General Blogs

2017 WHAT A MIXED BAG.

Now 2017 is over I thought I would take a little time to write down my highs, lows and general thoughts on the year.

In general, there have been so many highs in both my personal life and fitness life, but the year will forever be remember as a sad and ultimately bad year for me. I will post my highs and lows first and then give a brief month by month breakdown of how my fitness year went.

Highs:

(In no particular order)

  • I ran a marathon!!! in fact, I ran FIVE marathons in 2017.
  • I have completed two of the six World Marathon Majors.
  • I beat my PB’s in 5k, 10k, half marathon & marathon.
  • I swam the Swim Serpentine 2 Mile Challenge.
  • I cycled 313 miles over 5 days from Cameron Arizona to Las Vegas Nevada.
  • I rode my first 100 miler, cycling 110 miles from Kingman Arizona to Boulder City Nevada.
  • I took part in my first cycle sportive, the Cheshire Cheetah.
  • I took part in three obstacle course races: Tough Mudder Yorkshire: Full, Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest & Bear Grylls Survival Race.
  • I ran for 87 consecutive days, beating my previous best of 3 days.
  • I ran 1,287 miles in 2017, beating my previous best from 2016 of 311 miles.
  • I made some fantastic friends through my Instagram running profile TheCheshireRunner and had the pleasure of meeting and competing with some of them.
  • I took part in my first and second triathlons, GoTri Biddulph and the Last of the Summer Tri Sprint Triathlon (bit of a month full that one).

Lows:

  • My mother passed away in September from a heart failure. I am now using this massive low as the motivation behind my 2018 Virgin London Marathon. I have signed up to run for the British Heart Foundation and have pledged to raise at least £2,000 to help reduce heart related deaths in the UK. I will be posting a blog about this in the coming weeks.
  • I lost out on 12 weeks of training in 2017, with two piriformis injuries in February/March (7 weeks) and August/September (5 weeks).
  • I ran all five marathons with a cold. Somehow I caught a cold during the last week of tapering before every marathon.
  • Sadly all five marathons were ran in the wake of a terrorist attack in that city/area.

Fitness:

January

  • The fitness year began with me starting my training for my first ever marathon. During 2016 I had ran four half marathons, none of which were ran from start to finish. Taking that step up to running a full marathon was going to be a challenge but something I felt I could do.
  • I invested in my first sports watch, up until now I had tracked my runs and rides using the Strava app on my phone. Now I was getting serious and splashed out on a Garmin Forerunner 920XT multi sport watch and a Garmin Edge 1000 for my bike.
  • To stay motivated after the Paris Marathon, I signed up to run the Rock n Roll Liverpool Marathon and also the Berlin Marathon for Prostate Cancer UK. Maybe I should have waited until after Paris before signing up for 2 more marathons but hey, no going back now.
  • I ran 116 miles in January!!!! the first time I had ever ran over 100 miles in one month, in fact, I ran 311 miles in the entire of 2016.

February

  • I signed up for Parkrun and ran my first race at Congleton Parkrun finishing in just under 24 minutes.
  • I had my first race of the year at the Cancer Research UK Winter Run Manchester and smashed my 10k PB by over 9 minutes.

Mark - Cancer Research Winter Run Medal

  • LOW: I injured my left piriformis which put a stop to marathon training for the next 7 weeks.
  • SEMI LOW: I had applied for the ASICS Frontrunner UK team but received a Sorry Not This Time mail from them. It didn’t come as a surprise given I had only started running last year and 2017 was my first real year at it so, try again next time.

March

  • The first 2 weeks were spent in the Dominican Republic where I found I could swim pain free, although I also discovered I had forgotten how to swim. I clocked up a few km’s in the sea. I also had one 5k beach run to test out my injury and it wasn’t too bad, not perfect but maybe I could make the start line in Paris in 3 weeks time.

IMG_3330

  • I had my first physio appointment on the 23rd March, she gave me the all clear to try out a steady 5k run the following day, this went ok, I did feel some discomfort but was that just in my head?
  • I ran the CHESHIRE 10k pain free!! 5 minutes slower than last months PB but I ran pain free. This fell 2 weeks before the Paris Marathon and raised my hopes of at least finishing the marathon.

April

  • I ran my second Parkrun, not great but pain free still.
  • I completed four training runs before flying out to Paris for the marathon, all four were pain free but no pace whatsoever, but I am running so who cares.
  • I AM A MARATHON FINISHER!!!!!!!! I ran and completed my first ever marathon, 18 months after taking up running I had achieved my goal of running a marathon. I had hoped to run under 4 hours but missed out on this by 5 minutes at PARIS MARATHON 2017

The Cheshire Runner - Paris Marathon 2017

  • Feeling motivated after my first marathon, I brought four new pairs of running shoes, setup a new training plan for the Berlin which was 5 months away and took the decision to separate my personal Instagram and create a new running profile called….. TheCheshireRunner.
  • At the same time I decided to setup this blog, the idea behind this is to give me a place to record my running memories and thoughts to look back on when I am too old and grey to remember.
  • I came up with a challenge of starting a RunStreak and taking it 150 days all the way to the Berlin Marathon. This being the guy who had at the time only ever ran a three day run streak. Day 1 was ran with flying colours on the 28th April.
  • I ran the GREAT BIRMINGHAM 10K at the end of the month, only 2 minutes off my 10K PB time. I was starting to get some of my pace back. I had still ran the race 7 minutes faster than my 2016 PB time so, still good!

