2016: My Year in Running

#2016 in running bibs and bling. More trails than road - didn't see that coming a year ago. A couple 10k & 21.1k PBs amongst this lot, too.

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At the start of 2016, I set myself some running goals. Although 2016 finished almost a half year ago, I thought I should revisit them and set some new goals. Most of this, particularly the goals, was written early this year however I didn't get around to hitting 'Publish' until the end of May. Oh bene.

In short, I kept running. Lots. Overall my year was pretty different to my assumptions at the start of the year - and I'm sure glad it did. The general theme of my goals for 2016 was "do what you did last year, but farther and/or faster". The reality was much more fun: I started running on trails, started to enjoy running up hills, and embraced the longer slower run.

So how'd I go?

2016 Goals

I hit most of my targets for 2016. Here, in bold, are the goals I set for myself a year ago - followed by my progress through the year.

  • Continue running. Check. In 2015 I ran 98 times for a total of 512km; in 2016 I ran 155 times and covered 1,242km.
  • Finish three half-marathons, with at least one under 1:40:00. I did do three half-marathons: Westerfolds Park Half Marathon in March (1h58m), Great Ocean Road Marathon Festival Half Marathon (1h52m half marathon; 2h03m total); Run Melbourne Half Marathon (1h49m). By the time I ran Run Melbourne I had changed my priorities and put less emphasis on massive PBs, as I had done 20km trail races in the 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after.
  • Get my 10K pace to below 50 minutes Check. 49:50 is below 50 minutes right?. This was on the hilly Beechworth Fun Run, which I'll revisit in 2017. I also went around 49min as part of the 10.6km Run for the Firies. I think these were the only two 10km races I ran in 2016.
  • Great Ocean Road half marathon, Run Melbourne Half Marathon, and Melbourne Marathon Half Marathon events are on my calendar. I did the first two of these; instead of running at Melbourne Mara I ran up some steep hills in Kinglake. It was free and it was much more fun, but I didn't get a medal.

The year I discovered Trail Running

Been a while since I've bought an event t-shirt... couldn't go past this one. 🏃🏼🌈🦄

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2016 was the year I discovered trail running. I've always enjoyed bushwalking and hiking, but for some reason had never really run through the bush. I live on the suburban fringe of Melbourne, and there are great trails right on my doorstep - including some epic technical mountain bike trails (which are on public land, ready to run!) and many fire access tracks otherwise closed to vehicular traffic.

I ran a couple of the Hoka One One Trail Running Series at Plenty Gorge and Silvan Reservoir and had a fantastic time.

Later in the year I ran the nighttime Afterglow Trail Half Marathon, starting a bit before dusk and finishing on the beach well after dark. The awesome Trail Running Rainbow Unicorn t-shirt in the above picture was from this run and I wear it regularly with pride.

Aside from trails, I also set a new parkrun personal best of 21:45 in August - going for a fastest time at the peak of event training is a great way to test where I'm at compared to previous training cycles.

2017 Goals

I'm going to cheat a little bit here since we're already half way through the year...

  • Smash the trails.
  • Get a road half marathon time under 1h45m.
  • Finish a bunch of trail half marathons
  • Get a 10km time under 45 minutes
  • Get a parkrun time below 21 minutes
  • Run something longer than a half marathon

Why I Hate Running (Hint: Pizza)

Why I Hate Running by Brendan Leonard at Semi-Rad.com:

I hate running, three to four times a week if I have time. I hated it yesterday for a little over an hour.

Maybe the sickest thing about the whole idea of running is when you sign up for an organized run, like an ultramarathon, and in order to run 50 or 62 or 100 miles in one day, you basically have to spend about six months running all the time just so you can run that far in one day. You get to the finish line of a 50-mile race and people are like, “Congratulations, you just ran 50 miles.” And you’re like, “Fuck that, I just ran 750 miles—you just saw the last 50. Anyway, let’s go get a pizza.” And then you hate yourself and make strange noises every time you stand up from a seated position for about five days and then you start thinking, “That race was so fun, I should do that again soon.” Sometimes I like to say, “I’ve done dumber things for worse reasons.”

Most of the time I really enjoy running. But there are plenty of times I'm happy to go for a run just to justify stuffing my face with pizza. Or beer. Or steaks. Or burgers.

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