Finally I have found some time to update my blog
I think the build up to Christmas and the New Year meant that I had little time to put pen to paper (or whatever we should now say….fingers to keyboard perhaps?)
This wasn’t helped by my taking over the reins of Club Secretary for my local running club…….. rediscovering my love of cycling and joining my local cycling club!
Review of last year
Last year was a mixed bag for me….. I had a clear focus for the year, two key races (the Hardmoors 55 and UTLD50) and at least one marathon distance race per month (namely the Hardmoors trail series!). The plan was to run the two Ultramarathons in 2017, then in 2018 run no distance further than a trail marathon.
However, in case you haven’t been following my blog, life decided to scupper my plan for 2017. In April I had cardiac issues, with my heart stopping, then eventually restarting itself a number of times over a few days. The end result was the fitting of a pacemaker to prevent it stopping altogether!
Without going into too much detail, the ‘plumbing’ side of my heart was in top shape, but the ‘electrical’ wiring was faulty and kept shorting out. If you have read the book ‘The Haywire Heart’ I was a classic case. If you haven’t read the book, it presents evidence that going too hard or too long can damage your heart, and suggests regular periods of detraining. In my case, over the years the detraining had happened because I had collapsed whilst out training and the after effects meant that I couldn’t train anyway! So I was effectively okay for a while until my training levels became such that my heart would stop working again, and the cycle continued! As much as many people may think that the book is alarmist, I can relate to what it is saying and I know other athletes who have the same symptoms, either diagnosed or not!
The death of my father not long after (following a short illness) compounded the effect on my training. I decided to drop the second major race, the UTLD, and after some serious thinking, decided to not run anymore ultras or marathons. I was never advised this by my cardiologist, but it made sense to me.
My collection of bling will not grow as much this year!
Back to fitness
The rest of the year consisted of shorter races with the aim to regain my fitness back to the level it was at the start of the year.
By October time I was getting close. I decided in October to run everyday and get some consistency back in my training. By the end of the month I felt a lot better. I had lost some of the weight I had gained and my race times were acceptable. It is amazing too how much more time I had as well now I wasn’t training for marathons / ultra races.
On the road to recovery with the help of the Cardiac Athletes group!
I also rediscovered my love of cycling. I used to do quite a bit of road cycling when I was in my thirties, regularly competing in time trials. I have no plans to enter cycle races, but enjoy the social culture cycling offers with regular weekend rides including the obligatory café stop.
Plans for 2018
This years running goals are like a ‘blast from the past’. My aim is to get PB’s at all distances up to half marathon. A tall order perhaps. It is almost five years since I last broke any PB’s. My move to longer races and trail races meant that I wasn’t focusing on speed at the shorter distances. In reality I don’t think I ever peaked back then either. There was room for improvement.
How do I aim to do this
The key will be keeping injury free and avoiding any length of time in hospital!
I thought about having a lactose tolerance test too. Although I am sure I can make improvements by a structured training program, focusing on the ten mile race distance. York 10 in October will be the focus race to achieve my ten mile PB. This is a nice flat and fast race with a lot of support to motivate you. I was close to a PB in last year’s event, but died over the last couple of miles.
Meanwhile the attempt at the 10k distance will be during the York and District Road Race League races between April and July.
First race of 2018. Hardmoors 15 on New Years Day
I have cut back on the amount of running I do. It will now be more focused on quality training over shorter distance. My endurance fix will come from cycling. Okay it doesn’t have the same effect as long distance running, but it is a lot less stressful on your body!
I’m looking forward to 2018 and seeing what I am capable of! Hopefully I wont be taking one step forward and two back this year!
I will keep you posted on my progress!