2015 – a Year in Review

A YEAR IN REVIEW : 2015

 

This has been an interesting year as a runner. A big ticket item has been crossed off the list, and the ramblings on this blog and Twitter has brought me otherwise unthought of opportunities. So in a nutshell:

  1. I ran the Berlin Marathon. I am officially a marathoner. And it was ok. Nemesis race from 2013 crossed off for Pancreatic Cancer UK.
  2. I raised £3000 pounds running, mostly for Pancreatic Cancer UK but also Parkinsons UK, Cancer Research, Shelter and Help for Heroes.
  3. I was a global blogger for the Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town.
  4. And am ambassador for the Great Run in Newham at the Olympic Stadium in London.
  5. I volunteered for a photoshoot and my photos were used by Running Bug for some of their online campaigns.
  6. I met Haile Gebrselassie in Cape Town and Paula Radcliffe at the Olympic Stadium.
  7. The Cape Town gig got me an interview in Blue Wings magazine.
  8. The Olympic Park gig included me writing three blog posts for Men’s Running.
  9. I have been voted the #UKRUNCHAT Community Member of the Month (October) and have deliberately been putting the effort in to make the community as strong and supportive as it can be.
  10. I have won a few contests/giveaways. And who doesn’t love free stuff? And I have been asked to review numerous products including, but not limited to the I AM RUN BOX, FLEXISEC, Pump it Up, Karkoa bags, Chaffree, Runderwear and the new Brooks Adrenalin GTS 2016s.
  11. Oh, and I have been injured.
  12. And have signed up for all 2016 races other than one, the Cape Town Marathon, that does not open until 1st Feb.
  13. I got PBs in all distances as well as in total distance run.
  14. I ran over 1000 this year.
  15. The blog was listed in a few contests (but never made any short lists)
  16. I have signed up for a 100K ultra.

So highs and lows.

  1. Berlin Marathon.

So this really did happen, my nemesis race of my entire running life has been put to bed and all thanks to my chosen charity (Pancreatic Cancer UK) giving me a spot, and my wonderful coach Beth, who’s bite sized chunks of training plan were just enough for my little brain to digest. I trained about 70% of what was asked, I pretty much gave up the sauce and in the end it was probably my most comfortable run in years. I finished strong and with juice still in the tank. The distance is no longer a worry to me. The big questions now are a) how fast can I run a marathon? And b) how much further can I run?

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  1. Philanthropy Plus.

I ran 20 races in 6 months last year for Pancreatic Cancer UK. I have lost relatives to this particular type of cancer so they are my chosen charity above all others, although I am happy to raise money for Help for Heroes, Shelter, Diabetes UK, Parkinsons UK, you name it. The Berlin marathon target was £900, a lot less than London for sure, and I raised it along with more. Over the course of the year, for all causes, I raised over £3000 which kinda makes me feel like something less selfish as my own fitness levels and a full medal rack came out of it.

  1. Cape Town.

My trip to South Africa was planned in 2014 way in advance but I did not touch down until March 2015. The Two Oceans Marathon weekend half was planned but I got in with the media crew of the race and soon ended up with running the International Friendship Run the day before the race, with Haile Gebrselassie and a brand new pair of Adidas Ultra Boost that destroyed my feet, free parking for the race (essential) and a sack of freebies. And all I needed to do was become one of their global bloggers. I was happy to do so and the weekly blog posts meant that I thought about this race more than any before it. Although I was beaten before the race and it ended up being my slowest half by a long way I really loved the experience.

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  1. Great Run.

Close behind this I was one of three ambassadors for the Great Run Newham, or the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park 10k that included a stadium finish in the Olympic Athletics stadium. I did get to meet some good people that day, and those friendships still endure with the #UKRUNCHAT crowd, and we got to see Paula Radcliffe too. Supercool. I cannot remember the race or the time, but I do remember everything else.

  1. Pose, darling!

The advertisement was posted on the Hampstead Heath Parkrun page in Facebook. It was simple. You met the photographer on one of three days in one of three locations around the City. You wore the most unlabelled running kit you could and he shot you for what would be a national/online ad campaign. I had nothing better to do so went along. The photos came out really well, it was fun. And then the photos were used by Running Bug, in a somewhat amusing way.

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  1. Famous Peeps.

I keep a list. It is the analyst in me. I keep a list of famous people I have seen. I have rules clearly, if I see someone in a play that doesn’t count, or a sporting event that doesn’t count. If I see them in the street, at a restaurant, in the loo it does. I wouldn’t be too fussed about this either until I got caught up in the furore about Paula at the Great Newham and ended up joining in for the photo. I didn’t get my photo with Haile but now wish I did.

  1. Magazine Interview.

I talked up the Two Oceans and my trip. How could I not? When doing so on Twitter I was approached by a Canadian journalist based in Scandinavia who was writing a piece for a magazine on runcations, or running abroad and combining the race with the vacation. I was happy to and a few months later I finally found out the name of the magazine. It was Blue Wings. I was not aware of this and discovered it to be the inflight magazine of Finn Air. That is kinda funny in itself, but the fact he spelled my name wrong in the article was funnier still. Twat.

