Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy Hogmanay, and Janathon thoughts

My first full year of running (only started part-way through 2009) is nearly at an end and it's been a pretty good year all in all - first marathon, first half, first 10-mile race (that one didn't go terribly well), and PBs at all distances. Still not fast, but not last either, and hoping to see some improvements in 2011.

Recent weather conditions have forced me into the gym, where I've been learning to love the treadmill... well, "love" is putting it a bit strongly. "Hate a bit less" would be more accurate. It's not my first preference, and contrary to what many people seem to find, it always feels like much harder work than outside, but it has its plus points, a non-slippery running surface being a key one.

Gearing up now for Janathon and I think this is going to be a challenge. Having successfully completed and enjoyed Juneathon last year (I came 3rd! I won a prize!) I signed up for Janathon without too much thought, basically thinking it would be more of the same. But it won't be more of the same, because Juneathon was in June when the weather was OK and the evenings were light and I could fit in some shorter runs late in the evening, and Janathon is in January when it gets dark half way through the day and the weather is uniformly horrible (not necessarily a problem in itself, except when outdoor conditions are actually unrunnable in, which has been the case for much of December). So given that running on the spot while waiting for the kettle to boil probably doesn't count, fitting in daily runs could well prove to be an even greater challenge.

I like a challenge though.

Happy New Year, however you choose to spend it.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Goals for 2011

I don't know how realistic these goals are, but you’ve got to have a target in mind, right? :-) I got PBs across the board in 2010 (not that difficult since it was the first time I'd done some, OK most, distances) so it would be lovely to do the same in 2011.

So here are mine for 2011:

* Sub-55 10k (current PB 57:43. I’m not sure how plausible this one is, to be honest.)
* Sub-2:05 half (current PB 2:10:20 - I would love to say sub-2 hours but I think that may be beyond my reach at the moment)
* Sub-4:45 marathon (current PB 4:55:07 - I think this is definitely doable… I hope. The 4:55 – set at Loch Ness in October, which was my first marathon – is a bit of a soft PB, I think. Hopefully I can reduce it at Edinburgh in May. As long as it’s not too hot, as it apparently has been in previous years. I'd much, much rather run in the freezing cold than in the heat.)
* Lose about half a stone in weight in addition to what I’ve already lost – around 4-5lb so far. (I think this is achievable. My eating habits are definitely changing, although my weight seems to have stalled for the moment. And I know this isn’t exactly a running goal, but it’s related. )
* Complete 1000 miles in 2011 (Currently on 852 for 2010. 1000 in 2011 should be doable, all being well.)
*Increase my cross-training. (That would be "increase" from the "next to nothing" which is currently my cross-training. I am very bad indeed at cross-training. I'm a crap swimmer and I don't have a bike, but I do have access to a gym, so I really should start making better use of it than just running on the treadmill when it's too snowy and icy outside.)

To be reviewed...

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Race Review of the Year

Things got off to a slow start in January/February, with the cancellation (twice) due to snow of the Lumphanan Detox 10k. By the time it finally happened I was already thoroughly detoxed plus it was still snowy and incredibly cold plus there was tennis on the telly and I didn't feel like driving umpteen miles to get there so I bailed :( Plan on doing it this year, though.

March was the Garioch 10k, my second ever 10k following the extremely snowy and icy beachfront Christmas Canter in December. It was a warmish day and a hillier course than I'd anticipated and I found it a bit of a struggle, not helped by getting a stitch half way through (after drinking a cup of ice cold water) which refused to shift :( Still managed to PB in 1:01:51 but had hoped for better.

April saw another 10k over at Balmoral, and I knew this was going to be tough due to the famed Balmoral Hill, and sure enough it was tough, although I'll have another shot at it next year now that I'm slightly (very slightly) better at hills. Finished in a Personal Worst of 1:05:40 :-O My performance was probably not helped by having to trek what felt like miles from the car parking area to the start with daughter on my shoulders (husband was recovering from a hernia op and hence excused carrying duties). Did enjoy the bacon roll afterwards, though.

My 2010 10k series continued in May with the large Aberdeen Baker Hughes event on a drizzly morning. I'd had sub-60 min hopes for this one but had a bad run on the day and finished in 1:01:09, still a PB though.

The quadrology (?) of 10ks concluded in June with another beachfront event when again the weather managed to be atrocious. It took place on a Tuesday evening and was wild, windy and very very wet. However, I somehow managed to smash both my PB and my sub-60 target, finishing in 57:40 :-) :-) :-) Probably because I was in such a hurry to get out of the rain and get home!

July saw my first half marathon attempt in the Stonehaven HM, which everyone kept warning me was Very Hilly. It was another lousy day (the joys of the NE Scottish summer) and the largely uphill first few miles were difficult, but I surprised myself with a 2:10:20 finishing time (having been mainly concerned to beat the 2:45 cut off and avoid getting swept up by the sweeper vehicle). A week later I ran the Big Fun Run 5k in a time of 26:45. But I still maintain the course was short.

August and September were focused on marathon training, which went reasonably well on the whole, culminating in October's Loch Ness Marathon, which was just a fantastic experience :-) I'd aimed for sub-5 hours so was very happy to finish the hilly course in 4:55:07, though of course I immediately started thinking about how I could have been quicker... Plan on hopefully improving on my time in Edinburgh next year.

I struggled a bit to recover post-marathon, feeling quite fatigued for a while and also nursing a niggly calf problem, but was well on the road to recovery by the time of the inaugural Aberdeen Fetch Mile in November, organised by the dynamic Nywanda. This was a great event which was enjoyed by all and it was brilliant to get the chance to run on the track at the new Aberdeen Sports Village. I ran the mile in 8:19, which hopefully I can improve on next time.

Due to the snow'n'ice and hence postponement of this year's Christmas Canter, December is a non-racing month. Looking back though I'm quite surprised at how many races I actually did in 2010 including: first marathon, first half, first mile, and PBs at every distance :-) (Not difficult given that I only ran three races in 2009, which was my first year of running, but gratifying nonetheless.)

Will think about goals for 2011 in my next blog post...