At the end of 2015 I wrote this:
“I don’t think I will ever top this year. Setting myself the goal of Ironman was just MASSIVE! I had so many terrifying moments as I pushed well outside my comfort zone. I was pretty wobbly on my “scary road bike,” I had to build up my swimming to a respectable level and I just missed running the big miles and got slower and slower. I’ve had so many highs though. Pushing my boundaries and succeeding in events that were seriously intimidating. Nothing will top IM because of the journey to get there and the support of my family along the way. Looking back all my best moments have been at endurance events this year, 70.3, 140.6, marathon, ultra and long course swimming…so that’s the plan for 2016…to stick to what I love and not get seduced by the short stuff. Here’s to making 2016 memorable too!”
True to my word, I’ve focussed on endurance events in 2016 and yet again that is where I have had the most fun and seem to do my best. I’ve competed in 26 races this year, and, whilst I wasn’t intimidated, I’ve certainly pushed my boundaries yet again!
Swim. My swimming is still “respectable.” I can hold my own but I’m no Becky Adlington. Being the penultimate swimmer out of the lake at Isoman this year and at the tail end of my other swim events has knocked me. I also missed a chunk of the summer open water season due to a shoulder injury. On a more positive note, I have the endurance to swim the big distances now and I love spending hours and hours splashing around a lake. I’m not scared of what lurks beneath anymore, have stopped scanning the depths for dead bodies and love dabbling around with big fishies. I had my first non-wetsuit dip this year and LOVE to swim in the rain.
Bike. I’m no longer scared of my road bike, in fact I love my new one, and Sports Sunday’s David Bradshaw even managed to get a pic of me grinning from ear to ear at the Tour de Bolton sportive! My mileage has been half of last year’s but I’m much stronger. I can ride up and down climbs that would have defeated me last year. I’m even beginning to feel like a real cyclist. I no longer blubber or swear on scary descents, actually look forward to spending a few hours out in the saddle and I don’t always stop for cake. Occasionally I ride quite fast.
Run. Running is still my favourite. My comfort zone. My happy place. I’ve slowed down even more; pb’s over any distance are just memories. Whilst this bothers me (quite a lot,) I’ve had a jolly old year testing myself in other ways than against the clock. 62 miles on the flat at the Canalathon left me with an injured hip; a painful marathon and 6 weeks out followed. I faced the mighty Hendon Brook a week after Isoman, then sobbed my way round a 5 mile trail race. I’ve embraced off-road running, navigated in a couple of off road races (and not got lost!) and run 40 miles in a stranger’s shoes after turning up to a race without my own. I love ultra running, I love marathon running, but I’ve still knocked out 27 Parkruns, a couple of 10ks and some cross country whilst training for the big stuff. I’m not a complete tortoise!
At the start of the year I wrote in Rule #6. Cowbell and Pom Poms. how I was going to race less. I didn’t. But I did do more of the type of racing that makes me happy. And that’s what counts.
February- Bolton Abbey Trail Half
March -Liverpool half, Canalathon 100k (Rule #12 Couch to 100k.)
April – Padiham Aquathlon, Manchester Marathon, (Rule #13 Marath-on.) Yorkshire 3 Peaks
May- Salford 5k swim, Burnley Lions 10k,
June- Bala Middle, Great North Swim 10k, Trailblaster (50k)
July- ISOMAN, (Iso-Did It!) Hendon Brook Half, Pendle Trail 5
August- Norwich 10k, Boulsworth Fell
September – Yorkshireman Marathon, In Pendle’s Shadow (20), Amphibian 5k swim, Tour De Bolton ride (61.3), Leigh XC
October- Ron Hill 5k, Cuerden Valley XC, Warrington Way Ultra (40 mile)
December- Longridge Pudding Run 7, Ribble Valley 10k