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Ever since I was a teenager and my mum bought me a filofax like diary for christmas I have taken the last few days of the year to put my thoiughts down on paper about what I think I have achieved, where things have gone wrong and most importantly what my goals are for the following year.

But technology (like my hairstyle and sense of fashion) has moved on a bit since then so today I commit those views to my blog, and therefore share them with you guys. The great thing with technology too, especially when you get old like me and cann’t remember, is it tracks all your activity and what you did over a set period of time so that you can write such roundups.

So what did I get up to this year?

  • 14 races
  • 23 parkruns (it felt like more)
  • 385 Miles (as recorded on my Garmin)

But its not all about the numbers, through my racing this year I have learned an incredible amount, so sit back and enjoy a look back at the 5 races which taught me something real important this year. Click on the links if you want to read the full race reports

Lesson #1 – Set a time goal and stick to it 

I went into the Test Track 10 race commiting for the first time EVER to a time based goal. Often I simply think completing a course is enough, or I give myself a range of time goals so that I don;t feel too dissapointed if something goes wrong. But on this one I figured nothing could go wrong. I was in good shape (Jantastic and regular park runs through January had seen to that) and it was a flat, traffic free, looped course. So my goal was to finish the 10 mile race in under 2 hours, I had done the maths and worked out I would have to run consistent 12 minute miles to achieve it….and I did. It was a tough race as it was incredibly windy, but I kept on glancing at my Garmin and every time it told me I was slacking I picked up the pace. I need to employ this approach more when it comes to races, especially when I am in good shape.

Lesson #2 – Don’t make assumptions about others

I have 3 little sisters, they are little in size all three of them despite them all being in their 30s, but none of them are really into exercise. But last year my youngest sistem Amy said she wanted to do a 10K and would I run it with her, I thought it would be a doddle training her as I would describe her as physically fit simply due to her age and size but in fact she found the training really hard, although she was training, in between going out socialising etc. On the day of the race a British Heart Foundation 10K in Regents Park, she was a mess, completely stressed about the logistics and this carried with her into the race, and by about 3K in she had a stitch. Just before the half way point and while running up a hill she said she had to walk and I slowed down my running pace thinking she would catch me up. She didn’t. In fact she decided to call it a day at 5K. I was in shock when I finally finished and couldn’t understand it at all. I assumed because she was half my size, and younger than me that she would find this really easy.

Lesson #3 – The mind is stronger than you think

My big race this year was the Brighton Marathon and although the training was perfect (I was heading for a 5hour marathon if my 2 hour 10 miles was anything to go by), but 3 weeks before I pulled a muscle in my back and was told I was Too Fat to Run, so I knew lining up in Brighton on a miserable and cold morning that this race would be one run with heart rather than body (if that makes any sense). By about mile 3 I was already starting to wonder if I would complete the race, having Channel 4 follow me didn’t help either. By the half way point I could have cried, by mile 16 I had almost given up…and then I started to race a man with a 6 foot tiger on his back. By mile 22 I could see the pier and I knew this ordeal was almost over and I ran, I even started overtaking others…still to this day I can’t believe I finished that race.

Lesson #4 – The body is stronger than you think

Never at any point in my life has my body felt so wrecked as what it did after Tough Mudder, and I’m not just talking about the day after, or even the week after…I seriously think it took me about 2 months to fully recover. I thought I had done plenty of training, I had started doing upper body stuff, and more HITT based sessions as well as my running, but nothing prepared me for the 12 miles of mud and the 22 obstacles I encountered. By mile 2 I was physically drained, and by mile 12 I had been electrecuted, fallen on, dunked in ice water, cut by barbed wire, face scrapped on concrete, tummy grazed on gravel, ankle twisted (numerous times) and of course the physical toll that tackling each of the obstacles has on ones body too. But somewhere on that course I stopped listening to the pain my body was in and just got on with completing the remaining distance, almost like a zombie. The body is an incredible thing, especially when you have the determination to push it to its limits.

Lesson #5 – Coming last is nothing to feel bad about

This was one of the penultimate event from this year promoted by my running club and part of the Chingford Cross Country League (in other words serious runners), now I am not big on cross country especially after Tough Mudder, but this race was being held on a tarmac cycle track that I knew well and at night so I figured this would be fun. It wasn’t really. The start was at the bottom of a hill so by the time I reached the summit I was already in last position. It was cold. It was pitch black and it was kind of boring without my headphones to keep me company. But hey I was running, and in all honesty Tough Mudder had kinda made me lose my running mojo a bit so I was glad to just be out. On lap 2 of this two lap course I overtook two ladies who were walking all of the hills. I could hear them behind me for about a kilometer or so, and as I made a final push for the last hill I knew what they were planning. They gave it everything they could to overtake me so as not to be last. I had nothing left so didn’t mind, but somehow there was a mix up at the finishing tunnel and one of the ladies was sick due to how hard they had to run to overtake, so I manged to finish 3rd from last after all. But due to this final drama the linesman didn’t take out numbers so came into the clubhouse to get them, and it was at this point one of the ladies tried to convince the official that they had finished before me. Whatever…I ran my race and at the end of the day it really didn’t matter to me.

So that was my year in racing terms. I have no idea how many races I will do in 2015, or how many miles I will cover but I do plan to get my 50 parkrun tshirt though and I already have places for the Virgin London Marathon and Run Hackney and Reading Half Marathons…so who knows how many more there will be to wrote race reports on next year?

My goals for 2015 in terms of my racing is to continue to learn more about myself from them, and to (where possible) give my training my all so that this is possible….oh and going sub 30 for a 5k would be kinda nice too!!

What are your racing goals for 2015?

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