Long time no see eh?

Just as I thought it might, this place has become somewhat neglected of late, reflecting my own self-being perhaps, as a sweaty summer of hellish marathon training and muchos healthy eating paved the way for an autumn and winter of carnage, re-integrating myself with normal social life, and all the associated trappings, including a 30th birthday that seemed to last about a fortnight and then some, two distinctly hazy weekends in London and a 10 day long festive period with not one, but two full Christmas dinners. Not to mention a hungover 10am sick on Christmas Day, but more of that later.

It felt right to post again now, as last week marked a somewhat significant date in the calendar for me. Just before 9th January 2012 I received an email from JustGiving to say that finally, three months to the day since I dragged my battered, aching body over the line in Liverpool on one of the proudest days of my life, the page for donations was due to close. A final flurry of donations in the aftermath of the marathon pushed the total over £2,000 from exactly 100 donations.

I still can’t believe that, I really can’t. When I think my original target was £500, and I was worried I had set the stall too high, to end up hitting over four times that…well. You are all amazing.

So, a new year then, and a new start. And just for a change, I’ve started running again. Just to mix it up a bit, you know? I’m officially back in training now, sort of, this time for a mere half marathon. And it’s a good’un too, running around Silverstone pretending I am in a Formula One car.

So training. Running. It’s been a while. And it turns out I’ve gone really, really shit. It’s not like I’ve done naff all since Marathon Day either, in fact after a fortnight or two of recovering from multiple injuries and disabilities sustained over the Scouse concrete, I was back out doing short five mile bursts which were all at a decent pace, on for a sub-40 minute 10k, something I have only ever achieved once before. All good. The only real lowpoint was a failed effort at the Liverpool Santa Dash in the runup to Christmas as I couldn’t get there in time for the start, but you can’t have everything I guess. The weather looked crap anyway and let’s be honest, I’d done enough running around Liverpool for 2011, and no amount of dressing up in a silly Father Christmas outfit was going to change that.

So Christmas came and went. I ate kilos and kilos of crap, drank far too much Guinness, and generally sat on my arse for an entire month. I’ve never been one for worrying about my weight, but my parents have a set of electronic scales and I always find it a laugh to do a weigh-in when I first get home for Christmas, and one as I pack up to go back up to the grim North. The record for those few days stands at around an 8lb gain; this year was a more restrained 5lb if I remember correctly. Mind you, once when I was at University I gained 7lb on one afternoon eating an all-you-can-eat carvery at The Turf and Feather, so I’m not sure how much you can actually read into that.

So four days into 2012, and out I trotted for the first time as I officially began training. Out into the gale force wind, the torrential rain, with probably half a stone extra baggage and a Guinness-stained torpedo delivered straight through my general fitness. And it was absolutely, completely and utterly bloody awful. Nearly two minutes slower than usual after nearly having to walk the last bit, followed by two or three days of hobbling about injured. It never used to be this way.

Nearly three weeks later and I’m almost fully back into the swing of things. Almost. Basically, if I was taking things at all seriously, I should have started training properly about a month earlier than I did. The schedule I have also sticks a big run in every Sunday in preparation for the half marathon itself, anything from around 12 – 16 miles, and I haven’t done a single bloody one yet. Not one. Yesterday should have been a half marathon, but I went to the National Winter Ales Festival on Saturday and rolled home in a rather sorry state, 12 hours before I was due to be out running. Needless to say, that one didn’t happen. You may have noticed that Christmas Day and New Year’s Day were both on Sunday this year, so again the chances of being out running were slim to none. In fact, as I mentioned, this Christmas Day was kicked off with a rapid dash to the bathroom after my Nan’s talk of her 5am salmon Christmas dinner turned my delicate, Jägermeister-lined stomach upside down and right back out into the big wide world.

I’m sure it will all come good though. I had a couple of good midweek sessions last week and as the weeks, days and hours begin to decrease before 11th March when I will supposedly be re-entering national running competition again I’m sure I will become a bit more focussed. I might need to have a read of this and reassess my priorities first though. Reassess, focus, and then drag my sorry arse out onto the Manchester pavements for several more miles in the dark, in the wind, and of course, the endless rain.

It’s good to be back.