It's December 30th, which means it's time for a review of the year past, I suppose. It's been a mixed year, actually. I had some lofty goals that I did not quite achieve and yet I had some of the best memories of my running career with some outstanding moments in two of the world's most prestigious races in road ultra running.
I could say that running in a world championship was a dream come true, except that until a couple of years ago I would not even have dared to dream about a world championship. I have always been a better than average runner but the gap to the elites is so big you can hardly see across the divide to the other side. Why I'm so much better over 24 hours I cannot say, except that the secret ingredient is not in the legs but in the head. Maybe I'm just too stubborn/stupid to quit when it hurts.
As amazing as running in a red-and-white top in a world championship was, I'm not entirely happy with my performance there. My training was interrupted and sub-optimal but what really hurt me was the fact that I did not have a target in mind. In Belfast 2014 I had a very ambitious target and kept pushing myself to the point of collapse until I got there - in Turin I did not have the same drive and ended up with almost 9km fewer. This is also reflected in this year's world rankings. I am 143rd for 2015 - in 2014 I was 70th. A return into the top 100 would be nice for 2016, though my target is aimed at my own performance and where that leaves me in the world rankings is of secondary importance.
The absolutely outstanding moment of 2015, however, was running towards the statue of Leonidas in Sparta with seemingly half the local population giving us a standing ovation. I get goosebumps just by thinking back, and as much as I had promised myself for 6 hours prior to that never to do anything like that ever again, I knew straight away that I would break that promise.
The low point of 2015 was undoubtedly getting injured at the end of June and subsequently missing 6 weeks of training, though despite my fears it did not stop me from finishing the Spartathlon. My statistics on Strava still give me 3330 miles for the year, with a day yet to come, which is mostly a reflection on how well the last couple of months have gone. As much as I hated not running the Dublin marathon and Sixmilebridge, it was well worth it as I needed to build up from scratch again, without a race disrupting training. It paid off - I am feeling great right now, and with me being off work this week I am finally getting enough sleep to recover from 90 miles a week; the fatigue that has been a constant present for the last 2 months has finally lifted and it did not even require a step back in training.
As per the same plan as the last few weeks, I did 15 miles on Monday, finishing off yet another 3 day workout (fast-long-medium long), feeling surprisingly good after Saturday's race and Sunday's long run. Tuesday was (relatively) easy again with just 10 miles, finishing my run just as storm Frank was about to hit. The legs were a bit heavy early on but felt better with each mile until I felt like flying towards the end. This seemingly carried over to Wednesday, or maybe it was the coffee I drank before setting off, waiting for the worst of the storm to subside. Conditions seemed okay around 9 o'clock but there still were a few wild moments over the next hour before things improved remarkably and I finished off in bright sunshine with a 6:40 mile feeling really good.
I need to bottle that feeling for 2016!
Happy New Year!
- 28 Dec
- 15 miles, 1:53:10, 7:33 pace, HR 145
- 29 Dec
- 10 miles, 1:18:21, 7:51 pace, HR 139
- 30 Dec
- 15 miles, 1:51:59, 7:28 pace, HR 145