A Year Without Racing!
So 2023 didn’t go exactly how I thought it would when it came to races. However, the running still went on it was just not competitive in any form. I still trained hard just in case a race came up that I could enter, but it never happened for various reasons , I deployed at the end of February to the Baltic states, visiting lots of beautiful countries. First of all going up to the Arctic Circle, where I wasn’t sure if I could keep the streak going. The weather wasn’t always favourable for running, but I managed to cope just about on the treadmill even when the ship was rolling about heavily. That is always an interesting experience! We then came alongside in Norway in the city called Bergen , which I have never visited before.
|Up the Mountains of Bergen
I spent many time in Norway various other towns and cities, but this is the first I’ve been there. It was a beautiful place and good fun to run, but there were no races on during that time after brief couple of weeks at home during Easter where I prioritised family over races.
|Running around the upper deck within the Arctic Circle
We then headed back into the Baltic a bit deeper. We first visited Sweden, a place I’ve never visited before. Lots of great running was had here. I even managed to do a Parkrun with a friend based out here in Stockholm. We then followed this by visiting Helsinki in Finland. Where we came alongside in another beautiful country. Wasting no time I was out running again on dry land. There were no races on during the time I was alongside, my daily running continued, allowing me to explore this lovely city. The next stop was Tallinn in Estonia.
|Running through the old city of Tallinn, Estonia
This is the last Baltic country I’ve never visited before not alone running so I managed to tick off all the Baltic states now. Again, there was no races alongside in Tallinn, I just kept up my running every day and exploring new places along the way. My runs continued every day over the next few months, visiting more countries, such as the Netherlands Germany, Scotland and Belfast before ending up back home after being away for about five months.
It was time to spend some family time during my summer leave. So I prioritise that over racing because I hadn’t seen my family for half a year almost I owe them some quality time then I’ve got sent away on a course for five weeks in Portsmouth only coming home at weekends again.
|One of my daily runs whilst at sea
I wasn’t up for a racing at the weekends as it was precious time with the family for another month or so by the time I finish that course. When I was back home again properly it was well into October, I just haven’t found another race I want to race or I was interested in and before I knew it it was December. I just felt there was no point now in entering a race in the remainder of what was 2023. This will be the first year since I started running in 2009 that I hadn’t run at least one race. It’s kind of strange but also a bit liberating. I’m not sure whether that’s the word or not that I’m after but I don’t feel sad but I don’t feel happy. But it was also nice not having to deal with race nerves or getting kit together, buying food for an ultra that I need for the crew and myself, planning where the crew are going to meet me on a race. None of those pressures that I’ve had for years gone. I have however, missed out on seeing friends that I usually see at these races because some of them live all over the country. Only get to see them at some of these races but not seeing them this year, didn’t upset me but I did feel a little melancholy about it all. Obviously I’ve saved a lot of money by not entering races this year as well which I guess could be a positive. Once my job is settled out and I know what I’m doing. I can start planning a lot more for 2024. I’ve got two big races already booked in. I am looking forward to training and racing them! It’s gonna be a good year I think. But as for 2023, it’s done and dusted. For 2024 the run streak continues and races are booked. It is going to be epic!
So yes I have in some ways missed races in 2023 but I think having a year off has actually done me some good. It’s allowing me to reflect on what I have raced and what I have achieved over the years. Allowed me to take the pressure off for a year, allowed me to think about where I want to head with my running and I’m still keen to do ultras.
If you got through all that, then thanks for reading!
Until next time