Reviews of 2014, part 1: running & hiking.

Everybody does this review thing, don’t they? I know I always used to do it in Another Place when I had time to update that constantly, but I’ve got out of practice in recent years and so I’m not sure if it’s still de rigeur. Anyway, this is part one of my “review of last year”. It’s about running.

I’d spent the tail end of ’13 unable to run for medical reasons but was determined to kick off the year with some sort of run, and Jan 1st saw the first NYD Parkrun at Temple Newsam. So I went along to that. 36:32 for a 5k, which I was happy with as it was the first run I’d done in a while and Temple Newsam is a bugger of a course, being both very hilly and very muddy at the same time. After that I managed to get a bunch of Parkruns in at my home course which got my 5k time down to 32:39, and then I had a short break for weather and did a few hikes instead, including a gorgeous one from Hebden Bridge to Haworth in March.

The Leeds-Liverpool canal is a regular fixture in my hiking routine and I did that a few times over the year, getting my time for Leeds-Saltaire down to 3h33m. I wasn’t running much of that because I was carrying a backpack and had the wrong footwear, and my plan is to get the train to Saltaire at some point in April carrying minimal gear and running back, just to see how I get on.

In July was my disastrous Leeds 10k, where I beat my previous 10k by 16s. To say I was unhappy would be an understatement: I clearly needed help of some kind, I just wasn’t entirely sure where I’d get it or what I needed.

Other hikes? I did a brilliant transpennine one with CW in June, and did my default “let’s go for a stroll” Ilkley-Saltaire one a few times, and there was a new one around Falmouth one morning in September which I thoroughly enjoyed because it was my first time out for a while.

In the meantime I did get back into regularly parkrunning, with the assistance of JB who was an incredible help pacing me and getting myself measurably better. He got me doing intervals and I got my 5k time down to 30:57 at the end of August. I was also going out training by myself more often and going out with the Hyde Park Harriers on Tuesdays.

And then one Saturday I was doing my usual Parkrun when I felt I’d been punched in the chest. Bam. I went to the GP who got me a referral to the cardiac unit (who have been amazing, by the way). Informed that I had to stop intervals and I should probably take the training easier too, like maybe stopping it, I stopped. An angiogram came up clear, so I was told I could restart training; this was handy because four weeks later I was scheduled to do the Abbey Dash.

The Abbey Dash is a huge thing on the Leeds Running Calendar; I think there were 12,000 people in it, or something equally daft. The last big run of the year (November) it’s usually crisp, cold, sometimes a bit damp. Clothing choice is very important. 20 minutes after the gun went off our group was allowed to leave, and I went off pacing myself, distracting myself with trying to recognise people on the return leg – you’d be surprised how distracting it is looking at faces passing you – and managed to do the whole thing without stopping or walking, even up the horrible slip road at the end which gets many people. I’d knocked 5 minutes off my 10k time and was absolutely over the moon about it.

I finished off the year with parkruns again; I’m now up to having done 46 of those (only 4 to go to get my tshirt!) and I started 2015 the same way I started ’14: with Temple Newsam parkrun. This time I did it two and a bit minutes faster than last year, partially because I’m fitter but also because I’m still getting over having lost ten weeks of training before November.

Some numbers: in 2015 I ran or hiked for just over 69 hours, burning up just over 48,000kCal over 309 miles, climbing 25,000 ft in total, the same as 10,000 double decker buses (which is a standard unit of measurement) or 165 Nelson’s columns.

(FWIW I also ended the year reading the Oatmeal’s book about running, a review of which might show up in another 2014 review blog post.)

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