Looking back at my goals for 2017, I can’t work out whether I was being very stupid, very arrogant or possibly both while drunk.
I started four of the five races I targeted, completed three of them and failed miserably at all my time goals. I also still don’t have my red 50 parkrun t-shirt (stamps feet petulantly) but that’s because so many people are running parkrun so I really can’t complain (complains quietly, probably on twitter).
So it seems weird that not only am I not disappointed by it, I’m actually very pleased with where I am with my running at the moment.
The two marathons I ran – Southampton and Chicago – were both entered with no pressure and although I was aiming for personal bests in both, I was more keen to just enjoy the day out. As it turns out, I got PBs in both and I think a lot of it was due to my attitude going in. Unfortunately I’m never going to qualify for Boston by high-fiving everyone and posing for photos but it turns out that running can be enjoyable, not just a horrible slog!
I also finally completed the Coastal Trail Series in Dorset on my third attempt. It took me nearly 12 hours to get round the 45 miles of punishing cliff paths and I finished in the dark in a tent because the finish line had already been dismantled but I did it. I got round. I passed the “one mile to go” sign three bloody times, climbed out of Lulworth three bloody times and went down the final punishing descent, you guessed it, three bloody times but I now have a small grey medal on my bedside table.
The big fail for the year was a 67 mile DNF at SDW100 in June. Nothing mythical or unlucky about this, I just wasn’t good enough in my training or on the day. That’s why although I’m annoyed at myself, I know I can go back and do better. I was nearly 500 miles down on my training plan for the race, which works out as around 60% of what I should’ve done. When have you ever done 60% of the work needed and succeeded? You must have been very lucky or just naturally amazing. I was neither of those things and pulled out at Devil’s Dyke as the night drew in. 2018 I will be back and I will complete it in under 24 hours. There are a couple of reasons why but I can’t reveal them all just yet…
And finally to my sub 19 5k and 3.25 marathon.
I still maintain that these were achievable goals. Challenging but achievable. There is a real skill to combining speed and endurance which I have yet to learn but I look forward to trying again. A lot of it just comes down to not pushing myself hard enough. This might sound weird as I’ve run 100 miles but the pain is different. 5k is really hard! 100 miles is basically a bit of walking, a bit of running and lots of eating!
So I’ve somehow managed to turn 2017 failures into lessons and to take the successes for what they are, a reflection of a positive state of mind and absence of pressure. Mentality plays a huge part in all life but particularly sport. Let’s see how 2018 will go.
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