2014 was not the best year for running for me. I went into the year with so many plans and aspirations and nothing came of them. Why? Injury, and right at the beginning of the year too.
It all began in January. It was a fine sunny morning and I found myself in San Francisco again. I woke up on the morning of the 21st and headed down to the Embarcadero for my scheduled interval session - 6x 800m with 400m recovery. These turned out to be quite tough due to jetlag and not eating breakfast. It was however during one of the intervals that I went over on my right ankle. I thought nothing of it and jogged it off as you normally do. Things were a little tender on the next few runs but I managed to get through a few easy runs. Then on the plane home my ankle blew up and the pain set in. This took me out of running for pretty much the next few months and being the anxious and eager runner I am, I probably attempted to run each time sooner than I really should have.
As a result I ended up pulling out of the Shakespeare and Giant's Head marathons, both of which I'd paid for in advance, and only ran two races, excluding parkruns, all year. I took part in the Ragnar Napa Valley relay (reminds me, I still need to finish this post) with eleven of my colleagues and the Bournemouth Marathon, both of which went a lot better than I expected. The only redeeming thing is the Wokingham half marathon was cancelled due to flooding so I didn't miss out on that.
Thankfully my ankle has held out for the last part of the year so I've managed to get in quite a bit of training towards the end of the year. I've also worked out what is likely to have caused me going over on my ankle… I've worked out that when I run slowly on my easy runs, I have a tendency to over-relax my ankles. This seems to lead to instability which in turn triggers the pain on the outside of my right leg. Concentrating on landing on the balls of my feet without overly relaxing my ankles seems to do the trick and has allowed me to keep going.
It's not all doom and gloom though. Thanks to work, I've been lucky enough to run several times in San Francisco, including right the way through Golden Gate Park to the ocean and back again and along the Coastal Trail from Golden Gate Bridge to Golden Gate Park, Amsterdam and I also found myself in Vegas so run The Strip from the Wynn hotel right down to the famous Welcome to Las Vegas sign.
Despite not being able to run much in the early part of the year, I have managed to keep living a mostly carb-free life and am still enjoying the benefits and the way I feel. I definitely notice when I've been eating processed carbs, especially sugar, and continue to try and avoid them. I'm flexible though as it's not always possible and desired given all the travelling I've been doing.
What's on the Cards for 2015?
London Marathon in under 2:50 I have a "Good for Age" place based on my Abingdon Marathon time from 2013 so will be using the first part of the year to build up for it. A sub-2:45 would be amazing, but given the number of people and the route, I suspect I may not get this so I've got another goal of dipping under 2:50. We'll see if that happens.
50 parkrun milestone This shouldn't be too hard to get this year as I've only got 3 more to go, but more importantly, I plan to do more parkruns "just as a run" rather than treat them as mini-races or speed sessions like I used to do.
Rally my colleagues to run the Ragnar Napa Relay again This was such a great event that it would be insane not to do it again.
🔨 those PBs I'm fast approaching 40 so will soon have to accept I'll never be fast again and will have to settle for "Fast for age PBs".
Keep up the LCHF lifestyle This is proving to be the right thing for me. The only real change I plan to make is cut down on the beer and drink more cider instead.
So that's 2014 in a quick summary. A very disappointing year for running. Hopefully 2015 will be much better and a lot more like 2013.