At this time of year, I am sure I am one of the many who sits down to reflect on what I have achieved over the last year and what I hope to achieve for the year ahead. Looking back at my blog from last year, my aim for 2017 was to race at least once per month, excluding parkruns. I didn't think that had quite gone to plan but looking back I wasn't too far off:
January - Portobello promathon; Foxtrail 5k Race 2
February - Devilla 5k
March - Foxtrail 5k race 3
April - Winton 10k
May - Cancer Research 10k: Hopetoun House
July - Crieff 10k (DNF as a result of a fall); Run the Blades 10k
August - Killin 10k
October - Manchester Half Marathon
November - Foxtrail 13k
December - Foxtrail night 10k; 13k and 16k
So not quite a race every month, but there were 14 races in total, which averages over a race per month. I also completed 10 parkruns during the year, which has taken me to 49 parkruns - the red tshirt is almost in sight!
What immediately jumps out at me is the number of trail races I did in 2017 - 11 out of the 14 races were trail runs, along with 3 of the parkruns which were at Vogrie. I had completed Devilla 5k a few times but had never really been bitten by the bug until now. If I was to look at my strava stats, I am sure that the majority of my miles for the year would have been on trail. A massive thanks to Foxtrail for putting on the 5k series, it is such a great way to introduce runners to trail running. I would never have attempted the longer distances without the 5k series as a starter and the success of our Foxy Trail Runners is testament to the growth of trail running.
I was pretty surprised by the stats above as I don't feel that I have raced that much this year but I think it is down to the different atmosphere at trail races, which, to me, feel less competitive. You can't really chase PBs, even if you do the same route, as the conditions always make the race different. While I am still not quite at the stage to say I enjoy races, I think the trail runs have made me realise that I put pressure on myself to run faster and take away the enjoyment.
This change in mindset has obviously had a positive impact on my running as in 2017 I managed to run my highest ever miles for the year, running 742 miles. My previous highest in 2016 was 632 miles, so I have managed to run over 100 miles more without even thinking about it. At the beginning of December, I looked at my miles and had hoped to hit the 750, however, weather, illness and bathroom leaks combined to stop me getting out as much as i would have liked. I am still over the moon to have achieved my highest mileage, including a few ankle injuries along the way.
So what are my aims for 2018? Simply to keep on running! No targets in terms of times or mileage, just to get out there and continue to enjoy running.