Today it is one year since I completed the slightly mad challenge of running 12 half marathons in 12 months. Here are my two sentence race reviews and ten things I’ve learned.
September 2014 – Robin Hood Half Marathon, Nottingham
“The one that nearly got away.” My worst race experience to date but with a personal best time. (Read more in Good race, bad race)
October 2014 – BUPA Birmingham Great Run
Lined up at the start with my sister and more than 14 thousand other runners. Saw some elite athletes coming the other way at a loop back point.
November 2014 – Inaugural Beacon Trail Half Marathon, Leicestershire
Found out that I love running downhill fast. 1,500 feet of ascent but no views due to mist.
December 2014 – Keyworth Turkey Trot, Nottinghamshire
Loved the undulating countryside course. Tried not to cry at the finish when I saw my time on the clock: a personal best by nearly 4 minutes and club silver standard time for V50.
January 2015 – no half marathon races near Nottingham
February 2015 – Caythorpe Dash Half Marathon, Lincolnshire
Wide Lincolnshire skies, fields, tracks and lots of stiles. Bread and butter pudding in the club house afterwards.
March 2015 – Loughborough Half Marathon, Leicestershire
Running on pavements is not a road race. Nice to run with friends although our attempt at pacing didn’t work.
April 2015 – Belvoir Half Marathon, Leicestershire
Definitely the windiest race I’ve ever done. The “hills” were small but felt huge.
May 2015 – Bosworth Half Marathon, Leicestershire
I saw a badger! Took ages to get out of the car park afterwards.
June 2015 – Ratrace Trailblazer Half Marathon Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire
Very hot day so I was glad it started at 9am. Lovely route through the woods, mostly on good, made paths.
July 2015 – Inaugural Rugby Half Marathon, Warwickshire
Two strange excursions on the course, but one of them meant I got to run round the athletics track where I’d watched my children compete. A different experience as I was running nearer the back of the pack than usual. (Read more in Good race, bad race.)
August 2015 – Great Yarmouth Half Marathon, Norfolk
I was a bit tired because on the preceding day I had run Gorleston parkrun, swum in the sea, been roller skating and been to the circus. Ran with no watch at all, as I’d left my GPS watch at my sister’s house. (The last half marathon)
August 2015 – Hull Major Stone Half Marathon, Yorkshire
Delighted that my Dad came to watch. A fairly hot day – the only time I’ve been dowsed from a watering can during a race.
What have I learnt from this challenge?
- I can do this!
- Previously nearly all my road races had been personal best times. I learnt what it’s like to run a race without trying to get a PB.
- I learnt how to cope with disappointment when things go wrong in a race: adjust your goals.
- Trail running is a very different experience from road racing. It feels a bit less competitive and a lot more relaxed.
- I can run down hills fast and overtake other runners, and I love doing it.
- Although I’m happy to run on my own and go to races on my own, it would have helped me to travel to more of the races with friends.
- It’s not easy to predict performance, especially when you have not trained specifically for the event.
- Fitting in the races is not easy and it means that you are not always as well rested or well prepared as you would like to be.
- I found out what it’s like nearer the back of a race – you get lots of encouragement.
- It’s just keeping going that is the real challenge – it’s all about determination and mental strength.
Have you ever set yourself a challenge? What did you learn from it?