A quiet end to the year but, not a quiet life. This year seems to be spit in two. The first, dedication to train and run ultra's the 2nd finding motivation with no focus and incorporating change. Life is very different from 12 months ago. We were in a flat, now 2 moves later we are in our dream home, I have a full time job and we have a dog. All 3 looked unreachable last Christmas but now I'm here sat at home, with the dog asleep and I'm looking forward to work in a few days time. Now, I just need to find that mojo to get out running more and to start writing a little more.
That's the personal stuff out the way. I need to look back at the year and hope it helps rekindle my desire to push myself further as 2014 will be my biggest yet.
2013 started with big plans to run far, to run many. I managed one goal and ironically it was the one I least wanted and had to do it with a stinking cold - the London Marathon. The rest fell away due to injury and lack of money. January came and went with first the rain then the snow but the training was so varied and enjoyable and rolled into February with an exciting micro adventure up into Snowdonia where the weather tested - or ruined - our equipment.
We also finally moved out of our flat to a rental house which reinvigorated us and the weather. Not my foot though, which had not been right (and still isn't fully) and so I rested it and even visited a gym a few times to avoid impact.
With a months rest I started up the running again but always knowing that any 'fast' time for a road marathon was gone and so it proved in London. But who cares about roads, in April I manged my first Ultra (27miles) around the Purbecks, always stunning, always tough. Then a good wild camping weekend away in Shropshire with a meet up with fellow Ultra enthusiasts at the Torq trail weekend, great fun- just a shame that I haven't really bumped into anyone again.
Taking a break from running the bike came out for a Coast to Coast 3 day micro from north to south Devon. An amazing weekend, looking back why I have not fulfilled my promise to return and run around Dartmoor? Only a week later I ran the Ridgeway 40, my bike legs feeling it all the way along and I've never been so pleased to see the finish.
In prime fitness I planned my next big challenge - a 2 day variation of the Paddy Buckley. Things went slow but I was loving the movement around the mountains, then my back spasmed and that was it! A painful 5 hrs to return to the car over the Glyders, 5 hrs drinking to forget the pain, a 5hr interrupted sleep and 5hrs through gritted teeth driving home. This was a major set back and the start of losing my motivation and more importantly money. With the injury I didn't work for a bit and then I couldn't find a lot of work. This culminated in me cancelling my dream of holidaying in the Dolomites and sneaking in the Lavaredo Ultra. So, no holiday, no A race and no money. Life kinda sucked.
I did help out at the SDW100 run by Centurion. I thoroughly enjoy volunteering and as a 'bonus' I now have a free entry + my A race for 2014.
But best of all we moved into our home, something we had been wanting for all to long. Typically work picked up just as I was planning on taking time off to vamp up the house and brought low miles in Sept. I did get to North wales again for a splendid climbing weekend managing 2 all time classics, Amphitheater Buttress and Grooved Arete in decent weather. The latter I had been trying to climb for 10+years having been thwarted each and ever time by weather and crowds.
October brought more changes in a permanent job. Not only giving the hope of better stability in life but a chance to run lots of miles.. 9 to 12 miles back from work. This was gonna work for me.
November.. a strange month.. Settling in very nicely and then we find our dog.. she is something special to us and we are so happy to have rescued her and let her become part of us.
I also had a very reflective moment. It came out of the blue. I was running home along the Itchen with just the one headphone on and ran past what I thought was a fisherman night fishing, 20 yards further a nagging doubt took me back up the path to find an old lady in the freezing river up to her waist, in all manner of problems. Once I comforted her and tried, in vain, moving her out.. I went and found her husband in a nearby house and after an age we managed to get her back to the house. This was far from easy with difficulties ever step. What was conflicting is that she was a little hysterical and trying to commit suicide. Difficult to know what exactly to do and the husband said that they had tried help etc and would seek further aide. I visited the next night and all seemed better with the lady more embarrassed than anything. I can only hope it was a weak moment and that this scare will help her focus on living her life better and not trying to end it short.
December I became a dog walker. I walked and walked and walked with very little running. My only consolation was that for Ultra's walking is a good training method..Right? Who cares to be honest when you love taking your dog out out, sacrifices have to be made so until I find a routine that suits me the dog will always come first.
And that was 2013 my worst running mileage since starting 2 years ago... but a lot of changes and sometimes you need routines to enable yourself to find the dedicated time to train .
I ran 1260 miles (3 Ultras, 1 marathon). Biked 300miles (very poor, but did a C2C). 100hrs of other training (i expect this to increase with dog walking now in)
2014 plans.. fingers crossed I actually attempt more of these than I managed in 2013. I hope I can find the needed commitment to participate in all these. Good luck with your 2014 plans and dreams.
Mar - New Forest Challenge / and/or Ski mountaineering
May - Apocalpse 50
Sussex Weald Ultra
Jun - SDW100
Jul - Rest / wild camping / Biking
Aug - CCC UTMB (Ballot)