Thursday, 27 November 2014

A year in one post - 2014, and what's yet to come

So, what have I done so far?

I ran 1 mile on january 1st.

I had baby #2 at the end of February.

I took a few weeks to recover before starting back, and I was much better at listening to my body than after pregnancy #1.  Also, this pregnancy and labour were less traumatic than the first time round which really helped my recovery.

To measure my improvement and 'journey' towards getting my fitness back I have been doing the DRC monthly 5km handicaps (just as I did when I was pregnant).  They are a great way to just keep an eye on things. I ran my first one back in May in 26:20 and I've gradually got faster each month so that in the November edition of the race I ran a new 5km PB of 22:32.  Compared to the old days this is a soft PB as it's roughly the same pace as my 10km PB.  But a PB is a PB and never to be sniffed at.

I set myself a 'comeback' goal just as I did after having Annabel.  Again, the target was to run a marathon PB.  I starting building up the miles but in June I suffered from Metatarsalgia (bruising of the bone in both my feet). This was essentially caused by too many miles whilst my ligaments were still being affected by pregnancy/post-pregancy hormones. (A luck of the draw situation really).  So 3 full weeks of no running was then followed by a month of running exclusively on the treadmill.

A holiday in the Lakes then inspired me to set one of my target races for 2015 - the Lakeland 50.  What an awesome event.  I can't wait to be part of it next year.

I then ran my highest ever training monthly mileage (200+) in September ready to taper for my marathon target race in October.

The Majorca Marathon was a total no-go.  The weather was stupid-hot - 31 degrees celsius!! I've never run in anything like that so I decided beforehand to just go for a finish, and not a time, and to find another marathon to run.

November brought the Autumn Shakespeare Marathon.  I started back at work the week before; I had suffered an awful head and chest cold for the 10 days prior to the race and I had to make a 5 hour journey down to the race the afternoon before and I really wasn't as race-fit as I had been going to Majorca.  It really shouldn't have happened but I managed to gut out a new PB.  I think because I knew it was my last chance to achieve my post-baby target I simply was not going to come away from that race without a PB, and despite puking and getting a stitch I still managed to pull it off.  There's something to be said for being in the 'last chance saloon' situation for getting a performance out of you.

As mentioned above, I also ran the November 5km handicap race (6 days after the marathon) and achieved another PB.  That one I definitely did NOT expect.  Hopefully I can get one more good time at the December race.

In December I am running one final proper race for the year.  It's a bit of a mad one really considering Daniel won't even be 10 months old but I'm making a wee trip over to Barcelona with my friend SG to run a 12 hour track race. I have no idea what I can expect from myself, but SG has promised to shout lots of abuse at me if I start trying to throw the toys out of the pram.  Team Consani are heading out there too, as are a few other Brits so it should be an exciting weekend.

For 2015 I only have 2 races planned so far - the Highland Fling on April 25th and the Lakeland 50 on July 25th. I did half think about entering the West Highland Way Race (entries close in 3 days) but I just don't think I can give it my best possible performance in 2015.  Perhaps by 2016 I will feel strong enough to tackle it again.  But I am also thinking about the Lakeland 100 for 2016, and I can't do them both - I'm no Richie Cunningham!!

2016 will definitely be about the 100 Miler as I need to run one in order to qualify for the Western States 100 lottery.  Western States is such a tough race to get into as it's one of the most prestigious ultra races on the planet and everybody and their dog want to race it, but there are only 369 places each year.  So once you qualify for the lottery (by running one of their qualifying races or by other means) the chances of actually getting a place are slim to none, at best, unless you are super lucky.  Their system though favours the persistent, and each year that you apply, you get a better chance of getting in.  So as of 2016 I will need to make sure I run a 100 Miler each year so that I can keep entering the WS100 lottery, and hopefully, before  turn 40, I will get that coveted entry! Fingers crossed.

So there you have it, a summary of 2014 and my plans for probably the next 5 years, all in one blog post! How terribly efficient of me!