Something happened this weekend which has caused me to re-evaluate what I can achieve in running. It has made me dare to hope that I can achieve things I would never do again. In short, it has enabled me to believe in myself again.
My home parkrun is Temple Newsam and it is known as one of the toughest courses in West Yorkshire and is arguably THE toughest. Some years ago when I was very fit, I achieved a personal best of 23 minutes 31 seconds. In general, times at Temple Newsam for me are around a minute slower than other less challenging routes. This, in recent years, has always seemed a feat that I would be unlikely ever to repeat.
A few weeks ago, I was trying to reach the significant milestone of under 25 minutes for that parkrun and surprised myself by not only beating this objective but absolutely smashing it by doing 24:08. That was hard to do but nevertheless I thought that on Saturday I would try and put a little extra into it and squeeze under 24.
By sheer coincidence, there was a 24 minute pacer running on Saturday (the amazing Wayne Herbert) so I had a way of gauging progress without looking at my watch all the time! To my amazement, I was able to keep ahead of Wayne for most of the time and finished some way in front. I was even more amazed when I looked at my watch and realised that I had finished in 23:24, some 7 seconds faster than that record of long ago! It was only a few weeks ago that I was chasing 25 and this was almost too much to take in.
This experience has brought home to me that just like a goal seems out of reach, there is no reason that with hard work, commitment and faith it cannot be achieved. I have therefore set my goals for next year to be more challenging than that I had originally planned, and really go for those long-standing PBs.
My goals for the year (and it doesn’t matter if I do some early):
Pontefract parkrun PB (22:44)
5K PB (21:38)
Marathon PB (3:58:36)
200 miles in a month
1,500 miles in a year
Some are harder than others but now I dare to dream!
In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Acts 2:17 NIV