I have just returned from Canada. My dreams of festive winter runs were not to be. Not only was there no snow to dash through, I was side-lined with a nasty cold and I am still recovering. The fever has abated but I now have a husky voice and a cough that sounds like a walrus. I haven’t run in more than a week and I’m feeling lazy and jetlagged.
But as the year draws to a close, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of my running highlights of 2018. Because even though I feel like a sick sloth right now, this was a pretty good year of athletics.
First trail race
I’m a habitual road runner. Up until this Spring, all my races were on paved surfaces and I had never ventured into the world of trail running. The Lough Cutra Castle Half Marathon in Ireland in May was my first off-road race. I was recovering from illness and an eye ulcer (!!), but I managed a pretty good time and really enjoyed myself. I found the mixed terrain enormously enjoyable and a nice change from my normal pavement running. We refuelled with wine and oysters and it remains one of my favourite races of the year.
Half Marathon PB
My Spring half marathons were not my finest performances. I was undertrained and sick. So by the time the Royal Parks Half Marathon came along in October, I was ready to really crush it. Despite the hideous race day weather, I ran the race extremely well, just sneaking in under my goal time of 1:55 at 1:54:59. This was my 11th half marathon and a personal best by a significant margin. Earlier this year, I was feeling a bit sad about turning 35 and the expectation that my fitness will now be in a steady decline, so it is encouraging that I continue to improve. Onward to 2019!
One of my goals for 2018 was to give back more through running or to the running community itself. I’m really proud to say that I raised more than £1,200 for two charities this year (Neurokinex Kids and Starfish) and I regularly volunteered with my local Parkrun. My proudest achievement was volunteering with the Red Run for World Aids Day and helping the organisers with advice and race-day logistics. We started planning for the event back in the summer and I was so proud and happy to see if come together so perfectly. I also ran the 10k and got myself a new PB (50:03)!
Level 2 Fitness Instructor
Another one of my goals for 2018 was to obtain my Level 2 Fitness Instructor Qualification. I finally passed the two final exams in September and am officially a qualified instructor! Considering that I hadn’t studied for anything since University, this was a time consuming and difficult process for me. It turns out my old revision techniques still work and I scored high marks on both exams. This is the foundation qualification needed to go on to do more advanced things like personal training or nutrition qualifications. Perhaps that will be my 2019 challenge…
A few other highlights included:
- Watching my husband and mother-in-law compete in the World Triathlon Championships in the Gold Coast
- Getting a massive PB in the Sprint distance triathlon and doing my first ever triathlon outside the UK
- Running my 50th Parkrun
- Celebrating my blog’s 6th birthday
- Getting shortlisted for the third year in a row in The Running Awards. Please vote for me!
- Launching my Five Questions With series and sharing 14 different interviews with amazing, inspiring runners from across the UK
- Being interviewed by Paul Tonkinson and Rob Deering on the Running Commentary Podcast
Because I started “naked running,” a few months ago, I don’t have a complete summary of my running stats for 2018. This is a little tragic, because I like the end of year summary, but it’s OK too. It’s forced me to reflect on bigger things than the numbers.
I have contradictory emotions this time of year. On the one hand, I’m proud and happy of everything I accomplished. On the other hand, I feel a bit anxious for the year ahead. How will I keep this up? How can I “top it?” It seems intimidating. I won’t commit any 2019 goals to paper just yet. As usual, I like to have a good long think about them and I’ll share in the coming weeks.
For now, I want to say thank you to everyone who has been following my running stories this year. Thank you for reading and for your comments. I look forward to sharing more of my running adventures with you in 2019.