Challenge and Adventure in 2014

It is a New Year which promises to be full of challenge and adventure. I am excited and hope that you are too.

Just to quickly recap on the past few months:

In early November I returned to the international racing scene in New York at the NYRR ‘5K Dash’. Staged the day before the New York City Marathon it was an inspiring race covering part of the marathon route and with the same dramatic uphill finishing straight. Two months back in training and with a conservative start, I was pleased to finish fifth in 15:50, just a couple of seconds behind Sally Kipyego. The next day I was able to experience the vibrant marathon atmosphere first hand and support friend and pre-Olympic training buddy Sabrina Mockenhaupt.

In early December I put on a British vest and took to the mud at the European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. It was enjoyable to race for the team again and having suffered seasonal colds for much of the preceding month my performance well reflected my preparation in training. It would have been nice to be a little more ‘in the mix’, but that is for another occasion. We raced to team gold and it was uplifting to stand on the top of the podium as we had done two years ago.

So, now it is January 2014 and I am back in Ethiopia training at 2700m altitude. I arrived almost four weeks ago and am glad to say that I am feeling slightly more in control in this breathtaking atmosphere than previously. At this time of year it is so important for me to put in a big block of base training and I just cannot think of a better place to be. I am surrounded by some of the World’s best endurance runners, the climate is perfect for training, the landscape vast and endless in running possibilities.

I had better log off now, there are two hours of running on the schedule for tomorrow! More soon.

St Moritz 07

Feeling truly alive again!

Two of my favourite images from my time in St Moritz… I left Switzerland on a high and am excited to return again next year… with the European Athletics Championships in August 2014 being held in Zurich the Alpine-altitude-hub will certainly be buzzing!

I took these photographs on a magnificent hike from Muottas Muragl to Lej Muragl and finally up to Fuorcla Muragl. Striding out and climbing the steep scree slope, up to the col, I truly felt alive once more!

My time in St Moritz was not without testing times. At its lowest ebb, my achilles paratendon flared up following a cross-training excursion on the mountain bike – I could hardly walk pain free let alone run – plus having also fallen from the bike and landed on a sharp rock, I had cracked a rib and could no longer swim.

At these points you learn most about yourself… patience, perseverance, calm… soon enough I was running again and in good time the paratendon had healed and the crepitus had left. Some injuries resist being rushed… and this appears to have been one of them.

Back in the UK, I am now building to full training… nudging up the volume and intensity step by step whilst listening closely to the body. It will take a little time and not be easy… but definitely worthwhile.


St Moritz 06

A splash of colour amongt a sea of grey

After ten weeks I am finally seeing sustainable progress with the achilles paratendon injury. I am running pain and crepitus free, almost forgetting that anything had been the matter, but for my heavy breathing!

I would love to be competing in Moscow, but on Sunday evening I can support my buddies racing over 10000 metres, knowing that I am progressing well, gaining new strength though only yet skimming the surface, feeling refreshed and running with new found joy as well as excitement for the future.