Thursday, 5 December 2013

2013 Year in Review (sort of)

It’s certainly has been a weird year – something’s have progressed and improved and others certainly have either plateaued or regressed.

As a dad and husband I certainly feel like this has been my best year yet – I have invested more positive energy into the boys and they are really showing some signs of maturing into well rounded and responsible kids. In hindsight I raced too much last year, which included too many weekends away. I also travel for work sometimes, so being away from the family certainly takes its toll on the family unit and messes up everyone’s routine.  I have certainly felt a strong feeling of guilt, about spending quality family time pursuing my own selfish pursuits. This feeling shouldn’t be confused with investment to be a better athlete, which I strongly believe can occur on a reasonable daily activity level (like running in the morning and gym at lunch). What I am referring to is the long distance travel to all points of Australia to race.

This year I feel like I haven’t raced enough, but I have progressed with my strength and speed – I just don’t have a heap of participation medals to go with the training effort.

In thinking about 2014 one big difference is that Joel starts prep and will be at school with Hayden. Which means Bel will probably work a bit more. At the end of the year I traditionally plan out what events I’m most likely going to target for the year. Only 1 event is certain and that is the Gold Coast Marathon which I will run with Donald. I probably will run the 10k the day before and aim for a sub 45 min run (my PB is 43.55). That way I can push the faster training still and get a few long runs up, I don’t want to be the one complaining at 35km with 7km to go!

Apart from that – there are 2 other trips which I am desperate to do. The first is a family trip to Sydney to watch a Manly Sea Eagles home game. Manly play arch rivals Melbourne at Brookvale on the Saturday night and hopefully the stars align and I can get there for my birthday weekend which is Round 1. The other trip is a family trip to New Zealand to go skiing with Ben, Mel and the kids. In reflecting about the cash I spent racing last year, money would be better spent on a couple of decent family holidays. This is different to investing in my health, such as running gear, gym fees etc.

Which is the hard part of planning trips. When I look back at 2012 I feel very guilty about the money I spent on myself, which could have been spent on the family. It’s not like I was spending our food money on racing, but with events it certainly chews into the family travel budget. As the boys have matured (Hayden is nearly 8 and Joel is 5) – there are more adventures we can all have together on the weekends - memories for life. It was often a lonely feeling calling home after I raced to talk to the kids.

The big thing floating around with my running is should I have an all-out crack at a marathon PB after Gold Coast. Maybe aim for Sydney marathon in September or Sunshine Coast in August I have never done Sydney and it would be nice to have another “state” completed. With regards to track racing, hopefully work gets me to Brisbane for the QLD State Masters Champs in March. I’ll start to ramp up the track work soon, and hopefully with the extra gym work I have been putting in I will see an immediate improvement. I ran close to a grass 200m PB yesterday, after 4 weeks off so I know the gym work is paying dividends.  

With blogging it has been difficult to write. Less events have meant less to write about.  I have really enjoyed this year spending more time with the family and less time measuring my self-worth on race results, which I have a habit of doing. A pattern I fall into is wanting to push and test myself, then once that improvement curve ends, I lose interest and move on. Maybe I could just be happy at being a multiple marathon completer just running 4 days a week.
I think some of this is also that I am missing planning road trips, racing and travel with Ben, as he has been back in NZ for 2 months now it is starting to sink in that he isnt coming back. I miss having him here to chat with and it probably is one of the reasons that I am failing to plan anything for 2014.

As you can hear, a lot of stuff is up in the air. I know the effort it takes to pull on a marathon PB and a part of me wants that, but I also am aware of the bitter taste of a marathon struggle, where you don’t perform as expected. It can be a soul searching exercise.  The other issue is I have invested 12 months to get faster – and I have seen some real progress, but as I mentioned before the lure of a marathon finish line is like nothing else. Of my 7 marathons, only 1 (Canberra) did I not feel like a rock star when I finished. That’s a lot of good memories and positive emotions bottled up in running 42.2km!

In talking about racing, Gav Bendall is about to run Australia’s longest and arguably toughest Ultra the Coast to Kozi a 240km race from the Pacific Ocean to the top of Mt Kosciusko! Another friend Mat Grills is also doing the race, and I wish them all the best and safe journeys whilst taking on this epic adventure.

If you are wondering what the event date is for the Spring Classic next year, it is the 5th of October, so book it in! It is a week before Melbourne Marathon and a month before Noosa Triathlon.

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