these races. I also need to work on my flexibility so will be carrying on with my physio stretches and looking at booking some sports massages in the new year. But really I just want to keep enjoying running- that is why I do it.
How was 2013 for you?