I had this idea that I would be able to use the time off work between Christmas and New Year to catch up with myself. Yeah right! We left for Holland on the evening of the 23rd with the two children and car packed up to the ceiling with luggage, presents and a turkey (a long story lies behind this one..) and a LOT of excitement. Trying to get the children to sleep in our cabin was no mean feat – we ended up having to switch all the lights off and feigning sleep ourselves to stop the chatter… (I also believe my husband’s threat to remove a present for every word uttered helped). They wake you up at the crack of dawn (5:30 am) so you don’t miss the chance to use their restaurants for a sub standard and overpriced breakfast. Which we duly did – finally getting off the ferry in Rotterdam at about 8am.
I won’t bore you with a blow-by-blow account of our trip to Holland but it has not stopped being full-on. The kids are excited, my father is ill (bronchitis – bad timing but I remember that one myself from last Christmas), it is my son’s birthday on the 27th and my mother’s on the 28th – a fairly relentless couple of days. Little room for reflection! Still – I managed to get some runs in – I twice ran a 5 miler and on boxing day I ran a 7 miler which was part of a 10 miler I ran / biked with my husband. He biked alongside me for 7 miles and ran 3 and I did it the other way round. Great fun! Then yesterday I squeezed out a very ugly 4.8 miler – I was tired and my lifestyle choices have not been, shall we say, optimal for running. I can feel that..
However, I am still, despite all other demands and distractions, working on the opposite of me. While my career plans have changed somehow the exercise proved so useful – I have ended up with a much clearer idea of what my job is and should be and have, for the first time, communicated very clearly with my boss. (Generally, in life, I like other people to guess how I am feeling and to, magically, respond as I would like them to. A fairly unsucessful strategy). I feel far less burdened down by it all and I am looking forward to some of the big projects ahead in the New year, work-wise. So, insofar as going with the opposite of me means trying to break some bad habits, I’m going to carry on with this in the New Year. Starting now.
I am not very good at reflecting on myself or the past. Instead I fill up my life so much that often it is all I can do to keep on life’s treadmill and not fall off. Looking back never happens. And while there are advantages to that attitude, I think I miss the opportunity to learn from my mistakes and successes. So – let’s finish this year with reflecting on 2008.
This year’s worst running moments:
- no doubt, the worst was being injured at the beginning of the year. Looking back at my approach to it (hitting it from all sides with physios, podiatrists, massages and osteopaths) I think I might have benefited from looking at previous injury strategies. Had I done that, and gone straight to the osteopath who helped me in the past, I would have saved myself a lot of time and money. Lesson learned. At the moment I am seeing him once every 3 weeks not so much because my knees hurt but more to maintain some looseness as my mileage increases.
- and that’s it really for bad running moments – there were some awful, horrible, hard runs, there were some runs I didn’t complete, there were runs where I was just thrilled that it was over – but overall running has continued to be my saving in the middle of my life.
And then the top moments of running this year:
- meeting Maritza and Jen for a run in California in April of this year. They are both wonderful people and I really felt like I was meeting friends I had never met. We had a great run despite Jen just having finished the Boston Marathon and had a delicious brunch afterwards. I look forward to hosting them when they come and see me in the UK!
- Meeting all my running buddies in Chicago for our wonderful blogging buddy meet-up there. While none of us ran the race we wanted to race, I will never regret or forget meeting up with Charlie, Melissa and Maddy – what a wonderful experience! Every one of them an inspiration and a friend. Again – come run a race with me in the UK!
- And all the great runs in between and after these races – the runs in the rain with my speedy-quick buddy Sally, the runs with my mother when she came to see me, the runs with my husband, the long runs on my own where I started off with a head full of stuff and came back happy and empty.
While this has not been a year of PRs for me – not one! – it has nonetheless been a great running year. I am so happy to be out there on the road. And in the run-up to London marathon training I’m happy to have managed a long run of 10M for at least the last 5 weeks – I feel ready to start training properly.
So let’s head into goals for 2009:
- At ShirleyPerly’s advice I have set my goal first and then picked the race. My goal is – dum dum duuummm – to run a sub 4hr marathon. Ambitious yes. Impossible – well I guess I’m going to have to find out. I ran 4:12 in Amsterdam in 2007 and I think I can run faster with different training;
- Change my training schedules – while Uncle Hal has been great for the past few years I think he and I have reached an impasse – I’m not going to progress much now – and I need a new, fresh schedule and some speedwork to move to the next level. I am still trying to decide between the Runnersworld sub 4 hr schedule and the Pfitz sub 55 mile 18 weeker. While I’m a bit late for that last one – it’s 17 weeks today until London – I’m going to decide in the next few days or so and will just have to jump into week 2 if I pick the Pfitz. Views?
- Run more races. I am intending to run some races in my London training and have also already signed up for the White Peak half marathon in May which Drusy will be running. I am still looking for an autumn marathon – I am thinking maybe Portland or the Bizz Johnson – any thoughts anyone? Anyone running either of these or have another autumn suggestion?
- Eat better. Hey I had to put that one in there. The past few weeks have not been weeks of smart food choice weeks and I can feel the effect on my running and waistline. I am ready to grab myself by the scruff of the neck and sort this one out. So bring on January – I’m going to do this.
- Oh – and how could I forget – meet more running bloggers. Consider yourself invited!
Food for thought and feedback (please?). All that remains is for me to wish you all a wonderful new 2009. May it bring you all you wish for – and more.