2013 in review

Well, what a year!  I could regale stories of woe, of intimate chaffing, and public defecation, but I’ll save that for the directors cut.

2013 has been a great year for me.  I’ve raced more than ever before (16!), and the variety of experiences has been fantastic, from a 3k relay race, up to a 20 mile training run in the sleet, or a 50 mile bike ride in the howling wind.  And swimming, I’ve done some of that too!  In pools, lakes, rivers and reservoirs.

The highlight of the year though has to be joining the club, Freedom Tri, and meeting a great bunch of people.  The support and friendship that I’ve gained as a club member has been invaluable, and long may it continue.

So, 2013 in numbers:

60 swims, totaling 41 miles
211 runs, totaling 1,013 miles
61 cycles, totaling 827 miles

Some in perfect conditions, some in rain, some in snow, and some in pub garden weather, but taking into account the rough and the smooth, I’ve enjoyed every single mile (apart from some of the terrifying swimming)

Back tracking to this time last year, I set out the following goals:

Stay injury free – (work in progress – a few niggles, but nothing show stopping)
Have an alcohol free January – done (and September)
Have a meat free month – nope
Get down to 14st 4lbs (200lb) – nope
Grow some vegetables – done (tomatoes, courgettes & lettuce)
Run a sub 2 hour half marathon (PB 2:06:24) – done Silverstone half 03/03/2013 1:57:19
Run a sub 50 minute 10k – nope
Decorate my living room – done
Run a sub 24 minute 5k – nope
Run a sub 7 minute 1 mile – done 6:43.8 on 21/10/13 in training
Do some open water swimming – done
Wash the car – done – wife paid someone else to do it
Finish a sprint tri – done (5 – 2 pool based, 2 open water + an Olympic open water tri)

So all in all, a very good year.  I’m finalising my goals for 2014, so will post those up before long.

Cheerio!

Oh, and here are some blog stats.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,900 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 48 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Bedford Harriers Half Marathon 2013 Race Report

Hello again, you’ll be glad to hear that this was my last race of the year, so I’ll be shutting up for a bit soon 🙂

Race prep had been good for this race – I ran the distance at the Ashwell half a couple of weeks ago, so was confident I had the miles in my legs.  We were out last night at a dinner party with friends of ours, so had a bit of a late night, but was very well fueled on a delicious meal of anti-pasti, a Italian beautiful sausage dish on pasta, and an Amaretto torte.  I was very well fueled indeed.

Good news!  I remembered to photograph my pre-race breakfast feast, so here it is, in all its glory:

Breakfast

Breakfast

Porridge with Nutella and mixed seeds, a strong black coffee, and a pint of cloudy wee hydration drink.

Soon after breakfast, I was off in the car to Bedford.  It was almost daylight by then, and got there in auto-pilot.  Thankfully I woke up just in time, and didn’t drive straight to my office and head to the race car park.  This was another park and ride races, where you park a couple of miles away from race HQ and the race organisers lay on buses to the start.  As I was so early, I was on one of the early buses, and got to race HQ just after 8:30 – a bit keen for a 10am start.  I arrived at the school that was hosting the race, I grabbed my timing chip, and went into the school hall.  I saw Chris from Freedom Tri, and we had a good chat.  Chris is a good bit quicker than me, so once we’d hung about at the race start for a bit, he headed towards the front.

I spotted my mate “last bus” Jay arriving just before the race was about to start, who writes the awesome Born to Plod blog.

We’d arranged to run a bit together, as we’re similarly paced, and it was good to catch up.

The race started promptly at 10am, and we were off.  It was busy at the start.  There were 2,000 places available for the race, but it wasn’t sold out, as they were accepting race entries on the day.

There were a lot of people ahead of us, as we placed ourselves towards the back of the pack.  The first mile was pretty much flat, and involved trying to find a bit of open road to run out own pace.  Mile 1 passed in a respectable 9:24.  Mile 2 was downhill, and the pace showed – mile 2 was the fastest of the race for me, flying by in 9:09.

Alas the flat and the downhill passed for a bit after the second mile, and miles 3, 4 and 5 were uphill, but it didn’t affect the pace too much, logging the miles in 9:18, 9:39 and 9:37 respectively.  Hills aren’t too bad for me – we do a lot of hill work at the Freedom Tri run sessions, so it didn’t hurt too, too much.

After 5 miles, Jay was feeling a bit more sprightly then me, so he went off ahead.  I saw Jay disappear into the distance.

For some reason my pace immediately dropped.  I got stuck behind a slower runner during the 6th mile, which was mostly single file along a main road, logging mile 6 in 10:24.

I got chatting to a chap wearing a t-shirt from the Olympic triathlon that I raced in September.  This was his first half marathon, and he was a bit worried he was going too quickly.  We were chatting for a while, and even though he’d never ran a half marathon before, he’d entered the Zurich Ironman triathlon next July.  What a loon!  I suppose you meet them every day though! 😀

There was thankfully a bit of downhill during mile 7, so I sped back up slightly, but I had slowed down to over 10 minutes per mile.  I did, however pass the 10k mark in less than an hour, which I was really pleased about, and the half way mark in less than 1:04, so was hopeful of cracking on at the same pace, and maybe matching my finishing time from Ashwell a fortnight ago.  The guy that I was running with commented that he just ran a 10k PB!  He probably had started off too quickly.  Soon after half way in, I let him behind, as he was struggling on the uphill.

From mile 9, it was pretty much downhill, which I was ready for!  I sped back up to 9:xx minutes per mile and managed to stay there for the rest of the race.

I even had a bit of a sprint finish, the 14th split of the race, which my watch measured as 0.16 mile was at an average pace of 7:56, so pretty pleased with that!

My official finish time of the race was 2:08:19, which wasn’t a PB, but was a course PB from when I ran the race in 2011 by almost 8 minutes, and also a few seconds quicker than I ran Ashwell a couple of weeks ago.

At the end of the race, I was presented with a handy duffle bag:

2013-12-08 13.18.14-1

I had a look around for Jay and Chris after the race but couldn’t seem them, so headed off back to the bus.

All in all, the race was great!  Great to run the distance again, and great to see a few friends.

Bedford Harriers put on some great races, and I really hope to run their Oakley 20 mile race and their 10k again one year.

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/413498245

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