A year in my shoes

This could be the last blog post of 2012 so I put a question out there on Twitter to see what people thought it should cover, not surprising the suggestions where to look back at 2012. How has my running gone, what would I change for 2013 etc. So here goes! 

Winter usually means training for a spring marathon, usually Edinburgh but I had fallen out with Edinburgh marathon in 2011. I had put everything on the table for a sub 3 hour marathon in 2011 and I missed it by 3 minutes. Was I annoyed, yes! Did I recover from it and come back stronger? Not initially. I didn't run another marathon that year. Winter came and I didn't sign up for Edinburgh for the spring and really didn't do much specific training at all. The first race of 2012 was on the 1st January at Portobello Prom. It's a friendly 4 mile race along the promonade and I messed up the start by needing to go to the loo but my time was also a wake up call. Winter training for a marathon gives me the higher miles that I need to improve. I improve best when I am pulling in 60+ miles a week. Over the winter I hadn't been doing that and it showed in my times! 

Race after race I was missing the target times I had set for myself but time after time I didn't up my training. I would pull out an excuse from the large bag of excuses I was carrying with me. If I had dropped the bag I may have ran faster!

Looking back at 2012 it has been a year of excuses and general laziness when it comes to my training, not for the lack of enjoyment. I still love running and racing but something was and maybe is still missing. Maybe writing this blog will bring to the forefront of my mind what that something is....we will see!

On the 30th January I proposed to my amazing girlfriend and just like that she was my fiancee. It was an amazing feeling and I still look at her and think I am the luckiest guy alive to be marrying her in 6 months time. That was a high moment of my year and it wasn't even running related - however we did originally meet through running. 

I am sitting here with a bottle of very nice red wine, a bowl of crisps and listening to the Edinburgh Hogmaney fireworks going off every hour to countdown the new year coming in so I guess it's a good time to be writing this. 

As many people will remember 2012, it was the year of the London Olympics which were amazing! I'm sure our TV didnt change change all summer from the BBC coverage which I thought was brilliant. What ever sport you wanted to watch, it was covered. I had hoped to travel down to watch the marathon events since they were free to attend but logistically it was going to be a nightmare to get a bus down to watch the race and then get a bus back up the road - those buses were going to be over night sleepers as well which I wasn't too keen on. In the end I watched it all on TV and probaby got better coverage of it, although minus the atmosphere perhaps.

After the closing ceromony I sat with my fiancee and thought, it must be amazing to represent your country on such a stage. I have represented Scotland at the european kite buggy championships twice but there isn't the TV coverage or the same buzz as what I can only imagine something like the Olympics has. Ok, comparing the Olympics to a small sport like kite buggying might be poles apart but I think you get my thought. So while watching the cermony I got on my laptop and googled to find out what the qualifying time for th Commonwealth Games was for the marathon. This isn't so out of the blue as it might sound. Back in January I had applied to the SportsScotland Institute of Sport for their talent scout programme. Basically I had to do a number of tests, send my results to them and then they would match you to a sport they thought you may be good enough to take part in at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. I did the tests, sent the results and was then told it was on a first come, first served basis - even though there was a closing date and no word of FCFS on the application form, I was not amused. 

So after some searching I found that the qualifying time for a Scottish Athlete for the marathon is 2:19:00, after some chatting with a number of people I decided I was going to give it a shot! More about that later. 

2012 was when I won my first ever race, I had come close a number of times before but this year I finally managed it. Tiree 10k is what I class as my home race. It's organised by a good friend Will Wright who himself is a very good runner - triathlons are his thing and he runs for the GB team, considering Tiree doesn't have a swimming pool and he has noone else to train with it makes his acheivements even more impressive. For more information about Will and also the races that he organises on Tiree visit http://www.tireefitness.co.uk

To finish first at that race meant the word to me and I am sad to think that I may not be able to make it next year due to other commitments. I am still looking at the logistics of getting to Tiree and back within the same day! 

So back to the Commonwealth Games 2014 I had spoken to a coach at Pitreavie AAC to find out if he thought I could do the unthinkable and get a qualifying time and the simple answer was, if I believed I could, then go for it. That is what I am now trying to do. The first aim was to finally get sub 3 hours for the marathon, Loch Ness Marathon was the race in question and this isnt an easy course for such a challenge. It has quite a few ups but what goes up must come down. 

Now, this has taken me longer to type up than I had thought and it's now 10:30pm on Hogmaney...I need to get a life! I will continue this possibly in 2013!

Have a great new year everyone and the next time you are at a race, look next to you, maybe I will be running beside you! 

Owain Williams

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