Wednesday, 9 January 2013

2012 A Review

The year has come to an end and so the new year and new training regimes begins. It is the perfect opportunity to review the year just gone. 2012 promised much for me. It was to be the year that I properly became an Ultra runner and really tested myself.

It never really materialised to be a year of Ultra Running. It took a long time for me to get motivated and its fair to say that my training stuttered and never found a flow or an effective intensity. I got to the North Downs Way 100 in August and gave it my best shot, but was woefully under prepared. Reaching 60 miles was the limit for me on that day. So still an Ultra distance but a DNF none the less.

Not finishing the NDW100 really got me thinking about how I needed to improve my running. I decided to sign up to the Likeys 365 challenge and use this action to ensure that I was at least running regularly. This has seen me leap on in my running ability and gives me confidence that with a clear plan of action I can improve significantly. I am confident that my heart lies with Ultra marathons  and I really want to get faster and more capable I love the sport and whilst 2012 has not quite played out the way I intended it to I am optimistic that it has set a benchmark of expectations for 2013.

I was due to compete in the Beacons Ultra 2012. Having finished the 2011 race in 11hrs 29min I was feeling good about a positive finish. Sadly my boy was poorly and I had to pull out of the race. I was humbled by the support and response of the Ultra Running community. It merely served to emphasise why I love the sport.

So my running has not been the most successful it could have been this year but it does not mean the year has not been without success. On the 22nd June 2012 the greatest thing that has ever happened in my life occurred and I became a father. I am sure that there will be plenty of people that will be reading this and groaning at this as a sickening nicey comment. In truth I don't care. I never thought that I really wanted to have children. To me it was such a removal of freedom and huge expense and massive responsibility. I could see no reason to have a child and was one of those people that didn't understand those who thought it was the most amazing thing ever.

When my wife and I decided to have a child it certainly happened quicker than we anticipated and we had to get ready fast. I was worried that my apprehensions may come to the surface once the child was here. I cannot explain the profound change the arrival of my son had on me. It was an inspirational moment and one that will stay with me forever. I am an Ultra Runner, a husband and also a father. The reward of being a father is greater than crossing any finish line this world has to offer. I remain ambitious and determined but having a child has allowed me to approach training with a renewed focus. They are of course "just" races, but it is more than that. No matter how I fare in a race I know that there is a smiling little face at home that loves me unconditionally and wont care if I ran 5 miles or 50 miles. Equally having a son that I have to be a role model for is giving me a greater drive than I ever knew I had. Trust me I am a stubborn bugger at the best of times so to be an even more determined stubborn bugger is only going to add fuel to the fire in those races that may not be going my way or where conditions are testing. I guess we will see in 2013.

2012 certainly has seen a focus on my blogging and the use of twitter. I  have been chuffed to see my reviews and opinions aiding other runners. I take great pleasure in writing and even more so in writing about my passion. If that then assists other runner all the better. Twitter has been an absolute revelation for me and has really allowed me to expand my social network and share advice and guidance. In a sport where the training can be very isolating it is incredible to meet such a social bunch of people. I cant wait to see what happens in 2013, not just for my running but also my little man. No doubt we will all be talking about it on twitter :)