Friday, 31 December 2010

New Year Resolutions for 2011

Here we go again. New Year's resolutions. We pledge to be better this year, to miraculously cease addictions, stretch more, eat right and to single-handedly bring about world peace. At the stroke of midnight we will all morph into our ideal selves until the double chocolate banana fudge cake gets passed around.

The Brown Willy Run 2010

I'll be missing the Brown Willy Run tomorrow, a hilly 7 miler from the Jamaica Inn to the top of Brown Willy Tor and back. New Year's Day won't be the same without crashing through icy fields in the freezing wind with 200 other like-minded nutters. It's a great hangover cure too, that and a huge cooked breakfast or roast dinner after!

To me, the 1st of January is always brimming with expectant hope, full of yet to be discovered possibilities and other good things for the year ahead. But then again, so is the start of every week - I choose Sundays ... Mondays require far more motivation. Come to think of it .. each new day has the same potential.

So why limit yourself to making resolutions once a year? Make one everyday .. it doesn't have to be life-changing, but it should make you smile.

Today I resolve to smile at everyone I meet during my run. The locals here can be proper grumps when it comes to greeting a fellow runner. I think they worry the eye contact will be misconstrued as an invitation to sell them insurance or something.

What about my 2011 resolutions? I'm keeping it simple.

Go to church.
Work hard.
Train harder.
Eat right.
Laugh as much as possible.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Thursday, 30 December 2010

What are you running from?

2010 has been a very eventful year indeed. Life changing decisions have been made with a lot of tears, balanced by an even greater quantity of laughter. Fresh starts, renewed hope, faith, and a hell of a lot of running. I have so much to be grateful for this year.

It has been a year of firsts for me. Some of the milestones: my first 100km, first 100 miler and the first time I tried oysters instead of just deciding I didn't like them. As it turns out, I like all of the above!

All year, the common question that I kept being asked was "What are you running from?". The distances I was covering each week averaged 80-100 miles and a lot of non-runners I met couldn't relate to that. It was a question I had time to ponder during all the time I spent pounding the trails and pavements. What was I running from?

As I said, it's been a very eventful year. Running was initially an escape, a stolen hour or two where tangled thoughts could be teased out and yes, I was trying to run away from my troubles. I found some answers during my runs, but mostly I concentrated on taking control of the pain and fatigue. Short runs became long ones, and the challenge of 10k and 10 mile races became half-marathons and longer. Each long run challenges me and forces me to be honest with myself. I might be able to fake it through a 10k or even a marathon, but over 100km and 100 miles, there's no place to hide. I realise this is what drives me. The need to be in control, to be constantly challenged, and to have lofty goals to aspire to. Time to get back in the driver's seat.

Running the distances I did was cathartic. Almost every run culminated in a little more clarity, and a little more understanding. Not just for the deep, dark swirly pool of thoughts, but for the simpler things too. A long overdue return to faith, private conversations with God I thought I'd forgotten how to have. Feeling uplifted because I'd seen a tiny dormouse scurry across the trail. Appreciating the small details.

In training for the GNW 100 miler, I learnt a lot about myself. I don't run with music, and this forces me to concentrate on what I'm doing and where I'm going. Also because I'm a complete klutz and would a) fall over, b) get lost, c)get run over, d) all of the above, quite easily without any extra help. No scars, no proof! The absence of music as a distraction lets running emerge in it's simplest form. It strips away all the layers that are put on for the benefit of everyone else and forces me to confront myself, warts and all. The further I run, the closer I get to this. It's not always pretty, but it usually ends up feeling pretty good.

So in response to the many who have asked: What am I running from?
It turns out .. nothing. I'm running for the sheer joy it gives me (yes, that grimace you see is actually one of unbridled happiness), and because it keeps me honest. That, and I love food so much that I really will be Fat Bird if I didn't run. :)

So as we teeter on the brink of a new year, have a think about it. What are you running from?

2010 - A year in races

A list of the runs and races I did in 2010, with timings and placings.

Huge thanks to SDPE International for the very generous sponsorship of Under Armour kit and special supplies from the US, Winstech Engineering for their generous support, Jin - my local race entry sponsor, and my fabulous family and friends for their cheerleading efforts and disbelief at how far I run.

01.01.2010 - Brown Willy Run (7.29 miles trail) 1:19:40
No placings.

07.03.2010 - The Grizzly (20.02 miles trail) 3:41:54
Overall 486th out of 1492, Women's 61st out of 401

21.03.2010 - 5 Tors Run (10.25 miles trail) 1:40:48
Overall 71st out of 142, Women's 10th out of 43

22.05.2010 - Passion Run (25km road) 2:12:56
Women's 3rd out of 437

29.05.2010 - Sundown Half-Marathon (13.02 miles road)
29.05.2010 - Sundown Marathon (26.2 miles road)
Done as training runs on someone else's bibs!

13.06.2010 - Mt Faber 10k (10km road) 0:49:26
Women's 11th

24.07.2010 - SHAPE Women's 10k (10km road) 0:44:54
Overall 9th out of 4186

12.09.2010 - SAFRA Army Half Marathon (13.02 miles road) 1:41:42
Women's Closed 13th out of 589

25.09.2010 - MOE Olive Run (10km road) 0:43:50
Women's 1st out of 49

09.10.2010 - The North Face 100 (100km trail) 13:25:39
Overall 4th out of 28

31.10.2010 - Great eastern Women's 10k (10km road) 0:42:44
Overall 10th out of 4227

13/14.11.2010 - Great North Walk 100s (100 mile trail) 34:59:20
Overall 23rd out of 66

05.12.2010 - Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (26.2 miles) 3:24:20
Women's overall 12th out of 2440
Women's Close 3rd
Women's Veteran 1st

Just under 1700 miles logged for the year, several toenails, and a whole lot of Endurox R4!
Also grateful thanks to Marnie and Anders who have put up with many hours of my endless chatter when running, and BB for the excellent post-race recovery program and supervision. Thank you! :)
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