If? (an exceedingly good question)

“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;”

It is time for the obligatory review of 2013 post. For me 2013 has been a year of two halves to pinch a football cliche.

The first half of the year saw me achieve my two biggest running goals: to take part in the Boston Marathon and the West Highland Way Race. Plenty of words have been written about both of these events so I won’t repeat them here, except to say that I am truly honoured and humbled to have taken part in both of these unique and inspiring races.

The second half of the year has been a complete washout. An achilles injury just two weeks after completing the West Highland Way has restricted me to next to no running for 5 long frustrating months.

My running improved a little this year – I managed a new PB for the Half Marathon, but apart from that, despite good training,  my racing performances were on the whole a wee bit disappointing.

Overall 2013 has been a year of learning. Learning a bit more about myself, about what things do and don’t work, about my strengths and weaknesses.  2013 has also been a year of watching a whole load of friends achieve amazing things. Probably too many to mention, but watching Helen run her Devil O’ The Highlands race in horrendous conditions and then run 50 miles in the Glenmore 12 hour race have been particular highlights. Biggest lesson I suppose is that running, like life, has ups and downs so to paraphrase Mr Kipling’s quote at the start of this post, MTFU and get over it.

My running hero of 2013? Lots of amazing performances, people running fast, people running long, but my running hero of 2103 is Andrew Moodie. Andrew is a stalwart of Falkirk parkrun, who just gets out there and gets it done time after time in his own quiet unassuming way.  He offers heartfelt, genuine support to anyone trying to get started with running. Despite his self deprecating claims of being an “auld fat man” (and his weight loss story is inspiring) he has run over 1300 miles this year which is a fantastic achievement especially considering how hard he works in the day job.

I will go into 2014 nervously. As always,  ambitious plans are afoot.  No point in putting them off, “you’re a lang time deid” as they say.  However this time I go in with an achilles which still isnt healed properly so I will need to learn to be patient and very specific with my training.  My first goal for the year is to return to Boston and run well.  I have a lot of weight to lose and a lot of training to do if I am to line up in Hopkinton on Patriots Day and run in a way which honours the race in what will be a very special race coming one year after the bombings.  I am fearful that my achilles will impede my training so my biggest challenge will be staying healthy and uninjured. Next up are goals of running well at the Cateran 55 mile race and the 72 miles of  the Great Glen Ultra. There are one or two other plans being hatched but they can wait until they are confirmed before I share them.

Why do I keep doing this? After all I am only a decidedly average runner and it doesn’t get any easier.  The answer to that question gets clearer each year. I run to scare myself, to hurt, to improve, to overcome adversity, to explore wild places and be rewarded with views and experiences which have to be earned.  I run to allow me to stand on a start line knowing that the only thing which will get me to the finish is my strength of mind and body.  Not digital, not virtual but a reality that can’t be manufactured.  That and the ability to drink beer with nice like minded dafties.

Will I succeed in the challenges lined up for 2014?  We shall see…….

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