Tuesday, 4 January 2011

851 miles: my 2010 in running shoes

Hello people in internet-land. Just a very quick note before we move on to this post: I'm going to make a couple of changes to irunbecause... over the next week or so - first, I'm going to include guest blog posts at the end of my own posts, rather than grouping them into sets. The first guest answer, courtesy of Jenny Mackay, is at the end of this post. And second, I'm going to make a few cosmetic changes, probably starting with the painfully low-res banner up there. Stay tuned!

So on to today's post - a round-up of my 2010 in running shoes...

Since January 2010, I have run a total of 851.55 miles. If I had started at Land's End on New Year's Day and headed north-east I would probably have reached John O'Groats on Boxing Day, and would have needed to get a ferry to the Orkney Isles to polish off the last 14 miles. In doing so I comfortably beat my 800-mile goal for the year, which tells me that my 2011 target needs to be a lot, lot bigger. This figure includes all races and training runs - on top of this total are a few long walks, bike rides, rugby and swimming sessions. This might sound like a lot, but my running averages just over 16 miles a week - hardly a heavy schedule, whoever you are.

My longest run was the Brighton marathon at 26.2 miles, the shortest just a 2 mile commute. I didn't run much over the summer, sometimes just 5 or 6 miles a week and during two weeks I didn't run at all, both due to injury. My biggest week was 40 miles, again this isn't really very much for someone who claims to be a reasonably serious marathoner...

I also entered seven races in 2010:

    Alloa Half Marathon (1:37:03, PB)
    England Kilomathon (2:03:59, PB)
    Brighton Marathon (4:05:24, PB)
    Great Edinburgh Run (45:41, PB)
    Edinburgh Marathon Relay, leg one (1:00:04, PB, 5 seconds off my goal...)
    Scotland Kilomathon (2:05:18)
    Edinburgh Christmas Run (no idea!)

What is 'off-season'?
I spent a total of 11 hours, 51 minutes and 29 seconds racing, over a total of 88.2 miles (not including two 5k parkruns). Looking at it I think I must have spent about £170 on entry fees alone. Totally worth it.

The other main expense was three pairs of running shoes: a pair of Asics which were badly fitted and only did about 300 miles before I gave up and took them back to the shop, a pair of Sauconys which I'm still using, and my Vibram FiveFingers (barefoot running shoes), which I've only used for short distances so far. Quite a lot of money gone there, too.

To offset this retail frenzy, I managed to get a review of the Great Edinburgh Run published in Runners' World, which was excellent and meant I actually earned some money from running. The magazine's 300,000+ readership amazes me. That's almost as many people as read this blog.


This week's guest blogger is 'Aye Aye' Jenny Mackay, a seasoned runner, rower, ceilidh obsessive and all round good egg. I am enormously jealous that she's run the two biggest races in the UK, the London Marathon and the Great North Run, neither of which I've managed to get into. However, as she runs most of her races for charity, and puts a huge amount of time and effort into fundraising alongside her training, it's impossible to be properly jealous anyway. Good work, Mackay.
I run because…I can’t stop!
I started running seven years ago, starting at one mile. At my most fit, I ran the London Marathon in 2009, and ever since I comfortably complete half-marathons and 10ks every so often. However, my regularity of running has not been constant over the years, with life getting in the way. Work commitments, other interesting sports, and the wintry weather, have all derailed my attention at some point. This winter I have barely placed a shivery trainered foot outside my door, for fear of falling on ice. 
However, once Dave’s post (Let It Snow – 30 Nov) caught my eye, I realised that snow and running can co-exist. So, on Boxing Day, feeling like a right Christmas Pudding myself, I decided that “today is the day” and I would start trimming myself back into running shape. I found my first tentative steps in the thick white snow in Newcastle-upon-Tyne no problem at all, much to my surprise, and headed out to some open space for a good loop. I was blown away by the fresh feeling of really being alive - my trainers would disappear into trenches as I tackled an icing-cake snowfield. I stopped after 20 minutes, to take in the panoramic view of Newcastle’s skyline, and to reflect on the fact that I have actually made it out to run…successfully in the snow! As I padded back through the fun fluffy snow, I passed one other runner, who I saw coming my way in his bright yellow gear. As we passed, we nodded the nod that runners do that says ‘we’re so damn cool and virtuous– look at us, even running in the snow!’. In that one short run, I was reminded of all the wonderful things I love about running, and why I can't stop.
Thanks Jenny! Hope to see you on a start line somewhere soon...

Do you want to see your answer here? Email me and make sure you start with 'I run because'.

Happy running!


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