Somehow 2016 is over. Which is probably a good thing because it was pretty grim overall. But running wasn’t grim! So this is my review of the year from a running perspective!
Best Race Experience
No competition here – it was the Post Oak Lodge 25k in Oklahoma in February. It was a weekend away with my Crazy Cat Ladies, 15 miles of pretty trails and an age-group placing! It was a whisky shot at mile 7, potential food poisoning when I ate gulf shrimp in a state in the middle of the country, singing ‘Oklahoma’ loudly as I flew downhill and getting to know Jess’s new town. It was awesome.
The Healdsburg weekend was pretty awesome too, but the race was a personal let-down so Oklahoma pips it to the post.
Both these weekends and races came top because of these girls. I am so incredibly grateful to the weird world of blogging for introducing me to these ladies.
Most Inspiring Runner
I think it has to be Erin! This girl has two kids, gets up to run at 4am most mornings and has crushed every single race this year with a massive smile on her face. She also writes a great blog, is incredibly encouraging of other runners and has great hair. I have been genuinely inspired by her attitude, her dedication and her smileyness over 2016. At some point, I really hope I get to meet her.
My Best Run
I think it has to be a run I had back home in Wiltshire in the summer. I ran the trails (aka footpaths) around my home and it was bliss. A sunny day, gorgeous paths to run, stiles to cross, thatched cottages to pass, fields of wheat to run through and my lovely parents to return to. I was so happy throughout!
A close second is a lovely run I had in Armstrong Woods, a redwood forest in Guerneville which I got to run in July when I was up there to support Ironballz at his Ironman. It was a super-hot day but the forest was cool and gorgeous and I had the most amazing smoothie at the end.
Best New Gear
I didn’t buy any cool new gear this year. My new shoes weren’t as spectacular as I’d hoped, so no boughten stuff thrilled me. But two new things DID rock my world.
This year, I started running with my friend Lisa every week. My lovely Jen lives 10 miles away so we don’t get together as often as I’d like. But this girl from church and I started running together and it’s been such a delight. There are very few people I’d get up at 5.30 for to run in the dark and the rain, but for Lisa? Any time. So I think my Best New Running Gear is my dear running buddy Lisa!
The other big change in my running this year was running on the track. I never thought that running fast in circles would thrill me but it does. Seriously! From summer evenings whilst the high school football team do drills in the middle to cold winter mornings as the sun comes up and our breath steams, it has been SO much fun.
Best Running Advice
I can’t think of anything that stands out this year. It’s been a a year of much reflection. Some PRs early in the year gave way to another missed half-marathon PR and that ongoing wondering about whether or not my ‘fast’ years are behind me. I can feel that turning to the trails 100% (for racing purposes) is coming up soon and whilst that makes me happy, I’m not quite ready to hang up my racing shoes quite yet so it’s a strange time in my life.
Interestingly, the best bit of advice I got this year came from one of the short films I watched at Trails in Motion a few weeks ago…and it’s not about running. In Be Bold, (which you should watch) the heroine says said ‘If you can prioritise what your soul really needs, everything can change‘. Personally, this struck me from a faith perspective. My faith is really important to me but it’s very easy to squeeze reading my Bible and praying out of my busy days, and I have this nagging feeling that I need to prioritise what my soul really needs.
Most Exciting Running Moment
It was definitely spectating Western States!!! From getting up horrifically early to watch those brave runners set off from Squaw to cheering Andrew Miller over the finish line, it was a fan-girl dream come true!
Standing (nonchalantly) next to Kaci Lickteig the next morning was totally surreal. I am SO glad we did this.
It’s been a really odd year for my running I don’t feel like I achieved much this year, I feel a little ‘blah’ about the whole year as regards running, but it doesn’t even bother me that much. There were some great things that happened. I loved my 5k PR and my 10k squeak of a PR. I loved running trails with friends.I ran about 1,100 miles overall. I cycled round Lake Tahoe. I hiked in some spectacular new places. I finished the year healthy and fit (ish). I can’t ask any more.
Thanks 2016. You were pretty awful as regards the world, generally, but you were kind to me.
Bring on 2017.