A year of running - 2017

2017 has been a year of ups and downs for running. I wore my club vest for the first time in February, have taken hours off previous PB times, raced all over the world, and tackled a marathon for the second time. It saw me sustain some nasty injuries, a dislocated rib, torn tendons and numerous cuts and bruises. 2017 has certainly been a mixed bag.

In August 2016 I joined Kingstone Runners. I barely attended club nights, perhaps twice a month maximum. My first race was the MoRun in November 2016. I had entered before joining Kingstone so I don't really class it as my first race, I then didn't run again until February and my first race in a Kingstone vest.

I was really nervous as I had no idea what to expect and I also hardly knew anyone. I really struggle in social situations and only recognised a handful of people. I think Wombwell 5 will be a race that stays with me as the first as an official Kingstone member. I tried to get out as much as I possibly could. Juggling a dog and a child whilst running is tricky and it also limits where I can run, but I made the most of it and tried to get out once a week. 

Parkrun [and I know it should have a small 'p' but it is the start of a sentence and it doesn't look right!], has always been a big part of my running since I started running in January 2015. It was here I worked out I was pregnant, by watching my times get slower and slower and it was also here I told the first people outside of my family that I was pregnant. Little Man has been coming to Nostell parkrun from a few days old and 2017 saw this continue with all 3 of my children. I have run at a parkrun 15 times this year. Started the year with a time of 36.28 and am ending the year on 27.30, which is a great improvement. I have volunteered this year on 33 separate occasions, with another 1 left to do and in doing so earned my volunteer t-shirt.

I had wanted to do my first 50 parkruns all at my home of Nostell but a work trip away one weekend saw me take on my first spot of parkrun tourism at Hackney marshes. A really beautiful course, and the first time this year I managed a sub 30 parkrun time. I also visited one other parkrun this year and that was to Huddersfield where I set my parkrun PB time of 27.30. My aim for next year is to run a sub 25!

Perhaps the most exciting thing to happen to me at parkrun in 2017 is getting to wear the blue and white Run Director jacket! I absolutely love parkrun and my running family at Nostell, so it was a great privilege to be able to wear the famous jacket. Whilst I am still in training I am really looking forward to the challenge that Run Director brings in 2018!

Out of every role I have done I still get a huge smile when I see Photographer as one of the listed roles. Running and photography are my biggest passions and to be able to combine the two was simply fantastic. 

2017 has also brought with it its fair share of injuries too. I dislocated by rib which resulted in severe pain every time my foot hit the floor, and that was just walking. Damaged my hip bone when I hit the floor during a run and bruised my hip and leg. 

Wearing the wrong shoes saw me damage the tendons in my foot which took me out of running for over a week. I missed a 10K race I had been looking forward to and got very grumpy indeed. I then ran a 5k and a half marathon in quite a lot of pain before taking another week off before running a second half marathon. I had to have my ankle taped the whole time, and then needed another week off to recover again.

I ran through a field of nettles, don't ask, which resulted in nettle stings to my legs. I also had a severe allergic reaction to something else in the field which resulted in my legs burning! I still have a few scar marks, it was not pleasant. 

In August I took part in my first fell race and removed the skin off both ankles. You could squeeze my trainers and blood poured out it was that saturated. I still ran the next day. It also firmly cemented in my mind that I belong in the fells and off road. I have so much more fun.

My children have become a lot more interested in running this year. My eldest in particular. We run whenever possible at junior parkrun and my eldest has asked for her name to be on the waiting list at a local club for when she is old enough. She is also very proud of Kingstone runners and cheers them on when we go to watch. 

Little Man also has the running bug. He took his first proper steps during one of my training runs. Refusing to stay in the pushchair and insisting on running with me, it took forever but I was so proud of him. He also stands on my treadmill at home and moves his little legs as if to run on it. It is so sweet to watch. I cannot wait until he is bigger and can run more. 

We haven't done as many fun runs as we would have liked this year. Bubble rush I think has to be our favourite fun run. We also took part in the Glow run for Sheffield Children's hospital which was a 5km run in the dark!

In my office I have a map of the places I have run and 2017 saw me tick off some amazing places. I loved taking part in the Pig Run at Lake Nona. Running and eating donuts was a whole new experience. Not a hill in sight either! Certainly one to do if you are in the area. 

My first unofficial sub 30 5k I achieved during the Castaway Cay. It rained the whole time and I can remember wondering why all the others taking part were running in plastic ponchos, I just got wet. Really beautiful race and I loved running round the Disney ship first thing in a morning too!

