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?
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
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.
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
It doesn't seem that long ago that I wrote up my 2014 list - but it's obviously far enough in the past that I don't really remember what I was trying to achieve this year, but it's worth a review - even if we are already six weeks into the new year!
The big stuff in my life in 2014 - death, birth, and home renovations - were, relatively speaking, out of mind in 2015. I had no big personal or career changes, but lots of little things.
Here's my notes to my future self on what I did in 2015, and what I want to do in 2016. None of the following is overly exciting, but I want them recorded for my own future reference.
- Got out in the Campervan. Not as much as we wanted, but spent a total of 14 nights away from home in it. Installed a water pump so we have water without manually pumping like the dark ages. Included two trips of 4 nights each, completely off-grid, without drama.
- Pilates has kept me away from the physiotherapist - except for when I busted my knee over-training for the half marathon
- Built a bigger vegetable patch and got some chickens.
- Bought a 4x4 to tow our campervan - does a much better job than my Subaru!
Gosh they change quickly, every week brings Below are a couple of stand-out memories for me from the past year:
- Watched our 3 (now 4) year old move into swimming lessons by himself rather than swimming with Lauren or I. Incredibly satisfying to watch him swim laps of the little swim school pool
- Played video games (on a TV, rather than his iPad educational stuff) with Mr 4 and had a ball. Super Nintendo classics from my childhood (on my original SNES console, not an emulator!) including Donkey Kong Country and Mario Kart as well as Apple TV newcomers like Crossy Road were a real hit.
- Exercised more than I ever have before
- Ran a half marathon, my first, and got a respectable time. Looking forward to more of these.
- Reduced my 5k time from over 26 minutes to 23:13.
- Did my first 10k, then a bunch more. Turns out this is a pretty fun distance.
Since mid-2014 I've been entrenched in two of Melbourne's horse racing clubs working on CRM projects for managing their members and raceday events. It's been interesting, but I'd be lying if I didn't look forward to a project in a new industry.
Both of those clubs "went live" with their new CRM systems with relative success, and both provided their own challenges: most of our projects tend to be back-office systems that don't directly interact with the public at large, so having the pressure of thousands of members of the public trying to scan tickets into a racecourse was a new experience for me.
Due to re-prioritisation of my time I've done pretty much no open-source work, nor have I spent much time on WhisperGifts. Both continue to tick along.
Based on what I hoped at this time last year I've done OK, but missed a couple of targets.
- Run twice a week, including three parkruns a month: I ran 90 days in 2015 (including an 11-day streak in December), so not quite twice a week. I've also only done 9 parkruns, not even once a month. I think my overall running is acceptable, though.
- Complete a 10km run. Smashed it, multiple times - and then went on to run 21.1km!
- Spend 30 nights in the Campervan, including 5+ nights off the grid in one trip We did half of these nights - and two 4-nighters. Needs work.
- Meditate Daily, or at least twice a week. Fail. Didn't meditate even once.
- Spend much, much more time with my wife and kids.
- Build another vegetable patch, and finish re-landscaping the front yard
- Continue running.
- Finish three half-marathons, with at least one under 1:40:00.
- Get my 10K pace to below 50 minutes (hopefully this "just happens" by focussing on the 21.1k distance)
- Great Ocean Road half marathon, Run Melbourne Half Marathon, and Melbourne Marathon Half Marathon events are on my calendar.
- Spend 30+ nights in the campervan, most of them off-grid, with a 5+ night off-grid trip
Photo: Morning mist at Sheepyard Flat campground, in October 2015
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