We always hear about the runners’ high but running is also a bit of a ‘roller coaster’ with highs and lows and most often there are long periods of lows which we feel will never end.
The New Year is often a time for reflection. 2014 has been one of my most successful years, I made it to my first major Championships, competed at the European Team Championships for Ireland and set a Northern Ireland Record (making it a career half dozen), but it was a road that included many bumps along the way, tears and disappointments but a determination to keep on going and keep on believing.
Low– Beginning 2014 with injury carried through from mid-October 2013.
High– Having a great support system & recovery plan in place led by physio Chris McNicholl & cross-training supported by Hydro Run (David Graham Fitness).
High– Easing back into running after 3 months of cross-training and rehab.
Low– Missing the Indoor season.
High– Altitude training in Albuquerque and staying with the lovely Judy Anderson.
High– Training going really well.
High– Kicking off the outdoor track season in California with a 10:14 3000m steeplechase after all the winter injury problems and feeling confident.
High– Finishing 3rd in the 3000m steeplechase ‘A’ race at the prestigious Mt SAC meeting in a time of 10.00.27, leaving just 5 seconds to shift for Commonwealth Games Qualifying.
Low– Running 10:10 (& feeling exhausted on the last km) in my last race in the States before returning home, I was hoping to have my CWG’s time in the bag.
Low/ High– Running another 10:10 at Watford BMC, but I ran a strong solo run from gun to tape, I felt much stronger than my last race in the States and I was awarded one of the ‘performances of the night’.
High– 31st May – Flew out to Oordegem in Belgium and ran the race of my life to cross the line in a new Northern Ireland Record, 9:52.94, a personal best by four seconds and 2 seconds inside the Commonwealth Games Qualifying Standard.
High– Commonwealth Games selection for N.Ireland 3000m Steeplechase & selection to represent Ireland in the European Team Championships in Estonia also in the 3000m Steeplechase.
High– Running 9:53.18 (my second fastest time ever in the steeplechase) and finishing 4th for Ireland in the European Team Championship in a raging gale.
High– Running a Women’s British League Record over 2000m Steeplechase and PB of 6:34.2
High– Finishing 3rd behind Ciara Mageean and Fionnuala Britton in the Irish Track and Field Championships 1500m in a time of 4:18.72.
High– Competing in the 3000m Steeplechase final at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in front of a crowd of over 40,000 people including my friends, family and coaches.
Low– Achilles niggle post-CWG and back to some serious cross-training after a 10-day break.
High– I’m a very determined cross-trainer and with the support from Hydro Running and my coaches it’s never long until I’m back running strong.
Low– Losing my Sports Institute support.
High– Running 6 minutes flat for the mile up the Mill Hill from Annsborough to Castlewellan Upper Square in local club run (fastest I’ve ever run by 15 seconds and I’ve been doing it for 20 years!)
High– Running a 10k PB in the Laganside Road Race, 34:17; after a short end of season break, cross-training and little running.
Low– The decision to take a month off running and cross train to try and settle my ongoing Achilles niggle.
High– Feeling extremely fit with cross-training and getting back into weekly running combined with cross-training to take the impact off the Achilles.
High– Heading to Font Romeu for altitude training, fantastic weather and starting my winter block.
High– Running strongly in Burgos International Cross Country in very windy conditions, and feeling strong in the second half; endurance improving.
High/Low– Racing strongly in tough muddy conditions at the Inter Counties in Dundalk, but finishing seventh and just missing out on the Irish team selection for the European Cross Country.
High– A solid strong run in the Seeley 10K road race, not a PB but felt relaxed and full of running.
High– My endurance has really improved, tempos are now relaxed and getting faster, I’m enjoying my weekly running sessions with my club Newcastle AC, great company and my speed is improving for the Indoor season in early 2015.
High– A lovely family Christmas at home with friends and family, still running everyday including Christmas day and keeping the extra mileage up with cross training. Looking forward to a successful 2015 and starting the challenge of the road to RIO 2016.
So that’s the low down, or should I say ‘high’ down on my 2014 – always finish on a positive!!!
I would like to finish this blog on thanking a few people:
My coaches Richard Rodgers & Geoff Watkin – thank you both for supporting me on this journey and sorry for the hurdle session tantrums! lol
My family – thank you for always believing in me, for picking me up when I’m down and making me the person I am today – a determined runner and a bit of a shopaholic!
The physiotherapists – Chris McNicholl and Cameron Steele – You guys got me through the dark days of injury and left no stone unturned to get me to that start line in Glasgow.
The massage team – Kyle Alexander, Jen Goodall and Artie Quinn – You keep my body in one piece even when it doesn’t want to take anymore. Sorry for having the tightest calves on the planet!
Multisport Podiatry – Without my orthotics, well i just wouldn’t be able to run! Thanks to Athol and Adam for working closely with me to achieve the right orthotic and material for my flat feet!
X-Bionic/X-Socks – Without your support I would be naked! Well not quite but I certainly wouldn’t have been able to get the support from better socks for my troublesome calves. From racing to recovery X-Bionic has stood by me.
Naked Runner – The running shades have been a great addition this summer especially with the fab weather we had. It’s great to find a lightweight product made especially for runners.
Hydro Run (David Graham Fitness) – A very important sponsor in terms of achieving my goals, thank you for supporting my cross-training programme on the underwater treadmill. I’m so lucky to have this facility in my life, it certainly has been a lifeline when injury and niggles have occurred but being able to fit the hydro running into my weekly training has meant I can recover and also get those extra low impact miles in.
My home club Newcastle AC, Down District Council & Born 2 Run – Thank you all for supporting my flights to Glasgow this summer, it helped take the pressure off and meant I didn’t get sea sick on the way over!
The federations Athletics NI & Athletics Ireland – Thank you for the selections this year and believing in my ability.
Photography – Thanks to Keith McClure who provided me with CWG’s photographs, great action shots – if i say so myself! lol
Finally thank you to all my friends and followers for your support, all your messages meant so much to me over the summer. The encouragement I received was amazing, I hope I can continue to encourage, inspire and make you all proud in 2015.