Cannot believe it’s the end of the year already, and that I haven’t managed to post since August?! I cannot apologise enough, but whilst this blog is all about running, the blatant truth is that I have not consistently been running for the past 3 months. I have not entered a marathon this year (haha, a bit late to be doing one in December, if there are any to run…?), nor have I considered entering one for next year. London 2012 is still fresh in my mind as one of the hardest things I’ve had to ever physically push myself to do, and still blares up as a warning that each marathon is as different from the previous one due to a host of various factors – some of which you have no control over – which vastly affect the experience.
I decided to take a break from marathoning.
I have yet to decide if I will return, or if I will try something else for a time in the meantime. As a result I’ve thrown my lot in for a half marathon in March as my first real race of the year to see how I get on again with longer distances. I love half marathons as well as trail terrain so I’m hoping everything goes well on the day and I finish with a spring in my new trainers!
Marathons still bring up a mixed bag of emotions for me, most days I think that I would like to do another (but not without SuperSarah as I highly doubt I could train on my own) but some days when it’s truly horrible outside I find myself feeling pretty thankful that yes, I have the luxury to choose to be holed up inside my gym or at home with dinner on and a cheeky little glass of red wine instead of miserably slogging through the frost/darkness to clock up the necessary mileage for the week and worrying about the state of my feet. I am still straddling the fence I guess.
Thus, I have hope for the half marathons to bring me back into the swing of things again.
I wanted to recap as well the races that I have done (all distances) and found to be most personally enjoyable* as I have only just realised I did not do that last year and this sad mistake clearly needs to be remedied.
Without further ado, then (these are off the top of my head, by the way):
- South Downs marathon (relay) – I have done two stages of this race now (2010 and 2012) and will definitely be going back for the half in future.
- Trail Marathon Wales (again, I only did the half marathon), but this trail route has tempted me into thinking about coming back for the full marathon….(possibly)
- Cambridge Half marathon – a fast flat route that even though it was a lap route (which I loathe) it was beautiful and the medal afterward made the pain in my legs worthwhile…not shallow am I 😉 ?
- Gade Valley Harriers London marathon training runs – I did their 17 miler back in 2011 and it was glorious, hilly, freezing, muddy, but the reward of the softest fresh cakes and hot tea after never tasted so good! Cheap entry too, and whilst you don’t get a medal as it’s a training run – the beautiful surroundings and general cheer of the runners themselves very possibly made me have runners high from that race.
- Brighton marathon – my first experience of running the marathon was still an awesome, awesome experience. I ran through quite a range of emotions (as one does) and didn’t hit the wall, I got stupidly happy at mile 21 much to SuperSarah’s disgust.
- Any Nike 10k race – Nike do put on a well-organised race, their technical tees are decent and make up for (to me) any lack of a medal.
- Wholefoods Breakfast run (8/16miler) – Early start which means you get it out of the way, and a lovely fast flat route. Crowding/bottlenecking non-existent and you get to run past Hampton Court Palace. No medal, but a gloating mug to proclaim your dedication to your running.
- London Duathlon – Highly enjoyed the run-bike-run aspect of this race. You can choose what distance/how much you wish to punish yourself as well, or elect to do various stages in teams. Whilst my legs felt like leaden pillars on the final run I loved running past the deer and observing the chaos of cyclists lapping you on the road on some rather beautiful bikes. It’s well organised and the bottlenecking was well-managed.
- SheRuns Windsor 10k – Small field, gorgeous scenery, just watch out for the hills, they are numerous and the women take them fast. Decent medal, decent entertainments for bored supporters/families waiting for you at the finish, and decent goody bags.
- Bath Half marathon – Again this is a lap route, but I have great memories of this race as it was the first half I ever really ran on my own and made my first PB. Rolling terrain, a few cobbles, but decent medal as well and good crowd control. It finishes on an incline, so don’t make the mistake I made in speeding up too fast in the final mile and almost being sick over the finish line.
*Note: the term ‘personally enjoyable’ does not necessarily mean the route was easy or flat – most of the best races I have run have hurt….perhaps that’s why I remember them so strongly?!
And that’s it! Has anyone got a particular favourite that stands out for them? I can’t possibly choose one, all have been great!
What does 2014 have in store for you? Will you be trying anything new?
I wish you a lovely New Year, however you are spending it.