2014 Running review

So, I am a few days late, but better late than never I suppose.

I have enjoyed reading the recap post that have been popping up all over blog-land, and I like to look at my own race calendar and see what I have been up to this past year (I won’t link to any of the recaps here, but if you have a burning desire to read them, then they are all linked from that race calendar link). When I looked, I was surprised to see that I did 10 races last year. That sounds a lot to me.

2015-01-01 13.56.40This year I really wanted to speed up. I think I mentioned before that I really wanted to do another marathon, but before I signed up to one I wanted to get faster. Of course I love getting a pb, but I am never going to be at the front of the pack (unless the pack is very small), and to me finishing a race and enjoying it is what is important to me. But running non stop for nearly five and a half hours is pretty tough, so I wanted to work on speed before aiming for that distance again.

Anyway, the year started well with the Bath half, although that would be a race I would not do again. I had wanted to run it for a few years, but a combination of things (late start, awful weather, no foil blankets at the finish, finish line being away from the bag drop, expensive cost and rubbish cotton t-shirt) meant that I didn’t massively enjoy it. But I ran my fastest ever half, and the closest to the 2 hour mark I have ever been. On a side note, when I trained for my first half (before I even started this blog) I read that if you finished in 2 hours you would be with the average runner and that had stuck with me. And after all this time, I am still not there. I can’t remember where I read it (it was a magazine but can’t remember which one) but it annoys me that it has stuck with me.

After that was the Sports Relief 6 mile run- loops of a 400m running track! I ended up being the first female finisher, due to most people doing the 3 mile option instead. It was a good run though, and surprisingly I enjoyed the repetitive nature of the track. I just hope if they do it again it gets a bit more publicity.

I was meant to do the Oslo Rock and Roll half (such a cool medal) but it got cancelled, so I signed up to a trail half marathon instead. Wow it was tough. But really enjoyable. It gave me a glimpse of ultra running I think, as people were stopping to walk, check maps, and everyone was very friendly. It was all about finishing, and I did, in my slowest ever time, but that didn’t matter as the scenery was just beautiful.

I did a couple of 10K’s, including the Women’s Running one- I wasn’t sure I would like a women-only event, but the scenery around the lake was lovely, and there was a good mix of club runners and first timers.

October was my busiest month, with 3 races. My beloved Ware 10 miles (how all races should be- small but perfectly formed)- I managed a pb which really boosted my confidence, as since March and Bath, I hadn’t managed pb’s in any races and was starting to worry I was slowing down again.

The 15K breakfast run (which changed to a Women’s run or something) was enjoyable to run (I saw deer and parrots!) but it reminded me that the hassle of getting in and out of London for a race is not generally worth it for me.

I did a 5K Poppy run which wasn’t timed, but a really lovely event with lots of families taking part.

In November I finished the year on a short-but-speedy streak, with a new 10k pb of 55.23 in Brighton, and then a new 5 mile pb of 44.44 (the coolest time).

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So there we have it. I really should look into getting a medal hanger, as they are still just hanging on the door handle of our living room door.

I think best medal goes to the 15K (that cool pink shoe with the deer on it), best goody bag goes to the WR 10k, with an honourable mention to the Poppy run, best scenery goes to Ashridge, best pb potential goes to the Brighton 10k, and best overall race goes to Ware.

I am really pleased that I have managed to speed up some more. I know that running with Sweatshop helped, and I think I have a bit more belief in myself now. Before the 5 mile race I knew that I could hold a certain pace as I had achieved that in the 10k, so although it sounded fast, I also knew it was do-able.  I went to parkruns a bit more regularly too (and achieved 25 in total by the end of the year) and I want to keep that up, although my new favourite parkrun course is really cross-country so not really speedy.

I am also looking forward to more runs with the club I have joined- I know running with other people helps. My fitness has taken a bit of a dive recently, but I am pretty much over the cough now.

I am going to have to work pretty hard though as I have a 10 mile race in a few weeks time (and 6 miles was very tough yesterday), then the Brighton half not long after that, and then the Brighton marathon in April (I didn’t quite get my 2 hour half, but I was only 6 minutes off so decided to have another try). So 2015 is going to be about running long (until April anyway) and then running for fun.

 What are you looking forward to in 2015?


White towns, grey rocks, blue skies

Around where we stayed in Spain there are lots of little white towns. One was signposted nearby, so we drove the very steep and winding road to Comares one day to have a walk around.

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The town was so high up so as well as admiring the town, we were treated to magnificent views across the valley.

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There was a path with  tile footprints to follow, although we diverted from this towards the end due to the large amount of stray dogs.

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Another day we drove to El Torcal, a national park famed for strange rock formations. The limestone has been eroded by wind and water, leaving interesting shapes in the rocks.

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It reminded us a bit of when we visited Bryce Canyon in the USA (only smaller, and grey).

At one point we saw a herd of mountain goats- one balanced right on top of a rock with a perfect silhouette, but my phone could not zoom in that far. The agility those creatures have is amazing though.

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It was also freezing cold here! When sheltered by the rocks we were OK, but when you got to the edge of the mountain the wind whipping up the sides was chilling (and so strong that it was nearly blowing my phone out of my hands- I couldn’t hold it still enough for a proper photo!).

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The clouds were covering the very top of the mountain at some points.

We had packed a picnic, and there were benches outside, but we wimped out and opted for a warmer lunch in the car!

Another day we opted for another beach trip. This time we headed to Nerja, which came recommended as having less concrete monstrosities and a pretty view.

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We were very pleased with our choice. It was a really windy day, so the sea had huge swells and lines of waves crashing into the rocks and beach.

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It was hard to capture, but the waves that were rolling in were enormous.

2014-12-28 12.57.18I love this photo, the water was almost silvery, and not a weird instagram filter in sight.

We walked down the beach for a bit, then up in the other direction, then back and into the town.

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We spotted some beautiful tropical flowers (hibiscus are my favourite).

2014-12-28 13.36.29Then we walked around the town to find this beautiful cove on the other side. Again, it was teeming with people- I was still surprised to find so many people there (and so many shops and restaurants open) but I really shouldn’t be surprised.

For the last couple of days Andy had to work, so we stayed around the apartment. I spent most of the day sitting outside reading and it was bliss.

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Or just looking at the birds in the trees.

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A lovely end to our winter break.