As is customary come the end of the year, I find myself casting a glance back over the previous 12 months and reviewing what I have achieved. In 2014 an awful lot of stuff has gone under the bridge here at Red Wine Towers, but I feel replete in my achievements as the last hours of year year pass away. It’s been a tough one, but a good one…let’s take a look…
As the clock struck midnight, I commenced the year with 30 minutes of epic, fiery, cardio by swinging my fireball up and down Stonehaven High Street to ring in the New Year. As a member of the Stonehaven Fireballs Association, I’m looking forward to doing the same tonight, and also welcoming some friends from England who will be visiting to see the spectacle.
Throughout the rest of January I worked hard, and alongside the rollercoaster of wedding planning I was knocking out a lot of miles to prepare for my Spring season. I always know I’m plenty rested and ready for the new season when I look at my previous January training log and recoil in shock! A ‘black’ day indicates a double day where I did an hour of circuit training as well as a run.
I started February with a return to the Forfar Multi-Terrain Half Marathon; a great little race just down the road for those who love a grubby run around some fields at the start of the year. The weather was less harsh than in 2013, but I still returned to the finish with soaking, muddy shoes and a big grin. I was rewarded with a 7 minute course PB and NINE different types of soup to choose from to refuel.
Throughout the rest of February, Ultra training was never far from my mind. I wrote a post to shed some light on what I’d learned in two years of ultra running, for those who were thinking about giving it a shot or those who had started but were struggling – 5 Tips for Budding Ultramarathoners.
The beginning of March started with some great long runs with friends as I finished off my Ultra training for the D33 and the Fling. Kynon ran his first ultra at the D33 and I shaved a minute off my PB after the race was a bit tougher than I expected – RACE REPORT.
Then, the next weekend, we got married!
…and then spent the next two weeks recovering in the Maldives.
Coming back to the UK and real life was a bit of a shock, especially when the first thing on the calendar was the Highland Fling. I loved all 53 miles just as much as last year, and finished comfortably with no injuries – RACE REPORT.
After three weeks recovery from the Fling, in May I ran the Cateran Trail 55 mile race for the first time. I was very nervous about doing ‘back to back’ 50+ mile races, and found that fatigue came earlier than expected. It was a very tough day out, but another where mental toughness saw me to the finish.
You just can’t beat a race which starts and finishes in a pub. I finished in 13 hours and 32 minutes – RACE REPORT.
What else of note in Scottish Running happens in June other than the West Highland Way Race?
I was delighted to join the sweep team for the second year, for my fourth year of being involved in the race. After our usual leader Neil broke his ankle, I headed up this crack team of Stonehaven runners (plus un-pictured: Mike and Karen) to look after the back end of the race. Another weekend of big fun, big hills and big miles. What a privilege. RACE REPORT
The first weekend of July was what it had all been about that year so far – the Great Glen Ultra. 72 miles coast to coast from Fort William to Inverness. A 1am start and no support allowed. What an adventure!
It was a real privilege to be amongst the first contingent of runners to complete this race. It is a fantastic addition to the Scottish Ultra calendar and the perfect step between 50 milers and the West Highland Way. RACE REPORT
At the start of August I headed over to Lewis with Naomi and Rachel, to run the beautiful Callanish Stones Marathon with Jemma. It was a gorgeous but tough course, but the islanders threw a fantastic race with the best goody bag I’ve ever seen and a BYOB ceilidh at night. RACE REPORT
September saw my first attempt at a fixed-time race at the Glenmore 12 hour race. The race weekend was wild – wild parties, wild running and wild weather. I’ve never run in rain like it and hailstones the size of peas really hurt on bare skin… I aimed for 60 miles of 4 mile laps, and fell a bit short with a whisker under 53. In the end I found the lapped format didn’t really suit the way I usually think about races; I’ll maybe give it another go in a few years. RACE REPORT
September was also the month where I left my job and went back to University to start an MSc in Digital Marketing. It’s been a tough change and I still haven’t really settled into my new lifestyle yet, but I love my course and it was definitely the right decision to make.
In October I got to try the Monymusk Multi-Terrain Half Marathon for the first time. It is a very challenging course, with the first 7 miles being straight up hill! This was the last race in the Stonehaven Running Club championships – after this race it was announced that my points total had earned me 3rd place in the Championships, behind Vikki in 2nd and Rebecca in 1st. RACE REPORT
In November at the Peterhead 10k I finally clinched that time which has evaded me for so long – the sub-50 minute 10k. Great speed has never come naturally to my ultra legs, so after a long season of long races I was really pleased to be able to get a good race out of them. RACE REPORT
My very last race of the year was the recently re-capped Fraserburgh Half. It was wet and windy and a really rough day for running, but somehow I managed to pull a PB out of the bag and finish the year in style. RACE REPORT
Miles ran: 1294
Races completed: 15
So a lot has happened in 2014. It’s gone very quickly, especially the first half of the year due to the hurricane of the last months of wedding planning. I’m really pleased with my running, I was really pleased with the wedding, and I’m really pleased I had the guts to quit my job and explore something new. I’m also really pleased that it’s the start of a new year in just over 12 hours, because I’ve got a lot to be getting on with in 2015.
After starting the year swinging our fireballs, Kynon and I are heading to Texas for two weeks to see old friends in Houston and Austin, and spend a little time away exploring the rest of Texas. Not a conventional start to a year of running by my usual standards perhaps, but this is going to be a year like no other. I’m sure you already know what’s coming, but a couple of weeks ago I got an email accepting my application to the West Highland Way Race and informing me I was successful in the ballot. I’ve been a member of the WHWR family for the last 4 years, but now it’s my turn to pull up a seat at the table and earn my Goblet.
Of course there will still be the old favourites such as the D33 and the Highland Fling, but Kynon and I are also heading over to Berlin in September to do the Berlin Marathon which I’m very excited about. I hope to do some other new-to-me races such as the re-vamped Devil O’ The Highlands, Speyside Way and Glen Ogle 33.
So thanks for joining me on the ride this year and for your continued comments and support. I wish you all the happiest of New Years, wherever you may be, and many miles of healthy running in 2015.
See you on the trails,