2019 in review – close but not quite

It’s that time of year again when I look back at the running year just completed and maybe sneak a little look forward at what’s to come in 2020.

I guess the really key element of the year was the beginning of the challenge for my wife and I to take in 25 running events during the year after our 25th wedding anniversary. We’ve already completed 2 but the plans for the year ahead look amazing.

But as far as 2019 went…. it’s quite hard to summarise. There were no lifetime bests but there were some strong performances. My 3rd fastest ever 10k and my fastest 5k in two years primarily, but somehow I didn’t quite take that next step up to PB level.

Runs by location in 2019

Reading 149
Jersey 37
Churchend 4
Theale 3
Caversham 3
Lanzarote 2
Liverpool 2
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park 2
Winnersh / Dinton Pastures 2
Bordon 1
Chichester / Goodwood 1
City of London 1
Finchampstead 1
Fleet 1
Greenwich 1
Guernsey 1
Lowestoft 1
Maidenhead 1
Port Solent 1
Scratby 1
Silverstone 1
St Albans 1
Streatley 1

But I set out saying to myself I wanted to run better in 2019 than I did in 2018, and I did that. I ran more distance in a calendar year than I have before.

So what were the highlights?

January saw our first parkrun double on New Year’s Day in Maidenhead and St Albans, and I joined the Sweatshop Running Community events in preparation for the Fleet Half.

February began with snow mainly but not enough to stop us heading to Goodwood for the Chichester Priory 10k which went pretty well. I hurt my knee towards the end of the month during a rather desperate run to a cash point which set me back a touch.

March featured the Fleet Half Marathon but I wasn’t really fit to be at my best. I did enjoy it though because I accepted my fate early on and just had fun with my race number of 1 getting some attention.

April started with continued recovery from injury but also saw us discover a new running route along the Kennet and Avon Canal from Theale to Reading. We’ve used it a few times since and usually enjoy it.

May’s feature was the Liverpool Rock ‘n’ Roll weekend. The 5k with my wife went very well. My half marathon ok but not brilliant coming in just under 2h10m.

June saw me discovering a new, very enjoyable parkrun at Dinton Pastures, and a Guernsey Half Marathon where I picked up an injury within the first kilometre but still got round anyway. I’ll always remember the lack of responsiveness in my legs trying to cross the road afterwards from Costa to the pub. Tough day running, but I enjoyed the day immensely.

July mainly just featured training, but I did fit in my fastest parkrun in a year but still a little over 26 minutes.

August saw a surprise performance, probably showing that my training had been worth it, at QEOP for a Chase The Sun event where I switched from the 10k down to the 5k when I saw how fast I was going. It was under 25 minutes and my fastest non-Parkrun 5k by a fair distance.

In September we visited London and put in a strong effort around the hilly surroundings of Greenwich Park although I suspect a drink or two too many the night before might have affected the performance a tad. I also enjoyed a few runs on holiday in Lanzarote.

October was about training for the races to come but it had been going pretty well.

November saw probably my most exciting run of the year – not my best as that was probably Chase The Sun – but the thrilling experience of charging along at PB times at Silverstone but sadly not hanging onto that pace. Yet it was an amazing experience. I’ll look forward to the 2020 attempt for sure.

Finally, December’s race was a Chase The Moon at the Olympic Park where I just didn’t have the endurance I needed but still loved it anyway, particularly as my wife smashed it in an outstanding time, just as she had at Lowestoft parkrun the weekend before.

And that was 2019 in an admittedly rather large nutshell. I didn’t hit the heights I’d hoped but it went pretty well too. However, I do think it’s set the baseline for what I can improve from in 2020.

Which begins tomorrow with a parkrun double again. Bring it on!