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Running review

I know that the first of January is an arbitrary date, and I understand that really one day is much the same as the next. However, it is kind of nice to be in sync with other people at least occasionally, so happy new year!

With all that said, I'm going to do a review of my running for last year, because I'm quietly pleased, slightly smug, and rather hopeful about it.

The year didn't start brilliantly on a running front, it must be said. I completed the Walt Disney World marathon, but much slower than I'd hoped thanks to a chest infection that (I thought) just wrecked my December training. By the time I got to March and the Cambridge half marathon (trainer issues apart), I'd come to the conclusion that actually, my breathing still wasn't good. Those two races wound up being my only ones of the longer distances last year, giving me a season's best of 6 hours 9 minutes for the full marathon and 2 hours 39 for the half. Neither of these is as good as the times I set back in 2005 (5 hours 58 and 2 hours 24 respectively), when I was run-walking mostly on cycling fitness.

So after the Cambridge half, I eventually took myself off to the doctor who promptly increased my asthma medication. I ran my first parkrun (5k) of the year on 14 April in a time of 30:20, which wasn't quite a personal best but wasn't too far off. Then something remarkable started to happen. My times just started plummeting. 12 May I took over a minute off that time, getting down to 27:39 by the middle of June. I'm always a bit slack in August, and I got ill in September (failing to finish the Grunty Fen half), but after that I started cycling as well, and the times fell more. By my last run in December, my gun time was down to 26:25 (watch time of 26:08) which is a massive improvement of near-as-dammit 4 minutes since April.

Turns out running on knackered lungs really does hold you back! (Clarkie has asked for drugs tests...)

I also did a couple of 10k races this year. My last 10k was in 2010, with a personal best of 1 hour 3 minutes 31 seconds. I did the Phoenix 10k in the middle of July, into a 20+ mph headwind for the first 5k, and still finished in 57:10. That was already 6 minutes off my previous best. Then I did the Brighton Brooks 10k in November, not feeling great so taking it a little easy. I came in with a time of 55:31, or exactly 8 minutes better than my best at the start of the year.

These still aren't times that are going to set the world alight. I know that. But when you were the slow kid at the back they are very pleasing indeed!

The exciting thing is that I don't think I'm done yet. My base speed has increased, so if I get some endurance in I ought to be able to take a good chunk off my half PB this year. Those 10k times suggest that really, I shouldn't be too far off a 2 hour half now. And that is something I never believed could be possible.

Most important of all is that I've really, genuinely started to enjoy running! Wow!



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