Running Reflections

MorningSunIt’s the time of the year when it can seem that almost everyone is blogging about resolutions and reflecting on the departing year. It’s a natural final step to the year, signing off the end of a chapter before moving on to the next one. Plan, do, reflect, conclude, repeat. It’s how we improve as human beings, constantly searching for improvement in ourselves and consciously or unconsciously aiming to become a better, more efficient version of our self.

My life is not in the place I had planned for it to be in right now. I planned my path carefully and sensibly, or so I thought, and I was running solidly along that path looking at the finish line when I suddenly seemed to fall through a manhole on the road. Scary in the dark, in an unknown place. But as Alfred said to Batman, “Why do we fall Bruce? So we learn to pick ourselves back up.” I’m not Batman (or at least not that I’m telling you 😉) and I’m not back up yet. But I am learning and I am seeing the world from a different place and that, in my opinion, is only ever a good thing.

On a happier note, I set some running goals last year, with the overarching goal being to enjoy it more and just to basically just do what I liked. Running is my escape and my time to have fun, where nothing all else matters and I was damned if I was going to let myself drift into a headspace where pace, time goals and disappointing marathon times reigned supreme. I’ve always been sporty so I’d be lying if I said that the competitive side of me didn’t find this a challenge but after a while I just kind of fell into being more laid back while out on a run. And yes, I really did start to enjoy it more and can honestly say I have enjoyed the last year of running more than any other year.

The irony ? Being more laid back on my runs has had an impact on my race times and in the past year, I’ve PBed over every distance. Happiness makes me faster, faster makes me happier. It’ a good circle, but it’s more of a by-the-way, rather than what determines running for me now.

Oh, I also ran up a list of resolutions last new year,  most of which didn’t happen but for the few that did, the list proved to be worthy of the ink. Yes, new year’s resolution lists are cliché, trite and usually forgotten about after a week but there’s nothing to lose by doing one so why not?

My running goals for 2015 looked like this:

Distance : Current PB v 2015 Goal (pace)

5km : 22.54 v 22.40 (7.18 mins / mile)Did this: 22.35 (7.16 per mile) Sept 15     5 Miles: 41.41 v sub 40 (8 mins / mile) Did this: 39.11 (7.44 per mile) 27.6.15
10km : 51.35 v 50.00 (8.02 mins/ mile) Did this: 47.57 (7.43 per mile) 1.6.15
10 Mile : 1.27.07 v 1.25 (8.30 min/mile) Did this: 1.23.07 (8.19 /mile) 22.8.15
Half-Marathon: 1.51.59 (Dublin Half-Marathon) v 1.50 (8.23 mins/ mile)     Did this: 1.49.15 (8.14 / mile) 19.9.15
Marathon: 4.05.35 (2013 Dublin Marathon) v 4.00 (9.08 mins/mile)               Did this: 3.58.35 (8.56 per mile) 11.7.1 and again… 3:50:54 (8.49/ mile) 26.10.15

I love enjoying running again and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, not even a 2 hour marathon time. So for the new year, Mr 2016, my goal is simple: to continue to enjoy running as much as I can and discover new ways to enjoy it more. Trail running, forest runs, maybe an ultra… the possibilities are all out there waiting to be discovered and it sure is exciting.

HAPPY NEW YEAR one and all and best of luck for 2016.

It’s never as dark as you think.

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