This has been 2016 then, there’s been highs, lows, injuries, successes, frustration and new challenges.

Coming into this year, I’d just moved to London, hadn’t run for a little while after the British 10k in July and I put a few ideas together to get me running again.

  1. Join a running club (plenty of options around me), but I didn’t do it until August as I was terrified of being the slow one at the back and holding everyone up
  2. Actually do a Parkrun – I tried twice, once I went off to quick & over dressed, stopped after the first lap, second attempt after it bucketed with rain and I got stuck in the mud and up a tree – so technically I have never done a Parkrun!

January

Spur of the moment – I had been concentrating on losing some weight (Sept 15: 178.4kg, Jan ’16: 171.7kg)  and trying to get running again

Cancer Research Winter Run

Bit of a late decision to run, my Achilles wasn’t feeling great but decided to go have fun plus I saw the medal from 2015 race and was pretty much sold.The waves and organisation at the start wasn’t great, the rain didn’t help either, but by the time I got started, the rain had stopped and the snow cannons launched fake snow into the air over Trafalgar Sq.

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I enjoyed the route and still had a good sprint in me for the final stretch down Whitehall – I knew I had more to give. Its a bit pricey for a 10k and what it is, but im looking forward to this years event running with Team Run in the Dark (we need to work on our name guys!!).

Time: 1.29.28 – 15minutes off my PB from last July, what a way to start the year off, I’m doubting ill take another 15mins off the PB in 5 weeks time (oh gosh 5 weeks 😀 )

February

Had nothing in the calendar but felt the urge to race, idea of doing 12 races in 12 months.

BHF 5k @ QEOP – 00.38.15

It was ruddy freezing, it started late AND unforgivably it was only 4.25km – someone had to tell me to stop, i thought i had another loop or something to run. I know its for a charity, but if you’ve signed up for a 5k and travelled all the way to Stratford – I expect 5k.

Haven’t done one of their events since and not sure i will, measuring by that far short is unforgivable. I felt sorry for two girls i was chatting to whilst running who were doing their first 10k, well 8.5km.

March

Didn’t happen, just couldn’t find the time to fit a race in – not even a parkrun.

April

Weight was now 163kg, running and regularly going to the gym was definitely starting to pay off, along with eating more healthy inspired by work collages.

I went back home for a long weekend and unsure how far i could run. I did a training run around the canals near home and misjudged what should’ve been a 4mile run to a 5.5 mile. Well if I could do that, I could do that 10k in Richmond next weekend. 🙂

Salomon Richmond 10k – 1.31.28

I was ill and shouldn’t have run, but persevered. I was pretty much last by the time i got to Kew and we joined the Thames Path, i considered DNF’ing but wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to get back, as the start and finish were in different places. I caught up to one girl and we stuck together for a mile or so until i pushed on. I didn’t like the fact that the Half Marathoners started 15mins later than the 10k as the toe path is only big enough for two wide and seeing that i was the slower i felt it right to move over and pressured to move out of the way.

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“The Running Dead”

I came under the road tunnel and saw the field where the finish was and the endless loops of the field. As I got about halfway around two ladies who’d already finished joined me to run the last bit. They were from the BearCat Running club in St. Margrets  – an incredibly friendly and social club that i would’ve joined if it had not been to far to travel at on a Sunday morning. After finishing you get a cracking medal, goody bag, t-shirt and a buff that I still use now.
ABP Southampton 10k – 01.29.40

I’d definitely caught the bug, im starting to travel for races – only i’d signed up for this one which was on the same day at the London Marathon – i was quite annoyed with myself. I love going to watch the London Marathon whether my dad was running it or not and i was disappointed to miss out in my first year living and working in london.

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Never having been to Southampton before, was an experience, but a fairly good one – it was easy to get to on the train and it looked like a good race.

The organisation was second to none and they managed to get a real party atmosphere going pre race – helped get rid of any nerves and they also got the Half Marathon underway first.

The course was a bit of an unknown but i knew we’d be going over the Itchen Bridge which scared me a bit and around St.Mary’s the Southampton FC ground (lovely bouncy track around the outside). I was doing well, i was enjoying it, keeping with the people in front and the support from the marshals was brilliant.

I started to fade in the last mile not helped as it got quite hilly. I finished and stopped the Garmin to see i was just 12 seconds off my PB – super happy saying i’d gone back and forth over the bridge and around industrial estate and it was nowhere near as flat as the Winter Run.

Great view from up there, also fun high-fiving other runners coming the opposite way

Train home, good camaraderie with other runners on the train and then flick on the London Marathon on TV which of course I’d recorded. If you’re not doing London – I’d do this one any day and they’re introducing a Full Marathon this year!.

