After last weeks obligatory review of last year it is time for the obligatory look forward to next year. Just like many others I already have plans to act on, targets to achieve, races booked and, I am sure other opportunities and ambitions will arise. Right now though I am going to write about 3 of them, and in the chronological order in which they arise.
The first item on my list is going to be probably my biggest challenge yet. I had always warned the wife that I have one big adventure left in me, she claims I have all the hallmarks of the chronically homeless. I like to imagine that I could pack all of my possessions into the back of my car. Although this is probably not true I still have this yen to travel and explore the world, trouble is I am a bit of a coward. Whenever I have travelled before I have always taken people with me for support, but come the end of the month that is all going to change. As part of my training for Manchester Marathon, I was told to run a Half on the 31st of Jan and after looking online I saw the Marrakesh Half and Marathon come up. Well time to put my money where my mouth is, if I want to have adventures it’s time to man up and travel on my own to run in my first foreign race. To be honest the Half is not as worrying as the logistics that go with it, finding the exhibition and my race number, finding my hotel and, most curiously I am down to do a 6 mile training run the day before. That will be weird in a strange country, down unfamiliar streets, all alone and not even speaking the local language. Still it is the thing that adventures are made of, and being the obstinate bloody minded running type I am there is no backing out now! On top of all that I have an injured knee at the moment and I am desperate for it too get fixed so I can start training in earnest. I should be running a sub 1:50 half in Marrakesh!
The sub 1:50 is quite relevant to the next big event already planned for 2016. Manchester Marathon. Last year I ran 9 marathons bringing my total since my first, the previous October, to 11 and all the time I was hoping I could get a sub 4. To be fair there were a lot of hills and a lot of trails and even though my training predicted a sub 4 I don’t think I was quite there. I got close ish, running 18 miles at sub 9 minutes a mile until cramp hit making the last 8 slow and painful. Now I don’t know if that happened due to lack of training or over use or just sheer bad luck but, this year I am stacking the deck in my favour. I have cut back on the amount of marathons and am actually following a proper training plan. That is hard in it’s own right, so many friends are off to do marathons and ultras that sound absolutely fantastic and I would love to do. I am quite tempted to see if I can find a Brighton place as I have a whole group of friends running it this year and would love to run with them. It is the week after Manchester so I could call it a cool down marathon, if I can just persuade the wife it would be a good idea. I picked Manchester as it has a reputation of being a fast route and I am desperate to get that sub 4 time. I know I have it in me, it’s just making sure all the bits come together on the day.
The last definite for next year is a little less personal. 2015 saw me transition from someone who simply loved running to someone who is a little more evangelical about the whole thing. I love to see others running. Fast, slow, built for speed or built for comfort I don’t care, as long as they have trainers on their feet and practice controlled falling they are in my gang and deserve whatever support I can give, even if it is only a passing positive thought. In that vein I took a Leadership in running fitness course towards the end of last year, and come March will be helping out with my clubs Learn to Run group. I am really looking forward to this, just for the chance to share my own enthusiasm and help others start a journey which I have got so much out of in the last couple of years. On top of that it can’t actually hurt having a bit more of an idea of what I am doing, and getting into good habits even if it is simply so I don’t encourage others in my own badly incompetent ways.