My original plan was to run England, Ireland Scotland and Wales in 2017, I had races booked and looked set to achieve this but Little Man had other ideas. The night before the race in Ireland he was admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties and had to be on oxygen and a nebuliser to help him breathe. It was a really scary few days and whilst I was disappointed to miss my race I was over the moon when we could go home. He was declared as unfit to fly for the next week as he needed constant monitoring for his oxygen levels, and any illness picked up would have sent him straight back to hospital. As it was I therefore completed England, Scotland and Wales. It just makes me more determined for next year and more importantly Little Man is much better.

My race in Scotland saw me run Glencoe, it was just beautiful and incredibly hilly. One of the steepest descents I have ever done and probably the one with most midge bites, but I really enjoyed it. Conwy was the location for my race in Wales, and this saw me run the Great Orme. An absolutely beautiful run, amazing views and currently my half marathon PB run at 2hr04mins. 

In addition to running I love to travel. Exploring the world and discovering new places. Running is a great way to do this, as you see a whole new side to a country. You see locals come out to support the race and gain an insight into a culture as you run through towns and cities. Majorca was stunning to run through, very hot indeed. It taught me a good lesson about running in heat!

I have took a fair few pictures of my feet this year and for the most part in the same spot. I have loved looking through them and watching the seasons change.

There have been some amazing races this year, most of which I have written run reports or monthly updates for. My all time favourite race is the Ramathon. I love everything about the race from the people to the route and it is my favourite distance, half marathon. It felt good to be back out on the course this year after not running the previous year as I had just had Little Man. I cannot wait to run it again in 2018 and booked as soon as entries opened.

Another favourite of mine is Trunce. I had never even heard of this race before until I joined Kingstone. I was really nervous as I stood on the start line for the first time. I had head many stories about it, from deep river crossings and a seemingly love it or hate it route. I loved it and as soon as I had finished I wanted to go again. 9 in the series and any I could attend I went to, cannot wait for 2018, I am missing trunce!

At Leeds 10K in 2015 I had found out that morning I was pregnant, and when I ran the route I felt sick the entire way around. I had wanted to go back and do the course properly so to speak and did so in 2017. I also achieved my first ever sub 60mins 10k so the route now holds a double special place for me.

A few weeks later I then broke the 55minute barrier at York 10K. I remember staring at the text on my phone for ages not quite believing the time it said. 

This photo was from the final trunce, but I had to include it because it is probably one of my favourite photos from 2017.

A lot of 2017 was spent training for the Yorkshire marathon, which I took over 2hours [very nearly 3 hours] off my previous time. I was incredibly happy. 2018 will see much the same as I train for 4 marathons and 2 ultras, but I cannot wait. My training also took me to the track, something I had never done before but I can see many more miles on the track next year.

I finally got to run in Scarborough which has been on my bucket list for ages. Sounds silly but I love Scarborough so it was just amazing to run there at long last. 

I discovered a love for running through fells and trails in 2017. Having never done anything like it before I feel the happiest and most relaxed running here and enjoy it much more than running on road. 25 miles didn't feel like 25 miles and I would have done it again.

The only race photo I have ever purchased is one from off road, absolutely loved it. 

The most amazing thing about 2017 is that I have made some fantastic friends and met some amazing and inspirational people. Took part in crazy challenges like a half marathon a day everyday for 3 days.

Ran my first ever 10 mile race with my Kingstone family

Met this beautiful and inspiring lady, who it has to be said is the queen of selfies and a wonderful friend of mine. 

Officially joined the crazy marathon crew after completing my second, which I could not have done without an amazing friend. How he still talks to me after putting up with me for 26.2 miles I will never know. 

Had the absolute honour of running with this lovely lady who I love to pieces and am so incredibly proud of her for everything she has achieved in 2017. Sorry for shouting at you on your 10k, but you got a PB!!

Thanks to my crazy running friend for sticking with me this year, sorry am a pain.

Had possibly my favourite ever training run with these two lovely people, because stopping to buy a pizza during your long run is now a must have. Cannot wait for training next year with my long distance partner in crime!

2018 is set to be an amazing year. I have the most amazing coach and friend who I cannot wait to see what crazy training plans he throws my way next year, looking forward to the challenge. I currently have 4 marathons booked and 2 Ultras. My fund raising is going well and you are welcome to sponsor my London marathon here . Here is to 2018 and all the wonderful running that it brings! 

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