Review of 2015

As we approach the end of 2015 I wanted to look back on my running year. I started 2015 with a number of goals including running 5 ultras with the Lakeland 100 in July my ‘A’ race. I also wanted to run at least 2015 miles throughout the year.

So here is a summary of the races I ran in 2015 ….summary

January/February

With my main race, Lakeland 100, not until the end of July I decided to start my specific ultra training in March rather than January. So I used the first two months of the year to do more speed training building up to the National Cross Country on 22nd February and the Inverness Half Marathon on 8th March.

jan-feb runs

I only ran one training run over 20 miles in the first two months of the year which is unusual for me but I think it worked well.

The National Cross Country was the main race in February and even though it was a tough course in tough conditions I enjoyed the challenge!

xc 1

Plenty of mud!

xc 2

I like this photo as Neal is behind me! We had a sprint finish which Neal won!!

March

I had two key races in March. The first was the Inverness Half Marathon. Katrina was also running as she was building up to the London Marathon. We both had a good run.

inverness 1

Before the race

inverness 2

I finished 90th in 1:26:19

inverness 3

Katrina sprinting to the finish line!

Hardmoors 55

I felt a little under prepared for this race but I was interested to see how I would get on having not done as many longer runs as I would normally.

The other thing I decided was to run very strictly to a HR of 138. In 2014 I ran this race in 10:10 and I honestly didn’t know whether I would be slower or faster.

The weather conditions were excellent and I was very happy and surprised that I ran the race in 9:35:40. I was just a 1 min faster than the previous year at half way but 35 mins faster over the second half which showed to me that my HR strategy worked well.

hm 55 4

The route Guisborough to Helmsley

hm 55 1

Photo from Sunday Sport

hm 55 2

Photo with about 10 miles to go … still smiling

hm 55 3

Heart Rate graph from the race – very proud that I was able to keep it so uniform.

May

My key race for May was the Cateran 55. I ran this race in 2010 and it took me 10:15 so I was hoping using my HR strategy to go faster. I didn’t have the best pre-race build up in that sadly we attended the funeral of Katrina’s Mum the day before in South Wales so we had a long drive home on Friday evening and then I left at 4am to get to the start in time.

I really enjoyed the race again in good conditions and was more than happy with my pb of 10:10:15.

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At the start of the race

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Note the blue sky!

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Coming into the finish

June

June was one of my bigger months mileage wise as I built up to the Lakeland 100 race. I also ran the Milngavie Trail race which was 8.5 miles starting and finishing in Milngavie.

milngavie 2.png

Near the start

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Approaching the finish line (photos thanks to Steven Hill)

July

I returned from a great holiday in Indonesia where we were visiting Emma, Yonas and Noah on the Sunday before the Lakeland 100 race which started at 6pm Friday 24th July.

I did this race in 2012 and it took me 34hrs 33mins 59 secs and ever since I’ve wanted to go back and do it again as I felt I had a better time in me! My goal was sub 30hrs which I felt was possible if I paced it right and was able to run strong right to the finish.

I had trained hard including weekly runs up and down Ben Lomond to prepare my quads for the downhills. I had also spent two weekends in the Lakes reccing the course with Dave, Marco and Jonny.

Once again I was aiming to run my HR aiming for an average of 125. THis meant that early on I was well down the field. In fact in was 201st (out of 304 starters) at the first checkpoint after 7.5 miles. But from then on I slowly made my way through the field to finish 60th in 29:36:25.

I made one really silly navigational error as I approached Braithwaite in after 9hrs or so in the dark but I was able to deal with it and make up the time I lost.

I had one really low point after Mardale Head after 70 miles but again I was pleased that I was able to get through it and keep on pushing right to the end.

My good friends Marco, Dave and Jonny all finished running really well so we had a great weekend.

l100 2

The 105 mile route around the Lake District

l100 1

With Dave and Jonny before the start of our epic journey!

l100 3

On the first climb out of Coniston (photo thanks to Debs Martin-Consani)

l100 4

My navigational mistake – it still annoys me!!

l100 5

Howtown checkpoint had a cowboys theme with wanted posters!

l100 6

At the finish (Photo thanks to Tracey Troman)

August

August was very much a recovery month after the Lakeland 100. I ran 11 times for a total of 73.5 miles.

September

The first three ultra races were ones I had done before and was I was really pleased to run them all faster than previous attempts. My last two ultras were new ones for me so as long as I finished I would have pb’s for all my ultras in 2015!

When I was looking for an ultra race in September I came across the Marathon de Ben Nevis (40 miles starting and finishing in Fort William) and I immediately entered as it ticked all the boxes for what I was after and I’m so glad I did.

I really enjoyed the route and it was very well organised by No Full events. There was also a mountain bike option which added to the event.

The route

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With about 15 miles to go

bn 3

About 3 miles to go

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At the finish

November

My final ultra of the year was the White Rose Ultra in Yorkshire. It is a 30 mile loop and 3 options (30, 60 and 100 miles). I opted for the 60 mile race which was two loops of the course.

I enjoyed running a new course and race but I must admit I won’t rush to go back. It was well organised and we had amazing weather for the first day of November but I didn’t enjoy the amount of tarmac there was. I really should have checked more closely before entering so entirely my fault!

The first lap was fine as I ran the majority of it with my friend Andy Cole but he, like the vast majority, were only doing one lap so I was on my own for the second loop.

Anyway it was good to finish and claim another pb!!

wr 2

The 30 mile loop

wr 1

Before the start

wr 4

Running with good friend Andy Cole (Photo from Sunday Sport)

December

For the rest of November and December I have been running 3-4 times a week and then doing a race at the weekend. The races have been either parkruns (5k) or cross country or a 5 mile road race.

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Renfrewshire AAA at Gourock (Photo thanks to Neal Gibson)

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West District Cross Country at Bellahouston Park (Photo thanks to Debs Martin-Consani)

So it’s been a really good year. I had some tendinitis on my left shin after the Lakeland 100 but that cleared up after a couple of weeks so that was good.

I also achieved my goal of running at least 2015 miles in the year. I have one more run to go tomorrow – our Kilbarchan club 11 mile handicap race. I have ran 2046.22 miles so will probably finish with around 2057 miles.

2015 miles 12-30

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3 Responses to Review of 2015

  1. Robbie says:

    Good year John, impressed with the number of events you managed. I might try to up my game next year. Robbie

  2. Happy New Year John and Katrina, another great year in the bag. No mention of being a grand parent in your blog… clearly your priority must the running 🙂

    On the WAVA scroes, getting a couple above 80 is really impressive. The Hassilhead 10k time and hence WAVA scores looks a bit too good relative to your other 5k and half marathon scores. Any chance that the Hassilhead route was a little short?

    The ultra WAVA scores don’t really show how good the performances were, just goes to show how much affect terrain has on ultra times. You’ll need to do a track race or perhaps the Perth 50k/100k to calibrate things:-)

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