A year can be measured in may ways, even if we're just talking about running.
One of these ways is by numbers. According to my logs I have run 3838 miles this year, which is the most of any year since I started running over 10 years ago. For a while I thought I might get to 4000, but that would have required things to go right, and I did have a few hiccups along the way, most recently my hamstring issues and then of course that heart scare that thankfully turned out to be nothing serious. This is a fairly impressive number of miles but I can assure you that I never ran a mile purely for mileage sake (well, except those two miles one day back in summer when I realised I had run 98 miles for the week so far).
Another, probably better, way is to check back on last year's goals and see if you have achieved them. 2014 was quite unusual in that respect because I had set only one single goal; even more daunting, realistically I only had one single shot at it. Despite this, it all came through and I managed to achieve my target of qualifying for the championships on a beautiful day in July on the Belfast track. This single day (ok, 24 hours) really defined my entire year. Every mile I had run until that point had been with that target in mind and pretty much every morning since then I have woken up hoping it all hadn't been some very elaborate dream.
I still can't quite believe it - the nerdy kid that was so utterly useless at sport in school is going to run in the world championships, representing his country. Wow.
Even though I only had that one goal race, I did fairly well in a few other races as well. Coming third in the Dingle Ultra was a highlight, as was reaching the same position in the Portumna 100k, which had been one of my favourite races of the year. I still can't quite believe I had felt so good after running non-stop for over 8 hours. Another top-10 finish in Connemara and a successful defense of my Kerry M40 marathon title were other highlights.
I did set a few new PBs; funnily enough, all of them at ultra distances. With Belfast being the sole target, I didn't exactly do a lot of speedwork. Even so, I still managed a 17:55 5k in April, only one week after the Connemara Ultra, which came as a real surprise.
It's been a damn good year! I could not have asked for more!
Anyway .... the last few days I have been a little bit naughty and departed from the Maffetone schedule that I had adhered to for the previous few weeks. I have my club's annual race on New Year's Day and I really feel I cannot miss it. Just to ensure that my legs get at least a minimum of speed work before the start line I did a few strides during yesterday's run, just to get the legs spinning for a change. It's unlikely to make any real difference tomorrow, it probably was more for the head. Expectations are rather modest, if I can get through the 10k without pulling my hamstring I will be happy enough. I've got bigger things to fry in 2015.
Happy New Year!
- 29 Dec
- 10 miles, 1:21:49, 8:11 pace, HR 135
- 30 Dec
- 8.5 miles, 1:02:23, 8:09 pace, HR 140
- 31 Dec
- 10 miles, 1:21:28, 8:09 pace, HR 137