*blows dust off the blog*
It's late December, which is my usual time for a 2014 retrospective on my running year.
I began training for MK marathon (too early, hindsight is marvellous). I ran Folksworth 15 for the first time, in just over 2 hours, which I was really pleased about.
Training for the marathon was going well. I ran Baldock Beast with my friend Lewis, pacing him to sub 1:50 without either of us blowing up.
In an effort to complete marathon training before I went on holiday to Florida in April, I ran three 20 mile training runs. This was a huge achievement for me, when I trained for Preston Guild Marathon I only managed one 20 mile run (which I had to walk 10 miles of) before getting injured and having to stop all training. I was struggling with a hamstring strain though, which hurt even when I wasn't running.
Marathon training "complete", I tapered by going on holiday to Florida for some "warm weather training". I also had a photoshoot for Runner's World magazine!
I ran MK marathon in 4:22, having to abort my planned 4 hour target at around 20 miles because my right knee and hamstring started to give me trouble. A week later I placed second (female) in the Stotfold 5K. I then began some off-road training for Herts Hobble at the end of June. I also appeared in the June issue of Runner's World!
Training for Herts Hobble continued, and I really enjoyed running around the countryside with a map and my dodgy sense of direction. I discovered some great new routes and started to enjoy running again. I ran Marston 5K in a good time (for me, although not a PB), then completed Herts Hobble with Lewis and Ed in 5 hours and 25 minutes (including rest breaks and lots of walking).
I focussed on club runs, and took the beginners group a few weeks, and led one 10K Standalone training run.
The realisation that I had a swim-run event at the end of August meant I decided to up my swim training (I swam once in August). I continued with beginners club training, and managed a few long runs too (for no reason other than to keep my mileage up). I managed the aquathlon fine, and could have finished second lady if I'd tried a bit harder, which was a blow and a lesson to ALWAYS TRY.
Beginners club training started to wane as family evening commitments meant I was busy being mum taxi (while the husband was out at run club, grrrr.) I also got some good news... I was offered a place in the 2015 London Marathon (VLM) by Stotfold Scout Group. They wanted me to raise some money for them (£750). Thoughts turned to fundraising rather than training. However, I ran Baldock 10K on little training a few seconds over 50 minutes, and it was a great boost ahead of Standalone 10K in October. That course is a lot easier by comparison, so I was confident I could run sub 50 minutes.
Standalone 10K was at the beginning of October. I wasn't feeling very confident (despite the good run at Baldock) and I really didn't want to run Standalone and hate it, so YET AGAIN I ran the race while not really trying. I could've pushed and hated every minute, but I didn't, and as a result I finished in 48:58, around 40 seconds off my PB. You can decide whether or not that annoyed me ;) Later in the month I ran my first ever cross-country event, the Ampthill Trophy, which was very hilly, hard work, and just exhausting (I'm tired just thinking about it). 5 miles in 46 minutes is really rubbish; perhaps I'll just have to run it again next year to see if I can do better!
My training mojo took a nosedive as I started marathon fundraising proper, organising a Christmas Shopping Day and a Quiz Night (raising over £1000 and completing my fundraising commitments before training even begins). With no half marathon planned (which is unusual for me at this time of year) I was a bit lost for training goals. Then, I suddenly was offered a place in the St Neot's half marathon by a friend who had to withdraw. I snapped it up, despite the lack of training, and ran it with my friend Paul, who dragged me around in just over 1 hour 50 minutes, a superb time for me given the shoddy training "plan".
My aim for 2014 was to swim 5 miles, cycle 100 miles, and run 1000 miles. The aim of the aim was to get myself cross-training more, since I know how important it is now to take care of all parts of your body. Unfortunately I failed two of those aims, managing to swim 3.2 miles, cycle 51 miles, and run 1008 miles. I'm actually very pleased about the swimming total; the cycling distance will have been further than 51 miles because I have cycled a lot since September but not recorded the distance on FetchEveryone, but I haven't achieved any long cycle rides like I did in 2013. The run total is actually quite disappointing, having been approaching 1000 since early October, my running all but stopped in late October and I only achieved 1000 in December. The highlight of December was being nominated for and winning Club Member of the Year at Stotfold Runners, by club members' votes. I'm still a bit stunned that people took the time to vote for me and actually think I deserve the award, considering my club commitments waned after August.
To me, 2014 seems a bit of a failure really. I overtrained for MK marathon and then undertrained for all other races. I began to gain weight, and only mild panic that I was sliding back to Fat Sarah made me focus on my diet. I still have food and drink demons that I need to overcome in 2015 and beyond. I also had no real training goals after June, so nothing to focus on. As a result, I have a few goals already for 2015. First, I want to train sensibly for VLM--ie, I don't want to start training too early, or have an overly ambitious target time, and I want to increase my cross-training). Second, I have to make time to run three times a week, including at least once a week at Stotfold Runners. Third, I need to lose weight and tone up at the same time, related directly to my fourth goal, which is to curb the booze and toast. Fifth is to remember to blog weekly! Sixth is to try my best whenever I run.
I've signed up for Janathon again, which I just about completed last year (to exercise every day), and with my new treadmill at home I am hopeful I will manage this challenge (the blogging is the hardest part of Janathon!). If I can complete Janathon perhaps I will be able to complete my weekly blogging aim. We'll see.
To keep up to date with my VLM training during the week (when I'm not blogging...) you can follow me on Twitter (@runnersog) or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/SarahRunsVLM).