2016 – a year in review

Enter the next Trust 10 event at Lyme Park
Enter the next Trust 10 event at Lyme Park

Well I’ve not done this for a couple of years. I guess the 2015 version would have just been the word AAAARGH! in 20 foot high letters. In Comic Sans font.

So here we go

2016 – a year in review


2016 started out pretty well all in all. My training throughout the winter had been good and I was feeling good about the world. I’d run 106 miles according to Smashrun and that included a few runs with my new LymeRunners group. Although not ‘too good’ as I’d started 2015 like that and by March it had gone so far south it had a mock Australian accent.

Actually January was a quiet month. Despite launching the business several months earlier, following the Christmas ‘rush’, I returned to looking for jobs, which started to come in at the end of the month. I had my ‘official leaving do’ from my last job – all put back to get Christmas out of the way and was given a zip-wire experience as a send off – perhaps they really were trying to get rid of me!


Whilst the work was relatively thin on the ground I spent a lot of time in Lyme Park, learning the paths and taking the camera out with me a lot. February half-term arrived and I picked up some holiday bookings some of which morphed into regular work, so at last the business was looking like it might be viable. Admittedly 4 months from zero – viable is pretty amazing, but there’s always room for panic at the outset.

Then some things happened with the running. Smashrun recorded 88 mils. I joined a running club after years of dithering. I debuted at Lyme Park parkrun one weekend and whilst the run on a hard route was reasonable, my feet had started to shout loudly at me. A week later I debuted at Bramhall parkrun and smashed my 5k PB. A day later, despite shouty feet, my half-marathon PB time was beaten during a local loop. This is a PB I’d not been able to come close to since I recorded it in 2012.


The running joy continued for another whole week. Finally under race conditions my half-marathon PB was soundly demolished – 6 minutes off my previous best race performance. Unfortunately, this marked the end of the serious running with the bursitis becoming so painful that walking was becoming a problem. In total 58 miles were recorded on Smashrun, but this would mark something of a running hiatus.

Instead, regular trips to the physio became the order of the day. Along with regular trips to an anger management course, something of a result of 2015’s shenanigans.


April was always going to be a questionable month, being the anniversary of my illness. The anger classes actually fell perfectly with the anniversary itself giving me the opportunity to talk to the appropriate people when the emotions were doing silly things.

The bike also made an appearance; the usual response to a lack of running opportunity! A few daft rides later and at least I felt tired! In running news, Smashrun recorded 3 miles! That was the last of my actual runs with the #LymeRunners group for a while as my feet were sulking and shouting at me! It’s interesting trying to lead a running group when you can’t run! And disappointing to miss Liverpool Marathon as well.


May was a month where old-business and pleasure collided. I’m a member of a bell-ringing Guild related to my previous vocation who happened to be meeting in Manchester. I’d actually not rung with them for a couple of years for one reason or another and this was a chance to start to try to draw lines under the last year. Despite the mess the illness caused internally, I’ve wanted to get to a point of closure on as many things as I can. Allowing wounds to heal properly is the best way, and certainly better than risking them re-opening later. I’d say the event was a moderate success with only one minor panic attack.

On a brighter note, we had a family get together for a photo-shoot; a birthday present from my brother and I for the parents. It was also the last time I saw my Gran who passed later in the year.

Running wise, 17 miles. I got out a few times and it hurt.


This month was characterised by the influx of holiday work. Over the previous couple of months, things had been pickling up steadily, but nothing to set the world alight. This was fine given I was still very fragile and processing information was a task in itself. But suddenly I’m legitimately having to turn work away because I’m full. Cats and other furries taking up every inch of my life! A big surprise to be at this stage so quickly, but a nice one. Furthermore, this run of work continued beyond the school holidays, and beyond the next holidays after that!

Of course, life is never entirely plain sailing. With the combination of the 4th anniversary of Mark’s passing and medication that was increasingly out of kilter, my head was generating hideous nightmares daily.

