2019. Well it wasn’t as bad as 2018.
2018 was about rediscovering my love of running, of the process as David Roche would say, after being injured and sidelined for three months and attending my goal race on crutches.
2019 was about rebuilding my body for running.
I started the year as I usually do with the Two Bays 56k trail ultramarathon at Arthurs Seat in Victoria. I’m not sure why but this race is one of those races that I absolutely detest and yet keep signing up with some vague idea that I will improve. In the three years that I have completed this race, I have run 7:43:58, 7:45:20, 7:43:02. And in 2018 I had two stress fractures in my pelvis at the time! But in fairness to my lack of improvement and Two Bays has always been the last “Super Sunday” leading into my goal race so it isn’t really about racing as much as it is beating the cutoffs.
From Two Bays, I headed to the south island of New Zealand for the first time for my silly south island double, The Shotover Moonlight Marathon and the Old Ghost Ultra. I won’t go over each race, I’ve already done that in my race reviews, but I will say that it probably wasn’t the best idea. I had all the best intentions. I booked both races under the idea that we only get so many summers. I’m 35, the average life expectancy of an Australian female in 2019 is 82 years old. Using that rationale, that’s 47 summers left before I die and lets be real I don’t know how many long distance adventures I’ll be doing after 60 (fingers crossed, I’ll be retiring and having nothing but happy, healthy, hard core adventures and breaking all the age group records), so that drops my running summers down to 25. 25 races. I know it sounds super morbid, but I might also get hit by a bus tomorrow so if an opportunity presents itself to do two races on the bucket list then fuck it I’m taking it. So with that in mind, I headed to New Zealand for some epic running adventures.
Old Ghost was so great that I got it tattooed on my arm!
When I came back from New Zealand, I was a little lost as to my running goals for 2019. I hadn’t even left New Zealand when I decided that I wanted that “Most Improved” title at the 2020 Old Ghost ultra but that was a full 12 months away.
That changed when I signed up for the Geelong Half Marathon in April. I only signed up for something to do and had very little expectations. I hadn’t run close to my half marathon or marathon PB on the road in a years so I wasn’t expecting much but when I came within a minute of my half PB, I thought maybe my best running wasn’t behind me after all.
I started with a personal trainer in April for strength training once a week and started doing a HIIT cycle class once a week as well.
Within a few months I had smashed my PB’s at the Maroondah Dam 50k, Mt Macedon 50k, Surf Coast Trail Marathon and the breakthrough run, the Gold Coast Half Marathon in July where I took 2 minutes and 24 seconds of my PB from 4 years ago.
Two weeks later I bettered that time by another 3 minutes at Run Melbourne.
In August I took on the grueling Berry Long Run. My biggest achievement of the run wasn’t my time or surviving the icy conditions but that I actually raised money for a charity.
October is the month of the dreaded Melbourne Marathon. I honestly have no idea why I keep going back but I did and it hurt and I cried and with a self induced pep talk at the 40k mark, I managed a course PB.
In November I threw in my favourite ‘race’, AfterGlow and an interesting fun run called The 5K Foam Fest with my brother and his mates.
When you read the summary of 2019 written like that it sounds like “oh everything was awesome, PB, PB, PB, PB, sunshine, rainbows, unicorns and puppies”. I also did not start (DNS) at least 3 races and one that I tried to run but they literally couldn’t find my registration and did not finish (DNF) one.
Like when I was coming back from injury in 2018, in 2019 I added in heaps of stuff, only to be left wondering which modifications worked and which ones didn’t. Was it the strength training? The HIIT cycle class? The race day fuel? The mindset work? Basic consistency in training (check out my Strava snake!)? I guess we’ll never know.
What’s coming in 2020? Well I guess you’ll have to stick around to find out. But I’m narrowing my focus, sharpening my goals and getting ready to have an actual crack.