My New Years Eve review of 2012

What’s happened this year? Well for starters, it’s passed by in a blur. I know we all say that every year, but I’ve felt it even more so this year. So much so that I seem to be able to remember events of 2011 clearer than those of 2012. Looking back on my running is making me feel a little blue because I have finished the year with fewer miles under my belt and have lost what little pace I picked up in 2011. However…

I did complete the whole of Janathon. Again it was mostly cold and dark.

Janathon sheep - predicted to occur again within the first two days of Janathon 2013

Janathon sheep – predicted to occur again within the first two days of Janathon 2013

At the end of 2011 I had knitted half a sock. By September 2012, I had knitted a whole sock and had cast on another sock. I am proud to announce that at the end of the year I now have one and half socks. One day I hope to have a complete pair.

75% of a pair of socks. Or one sock and a very short leg warmer.

I also made a last ditch attempt to learn crochet before I ran out of year. I am no further along in learning to crochet since I wrote about that. In fact I have accepted that this is probably a sign that I’m not that bothered about learning to crochet. I am a knitter. I need two sticks to be happy.

2012 also saw me running more races than ever – I did the Age UK Wrap Up and Run 10k at Southport, the Bolton 10k, the Badger 10k, the inaugural Port Sunlight 10k and the Royal Parks Half. Crikey. That’s more than double the number of races that I did in 2011, which is something to be chuffed about.

10k penguin

10k penguin

Looking back, I remember that I joined a gym and was going quite regularly until we went on holiday and I haven’t been since. I should really go again. It is warmer than the outside and I don’t have to dive behind a bush if I need a wee.

Oh, and I did my treasure hunt for Juneathon. I loved doing this and it made me very giddy.

Athon barbecue and camping - well worth the previous 30 days effort

Athon barbecue and camping – well worth the previous 30 days effort

So what will 2013 have in store? I’m not setting any grand resolutions, but I do have an ever growing list of stuff to do in 2013… The year will kick off with another Athon (of course) and after that we shall see where the wind takes me… During last year’s Janathon I entered the ballot for the Royal Parks Half and was quite unsure whether or not I wanted to be selected. Now that I’ve done it once, I’d like to do it again and would be a little bit disappointed if my name wasn’t drawn out of the hat. Inevitably this means I will not get a place.

After the Royal Parks, I rashly decided to do a spring half and had been eyeing up the Blackpool Half. However, I’m already questioning the wisdom of this and will either weasel out of the whole enterprise or choose another spring race, probably miles away from home. I suspect that there will also be a couple of 10ks – I think I’d like to run Bolton and a Badger again, and I’m getting good vibes about another in Southport (I pick races on whether they give me a warm fuzzy feeling of excitement and joy).

This year’s new craft is going to be machine embroidery – I am booked on a course and everything. I may also try to deal with some of the more excessive corners of my wool stash. Or I may just add to them. It’s one or the other.

Oh, and I think I’d like to swim a bit too. I actually swam four times this year. Not in any kind of dolphin-like way, more of a splashy-don’t-worry-I’m-not-drowning kind of way (sometimes just floating around clutching a noodle) but I quite fancy doing a bit more.

Thank you for visiting and reading my ramblings this year – it really is appreciated – and I wish you all a very happy, fulfilled New Year.

My New Year’s Eve review of 2011

It’s that time of year again when we all look back, reflect on the previous twelve months, feel slightly inadequate and make all sorts of rash promises for the New Year. Going back to my first post of Janathon 2011, I had been a bit of a slacker on the running front and mostly reflected on my knitting goals for 2010. Most of these have been on a rolling programme since 2009. The beautiful but barely started throw remains beautiful, but barely started, my wool stash has grown and remains chaotic, the felted bag hasn’t been knitted, let alone felted…. I have however, finally, started to knit a sock.

I took this photo months ago. It's not really come on a lot since then.

Learning crochet was also on the rollover list. Until Boxing Day. Yes, on Boxing Day night, I decided that if I didn’t have a go right that minute then I would be sitting here in December 2012 saying that I still haven’t learned to crochet. Alright, so my attempts so far aren’t brilliant, but they do show progress and it’s the furthest that I’ve ever got with a crochet hook. I’ve pencilled in a trip been to the wool shop to get some advice and a book today – but if anyone in my woolly/running crossover has any ideas for a good beginners project (I’m rubbish at just making sample squares to practise) then please let me know!

That's progress that is.

Anyway, that’s wool not running. I did make one running related resolution last year and I kept to it, I just didn’t admit it to anyone other than Ginge because it’s a bit shameful. For the last year, I have undone my laces every time that I finished a run instead of just scuffing off my trainers by the heels. I’m 32, I shouldn’t be proud of this.

Moving swiftly on, what did I do this year? Well, in January I amazed myself my completing 31/31 in Janathon. It was mostly cold and dark, but it kickstarted the most regular spell of running that I have ever done because it showed me that often the only thing stopping me from running is me.

On a cold and frosty morning

In February, I decided to run the length of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal. In the end, logistics got the better of me and I only ran the Lancashire side. Still, that was unexpected and it gives me something to do next year.

The start of our canal adventure

In March, I learned how to felt. Nothing to do with running, but on our way home I did spot some runners participating in what turned out to be the Gin Pit Marathon. Now, for everyone who has ever run a marathon outside this nation’s capital city, only to be faced with friends and family who consider London to be the only marathon (the rest are all shorter, obviously) the Gin Pit Marathon is possibly the ultimate anti-London marathon.  There are two races on run on Saturday and Sunday, you can run either or both, each has a maximum of 30 competitors. Oh, and you need a map. No cheering crowds, no live music, no smiley marshalls. Just you and the pavement (and your map). I know that I couldn’t do that.

Woolly goodness

Then came April, where I mostly overheated. I bought a hat. It continues to look ridiculous on me, but became an essential part of kit in September.

Blue skies and sunshine

May. Ah, May. When I ran in Central Park. Enough said.

The Central Park reservoir running track

It was inevitable, but June brought Juneathon. I did 30/30 and my running felt brilliant. I really enjoyed it.

Just what you need during An Athon

And then came July, when I came crashing back down to earth and struggled to put one foot in front of the other because of an irritable iliotibial band that gave me excruciating pain in my hip and knee. I found myself a physio, bought a foam roller and embraced other ways of seeing the Leeds-Liverpool canal.

Now that's the way to do it

In August, the country was rioting, it was my birthday (celebrated by running along the Wigan flight of locks – I know how to party) and the Athon community mourned Paula Butler, who died suddenly when out running. I’ve only just seen this, but her family have set up a donation page in her memory which is here if anyone wants to contribute.

Canals have certainly featured heavily this year

September saw me complete the Blackpool Illuminations 10k and the Folkestone Half Marathon. This doubled the number of races that I ran in 2010. Despite my erratic training, I took 6 minutes off my previous 10k time and am now determined to have a sub-hour 10k this year. Folkestone was a somewhat tougher proposition as I was defeated by heat (despite my hat) but it hasn’t put me off doing another one.

The Kent Police Band welcoming us across the finish

I had another first in October, getting my lovely new trail shoes lovely and and muddy.

Mud.

I lost my mojo a bit in November, but Ginge and I did take our trainers to Conwy and we ran round the castle.

Viking!

And so to December. It’s been cold, wet and miserable. My training’s gone a bit erratic again. I’ve decided to do the Liverpool Half in March so I’ll have to get my arse in gear soon. Luckily, as of tomorrow, I’ll have no excuse because it’s the start of Janathon.

2010 – 429.57 miles
2011 – 706.87 miles

HAPPY NEW YEAR!