2014 in Review

After listening to some ‘Year in Review’ podcasts over the past few days I thought I’d try something similar. So, without further ado, here is my year in running in review!

Overview

It has certainly been a year to remember! I have visited Australia, Germany and the Canary Islands. I’ve competed in more races this year than any year before. My best friend got married and I was the Best Man. I’ve met somebody very special. I saved someone’s life and nearly lost mine in the process. I’ve changed jobs. I had to give up my dog. I narrowly avoided joining the military. I ran my first ultra. I set new PRs at one kilometre, one mile, half marathon and marathon. I finished in the top 10 for the first time at a race and then finished in the top 10 of two more after! I got a spot on the 2015 MDS. I withdrew from the 2015 MDS. I’m learning to drive. I’m learning to teach English as a foreign language…I’m sure I’ve missed something, in fact it is more than likely that I have! It’s been a very busy year!!

Best Race

The Forest Five miler has to be my favourite race this year. It marked the first time I broke the top 10 of any race (finishing 10th) and it was amazing to run a trail race in near perfect conditions. The race is held every year on a Wednesday evening in June and attracts some of the areas best club runners.

Coming in a close second to this has to be my first ultra in August. I finished 8th and was crewed by the wonderful Gabrielle, it was hot and humid and really challenging so not at all like the Forest Five!

Worst Race

The Moor Park 10km was a horrible experience! It was held on an unseasonably hot and humid September morning. Gabrielle and I entered this on a whim the week before and I was looking to use it as a little tune up for the Frankfurt Marathon the following month – as we’d both decided not to take it seriously we ended up going out for a few [too many] drinks the night before and both struggled to finish the race with our heads held high. Still, I managed a respectable 19th place finish and it was great to see Gabrielle sprint all the way to the finish after having such a torrid time out on the course!

Best Moment

This is a difficult one as I secured a spot on the 2015 Marathon des Sables in May but then withdrew in July as I didn’t feel it was financially viable – securing the spot in the first place was amazing and I’ll never forget the initial adrenaline rush and excitement of it! At some point in the future I am sure I’ll throw my hat in the ring for it again.

Aside from the MDS thing, the best moment of the year is probably running the Bupa Westminster Mile with Gabrielle – her first road race and my first ever attempt at the mile flat out in race conditions. We both secured PRs and from there we ran two more races together and Gabrielle entered a few others solo. Every race we’ve been to together I have enjoyed this year so these would be my best moments.

Oh yeah! Running the Frankfurt Marathon on my 31st birthday and finishing with a PR was a pretty sweet moment too!!!

Worst Moment

This.

Favourite Run

I visited Devon and Cornwall in June and fell in love with the place all over again. I used to visit Cornwall every year as a child for family holidays and it had been quite some time (15 years) since my last visit! On Sunday 15th June I decided to go for a run along Woolacombe beach in Devon starting out at Gab’s sisters house 162m above sea level and finishing there again. It was hot, humid and pretty hard going! I covered 13km in 1:12 and ran in dunes, on the beach, on gravel trail and on road. I felt absolutely exhilarated by it and I was gutted the next day when we had to leave and return to the Home Counties…so I ran the trail and tarmac section one last time and did it pretty quickly too – 5.29km in 25:07.

Favourite Kit

I purchased  a pair of Salomon Sense Ultra as soon as I found out I had secured a spot on MDS 2015 and I’m extremely glad I did! They stood up really well in the two races I put them through: The Grim Reaper 40 and the Forest Five miler. They are an awesome pair of trail shoes and I’ve tested them on everything from hard pack dirt to sandy beaches and dunes with no feet problems whatsoever! I ran the Grim Reaper 40 hard and came away from my first ultra with not one single blister!

2014 was also the year I tried out Injinji socks for the first time and there is no way I’ll go back to wearing anything else when it comes to running! They are durable, comfortable and, in my opinion, allow the foot to move around far more naturally inside the toe box of any shoe. I wore lightweight versions through the summer and since November I’ve been wearing midweights – awesome kit.

That’s it from me! 2014 was definitely one to remember and it was hard to boil it down to favourites and bests. I’m hoping 2015 is going to be just as productive, exciting and fun. Keep your eyes peeled as I’ll be posting my ‘2015 Goals & Resolutions’ in the next few days!

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