Well. 2019. What a year of ups and downs. We started off with a breathless 10k in Stratford and ended it quaffing beer while running two circuits around Wimbledon park. Not too many ups there I suppose, but the middle of the year saw us striding across the hills around Edinburgh, the Isle of Arran, Snowdon, the South Downs, Liege in Belgium and…um….Benfleet in Essex.
So what have we learned? Not much personally. My Garmin says I’ve run around 1,300 kilometres this year with a total elevation gain of 15,387 metres. However, I’m not that much quicker and I haven’t really lost that much weight; and the weight I did lose wasn’t from running!
However, we have had a great time doing it. Which is what counts really.
So what were our favourite moments? Finishing any race always releases a huge high. Especially the longer and more challenging ones. Sometimes there are also specific moments that transcend the race itself. Below are some highlights, but there are many more:
- The moment I realised I could make peanut butter & jam sandwiches at the first rest stop on the Ultra Tour of Arran.
- The moment I finished the Ultra Tour of Arran.
- Both Craft Half-Marathons round Wimbledon Park.
- Man vs. Mountain at Snowdon where a number of Hen Parties (?!) cheered our descent down the Llanberis Path.
- When a fellow runner ascended the 374 stairs at the Montagne de Beuren in Liege (see below) dressed as Thunderbird One. Well, a five-metre replica made from cardboard.
- The entirety of the Beer Lover’s Marathon in Belgium.
- Watching all the fit runners pass by as they made their way through a double lap of the Dirty Weekend obstacle course. Well deserved applause.
- Running over Morecombe Bay at low tide as a visible new weather front rushed in. The mist obscured everything apart from the petrified river bed before it started raining sideways. Surprisingly invigorating.
A mixture here. Most of these really came from mistakes we made, from poor preparation to dodgy nutrition strategies and just being tired.
- Vanguard marathon. Who’d have thought Croydon would be close to so many hills!? Well, anyone with a map. Never underestimate a race.
- That time I was scrambling on the Ultra Tour of Arran and managed to face plant upwards into a rock. Somehow.
- The two times I slipped acrobatically and landed on my rear end in front of other appreciative runners (Ultra Tour of Edinburgh & Deer Stalker).
- When energy gels suddenly became my gut’s worst enemy midway through the Tring Ultra-Marathon.
- When we had to drop down to the half-marathon distance during the Steyning Stinger (I blame Storm Gareth!).
Worst Bonking Moments (keep your mind out the gutters!)
A special ‘worst moment’ category here. For those not in the know, bonking is that awful feeling you get circa two plus hours into a run and suddenly you can’t take another step. Like someone has reached inside and pulled out all the happiness. There are more scientific ways of phrasing this of course, but that’s how it feels to me.
- The second pit stop at the Ultra Tour of Edinburgh.
- Every pit stop at Man Vs Coast.
- The second steep climb during Man Vs Lakes.
Thankfully each time I managed to miraculously recover by stuffing my face and I learned to pre-emptively eat something before a particularly strenuous climb appeared. Maybe that’s why I haven’t lost any weight!
Anyway, here’s to 2020!