Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013 - Year In Review

2013 is quickly coming to an end and it's time to look back and reflect on what's been and done and remind myself of some of the memories, experiences and friends that I've met in this year's chapter of this running journey.

At the top of the list for experiences would have to be the great travelling I've been fortunate enough to do. I've travelled far and wide for racing, to New Zealand, Japan, Europe and Western Australia. It hasn't always been easy; juggling work and racing, but I wouldn't have had it any other way! The trip to stunning Chamonix in France with the Inov-8 athlete retreat is something I feel blessed to have experienced. I left a more informed and focused athlete. Likewise my two trips to Japan were equally as beautiful. To feel the Japanese charm, culture and hospitality is something everyone needs to to at least once. I definitely left a better person for it. 

New Zealand was also a great experience. It was the first time I'd raced with big international athletes that I've admired and respected for a long time; it was quite a buzz! From the media and Q & A panel I was part of I learned from these guys and girls how to be an advocate for our sport. I came away a better ambassador.

Apart from racing, my 'running' career has also gone in a slightly divergent direction this year. One of my big motivations is helping others achieve their own personal goals and I have taken some small steps building my UP Coaching business. Although I don't have a whole lot of time to dedicate to it, the handful of runners I coached and mentored this year kicked some major race goals. I feel just as great knowing I was part of their success as any of my own personal successes this year. I also have wonderful memories from the Trail Running camps I've cohosted this year; first with Ultra Training Australia and more recently with Hanny Allston at Lake Crackenback. I get inspired by hearing about other people's running journeys and seeing them improve.

But to get to the racing. As much as I love all the other things I do around running, racing was my main priority. In summary, it was a huge year. Lots of racing; lots of highs but also a few inevitable lows, the recent GNW100 miler being the one that wasn't to be. But this is the nature of racing and at the end of the year I can now look back with much satisfaction; knowing I stayed true to my principles and motivations - to be a prolific racer but have a handful of 'key' events, to be versatile over various distances and terrains, to set, work towards and achieve goals and to get joy from (and hopefully give back) to the running community.

I have to happy with the overall results too; 30 top 5 finishers including 13 race wins.

I love the Central West races. I was honoured
to win the inaugural Orange Marathon.

It wasn't a huge year on the road., but I took my opportunities when I could. The highlights:
- Winning the inaugural Stromlo Running Festival 50k
- 50k PB in 3:05 at the Australian Running Festival, ranking 10th on the Australian all time list.
- Half Marathon PB in 1:12 at the Bathurst Half
- Winning the inaugural Carcoar Cup 60k in 4:02

With the late cancellation of the 100k World Champs, I didn't get a chance to race 100k on the roads. It was disappointing that I didn't run for Australia this year, particularly since I chose this early on over the World Mountain champs and the World Trail champs. I have some unfinished business still and I know I can improve on my 6:55 from last year.

Running in France was a real eye opener!

The trails were good fun this year. Of course the highlight was winning my local ultra, TNF100 in course record time. It was one of those days where everything went right. But the one I probably got the most satisfaction from was at Ultra Trail Mt Fuji. It was just such a different and difficult race and I had to fight so hard for that 5th spot. It really gave me the self-belief that success at the international level is possible.

Some other highlights:
- Winning and running 75km at the Knapsack 6h race
- 4th at Tarawera 100k
- 2nd at the Glow Worm Tunnel Marathon
- 4th at Hakuba Trail 50k in Japan
- 3rd at Surf Coast Century 100k, such a hard day at the office!
- Winning the Fitzroy Falls Marathon, which was my first trail race back in 2007

A big thank you and shout out to all my sponsors who have played a massive part in me being able to do what I do; I hope I've replayed the faith you've had in me as an athlete and been a good representative for what you and your products stand for. Cheers to Barefootinc, Hammer Nutrition Australia, Injinji Performance Products, Ferei Australia, Valley Fitness, Suunto Australia and of course Inov-8. Many thanks to Lake Crackenback and Mountain Sports who have given me opportunities as an ambassador. 

Shortly, I'll post my plans for 2014. It is already shaping up to be a big year!