That was the year that was

2012 wasn’t a bad running year. That is a very Scottish way of describing it I suppose. If I was North American I would be whooping it up saying that was a great running year. But I am Scottish, which means that I am of the ilk that says we are a’ Jock Tamson’s bairns; you were not put on this earth to enjoy yourselves and most damningly A kent his faither….

My PBs
My PBs

However I digress, 2012 hasn’t been bad. I have made progress, in that I have a new set of PBs at all distances which I suppose isn’t too bad. Didn’t get some of the more extreme secret goals, but hopefully can get closer to them next year.

January and February were spent training for the Highland Fling, so it was long miles and building a base. I also spent a lot of time in the gym with some personal training and programmes designed by John and Pamela at Pinpoint Fitness. This probably made more difference to my running performances than all my training as I not only became much fitter and stronger but also lost about 10lbs in weight which obviously makes running a lot easier.

parisMarch was a wee trip to Paris for the Paris Half Marathon. This is a nice wee race which is well organised and takes in some of the sights in the east end of the city.  Paris was followed up a couple of weeks later by our local race the Alloa Half where I got a big PB and got under the magic 1:30 barrier which I didnt really think was achievable without a leg transplant.

April was about the Lochaber Marathon and the Highland Fling. Lochaber went really well, I paced the race sensibly for a change instead of my usual over-enthusiastic start, and it came good. Got home in 3:22 which was not only an 8 minute PB but was also my much sought after Boston qualifier.

Lochaber Marathon
Lochaber Marathon

I had chased the Boston qualifying time of 3:30 for a few years and then just when I was getting close they tightened up the standards and moved my age group to 3:25 –  bastards! Funny that after all the years of chasing the time, when I finally got there it was almost an anti climax. I was more interested in how I ran and how I could see opportunities for going faster in future.

Highland Fling finish
Highland Fling finish

The Highland Fling was amazing.  Coming only two weeks after Lochaber and having got carried away there, my legs hadn’t fully recovered.  By Rowardennan at 26 miles I was absolutely knackered. But the most amazing thing happened. I hauled myself out of Rowardennan and slowly but surely got stronger and stronger until I finished relatively full of beans in just over 12 hours, a wee bit slower than I had hoped for but I felt so good at having run 53 miles and finishing strongly that even I couldnt find anything to grumble about.

May was injury month. Various niggles kept me off the roads, though we did manage a nice trip to Brussels for the Jazz Marathon which involves lots of Jazz, lots of beer and the Brussels 20K race. This is a really good race, though a combination of the beer and the niggles mean that my 20K PB is about 5 minutes slower than my half marathon PB.

June was back into training but not quickly enough to be able to do the Lakeland Trails marathon which I had entered.  As always June brings the Men’s Health 10K and a group from work always have a bash at this. The guys and girls from team Runtime Error (yes we all work in ICT) have been really inspiring in there efforts since starting running last year.

the Bar Steward
the Bar Steward

July brought the Clyde Stride and the duel in the sun with the bar steward McGonnell. To explain, some folks from Falkirk Parkrun were running as a relay team and in a moment of bravado I had challenged them to a race. I held a reasonable lead through legs 1 and 2, but George Furmage ran a stonking third leg to catch up and then Paul set off like a bat out of hell on the fourth leg to nip past me. Every time I caught him he was off again, even employing unfair tactics like overtaking me while I was watering the undergrowth. I eventually passed him for the final time with 3 miles to go but it was a great race.

August and September were marathon training, building up to the races in October. The big event in September was entry to Boston opening. A number of friends were also entered. The tension was almost unbearable as we waited to find out if we would get a place or not.  Finally the email came in and facebook almost exploded with excitement as we all got our places.

Boston Entry
Boston Entry

So next April it will be nice to meet up with my Canadian running friends as well as James and Tricia from over the border to tackle Heartbreak Hill. September was also niggly injury month so I had to cut back training a wee bit and made the difficult decision not to run the Loch Ness marathon.

Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls

October was marathon month. A great trip to Canada for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, a race which is dear to Helen and I as it was where it really all started for us and where we met a great bunch of friends whom we still run with today.  The race itself was a wee bit disappointing in that I didnt quite get the time I was looking for, but I did go under 3:30 for only the second time ever.  7 days later we lined up in Buffalo, USA to run to Canada in the Niagara Falls marathon. Niagara Falls is a really scenic race through the Nagara parkway finishing in front of the Falls.  I was still only 5 minutes slower than I had been in Toronto the week before. There was also a cheeky Parkrun PB of 19:22 at Strathclyde as well.

November was downtime, though I did get a new 10K PB at the Jimmy Irvine race in Glasgow.  November was however all about making the commitment to entering the West Highland Way race next June. So the entry went in and then there was the wait until December.

Santa Dash
Santa Dash

December brought the marvellous marcothon, and a second frantic facebook night as the entries were confirmed for the WHW race. It then followed up with my favourite picture of the year –  Helen and I finishing the Santa Dash in Glasgow – we were even syndicated on this one so the picture ended up all round the world! Even more bizarrely December brought another PB for 10K at the Ayr Turkey Trot on Boxing Day which just shouldnt be possible with all that Turkey and wine inside you.

makes it all worthwhile
makes it all worthwhile

So that is 2012. Good running and lots of great support in various online groups this year. A total of 1807 miles for the year and 287 hours spent running. I suspect I have probably spent just as much time reading or talking about it as well. Some things have gone well others not so well but that is running.   I am another year down the line and have run further and faster than ever before.  I still don’t think I have run as fast or as far as I could, so naturally next year I am going to try to go even further and even faster.

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