2012 was quite a year. Seven ultramarathons completed, including my first West Highland Way Race. Five new PBs, one brand new ‘PB’ set at the West Highland Way Race, and one ‘non PB’ at the Clyde Stride as I struggled with my form in the aftermath of my first shot at the 95 mile distance. How do you top that? Not with another 7 ultras, that’s for sure. 7 ultras in such close proximity left my body feeling pretty trashed. Maybe something I would consider at some point in the future, but certainly not in 2013.
There’s talk of the Scottish Ultra Marathon Series being extended to include more ultras. I think it’s a great idea. More races will mean greater choice and, potentially, longer periods between races, perfect for improved recovery from race to race. Further, there would be more opportunity to vary the races you compete in from one year to the next. And let’s face it, at the end of the day, why should any Scottish ultra be omitted from the series? There are races I would loved to have participated in but chose not to because they didn’t contribute to my overall SUMS point score. Let’s hope that all the Race Directors agree to the proposals.
I still recall that feeling at the end of the Clyde Stride when I realised that there was only 2 weeks ‘rest and recovery’ before the Devil O’ The Highlands race. It was Colin Knox who said, ‘See you in two weeks‘ and, at first I thought he was mistaken. A quick check of the calendar soon revealed that the Devil O’ The Highlands was indeed only 2 weeks away. Bugger!
The Clyde Stride was an example of ‘grinding out a finish’, the triumph of stubbornness over common sense, where I got to the end largely by telling myself ‘If I can finish the 95 mile West Highland Way Race, I can finish the 40 mile Clyde Stride’. From approx. 13 miles in to the race, my body was screaming at me to stop! After this far from pretty finish the thought of grinding out a difficult 43 miles so soon after filled me with dread. Thankfully however, things came together nicely for another new PB at the Devil.
So, for 2013, a reduction in races, with 4 ultras the most likely scenario, 5 at an absolute push. Whether I even get to the start line of those races will largely depend on another of life’s challenges, but a most welcome one at that! We are expecting our first child in February and this in itself will have a huge impact on life (and training!). It may sound hard to believe but I am prepared for that and am happy to accept that things may not go to plan. Actually, who am I kidding – ‘may not’! There’s little doubt that there will be an impact and that, until we experience it, we haven’t got a clue as to how far reaching it will be!
Goal number one for 2013 is to be the best dad & husband that I possibly can be. Only then will running and the notion of ‘training’ and ‘my time’ even come in to the equation.
Goal number two is something that I will strive for regardless of everything – a considerable reduction in my weight. How this is going to come about is not entirely set in stone. Let’s face it, it’s not as if I haven’t been trying for as many years! What I do know is that I need to see some results, and will take whatever approach or approaches necessary to impact on my weight.
Goal number three finally sees me get around to running. I want PBs in each of the races that I do. Realistically, my main focus, assuming I am lucky enough to get in to the West Highland Way Race, is a large PB over the 95 mile distance. With a bit of luck, I wont encounter as many issues as I did at WHW Race 2012. Assuming I can avoid the stomach issues and the projectile vomit, that alone could take between two and three hours off of my 2012 time. Weight loss and good quality training will hopefully add to that reduction.
Goal number four is to develop the minimalist aspect of my running, and to hopefully carry this over into my choice of shoes come race time.
All things considered, that’s four goals that are going to take up the majority of my time in 2013. It’s not going to be easy, but then, nothing worthwhile ever is.
What are your goals? All the very best with them in 2013.