The Scribbler

27 December 2010

2010 my running year

Filed under: run,swim,training — The Scribbler @ 19:50
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Me running through Fetchppint at the Great North Run

A running highlight - Fetchpoint at the Great North Run (picture courtesy of Karen Wilson)

To be honest I think of my running year from one September to the next. September 2008 was when I first started working with Ian, my fantastic personal trainer, who has been the catalyst for some life changing experiences. September 2009 marked my first half marathon – an unimaginable goal when I first started. And September 2010 was really the race of my life, so amazing, memorable and emotional on so many levels. But September’s come and gone and like so many of us at this time of year I’m looking back and looking forward.

You really might want to settle down with a drink and a mince pie or piece of Christmas cake, or just tidy up the last of the chocolates for this one. But here goes…

January 2010 started with some goal setting, looking forward to my second year running and a chance to revisit some favourite races. I had in mind then that I’d like to do something different. So after a winter taking some swimming lessons, I finally succeeded in swimming 400m in one go, thanks to some excellent support and encouragement from Lesley who I got to know through Fetch Everyone. Little did I think then how important she would be to me in 2010, and what a true and wonderful friend I had found.

In February my family lost a much loved and anticipated baby. My littlest sister Ava may not have lived to hold my hand or smile at me, but she spurred me on to amazing things in 2010. In the same week we had to deal with that unexpected and heartbreaking loss, I had a moment of joy when I discovered I had a place in the Great North Run. Once again, this was to become the race that would shape my year and I’d run it for Ava.

March was tough. My running stumbled as I struggled to cope with sadness, grief and anger and I started asking myself lots of questions and getting frustrated with my running progress. But some good friends and sound advice saw me through. And when I travelled to Barcelona for my sister’s hen weekend and found the city full of marathon runners, I was inspired once again, and full of pride for those that took on this challenge.

In April my family once again gathered together for the joyous celebration of my sister’s wedding. We were blessed with a day full of sunshine, laughter and dancing. And to make sure it went with a swing, I started it with a run – my first outside the UK.


Me, Lisa and Dave at the end of the Tees Barrage 10k

Me, Lisa and Dave at the end of the Tees Barrage 10k

By May I was well into my running training, enjoying the spring weather and training plans. I’d decided to drop my start of the year goal to complete a triathlon in favour of going all out for the Great North Run. But I ran three races this month, including the Tees Barrage 10k where Dave introduced me to the fabulous Lisa and Jason – more good friends and strong supporters.

We joined up again at the Pier to Pier, with Jason providing my longest ever warm up, that led to a new PB! And at Druridge Bay 10k I enjoyed a great but tough run and was buzzed by the RAF rescue helicopter as I ran across the sand.

June was the month I had set to switch my focus from 10k to the half marathon, but I was determined to go out with a bang. And I did on a glorious summer evening on South Tyneside when I ran my first ever timed mile on Jeff’s precisely measured course.

That confidence spurred me on to a dream run at the Blaydon Race. It was my favourite run of 2009 and my best performance of 2010. The weather may have been damp and dreary, but my spirits were high and I flew round that course.

One of those glorious, precious runs when it just came together, when my legs strode out beneath me and my breath stayed strong. Where it almost felt easy and I smiled all the way to the finish. I must be the only person who wishes that course was a teeny bit longer, as I’d have been tantalisingly close to a sub 50 10k. Memories of  Jeff and Hayley standing on Scotswood Bridge cheering us on beneath their umbrella make this one of my best moments of the year.

Runners on a race track

Fetchies at the Run for Bob

So Blaydon over and my thoughts turned to the long run. No more 10ks, just a bid to bring the speed down and focus on half marathon training. 2010 was the year I got confident enough to go off road too, first with the Run for Bob – another gorgeous day and then when I was invited to run in the woods with Lisa T. More fantastic running experiences shared with new friends.

Throughout August I remained focused on my Great North Run training plan. Maybe a bit too focused, but I was determined to give it my best shot. And as well as aiming for that sub 2 hour half marathon I was in a fundraising frenzy, promoting my efforts on Twitter, facebook and a couple of appearances on local radio. A massive cake sale at work boosted my fundraising efforts for Sands and gave me the chance to share Ava’s story.

