This has been an interesting year.  You may remember that last year I promised Mr P that I wouldn’t train for a marathon this year.  Then Mr P left me, and that was difficult.  And I’ll be honest, I did consider registering for a marathon to console myself, but then I thought perhaps the rest and taking some time to heal would do me good… so I didn’t.

Other friends have had way more difficult years, but the loss of Mr P, and some other difficult stuff in my family life, definitely threw me a curve ball.  So I’m quite pleased that I didn’t have a marathon to train for.  I did do Milton Keynes half during the spring marathon warm-up season, but I did it half assed and so, while it was a lovely day out, it wasn’t by any stretch a rewarding run.

In April, I took myself off to Berlin to recoup.  And back home, my family life became super chaotic and, to be honest, much of the rest of the year was consumed with assimilating the new normal of that.  BUT I have managed to be (more or less) (rather more than less) consistent with my training three times a week.  I have also re-affirmed my love of an ultramarathon.

I did Endure24 with a group of fantastic women I’d previously only known online – and my sister.  We had an absolute blast of a weekend!  My major takeaways from this were that running laps was *way* more fun than I have ever thought it would be; and that I can recover a surprising amount in a couple of hours.  So next year, I’m doing it again as part of a twosome with my awesome running buddy and good friend, Rebecca.  We’re hoping to knock off 100 miles between us.  To achieve this, we will need to remember my other takeaway: running through the woods, alone, in the dark is fine.  Doing it while listening to an audiobook about serial killers…. less so.

I also did Race to the King with another of my awesome running buddies, a good friend and colleague – Matt.  It was his first ultra, and he was excellent company and extremely good humoured all the way around – even when I had a spectacular meltdown at 52.5 miles…. that was my second Threshold event, and I now only need Race to the Tower to complete the trifecta and earn my ‘free’ hoody!  So Race to the Tower is also on the list for next year, and I will also be doing that one with Rebecca (the week before Endure24.  June 2019 is going to be interesting!).  That’s another 53.5 miles, so if all goes well we will cover just over 100 miles over the two weekends…. cue the ambition for a 100 mile ultra!!

Having done RTTK over two days, Matt wanted a go at running a goodly distance straight through, so he entered Race to the Stones (which I did last year) and I had the joy and huge honour of supporting him in an epic 100km event.  It was – by some margin – the hottest weekend of the year, and he did a truly awesome job, to say that he hadn’t done any dedicated preparation for it.  Look how happy he was to be at Pitstop 9 (the last one!)!!

44402583_10155642180150636_1083111209256878080_oI finished the year, running-wise, in Portsmouth at the Great South Run.  I’d actually made myself quite ill, assimilating some of the family stuff and trying to keep too many balls in the air, so of all the things I did this year, that little 10-miler was probably the toughest.  

So, as ever, running has framed my week and provided me comfort, consistency and headspace in difficult times.

Next year, though, I *am* doing a marathon. Partly because I will need it, by way of training for my ultra efforts, and partly because I really want to run my hometown event.  So in April, together with Rebecca, Diarmuid – an online training buddy – and a whole pile of people from the very fabulous iMarathon programme, I will be running Manchester marathon.

I’m determined to better my Brighton time, and to be more proud than I was of my London effort.  As well as following the iMarathon programme, I’m going to work hard on body conditioning. So the first 8 weeks of next year will be not only marathon training, but a gym-based body sculpting programme designed to lean me up a bit more. I reckon I’m somewhere around 26% body fat now, and I’m going to stick my neck out and say I want that to be properly below 20% by the time I get to the start line.  These 8 weeks will see me in the gym more than once a week, and doing all my training on a calorie deficit.  It’s going to be hard… but I aim to finish in under 5hrs 30.  5 hours would be amazing.  To do this I need to shift the weight, build the strength and tie together all my learnings from the last three years.  Which probably means re-starting my yoga practice, too…

So, yes.  It’s going to be tough.  It’s going to be tiring.  It’s going to require commitment and dedication and I’m only going to achieve it with a lot of support (luckily my running tribe are AWESOME) and some accountability.  I’m going to try to update this site far more regularly… well.  Once a year is pretty regular, to be fair.  Perhaps far more often!  And I will use it both as a record of what I’m doing – so I can do it again, some other time – and a reflection on how it’s going.

I’m up for this challenge!  2019 is going to be my year!