As a youngster, I would get home from School, get changed and go out to play with my pals.
Now I'm older, I get home from work, get changed and go out to play with my pals, but now I call it training.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2012. That was the year that was

So, coming to the close of what has been one of the most memorable years of running and racing for some considerable time I thought a look back over the previous 12 months or so would be in order.

Its been by far and away my best year of running in terms of personal achievement. I may not have gotten close to any standard distance personal bests, but I found a new strength within myself and new belief that I CAN do things I previously thought would be out of my reach.

I won three not-inconsiderable races, and I ran some personal bests in fell events and the Buttermere Round.

The fantastic achievements of sportsmen and women in the UK throughout the year, including Olypmics, T de F, Tennis, Golf etc, and the Olympic Torch Relay only served to enthuse everyone who competes in and enjoys sport, whatever their level of ability.

January.... was mainly all about training hard for London Marathon, but I ran well at the Nine Standards fellrace on New years day, then again at the Mid Lancs XC meeting and finally, was 204th from 650 runners at the Northern Cross Country Championships.  A good solid start to 2012

February....was again filled with tough marathon-training runs. Also, for the 5th year in succession, ran the Buttermere Round road race. 21 miles on road, including Honister and Newlands Passes. I had a storming race and bettered my time of one year earlier, with 2:22 and fourth place.
Bit knackered after racing 21 miles

March.... continued with the marathon training and also a test race - Trimpell 20. It went badly, as did a little 10k race I completed later in the month. Hmmmm
10k race went sour but medals tasted good

April....Finally, after almost 4 months devoted to running a super marathon in London.... I stopped at 10 miles and left the route at 13. Read back to find out more but suffice to say this was what lead me in a new direction with my running....
At least I got to see Wes at the end of his PB run

Keswick Half.  (Photo by Melanie Sykes)

May.... was hot. May was the 2012 summer. I ran Keswick half marathon 3 minutes faster than the year before, proving I was in good shape despite the VLM debacle. I also entered another marathon which was to be held in....

June..... The Karrimor trail marathon was a new event organised by the Great Run people. Despite relatively small participant numbers it had all the hallmarks of a massive race. I especially liked the tanoy system through which I heard these words uttered as I completed the 26.2 miles -

"and here he comes, the WINNER of the inaugural Karrimor Keswick Trail marathon"

Yes, I won the marathon. My second marathon victory (after Langdale in 2007).
Thanks to Ali Wilson for taking my proudest photo
There must have been more stuff happened in June too but who cares? - I won a buddy marathon!

July.... was bookended by two good racing performances. Skiddaw fell race was first. I ran brilliantly, knocking a chunk off my pb. I enjoyed time on the fells during July but was worried I hadnt done enough really long stuff to run well in the Lakes 50 Ultra. Indeed, the final couple of hours of that race were tough going but luckily I had been speedy enough in the first 30 miles to build a decent cushion of time as race leader. So I won that one too!

Start of Lakes 50
Steve takes home the cup
Prize presentation

Kiprotich won on a very special day

August.... Olympics. Fantastic stuff! I went to London on the final day to watch the marathon.

Olympic Torch relay came to Cumbria and my great pal Stu Robinson jogged through Keswick carrying it. It was a thrilling day for me, never mind Stu.

August was also when I ran 45miles with Ian charters. Its a long way on the flat, but we also summited the 4 highest mountain in England. We had poor weather at times, made some errors, got a little bit lost, but, with invaluable support from Ians wife Pauline, we eventually stood on the fourth summit to witness a most glorious sunset. Then ran back to Keswick in the dark to complete the round. Truly a grand day out.

September....I went to Lanzarote on holiday and managed to pick up an Achilles injury that has plagued me ever since
the path where I got injured

October.... I ran two marathons. Actually, a marathon and a 50k. I ran crap at Chester marathon, quitting at 19 miles to jog home, then picking up the pace again at 21m to run in with Wes (who got ANOTHER pb).
The 50k was an offroad event in Ennerdale Valley. I ran poorly, taking some 15 minutes longer to complete the second half of the race than the first. I did win though, so the race breakdown stats tend to pale away from memory in light of being the winner for a third time in the year.
as Errol Brown famously sang "so, you win again"

November.... As always, I ran Brampton to Carlisle 10 miler. Not a stellar performance, but significantly inside the hour. I also spent a lot of time checking the course for the Tour de Helvellyn which I had entered in.....

December....Lots more fell running, including a mega 7hrs 50mins in the snow over Skiddaw, Blen, Clough Head, Dodds. I ran a Mid Lancs cross country race and was delighted to finish much higher up the field than usual, so by the time the TdeH came round just before Christmas I was itching to go.

It went OK. Not fantastic ( I was 15th) but apart from a energy low in the final hour which saw me lose 10 minutes, it was pretty much as I'd planned.

This is the kind of thing I had to cope with whilst recceing the TdeH route

For the great memories and experiences, I can't see 2012 ever being matched in our lifetime, but thats not to say that in 2013 and beyond I won't personally be getting myself out the door with road or fellshoes on my feet and enjoying every step, getting everything I can from these old set of lungs and striving for the greatest fitness I can manage.

We continue

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