  1. Blogging.

While RunnersKnees.com has gone from strength to strength and is now looking modern and shiny in its new home away from Blogspot I also blogged for the Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town and was asked to write three blog posts for Men’s Running as part of the Great Run Ambassador gig. I wrote a blog on training, racing and a retrospective about the event. It was fun. Online is good but would like to appear on paper next.

  1. #UKRUNCHAT.

It would be hard to list the key events of my running year without mentioning the Twitter-based #UKRUNCHAT community. They are so inclusive and friendly, and the community is so large you cannot help but become immersed in it. I went from just including their hashtag, to meeting dozens of followers at races, to organising tweetups and now am the co-host of the London and SE UKRUNCHAT account. I have hosted the UKRUNCHAT hour three times and that is always fun and won a few contests too. One of the highlights was to be named Community Member of the Month for October and always wear the #UKRUNCHAT hoodie to races. I cannot wait for the CMOM calendar 2016.

  1. Free Stuff.

Who doesn’t like free stuff? Right? Am I right or am I right? Well this year I have had free stuff up the wazoo (not literally, of course). I was given an I AM RUN BOX to review. I didn’t like it. It was missing key elements to me, like straps and handles. I was given a crate of PUMP IT UP and loved it. I raved about it and genuinely used it after a couple of races. I also gave some away. I love to share the love. I then was given a single tube of Flexisec but it wasn’t enough to test so I never wrote it up. I loved the Karkoa bag. It was superb, and filled with so many innovations that I wish I had asked for the smaller one. Chafree and Runderwear handed over some snug pants for a testing review that became known as the Great British Pants Off and the Brooks Adrenalines GTS 16s were just not for me. I do still like getting them though. And for the contests I won, I was happy to give away the race place I won as I was double booked. I was very happy to win the Asics Gel Kayanos, although ultimately they were not for me either, and even though I have not used the UKRUNCHAT race bib thingies, I wear the t-shirt and hoodie often.

  1. Injury.

I won’t dwell and I am back, but post Berlin my knee went ping. I still ran Petts Wood and Cambridge on it, but met a wonderful Osteopath and am on the way to being stronger than ever.

  1. Race Calendar 2016

I ordinarily do book a lot of my races in advance. Crafting a race calendar that covers the entire year is as difficult as crafting a perfect mix tape. You want some humdingers on there, also some expected low key favourites. You also need to consider hotels. I prefer not to drive around the country, or when I race abroad so I need to find hotels close to race HQs. These book up, especially for the big races and so you need to get in quick. For the Shrewsbury Half, a huge event for UKRUNCHAT none of the hotels anywhere near the start have room and for the Race to the Stones, I got the last room in Avebury. 2016 for me will look like this. I know it is much smaller but there are some big big races on there. Cape Town is the only one I have not paid for as yet. It opens in February. I am disappointed about not running the inaugural Disneyland Paris race weekend but hey ho.

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13.PBs all the way.

Each year I want to run each distance faster and further and for longer. This year I stepped up to marathons and, somehow in my training, beat all my distance times from 1K, 1M, 5K, 10K, half and full as well as further and for longer. Next year I aim to do the same. I will join the Highgate Track and get up speed up. Race to the Stones could well be a 15 hour 100K jaunt, so that is distance and time covered and Manchester Marathon is infinitely flat. I have hope that I can break them all again.

31/12/2014 Times
Farthest Run 24.97KM
Longest Run (time) 03:52:23
Fastest 1k 04:35
Fastest Mile 07:47
Fastest 5K 25:54
Fastest 10K 56:05
Fastest Half 2:05:31 2:05:31
2015’s PB/PRs
Farthest Run 42.2KM +17.23KM
Longest Run (time) 4:39.01 +46.24 mins
Fastest 1k 3:50 -45 seconds
Fastest Mile 6:45 -1 minute 2 seconds
Fastest 5K 25:46 -8 seconds
Fastest 10K 52:09 -3 minutes 56 seconds seconds
Fastest Half 1:58:24 -7 minutes 7 seconds

14. 1000.

We all have targets. I know we all like to hit 1000 miles or KMs depending on your preference and despite the injury I reached this at the weekend in Greenwich. Happy days. 2000 next year? Or maybe 1500? We shall see,

15. Bloggage.

I have now moved the blog to WordPress after 3 years on Blogspot. I was sick of the poor template I had. I wanted to make it shiny and to modernise it and the move worked. It also allowed me to move to my own URL. Before all this though I did get a nomination at the UK Running Awards, although didn’t make short list. I was also nominated on the Ultra Running Blog Awards, although didn’t make the short list. I wasn’t too bothered though. Nice to be mentioned. And I am not an Ultra runner…. Yet.

16. Ultra Wow!

I did mentioned the U word. I did. I know. Somehow from not being able to walk without shin splints in 2012 somehow in 2016 I am running 100K in one go. The Race to the Stones. All part of the 2016 masterplan to make it even better than this awesome year.

 

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