May

  • I started the month off with the HEATON PARK 10K going within 72 seconds of my 10k PB.
  • I ran the Rock n Roll Liverpool 5k in 18:06 which was my first official 5k race but still over 2 minutes faster than my Parkrun PB.
  • The day after nearly running a sub 18 5k I ran the ROCK n ROLL LIVERPOOL MARATHON over 26 minutes faster than last months Paris marathon. A marathon PB that still stands today. This came 7 days after the Manchester Arena bombing which hit so close to home for me. I work just over the road from the arena and had attempted to buy tickets for that concert. Such a sad and tragic day.

Run Medal - Rock n Roll Liverpool 5k, Marathon & Remix 2017

  • I ran every single day of May!!

June

  • I began June by signing up for the Rock n Roll Las Vegas Marathon in November, this would take me up to four marathons in 2017.
  • I ran the POTTERS ‘ARF breaking my half marathon PB by 12 minutes.
  • I ran the COLSHAW HALL 10k breaking my 10k PB with a 41:53, a full 47 seconds faster than February’s Winter Run.
  • I rode my very first Cycle Sportive with my friend Phil, we rode 73 miles in the WIGGLE CHESHIRE CHEETAH SPORTIVE

Wiggle Cheshire Cheetah 70 Mile Sportive 18-06-17 8

  • For the second month running, I ran every single day, taking my Run Streak up to 64 days.
  • I signed up for marathon number 5, the Greater Manchester 2018 Marathon.

July

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  • LOW: I had my first DNS, I was due to run the Vitality 10k but was woken by a call to say my mother had fallen in her care home, I spent the day in A&E with her. It turned out she had broken her hip. This was the last day she ever walked by herself.
  • I hit 1,000 followers on Instagram and 300 on Twitter on the same day. Unbelievable that so many people follow me rambling on about my daily run struggles, but the support from them has spurred me on to so much this year.
  • LOW: 87 days into my 150 Day Run Streak challenge I called it off. My right piriformis had gone, ultimately costing me 5 weeks of running, this came just 63 days out from the Berlin Marathon!!! nightmare.
  • I ventured into the pool for my first proper swim in 23 years. Its safe to say it didn’t go well, the arms and legs were all over the place, but its definitely a high point.
  • I took part in TOUGH MUDDER FULL – YORKSHIRE with my friend Chris, who I also met on the 2016 Death Valley Cycle Challenge.

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  • The day after Tough Mudder I competed in my first ever triathlon at GOTRI BIDDULPH I guess that means I can call myself a triathlete now?

August

  • I returned to running on the 14th August, 5 weeks after injuring my piriformis.
  • I signed up for Ironman UK in 2018!!! that is 140.6 miles!!! what have I done!!!
  • I also signed up for the Swim Serpentine 2 mile open water swim next month.
  • I went for two practise open water swims. I learnt that the hardest part was getting into my wetsuit.

September

  • The month started off with some great news. I secured a place in the 2018 London Marathon where I will be running for the British Heart Foundation. I chose the BHF as my mother has suffered from multiple heart issues over the past 12 years so I hope to raise a good chunk of money to help research in this area and also give mum something to be happy about as well.
  • I ran the TATTON 10k my first race back since the injury. I came home in 42:24 so a couple of minutes slower than July but a pain free race.
  • I ran the SANDBACH 10k with my old next door neighbour Alan. Slightly quicker this week with a 41:44.
  • I took part and completed the SWIM SERPENTINE 2 MILE CHALLENGE my first ever open water mass start swim.

IMG_8485

  • The day after Swim Serpentine I ran the ENGLISH HALF MARATHON breaking my half marathon PB for the second time in 2017 with a 1:31:58. I was supposed to be taking this one easy as it was one week before the Berlin Marathon.
  • I ran the BERLIN MARATHON 2017 in 3:41:04, not my quickest but this was my first Abbotts World Marathon Major.

IMG_4017

  • LOW: Just 4 days after returning from Berlin my mother sadly passed away from a heart failure. I was lucky enough to be able to show her my Berlin medal and get to spend 3 evenings with her before we lost her for good.
  • A week after Berlin I joined a team of fellow Instagram runners lead by Marathon Marcus where we took part in the BEAR GRYLLS SURVIVAL RACE

Bear Grylls Survival Race 11 (30-09-17)

October

  • I took part in my first ever Sprint Triathlon at LAST OF THE SUMMER TRI finishing up in 1:38:06.
  • I took a week off running and flew out to Cameron Arizona where I joined a group of 44 UK charity cyclists riding 313 miles from Cameron AZ to Las Vegas NV in the ARIZONA TO LAS VEGAS CYCLE CHALLENGE twice during this ride I broke my longest ride record first with day 3’s 85 miles and then day 4’s 110 miles.

img_4272

  • Not fitness related but I jumped out of an aeroplane from 15,000ft!!!! such an amazing experience.

DCIM100GOPROG0032989.

November

  • I began November by signing up for Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire, I thought that I could use this event as a stepping stone to Ironman UK.
  • I ran my forth marathon of 2017, the NEW YORK CITY MARATHON my second of the six Abbotts World Marathon Majors, in 3:46:11

New York Marathon 2017 29

December

  • I ran 137 miles in December, my third biggest month of running, taking my 2017 total to 1,287 miles. Well beyond my goal of running 1,000 miles and also past 2,017kms.
  • I started my Ironman UK training, I am combining this with marathon training for the first four months while I prepare to run the 2018 Greater Manchester and London marathons in April.

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