It’s that time again when I throw myself into a panic about the year nearly being over and how I haven’t actually achieved anything. After a little think I realised that isn’t quite true and, upon reflection, 2015 has been a year that’s given me some great memories with some awesome people. These are my highlights.
1. I ran my first* ultra marathon SBU35
On the 29th August I ran 36.8 miles and became an ultra runner. It was a huge achievement for me, not least because it was a trail race that included a mountain in the middle (OK, technically it might not be a mountain but at almost 2,000 ft it’s described as ‘one of the steepest sections of track you’ll have ever seen…). It rained, it was windy and it challenged me in ways I’ve never been challenged before but, with an ever patient and reassuring Chris by my side, I finished in one piece, albeit a slightly emotional wreck.
Learnings: Sometimes, mental strength is everything. I don’t give up easily. Chris is a really good friend.
*and very probably last
2. I ran 4 other marathons in 2015
Brighton – the one where I barely ran the last mile, got overtaken by a dude dressed as a toilet, and was annoyed I missed sub 4 by 13 seconds but enjoyed it all the same.
Learnings: London isn’t the only marathon in the UK worth running. I have more bounce-back-ability than I thought.
London – the one that’s my absolute favourite, the crowds, the sights, the Chasers, it just leaves me high on life.
Learnings: Always run the London Marathon when you have the opportunity. Shots of sambuka a few hours after running a marathon is a punchy move.
Vanguard Way – the one where I ran my first trail marathon, got lost and it was hot, hot, hot. All ended well cause Jas and I had Coke, sweets and each other.
Learnings: When you’re running on the trails it really doesn’t matter what your Garmin says. It’s OK to walk up hills. Jas is awesome.
Medoc – the one where we started with a hangover, drank wine all the way round, had shots of whiskey at 20 miles, ate oysters, finished drunk and drank all the beer at the end (I don’t even like beer). Good times!
Learnings: Sometimes you should break all the rules. Drunk running is fun. I can’t beat rugby boys at drinking games.
Including SBU that makes a total of 5 marathons this year. That’s kinda a lot for me!
3. Thunder Run
In July a group of us headed to Derbyshire to run in a continual 10k loop for 24 solid hours. In my team of 6, we took turns to run around in circles through mud, trees and woods, all day and all night. That’s 26 laps in 24 hours… Why? I don’t bloody know why but we had a great time!
Learnings: F**k it, who needs sleep? Teamwork is everything. As much as it hurts to admit, I cannot put up my tent without a boy’s help.
Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon climbed and conquered in just over 24 hours. 3 mountains, 3 countries, 26 miles, 9,800 feet of ascent and 880 miles on the road, bloody awesome experience!
Learnings: I am really, really bad at climbing down mountains. Up? That appears to be no problem at all..
The Green Belt Relay is a 220 mile, 2 day running event around London’s Green Belt. It involves early mornings, very little sleep, a brief stay in the hottest hotel in Essex, an obscene amount of time in a minibus on the M25, cider, banter and, of course, some running. Having done it for the 2nd time in May, it’s become one of my favourite weekends of the year!
Learnings: Running the glory leg is as rewarding as it is nerve-racking. Alex makes the best superhero ever. I cannot drive minibuses
6. I learned a little something
Recently I’ve learned it’s OK to take a little break from running, it’s OK to do something else and it’s even OK to even sit on the sofa all day. Who knew?! I’ve been running for about 15 years, a few weeks off doesn’t make me any less of a runner, in fact it’ll probably make me a better one.
Learning: When you need a break, take a break!
So that’s 2015! I guess it’s time to start thinking about my goals for next year…