2009 ended up being another good year.
Many new experiences with the Marathon des Sables still long in the future, but in the end the new experiences were so much more than just ‘make-weights’ on the journey back to Morocco.
John always goes to walk the 3 peaks in Yorkshire on the last weekend in February with friends. A long standing tradition of his and this year I joined him on his tour of Whernside, Pen-y-Ghent and Ingleborough. No running involved at this stage, but a good practice out in the elements, 24 miles with a good 2000m ascent on the circuit.
As part of my training for London, I normally add a half marathon or two to test myself, but it had been some years since I had done Reading. John a I were optimistic after a good few long but fast training sessions and eventually we both ended up with personal best times
After the exuberance of my half marathon PB I was struck again by a mystery injury to my foot which took a period of settling down and rest to recover from. My disappointment at missing yet another Marathon through injury, especially after my training had seemed to be going so well was hard to bear, with 5 weeks where I had to limit my mileage to less than 15 miles.
On the longest day of the year Greg, John, Tim and myself made our way across to Snowdon for a little ‘hill training’ – unfortunately the beautiful evening journey turned into a shocking morning, demonstrating vividly how mountainous regions can have their own micro-climate which bears no resemblance to surrounding lowlands. We traversed only 3-4 of the 14 hills of the Welsh 3000 but were all circumspect about the experience prior to Mont Blanc.
Things started to get serious in July after another solo attempt on the Welsh 3000s where I scaled Crib Goch in the fog and then the midnight start at the end of July of the 57 mile Classic Cliffs – a trail race along the south-west coast path from Port Isaac in Cornwall to Clovelly in North Devon. The race was fantastic practice for the UTMB with the nighttime start and ascents and descents along exposed coastal trails.
Finally, the crowning glory of my running year, completion of the Mont Blanc. The race was an incredible experience, my first at that distance and although I swore never to do it again at the time, it seems a bit like a hangover where oncethe physical effects have worn off, the addiction and desire to experience the event again is just too great an opportunity to miss out on…. while there is still breath left in my body, etc, etc 🙂
Ever since then, albeit only 4 months ago (it seems like a lifetime) I have been in a strange holding pattern with my training, regularly completing 40 mile weeks, I am now looking at 5 events from February to August, including a (fingers crossed) third London Marathon and a hopeful PB.
2010 is shaping up to be quite exciting as well but with the Marathon des Sable in April 2011 to prepare for remaining injury free is becoming as priority as I test out all manner of methods of blister prevention.