A year of running – 2013

Spotted over on Jess’ blog was Miss Zippy’s Year of Running linkup which I decided to fill out.  Overall, I don’t think I’ve had the best year of running, but I have learnt a lot this year and tried lots of new things…ultra, trail, night running…

Best race experience?
My best race experience was my first ultra – Shires & Spires 35 in June.  Ultra running is so different to shorter distance running and it was nice to have a relatively relaxed (well, at least until mile 30!) run with friends from club (and others that we picked up along the way!), having a joke and a laugh as we ran.

We ‘rescued’ two runners that had all but given up around mile 26/27, and just needed some encouragement and a friendly face.  As always, the running community proved just how friendly it can be.  We helped and encouraged them along, and they held back to cross the finish line with us – despite being much quicker runners.


It was nice not to have any particular time goals in mind, and I came in Sub 8 hours with several runners still behind me, or having dropped out due to the heat on the day.

At a time in the year when I had put a lot of pressure on myself to achieve PBs for certain distances, it was nice to remember why I loved running so much and how much fun racing could really be.

Best run?
I can’t decide!!!  Either the first time I went on one of Kev’s organised trail runs OR the day that I ran without any stops at all for 20 miles.20 miler

Both gave me an incredible runner’s high!  They helped me to realise that I WAS a runner, that I could achieve my goals and deserved to be bloody proud of them.

Best new piece of gear?
Without a doubt, the Ronhill shorts I received as part of winning a place on Women’s Running Operation Ultra.ronhillShortsI thought I would hate them when I pulled them out of the packet.  They looked massive and really long but oh they were so very comfy and lightweight…!  The majority of races I have run since receiving these you will be able to spot me wearing these shorts.  See below…!finish pic closeup bristolFinish

Best piece of running advice you received?
I love picking up tips and advice from other runners.  I read a lot of running books and running blogs, so much of the advice given to me I am already aware of or had probably vaguely had an idea of previously.  I tried to talk to as many people as possible on the Dusk ’til Dawn ultra and I think this was where I picked up my best pieces of advice.  The lady I shared a room with advised me to pin my checkpoint card to the inside of my running jacket, so that it won’t blow away when I pulled it out with cold hands to punch it at the various checkpoints.  The ‘Reaper’ advised me not to stop at checkpoints but to power through so that I didn’t get cold and seize up.  (I was amazed at how many runners were stopped for quite long periods of time at the checkpoints.)Kev, one of our club ultra runners who I often run with has also given me a lot of advice this year.  My favourite being – ‘The cut off time is 9 hours.  Therefore, we will aim for 8hours, 59minutes and 59 seconds.  Anything better than that is a bonus.  As long as you complete within the cut off time you have succeeded.’  (I’m famous for putting too much pressure on myself to do well and being so hard on myself if I do not.)

Most inspirational runner?
In the real world – very definitely Kev.  He has such a laid back fun way of running.  He has his own goals (aiming to complete a 100 mile ultra) but still finds time to introduce the fun side of running to so many others and help them achieve their goals.IMG_7676

In the blogging world – there are so very many!

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
Frustrating but a learning curve and incredibly fun.

8 thoughts on “A year of running – 2013

  1. I love your answers 😀

    I tend to wear really loose shorts as well – personally I can’t stand short, tight numbers as it just makes me so self-conscious and they simply aren’t comfortable. For some reason really baggy shorts chafe less…or maybe that’s just me?

    I still can’t get over how far you’ve come in such a short amount of time since starting to run, and I’m sure you’ll have a fab year in 2014!

    Jess recently posted…Year of Running: 2013My Profile

    1. Thank-you. Looking back like this does remind me how much I have done in the last two years. So glad I found running! :)
      I’ve had no chafing issues at all with these shorts. One of my first pairs of a different make frequently left me in tears during my first few months of running, and put me off wearing shorts for a long while. I also like that when I sit down to stretch at the end of a run the shorts still stay at an appropriate length!

    1. Thanks! :) It’s nice to look back on the year and think about everything I have achieved. Definitely check out the shorts Claire. The other Operation Ultra ladies bought spare sets and I’ve got the purple version on my Christmas wish list (fingers crossed!) I almost lived in these over the Summer!

  2. Im ending the year on such a down note with my stupid knee. But it is improving I just wish it would do so faster. I thought I’d be finishing 2013 with a marathon under my belt, but you live and learn. And I’ve learnt so much about my body this year. And one main thing: never take running for granted.
    You have lots to be proud of with your year! :)

    1. Maybe you didn’t add a marathon to your 2013 list but it’ll be there next year and you’ll be much stronger for having waited. Very glad your knee is getting there.
      I definitely won’t be taking running for granted any more. I’ve seen so many people get injured this year. When you first start running you never think about injury and all of a sudden this year has been full of it. :-(

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