I won't bore you with a blow-by-blow account of our trip to Holland but it has not stopped being full-on. The kids are excited, my father is ill (bronchitis - bad timing but I remember that one myself from last Christmas), it is my son's birthday on the 27th and my mother's on the 28th - a fairly relentless couple of days. Little room for reflection! Still - I managed to get some runs in - I twice ran a 5 miler and on boxing day I ran a 7 miler which was part of a 10 miler I ran / biked with my husband. He biked alongside me for 7 miles and ran 3 and I did it the other way round. Great fun! Then yesterday I squeezed out a very ugly 4.8 miler - I was tired and my lifestyle choices have not been, shall we say, optimal for running. I can feel that..
However, I am still, despite all other demands and distractions, working on the opposite of me. While my career plans have changed somehow the exercise proved so useful - I have ended up with a much clearer idea of what my job is and should be and have, for the first time, communicated very clearly with my boss. (Generally, in life, I like other people to guess how I am feeling and to, magically, respond as I would like them to. A fairly unsucessful strategy). I feel far less burdened down by it all and I am looking forward to some of the big projects ahead in the New year, work-wise. So, insofar as going with the opposite of me means trying to break some bad habits, I'm going to carry on with this in the New Year. Starting now.
I am not very good at reflecting on myself or the past. Instead I fill up my life so much that often it is all I can do to keep on life's treadmill and not fall off. Looking back never happens. And while there are advantages to that attitude, I think I miss the opportunity to learn from my mistakes and successes. So - let's finish this year with reflecting on 2008.
This year's worst running moments:
- no doubt, the worst was being injured at the beginning of the year. Looking back at my approach to it (hitting it from all sides with physios, podiatrists, massages and osteopaths) I think I might have benefited from looking at previous injury strategies. Had I done that, and gone straight to the osteopath who helped me in the past, I would have saved myself a lot of time and money. Lesson learned. At the moment I am seeing him once every 3 weeks not so much because my knees hurt but more to maintain some looseness as my mileage increases.
- and that's it really for bad running moments - there were some awful, horrible, hard runs, there were some runs I didn't complete, there were runs where I was just thrilled that it was over - but overall running has continued to be my saving in the middle of my life.
- meeting Maritza and Jen for a run in California in April of this year. They are both wonderful people and I really felt like I was meeting friends I had never met. We had a great run despite Jen just having finished the Boston Marathon and had a delicious brunch afterwards. I look forward to hosting them when they come and see me in the UK!
- Meeting all my running buddies in Chicago for our wonderful blogging buddy meet-up there. While none of us ran the race we wanted to race, I will never regret or forget meeting up with Charlie, Melissa and Maddy - what a wonderful experience! Every one of them an inspiration and a friend. Again - come run a race with me in the UK!
- And all the great runs in between and after these races - the runs in the rain with my speedy-quick buddy Sally, the runs with my mother when she came to see me, the runs with my husband, the long runs on my own where I started off with a head full of stuff and came back happy and empty.
So let's head into goals for 2009:
- At ShirleyPerly's advice I have set my goal first and then picked the race. My goal is - dum dum duuummm - to run a sub 4hr marathon. Ambitious yes. Impossible - well I guess I'm going to have to find out. I ran 4:12 in Amsterdam in 2007 and I think I can run faster with different training;
- Change my training schedules - while Uncle Hal has been great for the past few years I think he and I have reached an impasse - I'm not going to progress much now - and I need a new, fresh schedule and some speedwork to move to the next level. I am still trying to decide between the Runnersworld sub 4 hr schedule and the Pfitz sub 55 mile 18 weeker. While I'm a bit late for that last one - it's 17 weeks today until London - I'm going to decide in the next few days or so and will just have to jump into week 2 if I pick the Pfitz. Views?
- Run more races. I am intending to run some races in my London training and have also already signed up for the White Peak half marathon in May which Drusy will be running. I am still looking for an autumn marathon - I am thinking maybe Portland or the Bizz Johnson - any thoughts anyone? Anyone running either of these or have another autumn suggestion?
- Eat better. Hey I had to put that one in there. The past few weeks have not been weeks of smart food choice weeks and I can feel the effect on my running and waistline. I am ready to grab myself by the scruff of the neck and sort this one out. So bring on January - I'm going to do this.
- Oh - and how could I forget - meet more running bloggers. Consider yourself invited!