One run at the end of the month, a half-marathon distance. Which probably hurt. But at least it was progress!


July was a month that carried straight on from June with furry animals in great abundance. In fact I was glad that I’d annexed a week out in order to get away otherwise I’d not have stopped all summer! Business, as they say, was good!

I took the opportunity to get away camping at the War & Peace Revival Festival in Kent. As you may know, it’s something of an annual pilgrimage, and usually involves the purchasing of a load more military gear I haven’t got space for. At least in 2016, it became more of a chill out and camp holiday, with great weather and excellent company. Admittedly excellent phone reception too, as the Fluffies hotline continued to be scorching!

During the week, the question remained in mind – do I tackle the Snowdonia Trail Marathon when I get home? It was one of those things that you know you shouldn’t but still want to.

In fact I was still asking myself the same question at 7am of the morning of the race, whilst sat in the car park in Llanberis. Holding the T-Shirt.

To cut a long story short, after over 6 hours and 28 miles, I’d done the biggest running challenge of my life. And whilst it hurt, it did so in a good way! And then when I got home, there were cats to feed……

Smashrun recorded 65 miles for the month, most of which were spent crying my way up Snowdon!


Now into the School summer holiday period the furries were coming thick and fast and from all directions.

However I managed to carve a day out of the month in order to run with Ben Smith of the 401 Challenge. I’d wanted to run with him earlier in the year but the bursitis stopped this. On a very warm August day, we headed out from Bramhall to Macclesfield. And then came back! And then went walking dogs!!

With this long run in the midst of the month, the Smashrun total crept up to 71. So not bad given the feet were still not particularly happy!


Throughout the year I’d not been in a position to run a proper race. The Snowdon run, whilst officially a race was never going to be treated like one. For a start, I’d done no training. And secondly, there was a rather big mountain in the way. However, a local and flat half-marathon was organised by my running club and marked my first chance to run as an affiliated and competitive runner. It was neither quick nor pretty, but it was a race and I wasn’t as bad as I thought I was going to be. And it didn’t hurt quite as much as it might.

Smashrun totaled 64 miles.

And the first Trust10 event at Lyme Park took place. This was after about 12 months of planning and working out the best route. Apparently it’s tough. And beautiful. I’ll take that, it’s what I set out to achieve!

Workwise things were busy throughout until the last week. It turns out a lot of people stay at home in the summer until the schools go back. And lots of them have cats!

September ended on a sad note when my Gran passed away.


I was ready for my week off in October after the hectic mass of the summer. However despite much looking at holiday sites, I didn’t get very far. I did manage a couple of weekends away though, where I managed to do my Zip-wire experience (and survived) as well as a long run around Holy Island.

I did start the month with another race and my form was pretty good. It also put me in touch with a group at my running club who were doing what I wanted to.

Smashrun totaled 57 miles for the month although towards the end of the month, my back decided to go boink and caused a whole pile of unhappiness from the bursitis-suffering heels.

The month ended with a small party to mark 1 year in business.


November’s work diary continued to be busy, so nice to know it wasn’t just a party to mark the end of it all!

The running also continued in a positive vein with two races with times in the ballpark I wanted, helped by finally agreeing that the physio really needed to fix whatever had gone boink.

Smashrun totaled 71 miles.


The last month of 2016 and in many ways a bit of a wind-down on many fronts. For much of the month it was only the regulars supplying work. Not a big surprise as those wanting to go away were likely to do it during the holidays themselves. Which they did!

I succumbed to getting a bike trainer, knowing it was the only way the bike would get used over the next few months. And knowing that my running has been sporadic at best on a monthly basis, it offers a chance of keeping in shape.

That said, the one race I did was an excellent result. And the other one I didn’t turn up to in the end. You see the week before the NYE race, I’d joined a group running the Yorkshire 3 peaks. An ambitious run, and also one which re-enflamed a toe I squished on Snowdon. Yes you heard it here first, I used common sense with regard to running. It’s only taken how many years….!?

Smashrun total miles 73!

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