Me holding my Great North Run 2010 medal

A most amazing day

September began with a beautiful wedding on the last glorious day of the summer. A privilege to share a day with two special people who deserve all the love and happiness they will bring to one another.

It also brought my last long runs, including a trial run along the John Reid Road and some well timed and appreciated advice from my long time Fetch buddy Alastair, who I hoped to meet on the big day.

And so to the Great North Run. I’ve already told its story and will continue to tell it again and again. For it was an amazing, emotional day and one I’ll always remember for so many reasons.

After that it would have been easy to slide into a post race slump, but I swapped long and hard for short and fast at my first ever parkrun and found I’d lost none of my speed demon tendencies.

Runners in a park

Me and Al on my way to a new PB at Edinburgh parkrun

Having missed Al at the Great North Run, it was fabulous to finally catch up with him once in my (adopted) home town and then again in his in October. After a week indulging my other love of writing, I jumped for joy at the chance to finally get a hug from Lesley at the Edinburgh parkrun, then celebrated with cake, more cuddles and a good chat after Al paced me round to a new PB and my first sub 25 min 5k.

As the weather began to turn in November, I proved beyond all doubt that this running thing has made me even more crazy than I ever was, by completing my first ever dual sport event at the Killingworth aquathlon. A 500m swim punctuated by a fire alarm, followed by a 5.7km run in temperatures hovering around freezing and I was pumped full of adrenaline and on an achievement high.

And then came the marathon. Not running it, but supporting it on Newcastle’s Town Moor. What started as a casual mention on a Fetch forum came together as a plan thanks to the lovely Lesley who arrived complete with yellow tutu. And I found myself wrapped in a hundred layers of clothing, sporting a red wig and getting hyper on jelly babies cheering on some amazing runners.

How many highlights are you allowed in one year? This was definitely one of mine. To see so many of my running pals including Jeff, Al, Katy and Anne smash their PBs on such a wretched and challenging day… well it made me really proud to be part of this very special group of nutters.

Runners dressed in Red and yellow Fetch Everyone shirts

Fetchies ready to run and support the Newcastle Town Moor marathon


And now we’re into the last month of the year. Challenged by the weather and a sense of times changing. I’ve swapped my shorts for running tights and have even been known to break out the gloves. And although I’m running far less than the heady miles of August, I’m still keeping things ticking over and enjoying a few last gasp chances for runs, races and fun.

My planned last race of the year, The Pudding Run was cancelled earlier this week. So that means that my last race of the year was the Saltwell 10k (unless I make it to Sunderland for parkrun on New Year’s Eve), but Saltwell was a great way to bow out. And I still kept my tradition of a Boxing Day run going with three miles on the beach.

I was talking to my dad on the phone recently and, understandably there’s a good reason why my family will be glad to see the back of 2010 and welcome in the promise of a new year. But though punctured by sadness, this year has given me strength and hope and moments of absolute joy. Most of them, it has to be said are in some way connected with running and the good friends I have met through it.

So thank you. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating. Thank you to those of you who’ve read, commented, sponsored me, smiled or cheered on a race. And to my good friends who have done so much more – you know who you are, and I hope you know how much I appreciate it. It has been an amazing year.


Me running at Newcastle parkrun

A good run at Newcastle parkrun

I have so much to look forward to next year. I’ve entered five races already and will be trying some new things, including a triathlon and the Rat Race. I’ll also be racing in the town where I grew up, on the track where I once ran 100m and the relay.

I’m sure I’ll have plenty of opportunities to run with my running friends, and hopefully meet some new ones. I’m sure there will be ups and downs again, frustrations and joys. But most of all I intend to train well, rest well and enjoy my running, swimming, cycling, boxercise, weights and PT sessions.

I have changed so much since I started on this adventure and I can’t wait to see what the next chapter brings. I know I will enjoy sharing it with you all again.


1 Comment »

  1. What a wonderfull year. You did well girl.


    Comment by trainingforboston — 29 December 2010 @ 01:05 | Reply

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