As there are only a couple of days left in 2008 I thought it would be interesting (at least for me) to look back on the targets I set this time last year and see if I actually achieved any. I've shown the original targets in italics below, with my comments in normal text. So let's see how it all went:
1. West Highland Way race - to set a new PB, which means beating my 2007 time of 21 hours 11 minutes.
NOT ACHIEVED. In fact I didn't even finish the bloody thing, dropping out at Rowardennan. Definitely one of the year's low points. I've said enough on the subject already and don't plan to say much more, other than to thank everyone for all their kind comments afterwards - even though hearing all the nice things being said was a bit like attending my own funeral. Keith Hughes kept things in perspective when, in his inimitable Aussie style, he reminded me it was only a bl**dy race. He was right, although I'm not sure it felt like that at the time.
2. Marathon - to beat 3 hours 10 minutes. Last year's 2.59 was great, but it was probably a bit of a "one-off" (he says hoping that it wasn't a 'one-off'). I'm not going to put too much pressure on myself by setting a sub 3 hour target, so anything under 3.10 would be a good result.
NOT ACHIEVED. I did 4 marathons, with a slightly disappointing best for the year of 3.19 at Dumfries in March. On the positive side, I did something new by doing back to back marathons in May, at Stornoway (3.39) then the following day at Edinburgh (3.34).
3. Half marathon - to beat 1 hour 26 minutes. That will be tough, but should give me a focus in the early part of the year leading up to Inverness.
ACHIEVED! I did 1.24 at Inverness in March. It was undoubtedly my best running performance of the year. Looking at the rest of the year, I'm not entirely sure where that bit of form came from.
4. 10k - to beat 38 minutes. I didn't achieve this one in 2007, so it needs to be carried forward to 2008.
NOT ACHIEVED. And not even close. I started the year with a 38.57 at the Nigel Barge, but that was as good as it got. Finished it with a couple of 40 mins+ efforts - maybe old age has finally caught up with me?
5. National XC - to finish in the top half - same reason as 4 above.
NOT ACHIEVED. I didn't have a great run at this year's National XC and missed the top half by 10 places or so.
6. To run 2,000 miles. I accept that this target doesn't mean very much, but it helps me get my running shoes on when it's a cold and dark November evening. For that reason, it stays as a target.
ACHIEVED! So far I've done 2,050, with 2 days still to go.
10 other running related things I'd like to do in 2008 but which aren't formal targets:
1. To beat John K in every race we do.
FAILED DISMALLY. After beating John in the first 2 races he moved up a gear or three, and I never got close to him again. He ran an absolutely phenomenal 19.59 in the WHW race, and his burst through the Fort William Leisure Centre door wins the award for the 'Most Dramatic Entrance of 2008'. By the middle of May I was deeply regretting ever mentioning this as a target. I won't make the same mistake again.
2. To beat Kim T in every race we do.
SORT OF ACHIEVED... I think we only raced twice, at the Inverness and Glasgow half marathons. I won at Inverness, and Glasgow doesn't really count as it was the week before the 24 hour race...
3. To finish in the top 20 in the WHW race - haven't been outside it so far, but it's getting harder and harder as the field gets bigger.
NOT ACHIEVED. See comments above.
4. To win the Strathearn Harriers club championship.
NOT ACHIEVED. My faint hopes disappeared completely when I was held up at work and missed the Comrie Fun Run, an absolute 'must do' event because of the way the points system works. Congratulations to Phil T who won by virtue of his performance at the very last event, the Aviemore half marathon.
5. To run at least 5 marathons and ultras.
ACHIEVED! I actually finished 6: the Highland Fling, the Perth 24 hour race, and the Dumfries, Stornoway, Edinburgh and Nice to Cannes Marathons. On reflection, fair to say it was a year of quantity rather than quality.
6. To run at least 25 races in total.
ACHIEVED (but only just). I've done 25 races so far, but hope to add the Kilbarchan Hogmanay Handicap on the 31 December to bring it up to 26.
7. To run at least 5 'new' races, i.e. races I haven't done before.
ACHIEVED. I think this has been my main achievement of the year, and has meant that I can view 2008 as a successful running year. Of the 25 races completed, 12 have been new ones. I had never done a 24 hour race, so that was new; I did marathons for the first time in Stornoway, Edinburgh and Nice to Cannes; and I did the Heaven and Hell, Stonehaven and Coll half marathons, all for the first time.
8. To persuade enough Strathearn Harriers to enter a team for the Round Arran Relay in July (come on guys, great event, we could make a weekend of it - only needs me plus another 5 - can even be a mixed team).
NOT ACHIEVED. Even if we had been able to get a team together, we wouldn't have been able to get a place in the event due to new restrictions on the numbers.
9. To learn how to navigate properly, so I can do some of the fantastic hill races that are on the fixture list.
NOT ACHIEVED yet, although I did find my way up and down Ben Chonzie with the dog, without getting lost.
10. To try a few new malt whiskies (possibly not running related, but I was struggling for a 10th...)
ACHIEVED! And, even better, I got a couple of great bottles for Christmas - an Ardbeg Uigeadail and a Rosebank 12 yo.
So, that was 2008. The positives were definitely getting over 100 miles in the 24 hour race and taking part in so many new events; another major positive was having the opportunity to chair sportscotand for a 4 month period from February to June, which was a fantastic experience. The big negative was of course the WHW, but I plan to put that right in 2009.
Next post - targets for 2009!