I love writing these kind of posts when we get ready to say goodbye to another year and welcome the year approaching. It’s always good to reflect on and celebrate achievements, memories and learnings from the year gone by to help us plan and build on for the year ahead. This time last year, I had an amazing year to reflect on having achieved more than I’ve ever done and certainly more than I could have hoped for at the beginning of 2014.

Newbie Triathlete
Newbie Triathlete

I started off 2015 by doing my first Triathlon on New Years Day. This was an amazing experience, getting completely out of my comfort zone and loved every minute of it! Misjudging my anticipated swim time meant that I was doing the breaststroke at pensioner pace in among the good swimmers doing the crawl fast and doing tumble turns. My cycle was largely spent trying to keep up with others and doing the last lap while everyone else was going into transition. The run was much better as I could see people ahead of me that I could catch.

Falling off your bike on black ice is NOT recommended for good marathon training!
Falling off your bike on black ice is NOT recommended for good marathon training!

Paris Marathon Training was hampered badly from some cracked ribs after I fell off my bike in some black ice. I recovered in time for the race but ran it just for the fun of it due to my lack of training. That fall not only affected my training for Paris but also meant that I was left with little time to train for Etape Caledonia, which I had been looking forward to doing at the start of the year. I ended up supporting Allison while she did it instead.

Allison and I with our medal collection
Allison and I with our medal collection

My plans to run all 4 races at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival didn’t quite work out the way I hoped when I found myself struggling with the mental battle about the Marathon during the Half Marathon. The battle wasn’t to do with whether I could complete the marathon but with the value of actually doing it. I had run all 4 races in 2014 as part of a bigger challenge but I was struggling to find a value of doing it again as I had already done it. I took the decision to stop running once I had completed the Half Marathon and quite happily cheered Allison on to complete her 4 races.

Yay! 1st in my Age Category!
Yay! 1st in my Age Category!

Our summer holiday brought a glimmer of hope when I won my age category at the Cool Summer Mornings 5k. The Florida runs are always good as you get beer and ice cream at the finish! A few weeks later, I completed the double-header of the Perth Half Marathon and Kilt Run. Old habits die hard and I couldn’t just do the one event in the day, where’s the fun in that? The Half Marathon was great fun with a multi-terrain route then topped it off with the 5k run, which was originally going be treated as an easy run until Allison caught me and threatened to beat me. The temptation was there for us to cross the line together holding hands however I got the sense that Allison might seize the opportunity to cross the line ahead of me so I felt the urge to speed up and beat her. Sometimes I’m far too competitive for my own good!

My whole year turned upside down in August after my mum died suddenly and everything seemed insignificant after that. It was such a shock to us all that I feel I’m beginning to deal with it all better now.

Men's 10k
Men’s 10k

I got back into running again and decided to use the Great Scottish Run 10k and Men’s 10k as the platform on which to build my marathon training for Paris in 2016 from. The Great Scottish Run was about working on stuff I had done in training and finished it in 42:06 then followed it up with 39:57 at the Men’s 10k, my fastest 10k since 2003!

It would be easy for me to write this year off and be glad to see the back of it however, I don’t see it that way. I see it as the year that I learned the most. Perhaps, the target of a PB in Paris was never meant to be and the fall taught me to look after my body more? Perhaps I was a bit cocky about doing Edinburgh again and it taught me to respect every race or to consider what is of great value to me when signing up for a challenge?

The thing I’m taking the most from 2015 is learning how to run faster while I was on a course in June. We were practicing some drills involving hopping and it was during a mobility drill that I could feel that I was running faster but it felt much easier to do. When I ran Parkrun the following week, my body felt like it wanted to run the way it had just learned and so I found myself almost purposely holding myself back as my legs felt they want to run faster than the rest of my body thought it was able to do! Since then, I’ve taken at least 30 seconds off my Parkrun PB without doing any serious training. I have also felt that my form during these runs is the form I want to develop over distance so that I can run this way in Paris to get the time I want.

While 2015 holds a lot of sadness and bad luck for me, it also contains a lot of hope and discovery of something special and it will be that I choose to be the most memorable thing to take out of the year and carry forward into 2016. I have also decided that it is the characteristics that I discovered I take from my mum that I will be taking forward with me and leaving the sadness behind.

What has your favourite moment of 2015 been?


2 thoughts on “2015 – A Year of Learning

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