 

May

Market Drayton 10k – 1.33.46

I’ve tried to wipe this one from memory. It was a chance to go back home, do a race with dad and see a ton of others who I knew from home (Bournes Breakfast run/Newcastle Running Club, general friends) that were also running – plus Twitter friend Ash (@stokeash55).

Let keep this short and sweet, it was hot, sweaty, hilly, but incredibly well supported, and a great goody bag & medal afterwards. It was one of those races that was an achievement just to finish! I don’t know of many if any that either enjoyed it or did particularly well.

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clutching my pack of Muller Yoghurts

 

working hard!!!

Dad has also had a mare and declared never again as sweat got in his eyes and he couldn’t see – being the only driver out of the three of us, it was an adventure to get home!

 

 

Vitality Westminster Mile & London 10,000

Quite possibly my favourite weekend of the year.

Rock up Saturday, run a mile, get a sprint on and get possibly one of my favourite medals and an awesome goody bag – what more could you want.

Sunday, was the big day – 10,000 metres! I was looking forward to this, helps having already been to the race HQ Saturday. I found my wave easily, waited around for the bit, the MC was also the funniest at a race ever and soon we were off heading towards Admiralty Arch and into the city. It was fab, i ran the whole race with a smile of my face, decent suppose and really well organisation means this is one i’ll sign up for again and again.  I loved running up Birdcage Walk as per the Marathon and finishing outside Buckingham Palace. You can read more details here (http://wp.me/p7BEA4-o)

Also the first race where I got to go to a tweet up, but they all buggered off to the pub before I finished so I didn’t get in the group selfie – must be quicker next time! Still, it was nice to put faces to twitter handles.

June

Quiet month, including holiday to Morocco where I just sat by the pool for a week!

Amba City of London Mile

Not much to say on this one – it was over in a flash. Good event, well organised, free and a lovely medal. Organised by RunFast and supported by The Running Works, a haven for runners to spend their lunch hours doing their group runs or browsing the shop.

July

Wheels are starting to fall off.

I’d been having issues with my well documented Achilles and i’d been running on and off and considered pulling out of my next race, but as Dad and I were going to run it together, i was not going to miss this chance.

Weight: 158.8kg

Great Newham Olympic Park 10k – 1.31.44


I was so chuffed that Dad and I were going to do this together, however, it was yet another flipping hot day and as always, i started off far too quick! I had to pull the plug and slow to almost a walk before 1km so to bring my pace up a bit. The route was ok, it takes in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and you get to see the Copper Box, Velodrome, Aquatics Centre and a run around the actual Olympic Stadium. Full blog here http://wp.me/p7BEA4-21

The best bit, well there are two. Strangely running round the corridor of the stadium (basically a maintenance corridor) with Steve Cram commentating on Mo Farah’s 10k win at London 2012 with Chariots of Fire in the background – I must have got some dust in my eye as i teared up a bit!

After you go back outside and do a lap of the warm up track before entering the stadium itself! Wow, what an opportunity, you and your name are up on the big screen and people are supporting you all the way to the finish! The track was a lot shorter than i expected, or maybe i was running quicker than i thought. No PB, but not to be expected on a day like that.

Another one where I’ll be going back to next year, but to prove to myself I am better than that.

September

I won’t bother going through it all again but GNR was my A-race and with a long run of 8.5 and an Achilles i wasn’t sure was up to the job, it was a DNS. I was dreadfully disappointed as it was due to be my first half and watching it on TV killed me, but i still had Royal Parks to work towards which was for a charity so I wanted to do all I could to make it to the start line.

Richmond RunFest – Kew Gardens 10k – 1.29.19

Now this was another race I loved to bits!


It was close to home, organisation was good (apart from the waves), the course was amazing – through Kew Gardens and along the Thames Path.

I was also proud to be wearing my Wimbledon Windmilers vest for the first time, it was great to meet some of the Windmilers and a few Twitter friends at the event.

It was the first time since May I got back under 1.30, which is always my aim now for 10k (unless it’s up and down Box Hill ehm…).

It’s a cracking medal, fab goody bag and there’s a brilliant area for post race snacks and to see the winners of each race on the stage – also being starstruck meeting Chris Thompson and Jo Pavey – so annoyed i didn’t ask for a selfie.

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Back next year, well, September is due to be a busy month, either this or RunReigate, but I’m torn!

October

Royal Parks Half Marathon

My first half. A race i can see myself going back for again and again. The first time in years i’ve also raised money for charity.

