It’s been over 6 months since I posted to this blog and I thought that it had finally died – so many of my blogging friends have stopped blogging and it seems that with social media taking over in a way we could not have imagined when we started blogging (this is insane btw – I started blogging in 2006 which doesn’t feel like that long ago!).
But after a year of futzing around without a goal, I am back in the game. For someone who likes to take action, not having a goal is really hard. Which is why I tried on lots of different ones for size last year. Spring marathon? I found I just have no desire to run a big city marathon again. Setting a marathon PB and qualifying for Boston again? For now, I can’t find it within me to want to run any faster than I already have. Or even to run (anywhere near) as fast as I already have. Ironman? Same, really. I am thrilled and amazed and pleased that I’ve done one – I really don’t have any desire to do another. I even tried to get very excited about running half marathons – the logic being that it wasn’t so hard to train for and would keep me in shape. And I did, in fact, run a trail half marathon at the end of June which I really enjoyed. But, once again, I have NO desire to run these for any other reason than training runs. They are not goals for me.
One of the books that has had a massive influence on me this year, rather surprisingly, is Gretchen Rubin’s Better than Before. Surprising because she is quite cut and dry, quite practical and overall I am finding myself heading far more towards spiritual exploration at the moment. But her book has really resonated with me this year. It’s all about building habits, and how we do that successfully. All good stuff for coaches and trainers to read. The thing that really got me, though, is the thought that in order to figure out how you can create, change and maintain habits, you need to know yourself. And I guess you can smell where this is going – at no point in the last year, when I was grasping for a new goal, was I actually brutally honest with myself about why I wanted that goal. The faster marathon, the faster Ironman, the half marathon all were perfectly acceptable goals – but not for me. It’s my own fault – I crowdsource to the extreme – but I needed to sit down and figure out what I really wanted to do when I wasn’t thinking about what other people thought I should do (or what I thought other people thought I should do, if that makes any sense).
So I’m running an ultra marathon in April. I’ve been toying with it for a while and I was very much on the fence, looking at races all around the world. Nothing rany my bell. However, ultimately I have decided I want to run a UK based race because:
- it’s a stressful exam year for both of my kids and I don’t want all the extra hassle / time out and expense that traveling abroad for a race entails.
- I am getting more and more enamoured with the beautiful countryside I can find within the United Kingdom and this seems like a perfect excuse to go and explore more of it;
- A lovely runner I met a few years ago at a running camp has this particular race and made me consider it. The race I’m hoping to enter is the Hoka Highland Fling which is run in Scotland along 53 miles of the West Highland way. It looks stunning, is signposted (mostly) and looks like it has an incredibly friendly vibe.
Plus, of course, it’s a new great big hairy-assed goal. I love taking on these challenges that scare me – it’s doing the hard stuff, the stuff that makes me doubt my abilities, that keeps me engaged. Because going through the hard stuff is the only way to get to the other side – to find that, yes, there is more than I thought there was and yes, I am stronger than I thought I could be.
So in April 2016, I hope to be lining up for the longest run of my life. So far…