The end of the year approaches and as nostalgic people tend to do, I felt like making an (running-related) overview of what happened in the past year. It’s been fun. I’ve done stuff I’d never considered conceivable and took up stuff I hadn’t done in a long time. I explored new parts of the world and re-discovered old ones. I ran fast at times, slow at others. I cursed my body for being fragile, but then sincerely thanked it (with huge amounts of chocolate) when it didn’t let me down during some of the most extreme things I’ve done. 2014 – A year in miles.
2014 Started slow. Hardly any running in January, a bit more so in February. No races though. And then along came March. According to Strava, 385k of running. Amongst those k’s, quite some were ran in Kitzbuhel, Austria. Lots of high climbing, lots of snow and, most of all, lots of fun! Finally, on March 29th, there was Crêtes de Spa which, due to Greg’s knee issues, turned into a long Sunday.
Spring came. I joined the unofficial and self-proclaimed Antwerp double club: People who ran the Antwerp marathon & 10 Miles on the same day. I ran La Bouillonnante, which was breathtaking in both meanings of the word. I came 5th in the Loop van Vlaanderen, sub 4h, achieving the first goal I’d set for myself this year.
I decided last minute to run the 93k Ardennes Mega Trail, just so I’d have enough points to enter UTMB next year. It went amazingly well and it was the first time I felt confident I could run 100k.
July was a bit more relax (with the exception of my first track run in about 15 years, a 1500m which asked for more), only to come back hard in August. 2 150+k weeks, rounded up with an 80k solo run from Ghent to Ypres. It was the hardest I’d ever trained, with a mild case of tendinitis as some ironic kind of reward. After 2 weeks of doctor-imposed rest, I left for Chamonix.
CCC turned out to be 18.5 hours of mixed emotions. I enjoyed it, then started hating my knee when it started giving in and forgot to enjoy it. And then it all came together thanks to tape and a new friend, and I had the best night of running I’ve ever had. I drove home and left for Tromsø, where I was supposed to run a 42k trail run with Kilian Jornet & Emilie Forsberg. I quit 32k in the race. I’d seen the last bit of the route and decided not to risk ruining my knee entirely. Still, it was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done.
And then came the big void. Well… I did run my fastest half marathon as a pacer for a friend. I did run some cross country races. In fact, I did a lot of things I hadn’t done in a really long time, if ever. Both training & racing were a bit random. I got extremely busy. I got tired. I got sick. I got back up and managed to, to my own surprise, finish 2nd in the Voornse Duintrail in holland just last week. And then I got injured. It’s been a rollercoaster ride as they say.
With some shorter Christmas & charity runs left, 2014 is almost a wrap. There have been hard times, but I’ve also had the most amazing times and met the most amazing people. So all in, I can’t complain.
Most of all, 2014 was the year I realised I’m not slow and my competitive inner-self broke through. 2015? Well, the points for UTMB are there. Registration starts in 2 days. And then the waiting for the lottery begins. But not to worry. If UTMB doesn’t happen. There will be other races & projects. There will be other new friends and other new territories. Most of all, there will be running. There will always be running.