Since I took up running I’ve discovered that I love goals and targets. Maybe I need a target to focus on because I’m always so busy, or perhaps I need a target to focus on because I have the attention span of a toddler. Or maybe, just maybe, I’m a sucker for the feel good feelings that accompany hard work and achievement. Or maybe I’m just a masochist, because let’s be honest, training and racing doesn’t always go to plan, does it? Either way, running has made me into a goal frenzied, medal collecting, finishers t-shirt wearing running obsessive!
Here are some of my running goals and missions, as documented in this here blog:
After a year-long hiatus from regular blogging and an even longer break from structured training my mother coaxed me back to the darkside by getting me a place in the Bath Half for Christmas – and signing up to run it herself too! Having also committed to a sprint triathlon and in the process of learning to swim, I knew it would be an intense period of training, but I was excited for the first time in a long time about running and determined to run a new PB.
My first marathon was an incredible experience, but once it was over I lost my running – and my blogging – mojo. After a year and a half’s successful training I sat on the sofa and ate my weight in Ben and Jerry’s. It wasn’t long before I got itchy feet though and wanted to start running again, though motivating myself to actually do it proved harder than I’d imagined. After months of training haphazardly, but without a clear goal, I signed up to the inaugural Run Hackney half marathon. The aim: to get back on the proverbial horse and run as fast as I did last Spring, perhaps even a little quicker… So that’s somewhere between 1:45 and 1:50 – crumbs!
Unfortunately, when the event came round I still wasn’t ready to race – or to blog. Though I had trained, I struggled with my confidence. On the day I ran comfortably at 1:45 pace for the first half, before having a wee and jogging the rest. I still don’t know why, but have long since forgiven myself!
I honestly never thought that I would run a marathon. Sure, I’ve considered it – hang out with other runners as much as I do (all of which seem to have at least one marathon under their belts) and it will undoubtedly cross your mind – but I really didn’t think that I would ever be inclined to run the big 26.2. Running that kind of distance will be a completely different experience to running a 5K, a 10K or even a half marathon. It takes mental stamina as well as physical and up until recently I didn’t think I had it. But my recent improvements have given me the confidence to have a go – as have the kind words of encouragement from friends, clubmates and, of course, readers of this blog! I have no time goals for this race. I would just like both of my legs to still be attached to my torso by the time I finish. Heck, I would just like to finish!
Waltham Forest Half Marathon 2013
Following some banging 10K and 5K times in the last few months I decided to give half marathons another go and signed up to a very local race in North London. Honestly, I am terrified of my target time for this race. It’s modest considering my 10K PB, but I’m super aware that it is 10 minutes faster than my last half marathon. But here it goes… I’m aiming under 1:50. Eek!!
Cardiff 10K 2012
When my Mam completed the Couch to 5K training plan I signed her up to the Cardiff 10K as a new goal. I hadn’t trained specifically for a 10K since my first ever proper running race – a Cancer Research 10K in 2010 – instead focusing on half marathons. This race has completely changed my running though. Shorter sessions, well executed speedwork and most importantly a total change in training style and focus delivered a huge PB.
While browsing the shelves of Waterstones looking for a book on nutrition for runners and/or some new recipes I stumbled upon Matt Fitzgerald’s book, Racing Weight. What followed was a series of diet plans, some projects with trainee nutritionists, a few kilos of body fat lost and a string of new PBs. I’m still really interested in learning more about nutrition for runners and am still aiming for my ideal racing weight, so this is a long-term mission and an ongoing topic.
Down Tow Up Flow half marathon 2012
Following my success in Berlin I decided to take on the beautiful Down Tow Up Flow race. I had run this race in 2011, but failed to go under 2 hours. It was a personal demon to defeat, but unfortunately a very rocky return to running post-Berlin and a distracting new romance got the better of me and I begrudgingly pulled out of the race.
Berlin Half Marathon 2012
Berlin was my fourth attempt at a sub-2hr half marathon. By the time I signed up to this race my sub-2hr ambitions had transformed into steely, and slightly scary, determination. I roped in a couple of friends to run this race with me, and even though we all ran separately and trained at different speeds, the comradery played an enormous part in keeping my spirits up during training. I think was the race that really made me fall in love with the sport.
Cardiff Half Marathon 2011
After 2 failed attempts to run a sub-2hr half marathon (first in Bath 2011 and again at the 2011 Down Tow Up Flow) I decided to take the challenge back to the motherland and run the crap out of Cardiff’s half marathon. The race took place 1 year after my first race, a 10K in 2010, and so I called it my runniversary. I thought that I had a sub-2hr in the bag, but alas, on the day it all went wrong and I finished in 2:06:30. You can read about my training and my review of the race here.