Hello, running friends. It’s been a while hasn’t it? 2011 has come to a close without a great deal of chat over here at Redwinerunner, but I can assure you that things are getting back to normal and you can look forward to some more frequent posting from now on. I left you with great promises of taking part in the Marcothon; unfortunately I have to report that my attempts to complete it failed quite early on, as life got in the way and I found myself unable to find sufficient balance. I did however enjoy some festive running, including a Christmas Eve Parkrun and a lovely deserted five miles on Christmas morning which set me up for the day perfectly.
It’s been a difficult and stressful month for personal reasons which have no place here, which is why running and the blog had to take the back burner for a while. When things in life get particularly hard, hobbies and social activities can be amongst the first things to fall by the wayside as we struggle to keep our heads above the proverbial water. After a couple of weeks without running my anxiety levels were through the roof, I was stressed to the high heavens and to be perfectly honest I was close to breaking point…until I put my running shoes back on and went for a damn run.
Running has brought me many tangible things to my life; fitness, achievement, friends, medals; all wonderful things for which I am very grateful. But it’s the benefits to my mental wellbeing which matter the most to me when I put on my running shoes. For me it’s an escape, it’s freedom, it’s just me and the road, all problems are left at the front door when I leave it. I find that the still world comes alive in new ways when I pass it in motion on a run; solutions to current problems present themselves all of a sudden, and my fears become minimised. I become a better version of myself, a version which I can only attempt to clutch at in day to day life as I get through the day thinking of the moment I can turn on my Garmin and get back into that world. When people ask me why I run, I usually give them a fairly conventional answer – fitness, achievement, friends, medals – but the truth is that it fixes me. It keeps me going, it keeps me moving forwards, it is a light for me in dark places when all other lights go out.
This has got a bit heavy; please humour me as I wear my heart on my sleeve. If you’re a runner then perhaps you’re nodding in agreement; I know I’m not the first person to realise this. So in 2012 I want to put even more of myself into my passion, I want to have the courage to give it my all, to push past my mental boundaries and to never be afraid to keep trying to be the best runner I can be. Here are my goals:
- A sub-25 minute 5k
With regularly attending Parkruns every Saturday I expect to achieve this by Spring. My current PB is 27:02
- A sub-50 minute 10k
Like last year, my big 10k PB attempt will be at the Baker Hughes 10k on the 20th May
- A sub-2 hour Half Marathon
I don’t expect to do this before the summer due to other goals, but something to keep trying for as Half Marathon is still my favourite distance.
- A 4:3X Marathon
This was my original marathon goal for Loch Ness Marathon which I failed to achieve. I plan to do another Autumn marathon and would love to have a successful marathon experience without injury this time. I think this is probably the most intimidating goal of the list, I still haven’t forgotten the pain of my injuries.
- Complete my first Ultramarathon
Yesterday I signed up for the D33 Ultra which takes place in Aberdeen on the 17th of March. Last year I came to see the finish – this year i’ll be on the starting line.
- Smile at more runners whilst out running
Well why not? A smile goes a long way, if more people smiled at strangers then the world would be a happier place. Pay it forward.
My first race of the year will be the RAF Kinloss to RAF Lossiemouth Half Marathon on the 19th of February, following that will be the D33. I’m currently writing my training plan which I’ll be sharing with you soon; for now, let’s take a look back at 2011 in pictures.
Here’s to happy running in 2012 to all!