This year has been just amazing in lots of ways but, most of all, in my running life. I’ve run more events than I thought I could, ticked some ‘dream’ events off and pushed myself further than I thought I was capable. I’ve embraced the trails, got to grips with half marathons and made friends with the long run (mostly).
Some highlights (although there really are too many to choose from)…
- my first trail half marathon – a huge test of my persistence and resilience. And there is no doubt I wouldn’t have got through it without my running buddy, Jill and support crew, Grant.
- Cadbury half marathon weekend – the whole weekend was perfection.
- PBs. I truly don’t care how fast I run but it was lovely to have some unexpected PBs throughout the year for my 5km, 10km and 21.1km times.
- my longest long run. It used to be such a stretch to get myself out the door to run 3km so the idea that I would willingly run 16km alone is both amazing and ludicrous. That I actually enjoyed it is even more incredible.
- City2Surf. Another epic bucket list event which I truly didn’t think I’d ever do. And it was as amazing as expected.
- Great Ocean Road half marathon. To be allowed to run on such an iconic road with that scenery was almost a spiritual experience. I actually tear up a bit just thinking about it. Although that could also be memories of the last few kilometres. Either way – amazing.
- Hitting my 50 parkrun milestone. It took me months after signing up just to attend my first so I’m very proud to have made it to 50. My 50 shirt is my favourite running shirt by far.
This year, I have finally felt that I am a runner. Which is really silly as I’ve been running for a few years now. I’m not that much faster (although I am getting there!) and my running style is no more refined than it was (I am learning not to cringe at my finish line videos). But I think I’ve proven, to myself mostly, that I tick all the boxes required – I train regularly, I enter and finish a huge range of events and I push myself beyond what I think I can do. I run therefore I am a runner. Even when I walk. Weird, I know but that’s how it is.
There is one common thread running through all of my favourite running bits for this year and that is no coincidence. I know I talk about them a lot, but I really do owe a lot of it to my running friends. The events we’ve done together have created so many happy memories for me – weekends that I didn’t want to end and runs where I couldn’t stop grinning. There were certainly a couple of times when, without them, I might have sat down on the trail and cried (funny how it’s always trails that seem to do that to me!). But even in those times when they weren’t actually, physically with me, they were in my head, encouraging me and believing I could do it. Those positive, supportive voices, real and imagined, were what I needed to counteract my own negative talk and I wouldn’t have achieved all I have without them. So thanks. Which is a completely inadequate word to express how I really feel but it will have to do.
Bring on 2017…