I started 2016 with a simple goal in mind: Run or compete in at least one sporting event a month for the year. I didn’t really have a distance or specific goad in mind – just that I wanted to get out there and have some fun! I started off easy with a valentine 5km night run which was super fun! I then joined a running program with a bunch of mates called the 9 to 5 Challenge (you can read more about my experience here).
After the 5km challenge I decided to sign up for the 10km challenge which seemed easy enough, after all I had run a 10km a few years before. I ran with the group through winter and it was awesome to have the support and encouragement of such an amazing group of running buddies. I really enjoy 10km, it’s long enough to be challenging but if I’m really honest with myself you don’t really need to do much more training to complete a 10km if you are 5km running fit.
September rolled around and I decided it was time to set my sights on ending the year running a half marathon (21.1km). I started the 21km program full of energy and enthusiasm hoping that 2016 would be the year I surprised myself with such a lofty goal. Then a few things got in the way:
- I had an incredibly busy (read loooooooooooooong working hours) month in October which left very little time to get out and run (or sleep, or <insert whatever normal life consists of here>)
- I landed up with shin splints that started in earnest while running the Spar Woman’s 10km in October
- Our running group started running the same boring routes on Wednesdays (which made me realize the importance of varying your routes! ) Varying your route is good for limiting wear on your body because of the varied terrain and it also combats boredom which is one of the biggest killers of enthusiasm known to man! #lessonlearned
Looking at the dates in my list above I realize that October was the month I decided to check out of the idea that it was even possible to run a half marathon. I started telling myself stories that sounded something a little like “not everyone is built for running” or “maybe this whole half marathon thing isn’t for you”. I was injured and even running on a treadmill hurt my shins.I decided to call it quits and postpone my 21km goal until 2017. I found a few great exercises online to stretch out my shins (check out Kelly Starrett’s website for great ideas on this) in order to heal and find my running mojo again.
Despite not hitting the 21km goal I set for myself in the middle of the year, 2016 was a great running year for me!
I’ve made some amazing friends through the groups I run with, I’ve found my strengths and tested my weaknesses. I’ve realized that at the end of the day the only one you are competing against is yourself and its ok not to win all the time, the race is long and sometimes you just need to change your goal to suit where you are at the time. My last run was in December at Forest Hill and it was one tough race – and although it wasn’t the half marathon I was hoping for it was really fun and I was glad I got to race.
I reached the original goal I had set for 2016 which was simply to: Run or compete in at least one sporting event a month for the year which for me landed up in loads of 10km’s run in this beautiful country I call home: South Africa.