Today I’m linking up with Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC to share some thoughts on my running in 2016. I first saw this idea in a post from Lucy at Paddle Pedal Pace, then more recently one from my blog friend Jessie at The Right Fits (we linked up on a post earlier this year too) so decided to join in as getting involved with linkups can be good fun and help you to find great new blogs to read. So here we go…
- Best race experience
I actually didn’t race all that much this year thanks to the stress fracture I suffered at the end of 2015. I guess I didn’t want to push my luck, so limited what I entered to make sure it was races I REALLY wanted to do. That said, anyone who knows me well (or has been reading my blog for a while!) will likely guess that I’ll pick the Paris Marathon here. I may not have been at my physical peak for the race, but nothing beats running through the Paris streets, taking in the famous sights and soaking up the atmosphere from beginning to end.
- Best run
At first I thought this was going to be a tough question. Would it be my first parkrun after my injury (a personal worst time-wise but I was just so damn thrilled to be running again that I loved every second!) or one of those beautiful trail runs that Steve has been taking me on in recent weeks? But I’ve decided it has to be that August parkrun which formed part of the I Am Team GB celebrations. Meeting a local Olympic medallist before the run was awesome and inspired me to run my fastest parkrun time of the year. A fantastic running memory!
- Best new piece of running gear
I’m a bit of a running gear addict, so this one is probably a bit trickier, but I think I’m going to choose my new earphones. I love to listen to podcasts when I’m running but finding ways to tuck the cables out of the way can be a bit irritating, so this year I decided to get myself some wireless ones. I tend to only put one of the buds in so I can hear the ambient noise, so that influenced my choice, but as a long-time fan of Yurbuds, I opted for their female-specific wireless version. They’re easy to use, comfortable and the controls are easily accessible. Perfect for me.
- Best running advice you’ve received this year
Take your time. I don’t mean running slowly, but returning to running post-injury. It’s tempting to try and rush straight back to where you were pre-injury (I’ve probably been guilty of this in the past) so when the time came to start reintroducing running once my stress fracture had healed, I listened VERY carefully to the sage advice of my podiatrist. I put my super-sensible head on and when I wasn’t happy that I was fully ready to run, backed right off for another couple of weeks. I then followed his plan to the letter and made a gradual return to running. It’s now more than a year since I suffered that injury and so far so good!
- Most inspirational runner
I’m inspired by so many different people from the elites, to the everyday athlete. Often, it’s those everyday people just striving to do their best that are the most inspirational, so that’s the sort of runner I want to choose. It’s also really important to me to choose a female runner for this particular answer, so it has to be Sarah Williams from Tough Girl Challenges. I’ve written before about how much I love her podcast, filled with inspiring women taking on incredible challenges, and this forms the motivation for my midweek runs. But Sarah herself is a real inspiration, quitting her 9-5 city job to do something she truly loves and which can make a real difference. This year she ran the Marathon des Sables having come back from some health issues which had caused her to defer her place from last year and I loved following her journey. I’ve never met Sarah, but from chatting to her online and listening to her on the podcast every week, I kind of feel like I know her (hopefully that doesn’t make me sound like a creepy stalker!) and am definitely inspired by her.
- Favourite picture from a run or race this year
Without a doubt, it has to be this one from the finishing straight in Paris. Looking at this always brings a smile to my face as I’m quite clearly loving the experience, even though I wasn’t able to train as much as I would have liked to do the race justice. A great reminder that running does not always have to be about being the best but about having the best time!
- Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat
Hmmm. There are a few options here. I was tempted to pick the Paris Breakfast Run, but it’s not technically a race, so I’m going to pick the Caped Crusader 5k. This was a small, newish race I took part in when I was in Florida and am picking it a) because it’s a great memory from our Florida trip and b) because the small nature of the race meant that I got a really great finish position – 2nd female and 9th place overall! Probably one of my best racing achievements (and the main reason for picking this one over my other Florida race experience this year).
- If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
New discoveries. I finally started going to yoga (which I love), tried out some trail running (love that too) and actually listened to my body properly, backing off when I had to. Hopefully this has all made me a stronger runner as we head into 2017…
Phew! What a lot of great running memories. Despite a late start to my running this year I’ve still crammed in a lot and had a blast running, blogging and connecting with people. I wonder what 2017 has in store?
Fancy joining in? All the easy peasy instructions are here. Enjoy!