When your year is threatening to end on yet another negative event, a little bit of annual re-capping is required.
I was desperate to end this year on a high by achieving a 15 mile plod today. Struggling a bit with pins and needles whilst breaking in my new trainers, I took the wrong decision to go back to my old trainers to cover the distance. So, dragging a friend out to keep me company for the long haul, and having completed our warm up stretches, we started off gently plodding over to the old fields dodging dogs, puddles and any form of conversation until I stopped blowing out my ass trying to catch my breath. By the end of mile 2, conquering a pretty long hill, disaster struck … well actually that’s a bit diva-ish, it wasn’t a disaster but I did feel the old calf injury rear its ugly head again which quite frankly, put the fear of god into me, so turning to my friend I eloquently said “Shall we blow this off and go back to mine for a cuppa?” and that’s exactly what we did.
Listen to your body because sometimes your head is out to sabotage you
You see my friends, as gutted as I was to get nowhere near the distance I had set my heart on for the end of this year, I would’ve been more gutted to start such an exciting 2018 off by being foolish and injured. For once I put my feet and calf in the time out corner and let my head make the decision to come home, disappointed, gutted, full on strop-mode, but home we came and it was definitely the right decision.
As I sit here in my morbidly depressed state scoffing my body-weight in chocolate from the kids Christmas selection boxes, leg elevated yet again and becoming re-acquainted with the ice pack, I began to reflect on my year, and through the rising nausea I now feel having looked down at the sheer volume of chocolate wrappers laying at my feet, I feel a surge of pride at just how far I’ve come, mixed with slight apprehension as to how far I still have to go.
It was only in January of this year that I took a leap of faith and met my soon-to-be extended family and without getting too emosh here … I could not have got through this year without them. Like there are in all families, whether blood relatives or not, you get the weird ones, the supportive ones, the ones with the broadest shoulders made of sponge who take away your tears, the ones who offer the bestest, biggest hugs (regardless of whether you want one or not!), the jokers, the plod-squads, the mums, the dads, the mentors, the hard shits who tell you to “suck it up” …. you name it, my extended family has a person for all your needs. Without these guys I wouldn’t have made it through so many races and I sure as hell wouldn’t have continued to run after the great “Autumn calf explosion of 2017”
Highlights of 2017
Despite everything recently, this year has had some awesome highlights:
- In a house of 3 females with hoards of shoes between us, I now have the most expensive pair of shoes for the first time in, like, FOREVER. OK, they’re trainers but yes! I win! they’re expensive, they’re worth every penny and they’re mine! all mine.
- I’ve completed 5k’s, 10k’s, 10 mile training runs and 2 half marathons …. and I’m still alive to tell the tale – again and again and again and a …. you get the picture.
- I have a wardrobe full of very cool running gear …. and a separate wardrobe for other clothes which isn’t quite as full – only kinda boring yet functional, for those moments I have to look and act like an intelligent, employed adult or mum
- I had 8 weeks off work during the summer. To be fair I was meant to spend it with the kids but quite frankly, I don’t pay those high-priced, eye watering nursery fees to allow a 3-year-old to be stuck under my feet all day, so I ran instead, and she spent her days playing with her friends. It’s a win, win situation
- I had a lovely, sun soaked, beach holiday – the first with the youngest child… and I got to run 3 times! Go me! 3 hours child free just to plod – and plod I did.
- Calf sleeves – who’d have thought that calf sleeves would even feature in my list of highlights for the year, but my god, they’ve pretty much saved me over the last few weeks so I couldn’t have a highlights list without mentioning these babies.
- Alcohol …. yes troops, Alcohol! To be honest wine features most years at the very top of my highlights list, however this year it’s slightly lower down on the list but still very much there. I have however, discovered that wine thins your blood and does a rubbish job at aiding your physical recovery so have now moved onto Gin. According to The Running Bug website, Gin has varying health benefits and is a runners best friend. Unfortunately the Ladbible disagrees and following some extensive research they have discovered that people who like Gin and Tonic are more likely to be psychopaths … ah well, I’ve seen worse things than a psychotic runner ..I think… maybe.
- Reaching the dizzying heights of a DQ status in the Dirt Half this year … that has got to be the funniest and most bad ass thing I’ve ever done in my life. All because there are unfortunately, some runners out there who lack a decent sense of humour. My DQ status has proffered me some form of notoriety. I’m infamous for all the wrong reasons .. but my god it still tickles me to this day.
- Gadgets – many moons ago, someone told me I should start running. It’s cheap they said, all you need are some decent trainers they said. Roll forward a year and you find you can’t run without your Garmin watch, bone conductor headphones, base layers, calf sleeves, running torches, gels, hi viz gear, technical t-shirts, sweat wicking socks, runderwear – the list is endless! (and bloody expensive)
- Support – and I’m not talking about the Bridget Jones knickers kinda support, although don’t get me wrong, these are sometimes required for those over indulgent moments such as Christmas and New Year! No, the support I’m talking about here, is the support received from the Redway Runners this year. I could pick them all out individually but am bound to miss someone so I will say that as a collective, the support from the Redways has been breath-taking. The hugs at water stations, the loudest cheers at the cheer points, the hugs and tears at the finish line, the slaps on the back, the words of comfort such as “you’re nearly there slow coach” at mile 5 of a 13.1 mile run .. I could not and would not, want to run another race without their “fish wife” yelling.
So with 12 months worth of amazing highlights, fresh in a head that doesn’t even remember what it did yesterday, I bid a fond (ish) farewell to 2017 and think 2018 is going to be the best year yet. I’ve seen lots of my running friends setting their targets for next year and I just know that each and every one of them will achieve their goals.
As for me! I just want to make it to the start of each of my races, do some plodding in the middle and then get to that finish line at the end.
And to you amazing people, who have read my blog and suffered this journey so far with me – I thank you! Stick with me… the best is yet to come!
Happy New Year to you all
Until next year