2012 was always going to be a special year for me and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
The year kicked off with the Pilgrims Challenge and although an out and back course of 33 miles each day they were two contrasting days. On the first day the temperature was minus 10 on leaving home and about minus 7 by the time the race started. During the night there was dump of snow and day two saw the runners running in up to 8 inches of snow. Everything looked so clean and white on the 2nd day, the branches hung low with the weight of the snow and the memory that still makes me laugh is me being a woos at CP2 as I was struggling with my asthma, it was cold so I was finding it difficult to keep warm then being told by James Adams to man up!! Being the obedient lady that I am I did exactly that (thank you James!)
In February I set a new PB for the Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon, chuffed to bits but I think I will stick to Ultras as I can’t run that fast and talk! (I can hardly breath let alone talk!!)
Next was the TP100. My plan for this was to go out at a sensible pace and keep going. Well I didn’t stick to my plan at all I went out way too fast and kept going too fast, but it seemed the right thing to do and my legs and body felt good. I got lost a couple of times which annoyed me but managed to finish in a decent enough time and thankfully missed the awful weather that came in suddenly, sleet, snow and freezing temperatures resulting in James Elson the RD having to make the difficult but right decision to cancel the race with only 4 hours remaining.
My training continued with gusto which included a couple of recces in preparation of the inaugural Viking Way Ultra, 147 miles non-stop in under 40 hours from the Humber Bridge to Oakham near Rutland Water. This was a great race although there was a section with an extraordinary amount of mud, (mainly due to the quad bikes and motor bikes that went up and down) and once again I got lost. Although I was in the correct place (so not really lost) however hard I looked I couldn’t find the right path to take – what a plonker I felt! I was thrilled to arrive at Library in Oakham to receive my marvellously large medal and bright yellow finishers T-shirt (what more could a girl want!) 28 runners started and 7 of us finished.
I was very excited about, my next race, I was off to run in the Peruvian Jungle. Buying the kit was fantastic and practicing putting up my hammock in the garden was hysterical! My son stood watching me killing himself laughing but after much huffing and puffing I managed to sit inside the hammock without it collapsing – result! It said on the instructions that this procedure would only take 2 minutes – I think not!
The Jungle was everything I had been expecting and a lot more. The race was fantastic, scenery was outstanding and it was an honour to spend two nights in Jungle villages where they put on shows for us demonstrating their traditional songs and dances. The long day saw us doing approximately 50 river crossings, we climbed up near vertical muddy “slopes” slid and slithered down the other side, ran along paths that would disappear into nothing, made the acquaintance of thousands of ants, saw stunning birds and butterflies and got cheered on by the local villagers as we ran through. And landed on my backside more than I think I have ever done in any other races! I finished the adventure by going on an awesome trip up to Machu Picchu.
Things were beginning to hot up in the Anderson household with the preparations for Wayward Daughter No 1 wedding in August. Remarkably I was feeling rather relaxed about it all and it seemed that everything was under control – big sigh of relief.
In June myself, HWMBO and Katherine Hay Diddle Diddle went up to Scotland for the start of the WHWR. This was a race I had been meaning to enter for ages but it never seemed to fit into my schedule, but this year was perfect. The weather was I believe the worst they had had in years, but a new course record was set so I suppose the weather shouldn’t be used as an excuse! The race for me wasn’t to be. At about mile 17 I tripped, landing on my right side badly bruising my hip and twisting my left ankle – it was agony and I knew that had I continued the race it would have caused more damage and too much time off running with my WR coming up. A sad moment but these things happen.
The following weekend I had a thoroughly enjoyable time helping out at the finish line of the South Downs Way Ultra. There is something very special about helping and supporting fellow runners in any way I can, a real privilege.
July 20th was a big day for me I turned 50! Half a century (goodness that sounds old!) Turning 30 and 40 didn’t bother me, becoming 45 caused me a huge amount of concern, perhaps because it was way too close to 50, but as 50 got closer I decided it was just a number and nothing to be frightened or dismayed about. My family came up trumps with HWMBO taking me away to great friends on Friday evening, returning on Saturday afternoon to a surprise party that had been organised by my children. It began with tea and party games so Theo my 4-year-old grandson could join in, followed by a grown up party, perfect!
Watching the Olympics and Paralympics was outstanding and inspirational. There were many occasions where I was reduced to tears, but tears of pride as our amazing athletes took their place on the podium. Great Britain showed the world that the GREAT was back in Great Britain.
The next big and very special day was 12th August when Wayward Daughter No. 1 became Mrs Steadman. It was a beautiful day, Emma looked beautiful and the weather which had been wet and rainy managed to transform into a weekend of glorious sunshine.
While Wayward Daughter No 1 and new Husband went on a wonderful honeymoon I looked after the boys which was lovely but exhausting at the same time! I had to juggle my training into the day as well as giving them loads of attention. You can imagine how delighted I was to hand them back to their parents 10 days later!
September was the month that all my training so far had been about, time to try and see if I could break the World Record for running from Malin Head to Mizen Head in Ireland. The record had only been set in March so I knew it was going to be extremely tough, but I had always said to my crew that I was going for a time of 3.5 days (84 hrs.).
We all have races or events that just seem to go well and everything comes together at the right time, this was one of those events. My crew were fantastic, they worked well together, knew me well and as well as working their socks off also enjoyed themselves, which for me makes such a difference. My legs carried me with ease, there were no bad patches and we managed to do a lot of laughing! My goal of 84 hours was sadly just out of my reach, but was more than happy with 87 hours plus a few minutes breaking the previous record by just over 10 hours, a great way to celebrate being 50!
I have always said that I couldn’t achieve any of my records without my support crew who are just brilliant, they work tirelessly, never complain, things get sorted and all I have to do is run, they are marvellous.
2012 racing ended with an extraordinary race called “Piece of String” the world’s most pointless race. I just couldn’t resist giving it a go. Sadly not a race that I was to finish as after just under 100 miles of running in severe weather conditions my body could no longer cope with being so cold, I felt cold to the bone. Two amazing runners finished and I take my hat off to them. Hopefully I will be given the opportunity next year to prove that I can be even more miserable!
As I said at the beginning 2012 has been a special year.
TP100 – 1st Lady
Viking Way Ultra – 1st Lady 3rd overall
Jungle Ultra – 1st lady 4th overall
NEW WORLD RECORD!
A marvellous thank you to all my sponsors, my marvellous coach Ray Zahab, to everyone who has supported and sponsored me this year you guys are fantastic, to my awesome crews and last but my NO means least to HWMBO and my family for their support, love and encouragement.
Here’s to a fantastically marvellous 2013 – HAPPY NEW YEAR!