Time ran away…

2014 is gone. Done. No more. Passed. You get the picture. How did that happen? If you look at my last blog posts you’d think it was still midsummer. Well unfortunately the time has passed and the lack of posts is a simple yet rather damning indictment of my rubbish posting frequency. In 2014 it turned out that although I am not that bad at keeping up with my running I am absolutely pants at keeping a blog updated!

I have managed to keep up the running though – Hurrah for me! I just haven’t written about it. So I will try to summarise what’s been happening, bring everything concisely up to date, then make a fresh effort to follow up more regularly. Although this might short change some quite momentous milestones in my running journey, it might be the only way to get back on track.

So, what’s been occurring? Well….

In July I ran the Surrey Badger Half Marathon, a trail run near Box Hill in Surrey that starts and finishes at Denbies vineyard. A lovely route with a few hills, woodland and vines of course. The event had a great atmosphere, was well managed and had a goodie bag including a bottle of Badger Ale, yum. I really enjoyed the run and was thrilled to be 2 minutes quicker than any previous trail HM’s. Sweeter still when I read race reviews in Runners World that scored it low as a potential PB race.

The summer was focused exclusively on training for my first full marathon. I followed a 16 week Runners World Training Schedule which I found really helpful, stuck to mostly and would recommend to other marathon rookies.

On September 21 I completed my first marathon! Big HURRAH for me! I ran the Farnham Pilgrim Marathon, which in fact turned out to be officially 26.6 miles so technically counts as an ultra… And yes I am taking that! 26.6 miles of Surrey trails and a total elevation of 540m, mixed terrain including sand – yes sand! Not quite UTMB but by all accounts quite a foolish endeavour for one’s maiden marathon. I did have a brilliant time, it was a gorgeous route and as one cheery marshal pointed out – the hills mean you get some great views from the top… And she was right! I learned what a difference having support from loved ones along the way – thank you family and friends! I also learned about ‘The Wall’ (or ‘Bonking’ as our US cousins call it) at about 22 miles. I then experienced the most intense natural high from the biggest endorphin rush I’ve ever experienced. Just incredible. I was in pieces by the end and I must confess a little emotional, just about managed not to blub as I crossed the finish line but my word it’s quite a flood of emotion that you experience, all mixed up with the exhaustion, I wasn’t expecting that. It really is quite something.

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One week later I ran my local half marathon in Tonbridge. This great run is all tarmac and ‘gently undulates’ – neither hilly nor completely flat. I crossed the line 13 minutes quicker than my Badger PB two months earlier. Granted I had trained a lot between the two races but even so, always nice when the Garmin beeps ‘New Record’!

Just prior to running the Pilgrim I learned I had been given a place to run the Virgin London Marathon 2015; a charity allocated place with the British Heart Foundation team. Absolutely thrilled to get the opportunity to run London and in return I pledged to raise £2,500 in sponsorship. Getting my fundraising underway I quickly decided that simply asking for sponsorship to run the London Marathon, still 8 months away, probably wouldn’t cut it so I undertook to run 100 miles of official running events by the time I would cross the line in Pall Mall in April. Not the most extreme endeavour granted, but will be achieved by completing 1 marathon and various halves and 10K’s between September and April.

So far I’ve run a marathon, 2 halves and an 8KM. With the runs I have picked out to take on over the next 4 months I am in line to complete 129.3 miles by the time I finish London, so on target and then some. Jolly good.

By all means check out my fundraising page here – all and any support whatsoever is greatly appreciated!

More about this on another post I think. In the meantime, what else this year?

In November I ran the Trailscape Rail To Trail East 1/2 marathon in Cuxton, Kent. Trailscape is a series of trail runs in locations specifically chosen for their accessibility by rail. I’d never heard of Cuxton before, even though, as it turned out, there is a direct train there from where I live, taking 45 minutes! Quite a relatively small event, it was a varied mixed trail route with a few steep climbs and tonnes of mud. The primary lesson learnt at this event was make sure you know what time the flag off is! I confused the various race start times and chipped up to register 8 minutes after the half had set off… “If you go now you could still catch them up!” Said the nice lady. “Catch them up???!!! I’m not Mo bloomin’ Farah luv!” Anyway before I had chance to argue she had shoved a number onto me, stuck pins into my chest, clipped a timer chip around my wrist, relieved me of my bag and frogmarched me to the start… “Go Go Go” she ordered. And off I went! All I could think of was ‘could I do this and at least not come last?’ I did not come last. And I thoroughly enjoyed myself!

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2014 was my first full year of running for some time and I ran approximately 1,300KM and loved every step (well almost!). I had some great experiences, I enjoyed all the races I did and met some lovely people along the way.

New Years Day, staying with friends in Broadstairs I took the opportunity to blow the cobwebs away with a bracing run along the seafront. A perfect way to welcome in a new year and log my first few miles. I am looking forward to 2015, to running my first major city marathon, to new adventures, new trails, new kit… I look forward to more of this thing that is the simplest of all things, to putting one foot in front of the other and seeing where it will lead.

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