2013 – A mixed bag

I’m not going to lie – I’ve found 2013 a tough year. It’s been a mixed bag of tremendously bad decisions, but also some fantastic running achievements, great holidays, and I’ve met some wonderful people. Here are the highlights and lows, and the lessons I’ve learnt for a happier and more prosperous 2014.

The good

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  • I ran in 13 races, knocking 7 minutes off my previous 10k PB and 12 minutes off my half marathon times, despite starting the year as a smoker with a fitness level of zero!

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  • I ran in my first destination race in the Lake District and covered 51 miles in one week trail running in the Alps.

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  • I am the leanest, fastest and strongest I have ever been.
  • I have met some great people this year through my blog and twitter and also whilst working at Sweaty Betty, and have a running and yoga wardrobe to die for!
  • I managed to squeeze in 4 holidays and 2 weekends away.
  • I’ve been doing yoga at least once a week and my flexibility and strength have significantly improved – I’ve totally nailed the crow pose.

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Lesson: Keep doing what I enjoy doing and keep believing that I can continue to improve.

The bad

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I made some terrible career decisions this year – terrible! I made decisions based on the ‘sensible’ and ‘right’ thing to do for others, when I should have chosen the right move for me. I went with my head rather than my heart and it backfired.

Lesson: Follow my heart. Life is too short to be miserable at work. I’m extremely lucky that I now have a job to go to in January and I’m looking forward to showing them what a great asset I can be to the company! 🙂

The ugly

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I lost my confidence in my abilities, had more bouts of crippling anxiety, and almost started believing the negative voices.

Lesson: Listen to the people who love me and not the arseholes who want to bring me down.

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The future is bright as they say: 2014 looks like it’s going to be a year full of new adventures and new opportunities – with a new job, a running holiday in Portugal in March (great Christmas present!), a trip to Moscow and climbing Mount Elbrus and a yoga retreat later in the year as well as all my races. In 2014 I’m hoping to stay positive and be extremely thankful for what I have and what I’ve achieved!

Bring it on!

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What do you have planned for 2014?

sian

Andy Reading 10k: The one down the road from me

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Contrary to popular belief, I’m a lazy moo. If I can roll out of bed, slide into my running clothes, jump in the car to drive 5 minutes down the road to the race, then we are on to an instant winner. And that was exactly the case last Sunday when I took part in the Andy Reading 10k, which is organised by my local club – Alchester Running Club. Our motley crew of runners rocked up, including a few running their last 2013 race for Thomas Laurie,  one of whom had had a skin full the night before. He deserved an extra medal for showing up, not vomiting half way around the course and/or hitching a ride to the finish line with St John Ambulance!

Things I learned whilst running the Andy Reading 10k:

– Long straight stretches are my arch nemesis. I don’t like being reminded of how little progress I am making (real or imagined).

– I am prone to getting stuck behind people with large impassable bottoms. I really need to learn to get the hell out of dodge and find my own space to run at my own pace.

– Screw beetroot shots, good fats, carb loading etc, Chewits are the pre-race food of champions!

– Alcohol will actually get you a PB – fact (we’ll just gloss over the fact that it was his first 10k race).

– You can have a full blown conversation with someone mid race and still get a PB (51.58 no less).

– Mugs are NOT a satisfactory replacement for a shiny bit of bling (race organisers take note).

– ASICS Gel Kinsei are the comfiest trainers on earth.

Is it my favourite race? Far from it! Will I do it again? You bet!

sian

#sub50project: Inspirational runners – Sarah

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Can I get a ‘whoop, whoop’ for Sarah off of Dreaming of Footpaths? I came across this phenomenal amateur and newbie runner a little while ago, and was absolutely astonished with her incredible progress. I thought if there’s any little nugget of wisdom I can glean in the hope that one day I might be as awesome as her then what the hell I might as well get her to share it with us!

Since 2010, she has gone from completing 5k in 30 minutes to 20 minutes, and has a an incredible marathon time of 3h 25 minutes. This chick is totally badass!

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I started to run as I’d recently lost weight and didn’t want to put it back on. I was determined to stay in my new size jeans.

But running? I hated it. I turned bright red, I was puffing and panting like a dirty caller and I couldn’t work out how people made it look so effortless! My arms were flailing and I couldn’t get into a rhythm with my legs. Running – ugh! No thanks. But … as it turned out running was the most efficient way to burn calories. I had a lunch hour to work out on and needed to use that hour as effectively as possible…even if it meant spending my time on the dreaded treadmill.

However, after a while it became a habit. I’d get onto the treadmill, switch the playlist on and try to beat the distance I’d managed to run last time. Or better still…do the same distance in a better time. I still have the date I beat 30 minutes for a 5km. It was 3rd of August 2010.

Then….I discovered running outdoors!! I was hooked. It didn’t matter if I was bright red and flailed my arms like a crazy woman when I ran. I was outside! If people laughed at how I looked I could run away from them! I was a runner!

Things that have helped me to improve:

  • Make sure I can run farther than the race distance. This is BRILLIANT as when it starts getting hard you can reassure yourself “I ran further than this in training.” It’s a great mental trick.
  • Don’t make every run a race. You’ll wear yourself out, mentally and physically. Not every training run can be a PB.
  • Do your intervals!! This is crucial if you want to speed up. A good one is mile repeats. Run these faster than you would in your race and give yourself a 5 minute jogging break, then do another.
  • Take it off road. Trail running is brilliant. It’s like a rest day for your mind, you can get muddy and dirty and timing doesn’t matter. Your ankles will get stronger, it’s better for your joints and it’ll be a more effective workout as you’ll be using your whole body. Plus – and this is a big plus – it will speed you up ON road and therefore in your races.

Race PBs:

  • 5k: 20:39
  • 10k: 49:44
  • Half Marathon: 1:35
  • Marathon: 3:25

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Thanks Sarah, if you want some more inspiration go check out her blog here.

sian

Mofos and running shows

Work has gone c-razy mental at the moment and the yoga has gone out of the window and training is down to the bare minimum, but I have managed to squeeze in a few running-related things over the last couple of weeks.

First up I went along to the running show for the Write this Run conference where I got to catch up with a few bloggers in real life, listen to some truly inspirational stories and attend a little running technique workshop with the fab Running School.

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If you missed the running show, then fear not as the Write this run team are holding a workshop. I went to the first workshop and can highly recommend it!

On Sunday it was the inaugural #sub50project meet at the Mo Running 10k. It was a bit of fun, but certainly not a for any kind of PBs! Race report to follow.

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In other news I’m taking step off the running gas for a bit as I have quite a bit of calf pain for no apparent reason so I need to get down to the physio pronto. Instead I’m doing some strength, core and the 100 push ups challenge. I want to get my injuries and niggles sorted for next years’ races so back to basics for a little while.

sian