I seem to have a ton of race picks of me surrounded by women…

I had done a few plans on how to pace myself for GNR but not for RPH as it was a lot less hilly. I knew not to take it out so quick, but felt good through the first half and obviously enjoyed myself far too much. I thought I’d kept it quite content, but not long after seeing Mr RunnersKnees I got to halfway not more than a few minutes over my 10k time, whereas looking back, I would’ve been better to have been about 5-7minutes slower first half, but quicker in the second. I stopped for a pee stop just after half way (first time I’ve stopped in a race) and not long after I could feel the need to increase my walk sections. 9mile came up and the loops on Hyde Park meaning you had no idea where you were. my legs had completely gone. I’d always given myself three goals 1) finish 2)sub 3.20 3) sub 3.15. By 10 mile i realised the only realistic target was just to finish and I wanted to get to the finish asap. I hardly ran through the last 3/4miles. I saw my folks near the finish and as they congratulated me I said those immortal words ‘never again’.


I’d got my medal, chatted to Twitter friend Hannah who was handing out medals. I was supposed to go find my folks back towards the finish, but I genuinely considered just sitting down on the floor and letting them try to find me. I didn’t even bother to get my goody bag at first, i just wanted to find somewhere to lay down and prop my legs up somewhere. Conveniently i found a bin storage area close to where my parents were and stuck my feet up in the air with my backpack for a pillow – would’ve quite happily have stayed there all day.img_1307

November

Since RPH I’d been quite good at keeping my running up and even ran the same week after Royal Parks. I’d got one more race this year and the plan was to do that then spend the winter concentrating on weight loss and strength training – my weight now 152kg.

Run in the Dark

Basically got bullied into it on a Twitter DM group (you know who you are), but was also promised Krispy Kreme doughnuts by Ciara so I was sold. Plus I hadn’t run an official 5k since early 2015 so it was a good opportunity to update the PB board.

Equipped with my new head torch, in as much fluorescent gear as I could find, plus a few glow sticks thrown in for good mix. It was good fun and it was a nice cheerful run. Albeit, one thing let it down for me – no bling! I have my flashing armband up on my medal board instead!

Cancer Research Tough 10 – Box Hill

Hmmm, another one I was happy just to finish!! My slowest ever 10k and my last one of the year.

I mean, what can I say,. it was cruel, it was tough and unforgiving. I had got my entry from being a member of the Freestak platform (see bottom of page for a link) and well, why not go for the toughest of them all – can’t be ‘that’ bad can it? Yes, yes it can!

Did I enjoy it – yeah, once I’d finished, I was broken after that and gave me a bit of a kick up the butt.

I think it was a fitting way to finish my first year of running, it was tough trails most impossible for me to run. Maybe it’s what to come next year, I’d love to get out onto the trails more, I certainly need more practice – I’ve got my eye on some Maverick races which are shorter and less hilly.

If you’re still reading this then well done for persevering – that was my year of running, this is what my spreadsheet looks like.

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2015                       2016

5K: 53.25               45.13

10k: 1.43.29         1.27.24

HM: hahaha        3.30.11

For me I have to remember the progress I’ve made this year – both in term of my pace, my weight the number of races I’ve done and the distance that is now comfortable for me. Looking back 5/6 miles was my long run – now that’s me just going out for a regular run. I love the fact I can do a 10k without having to plan rest in advance and can just rock up to the start line and do a decent time (like Kew Gardens). I’d love that if this time next year I can say the same thing about the Half Marathon.

It hasn’t all been about running this year though!

– I starting blogging, supposed to be my journey to run my first half marathon – it’s diverged a little more from that. Looking to get my own .com in the new year once I’ve decided on a name – suggestions please!

– Cycling – this was supposed to be my new years resolution for 2017, and it very quickly become a favourite activity of mine and something I will continue next year – mostly because I’m doing two triathlons

– Weight, dropped almost 20kgs in a year and I’ll take that, I am always tough on myself and I do think I could’ve done better (worst critic I know), onwards and upwards next year and as my miles start to increase hopefully weight will drop.

I’ve met so many awesome people this year and it wouldn’t have been so fun without the people that I can now call friends.

Hope I’ll meet many more of you over the next 12 months.

2017?

Well I’m working on my 7 challenges in 2017 at the moment with life/adventure/startup coach Fiona. All will be revealed soon!

In terms of running my big goal will be first Full Marathon – where exactly that will be is yet to be determined, I’m looking for a nice Autumn marathon but will see how the training goes and enter one spur of the moment if things go well.

Adding two Triathlons and a Sportive will mix things up nicely and keep me cross-training

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