I volunteered at parkrun this morning to save my legs for a New Year’s Day 10k. It was great to see so many friends and talk to a few new parkrunners too. The race was won by a junior for the first time and there were some cracking sprint finishes even without me running!
I’ve been tracking my total training hours this year, and reached my goal of 250 hours in December, but noticed when checking my training log that I was on 269:24 for the year. And, well, I like a nice round number, so I decided to go for a swim to make up the time.
That session in the pool, trying out my new kickboard and pull buoy means I clocked up 270 hours of training and racing in 2011.
I ran 640 miles, cycled 540 miles, swam 23 miles and did 109 hours of cross training including pilates, boxercise, weights and my brilliant PT sessions.
I’ve completed 3 triathlons, competed in 43 races, including 23 parkruns. And scored PBs at 5k, 10k and half marathon distances, not counting distances I haven’t raced before including 5 miles and 10 miles. And I had loads of fun pacing two 30 minute parkruns.
I’ve done some new races this year, the highlight of which was the Northumberland Coastal Run. It really is a beauty and this year it was made all the more dramatic by the sudden change in the weather which saw me running the last mile along the beach watching the thunderstorms inland that struck just after I finished. Meeting lots of friends at the start and having great company in Penny on the run, it was one to remember.
It has been an amazing year for me. I have achieved so much – everything I set out for and more. And I’ve learned a lot about myself along the way. The goals and times are exciting, but what stays with me now are the people I’ve met and the friends I’ve made and got to know even better.
Even when I run on my own, I’m often thinking of someone running with me, spurring me on or hearing their words of advice in my head. Thinking of Ian, keeping easy pace with me on one of our Quayside runs, encouraging me to be the best that I can be. Hearing Jeff shouting, encouraging me on to another sprint finish. Or Al just saying ‘relax and enjoy’.
I’ve had some great runs and rides and even swims this year. I did my first 750m swim in the pool on one of Lesley’s tri days and Peter has been more than generous with his time, taking me out to recce my first tri route, and encouraging me with my cycling. I have managed to get out on my bike and cycle every month this year, even if the mileage has been small. That’s something I’d like to do more of in 2012.
And as we’re looking forward, what have I got planned? Well 3 races entered so far, or they will be:
Resolution Run – 10k on the Town Moor. This will be a long slow run, steady pace, not 10k racing. I’m a bit worried as it’s mainly on grass and there are a couple of muddy hills and I only have road shoes. But it’s just a run – no times or targets.
The Olympic parkrun – if this isn’t my race of the year in 2012, I don’t know what will be. Just the thought of running through the Olympic Park and into that stadium – wow! No time targets for this one, it’s just about enjoying the experience. Oh and sprinting hell for leather down the finishing straight on the athletics track.
Great North Run – yes, I’m in again. But I’d really like to see how I go without making this a PB target race. I may very well train less and just tootle round further back in the pack and enjoy the atmosphere. Then again, I may feel like I’m having another amazing year and might just go for it again. We’ll see.
But 2012 is really all about triathlons. My first one at Ashington this year was the biggest buzz ever. I loved it. And now I have my road bike and have drowned my water demon, I know I can get better at these.
My big target challenge will be to complete my first Open Water event, which I aim to do at the QE2 triathlon in June. It’s a sprint tri, so 750m swim 20k bike, 5k run. The new bit for me will be the longer, lake-based swim. And then really I want to do as many sprint tris as I can get to and fit in, including the new Weardale event.
As far as running goes, I definitely prefer the shorter and faster distances, so I won’t be stepping up from the half marathon in 2012. I’d like be running sub 25 minute parkruns consistently and get that sub 50 min 10k. I need to find a nice flat course somewhere around April/May for that I reckon.
And I’d like to 1) get a place in the 150th Blaydon Race and 2) run it in under 50 mins. I’ve been seconds over on my last two attempts. I’m torn over this goal as I got upset with myself this year when I failed to PB at this race. I don’t want to fail to enjoy such an atmospheric race, but it’s so close I can taste it. So if I’m fit well and in form, I have to give it a shot.
I’d like to take on a bike challenge, maybe some longer rides and races, or simply a good day out on the bike. I’ve thought about the Coast to Coast or an option of a long ride that my work are organising, but the timings don’t work out. I think the Seahouses to Tynemouth ride may be an option, but I’ll keep my eyes peeled for others.
I couldn’t have achieved any of this without the some much valued help and support. Ian continues to be the best coach and trainer I could ever hope for, constantly focused on what’s right and what works for me; testing my limits, never putting any pressure on me, but helping me reach my goals and finding new ways to make me the best I can be.
And my running, biking and triathlon friends are always good people to be around, always there to describe a route, cheer me on or share in some amazing experiences.
I’ll keep on supporting running and racing at parkrun and other events where I get the chance, or simply by smiling and saying hello to the other runners I pass.
I want to continue enjoying my training, stay fit and well and strong. And I know if I can do all those simple things, I’ll have another fantastic year full of fitness, fun and friendship. So I’ll drink a New Year’s toast to you all (elderflower cordial and fizzy water, if you please)- May your feet fall fleet and sure and may your friends be firm and fast.