My 2014 Year in Review

29 December 2014, 16:46

2014 Race Photos
I was holding off on posting my roundup of 2014 until the very last day, as I generally can assume I’ll be running over the holidays, when London is blissfully empty and quiet. But some total bint at my husband’s office (who will receive a slap in the face should I ever meet her) slobbered her cold germs all over him at the Christmas party in some faux-cutesy “oh I’m so sick, woe is me” schtick, and surprise, surprise, he caught her cold the next day. Meaning that I, with my impaired immune system, caught it the day after that. My husband recovered after about three days, but I’m on Day 8 now and still haven’t turned the corner, which has totally ruined my Christmas and makes it very unlikely that I’ll be doing any running between here and New Year’s Eve, so I may as well try and look back on the good things that happened this year instead of the crummy, crummy end.

And overall, I had a great year of both racing and running in general! I was, as always, coached by the extremely talented Barbara at Energy Lab, whom I fully credit for both sorting out my gait, training, nutrition, and keeping me injury free for my 11th year running.

Races by Distance:

Let’s start by longest first. In 2014 I ran two marathons, the London Marathon and the Berlin Marathon. Both were completely different in terms of goals and how I felt on the day. London was my big “A Race”, and I was super motivated to get a big PB. Berlin was a lot more laid-back, and I really only wanted to improve my pacing, regardless of what that meant for time. I learn a lot from every single marathon, and what I learned from each of these separately could fill a novel. I’ve got lots to think about entering my training for London marathon 2015.

I also ran two races which were between full and half marathon distance, both put on my the utterly fantastic Events to Live team: The Surrey Spitfire (20 miles) in March and then the Three Molehills (16 miles) race in November. Both of these I ran with friends, and neither were for any particular time. Coincidentally, both were also marked out by exceptional weather – unseasonably warm and sunny for Spitfire, and absolutely chucking it down, monsoon-style for the Molehills.

With halo of medals
Me with my 2014 medals! Image courtesy of Energy Lab

I could’ve sworn I ran more than two half marathons this year, but no, only the Bath Half in March as a lead-up to London marathon, and Run Hackney in June after FOMO hit me hard and I ran it to keep my friend Maja sane. Again, when I compare the two, the one where I really pushed hard to get a new PB was less enjoyable than the one where I kept it casual with friends, but that’s to be expected, really. For me, it’s all about understanding what I want from each race, and accepting that the PB ones are going to hurt!

What with all my other races, I only managed to run Flatline once this year – that’s the 10mile race put on by Energy Lab that’s just 10 repeats up and down Swain’s Lane (otherwise known as the steepest hill in London). It’s a ridiculously hard and trying race, but since you’re passing people at every repeat, you get lots of encouragement and high fives every few minutes, too.

I always seem to find time to squeeze in a 10km race, even if it’s ridiculously close to other, longer races. I ended up running four this year, starting off with the Anthony Nolan Marrowthon in March, which was really just a fun-run for me the day after Flatline. Then in May I ran my favourite ever race, the (Bupa) London 10,000, which I’ve run ever since the very first in 2008 (and I’m signed up to run again in 2015, too). I was still mentally recovering from London marathon during this race this year, and found it challenging to keep going, but I ended up with a new PB without really meaning to, which is always nice. Then, shortly after, I was surprised to enjoy Nike’s We Own The Night despite the overcrowding and poor lap management, and then I didn’t race another 10km until the end of November when I joined 160 other members of Run dem Crew at the Greenwich Park Movember where I came within 30 seconds of my PB despite the sizeable hills and not really pushing myself.

And finally, in a class of their own was my second British Transplant Games up in Bolton where I took gold in the 3km, 1500m, 800m, and 400m, and a silver medal in the 200m. It’s been interesting to switch to training for such shorter distances in between my spring and fall marathons, and I imagine my track work will start even earlier in 2015 in preparation for Argentina!

New PBs!

As mentioned above, I earned myself three shiny new PBs this year!

Yet if I had to pick my favourite race of the year, I think it’d have to be Berlin Marathon. I can’t think about this race and NOT smile – the weather was warm and sunny, the course leafy and interesting with just the right amount of crowds, I had great energy and conversation throughout from my friends Christina and Luis, and having paced it well, we were able to pass everyone in the last 5km on a joyous high.

Personal Highlights

Some other, non-racing personal highlights for me:
  • ExtraMile – Being chosen as one of four inspirational runners leading up to London marathon would’ve been incredible enough, but to meet with the other guys and have my own film crew follow me throughout was just incredible. Seeing my massive face at the London Marathon Expo was a bit surreal though!

  • My FehrTrade Patterns – I released my first two exercise sewing patterns at the very end of 2013, and since then, I’ve released six more, including a freebie and my first menswear pattern, too. I’m also proud that I ran both my marathons wearing shorts I’d designed and sewed myself, and ran most of my races in my own-sewn gear, too.

  • Hampstead Heath trail running – This year has truly turned me into a trail runner. I know Hampstead Heath isn’t the largest or wildest place out there, but it’s somewhere I can go without travelling all day, where I can meet friends, get muddy, and still be back in time for lunch. I’ve run through all seasons on the Heath, and if I haven’t been for a few weeks, I start to get really itchy to return, even if I’m on my own. Some of my favourite runs this year have been on the trails.

  • Run dem Crew Elites – I moved up to the fastest group at Run dem Crew last December, and I’m proud that I persevered through the toughest times and ran with Elites through all of my training phases. It’s really, really not easy knowing that you’ll be dead last even though you’re running at your absolute fastest sprint trying just to keep the leader within sight, and god knows it’d be a lot easier and enjoyable to just always run in a more comfortable group. But no mater how painful, humbling, and, well, “character building”, running with the Elites is, it’s also one of my proudest achievements, and I know that by just being there I’m inspiring others, too.

Total training distance

I track all my training run and distance using the Runmeter app, which posts everything up to DailyMile, so I can tell you that in 2014 I ran 2,136.29km (1,327.43 miles). As you can see, I had some pretty intense training in the leadup to London marathon, so it’s no wonder that paid off with so many PBs!

2014 training mileage

I’ll be changing up the way I record my runs in 2015, however. I joined Strava a few months ago, but I’m not really that keen to use their app. But DailyMile hasn’t been updated or bug-fixed in about two years and is just a ghost town these days, and I wanted to go were all my friends were. I also really noticed in Berlin how much I’d prefer to get constant, on-demand feedback on my pace and heartrate rather than just the “once every km” I was getting with my phone app, so I asked for (and received!) a teal Garmin FR 15 for Christmas, which I’m sure will also affect the way I track my running over the next year.

As we draw into the last few days of 2014, I’d like to wish you all a happy, healthy, and fulfilling 2015 in the year ahead. May all your runs be muddy and your times be PBs!

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  1. Holy crap! This review is killer! What excellent work you’ve done, lady. Great inspiration for others. I hope you’re feeling better so soon, and go punch that person in the neck that sent home germs all over your husband.

    Kathy    29 December 2014, 22:31    #
  2. Fabulous year Melissa and I really loved what you wrote about Run Dem Elites – so inspiring :-)
    We have really rubbish gps signals round here so I’ve been using my garmin FR10 for the past year. I’m also a recent Strava convert after our club set up a group. I do like to see my name at the top of the weekly leaderboard.
    I hope you’re going to have an even greater 2015!!

    Louise    2 January 2015, 09:28    #

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