Five races (for now), my 50th parkrun and some ridiculous PB goals. That’s my 2017 in a running nutshell as I look ahead from January. All of this planning means that something is bound to go wrong, probably next week. As Robbie Burns says, “the best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley”. No idea what he meant. Sounds drunk.
April – Southampton Marathon
On the 23 April 2017, aptly St George’s Day, I will running through The Common, past the University, through Riverside Park, over Northam Bridge, through St Mary’s stadium, over the Solent via the Itchen Bridge and through the old town to the finish line outside Southampton Guildhall. I’ve completed the last two halfs and am really looking forward to stepping up to the big one, even if the course is two loops!
The last time Southampton held a full marathon, I was in nappies and a little yellow babygrow. This year I’m probably not going to wear the same thing (think of the chafing) but I can’t wait to take part in a bit of history in my hometown.
June – SDW100
Do you remember that race, where your feet felt like they’d been attacked with a baseball bat? Where you were falling asleep while walking and crying as you hobbled down country lanes at 6am on a Sunday morning? Wanna do it again? HELLS YEAH.
The 2nd part of the “Downs Double”, I’ll be taking on the South Downs Way this time. Starting in Winchester, a casual canter along the south coast to Eastbourne in June sounds splendid. Pain? What pain?
August – Round the Rock
I live on a little island in the English Channel with lovely beaches and wicked cliff paths. Jersey is about 45 miles in circumference and the start is about a four minute walk from my house. Would be rude not to.
October – Chicago Marathon
If the Soton marathon is about being home, this one is all about the run-tourism and medals. Chicago will be my 2nd of the Marathon Majors which means I will have Tokyo (ridiculously far away), Boston (ridiculous qualifying times), New York (ridiculously pricey) and Berlin (2018?) to go.
It is also the chance to visit Christian Bale’s Gotham City, the home of deep pan pizza and Madame ZuZu’s Tea House. The last one might seem a bit random but if I tell you that it is owned by William Patrick Corgan then you’ll get it. No? Billy Corgan from The Smashing Pumpkins? Only my hero/inspiration/idol. I’m getting nervous even thinking about going there. Quick let’s move on.
December – CTS Dorset
AKA “The Nemesis”, this beast of a race has taken me down TWICE. In fact, I’ve only ever DNF’d at this race and I am determined that I will have my vengeance. In this life or the next.
This year, if everything goes to plan, I should be joining a very elite club. It entitles me to wear this bad boy:
If you’d told me that since my first Mile End parkrun on 17/01/2015, I would get before 9am on 49 further occasions, I’d have laughed right in your face. One of those over the top, villainous laughs to show great mocking. Now just over two years later, I should be able to pull on the famous red “50” by around May.
And now for something completely different.
As I’ve said before, I got into long distance running because I didn’t like the idea of training for the same distance again only quicker. Longer seemed like a much nicer way of doing things.
But as I’ve done a few longer races, a strange thing has happened. Not only have my times for shorter distances dropped fairly considerably but…I’ve actually enjoyed it. To an extent that I am going to put some punchy PB numbers out there for 2017:
Current – 19.35
Goal – 18.59
Current – 3.57ish
Goal – sub 3.15
Current – 29.14.16
Goal – sub 24 hours
And there you have it. I think they are all feasible. If, and it’s a big if, I stay fit and healthy. But they will push me from my comfort zone regardless. The best thing about setting goals is that they are as individual as you are. Marathons not your thing? Don’t bother with them. Maybe trying a new sport is the way to go or a new distance or new anything!
Let me know your goals for the year! I’d love to hear them.