The Carlisle Santa Dash was always scheduled to be my final run of the year. Once you start kicking into mid-December then there isn’t much on the horizon race wise.
The Santa Dash had been organised in collaboration between Sport In Action, DH Runners and Carlisle Tri Club and was aimed at raising money for the local charity organisation Eden Valley Hospice and Jigsaw.
It was a two tier event with the timed 5k starting at 10:30am and the fun run 2k starting at 11:30am. My plan was to do the 5k then pick up the family and head over to start the 2k.
The training plan for that day was a 16 ½ mile run which I had intended to do Sunday afternoon. Knowing what I’m like though I would have ended up getting to the afternoon and sacking it off so it was by sheer luck that I overheard Andrew saying he was heading out for a run first thing Sunday. This gave me the impetus I needed to get up and get out early doors.
And so it was that we headed out at 7am for the next 2 and a quarter hours.
It’s become quite pleasant going out for a run with other people these days. I’m finally at a fitness level where I can actually participate in conversations even when we’re pushing a little harder and it’s nice to be at a level of running fitness where I can run with Andrew again over a long distance (and keep up).
16.5 miles later and we were back at his house and I was contemplating not doing the 5k.
But, predictably, when I arrived to register and I saw the throng of racers I ended up pinning on my 5k bib and heading to the start line anyway.
“I’ll just take it easy,” I said…
With the hordes of Santa’s on the start line all dressed up in Santa suits (some with added tinsel) it was time to get started.
I was a little on the stiff side to start off with but a mile into the run and I’d loosened up and was definitely not taking it easy anymore.
25 minutes and 45 seconds later and I’d finished. Not bad for someone who had just rattled off 16 ½ miles I reckon.
Not long over the finish line and my wife and kids arrived to take part in the 2k and so we headed back over to Bitts Park to join the start line for the fun run.
I was going to take the boy because he wanted to run and my wife was going to take the girl in the pushchair and we’d all meet up at the finish.
I didn’t time it on the stopwatch so I have no idea how long it took but the boy ran the majority of it with only one stop because he got a bit of a stitch. It was his best run yet and he was so chuffed at the end of it.
As usual with these things some of the adults lost the spirit of a ‘fun’ run and were traumatising their kids in the process but hey…that’s their choice.
A whopping amount has been raised for the charity for this event. Total amounts are still being calculated but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was well over £5,000 once the figures are in. Here’s hoping it becomes a regular fixture on the local running calendar.
As for me, that is my running year over bar the training.
There are a lot of memories, a lot of medals and a lot of lessons to be learned but it’s honestly been the best year I’ve ever had since I started my running journey back in early 2009. When the year started and I knocked out a disappointing marathon at Manchester I didn’t hold out much hope for what 2016 had in store for me but suddenly one by one the PB’s kept getting beaten and I kept getting stronger (and thinner).
There’s no secret to it. Hard graft, putting in the miles, getting the nutrition right, doing the core work, stretching and running economically have seen me make great strides (pun intended) this year. I’m still a maverick runner…but I’ve gotten a little smarter.
Thanks for taking the time to read the blog this year. I only really started writing this as a way to document my events and training but it’s nice that people have been reading it and have taken the time to send messages and comment on posts.
I’ve got plenty on the horizon for 2017 but for now…
Happy Holidays to you all.