It’s the end of another calendar year and the adage is true that each subsequent year seems to pass by faster than the last one. Before long it’ll be a case of blink and you’ll miss it.
Anyway, I’ve not done a year wrap-up for a couple of years. Not least because the last few years have been very hit and (mostly) miss from my own running point of view with a (suspected) torn tendon in 2021 and the bursitis in my foot last year and into this one.
Not that 2023 has been a stellar year. Rather it’s lurched from one disaster to the next, including multiple trips to hospital (all for different reasons). But I’m broadly in a good place again and whilst I’m sure 2024 will be loaded with curveballs I’m hopeful that each one will be survived!
Some running stats
Looking through Smashrun and Garmin I appear to have run 913 miles and gained about 90km of elevation over the year, the latter figure being rounded down as Smashrun does seem to overstate the elevation. Now compared to many people, the total distance is low, but actually that is quite consistent with my average since 2015, with only 2020 being way higher.
Weird, it wasn’t as if 2020 was an unusual year or anything. Oh wait………!!
Prior to 2015 I didn’t run anywhere near as much as after then. Again, 2015 being a year of transition in my own life.
The month where I anticipated that 2023 wasn’t going to be terrible. I was busy trying to pull some music together to act as a film soundtrack for a production I had been involved with. I actually got most of the tracks written in January but things slowed down thereafter as life got in the way.
84 miles run with one 13.1 and a 15 mile run where I met up with Jim Wilson of HuntingThirty Coaching (and a former colleague) for a catch up around Lyme Park. My intention was to get a longer run in ahead of the race in February.
The month where 2023 first hurtled off the rails and down the embankment straight into the sleepy town of Fustercluck.
I started the month with DOMS following a slightly exuberant strength-training episode, although was fit enough to be on the start line of Pendle Way in a Day, the first of my planned races for the year. It was one that had bounced over since 2022 when I DNS’d due to a muscle pull hence I was keen to make it in 2023.
The going was tough and I didn’t really know why my body wasn’t responding in any way that I recognised. I finished, but 24 hours later I had my first hospital visit of the year. You can read about the race here and the aftermath here.
Total miles were 79, which consisted of a 45 mile race and a load of small runs at the end of the month trying to coerce my body to start to work again.
The soundtrack album was finished and sent out to the distribution service for an April release. Listening back, the album contains several tracks which are some of the best I’ve written, albeit they’re much darker than you’d probably want in your popular music listening. I realised I needed a long break from all things in the music creation world and packed everything away.
I did a product review for a massage gun, something to that point I’d never used before. You can find that here.
53 miles run, with one 10 miler with Peak & Valley on a rare opportunity to join them on a Sunday morning run. Body was still struggling which wasn’t helping matters
April is usually the start of my work busy season during the Easter holidays, and this was no exception. It was manic and something that continued unabated for 3 months. Great for the business, knackering for me.
62 miles run during the month, all of them less than 7 miles a time. But the paces were OK in the circumstances, the body was gradually getting over whatever it needed to get over. Covid, from last September, probably.
Work carried on in loopy fashion. I started getting out on the bike more frequently to try to build up some fitness whilst reducing the work mileage on the car to keep it within the agreed limits. In amongst the chaos I was asked to review another massage gun (clearly I’m now an expert…..!) and the review is here.
Monthly mileage was up to 70 miles, with the longest being 10 miles where I was running my jobs i.e. the total was 10 miles but there were several stops en route for work purposes.
I sent back my Higher State trail shoes because they’d fallen apart after about 200 miles. They were subsequently replaced and they’re currently in use at the moment. Either way, there’s a couple of updates on the blog about this saga and I’ll need to look closely at my data to work out just how many miles this replacement pair have done (they only come out in the winter months as they have a more aggressive grip compared to my Altras).
I fell off my bike in a pretty major fashion, and whilst I avoided breaking any bones (I don’t know how) I did a load of soft tissue damage which took months to heal and even now isn’t quite there. So that was back to the health service to check that my self first aid was sufficiently doing what was required (mostly stopping me from oozing over everything and sticking to it, a bit like a superpower gone hideously wrong).
Another 70 mile month with a 14.5 mile work run loop at the end of the month.
Things calmed down with work in July and I actually had a chance to focus on some running as well as getting away for a week. I led a run for the local group from Sports Feet in Hazel Grove and took part in a “Friday Skive” run from Chinley back to Marple – a conveniently 13.1 mile run.
76 running miles completed.
August was not a pleasant month as my elderly pussy cat had to be put down mid month.
A week later a customer’s cat sank its fangs into the back of my hand and I ended up spending my Saturday evening back in hospital dealing with the resultant infection. Thankfully that was quickly dealt with!
Work was busy still and I’d finally been persuaded to get my mangled bike looked at, and straightened out. So it’s back in working order again, even if it looks a bit battered.
Run wise the total was 76 miles for the month. Within that there was a 14 mile work-run plus a 13.1 mile timed effort to see where my fitness was; 1h44m was the result of that, which for context, is a minute slower than my first ever half-marathon race back in 2007. Whilst it’s way off what I used to be able to do, I was happy to be sub 2 hours given everything that’s happened.
I did an event, even though I nearly bailed out beforehand due to a horrendous weather forecast. It was a trail marathon over in Burnley and again one which I should have done in 2022 but couldn’t because I had covid. And a duff foot. Anyway, it was hard work having not really done any specific training for it, but the intention was just to get out onto some trails for a day and have some fun. Which I did. Here’s the write up about the race.
Total miles for September was 87.
With the work season coming to a close there was an opportunity to do a bit more running. I attempted my regular 8 mile loop which I’ve used for over 10 years, although less so in the last few. It gives me an idea of my rough speed in comparison to previous attempts. Whilst the results aren’t pretty, at least they’re not a million miles off the average.
I also joined the LDWA for future events and went out on a local run adventure, tackling the first part of a local way-marked path, the “Fred Perry Way“.
76 miles in total for October.
I went on holiday for a couple of weeks and got to do a little bit of running whilst I was in Spain and in Gibraltar. One of the nice things on Smashrun is that it totals up your countries visited so I’m starting to spread my running around the world a little bit at a time.
Total miles was 87, including one 3-run day where I had to drop off and subsequently collect the car from the garage, plus coaching in the evening.
December ended up being my biggest running month at 92 miles over 16 days. It started with a 15 mile jaunt covering the north part of the Fred Perry Way (and home again), and ended with a hard-work effort of 8 miles along the local bypasses. I’ve had a bug over Christmas, and whilst it’s nothing major I could definitely feel its impact on the run today. The time running looks OK, but there were two sections of stopping to get breath back into the body to avoid keeling over anywhere. I mean that wouldn’t be a great look, although it’s entirely appropriate for 2023 as a whole.
When I was trying to find photos for the review, I let OpenAI loose on the idea and it came up with the very optimistic picture as follows.
Anyway, that was my year in and around running. Wishing you the best for 2024 and hopefully it’ll be a better showing than this year just gone!