December 23, 2013

The Year that Wasn't

So I guess it's that time of year where we are meant to ruminate over our achievements and accomplishments of the past 12 months.  We are encouraged to reflect and ponder over what we have done and what our goals are for the coming calendar year.  From my side, all I can hope is that 2014 is even a little bit better, running-wise, than 2013!  Here are a few of my achievements since January 1st:

- February - First Half Half Marathon (Vancouver) 1:18:41.  Squeaking a PB by 6 seconds.  I guess I shouldn't complain but my splits were all over the place and I only got that PB by realising I was going to get trampled by a train of women behind me if I didn't pick up the pace mid-way.  A PB but I needed to run more evenly throughout to get a better overall time.

- March - St Paddys 5km (Vancouver) 17:35.  Squeaking another PB, but really - who has to stop and tie their shoe lace 1km into a sprint like this?  Rookie error that left me flailing behind the group I had been tucked in with.  That shoe lace tying stop must have cost me 10 seconds and well, I'll be sure to triple tie my laces from now on :)

- March - Two Oceans 56km (Capetown, South Africa) 3:45:15.  I crossed the line in 7th but got bumped up to 6th when 1st place failed anti-doping controls.  Had I run one tiny little second faster I'd have been 5th.  Had I run 15 seconds faster I'd have the Scottish 50km record.  A great race and I knew  thatI would struggle to keep pace on the opening flat sections as my marathon PB is just not fast enough, but it seems like a race where I 'just' missed a few few targets.  I'd hoped to run more like 3:42/ 3:43 but the winds were wild and I loved that!  The final 9km downhill was a blast, and was my saving grace!

- May - BMO Vancouver Marathon.  After two weeks of very easy running due to ankle pain, I now know you can run 30km, net downhill, on a fibula stress fracture and not feel too bad.  I was tempted to finish the race but thankfully physio Ramsey at the sidelines advised me not to.  10 days later I found out that 'ankle' pain was a stress fracture.

And from then on I feel like I have limped through the year.  I ran Telluride 10 mile hillclimb (Colorado) in August and Moray Marathon (Scotland) in Sept.  Both were days that reminded me how much I love racing and I have been very glad to have those memories as from mid-Sept to mid-Nov I acquired a new injury which has limited my running once again.  But looking back to how much fun it was bombing down those 5 miles of Gold Hill in Telluride have kept me going and believing that all this crazy cross training and hours of physio exercises are worth it as I want to get back to racing as soon as I can.

Right now I am up to trying some easy and shortish runs with the hope that I can build up slowly to a point where I can actually 'train'.  At the moment I have as much confidence running on my legs as if I were running on matchsticks, but hopefully things will carry on in the right direction and I'll get over the fear of injury.  Of course I have race plans for 2014 but I'm not setting anything in stone until I am confident that I am over this injury yet.

2013 has definitely been more of year of cross training and physio than one of running, but hopefully I'll be back on track just as soon as I can.  In the meantime, a big thank you to all my sponsors who have stood by me and been understanding of my lack of toeing the start line sporting their logos.  I've been grateful to have their moral support to help me feel somewhat part of the running scene, and I've been grateful to have their financial support to pay the medical bills!  So a shout out to Montrail, Mountain Hardwear, Clif Bar, Udos Oil, Sundog Eyewear, CEP compression, Drymax socks and Petzl.

And here are some fun photos to remember the year by:

First half half marathon.  February. Credit: Rita Ivanaskas

With Nedbank team mates Tim & Camille, Two Oceans race morning.  March.

Fat Ass 50, Jan 1st.  Fingers crossed I can do the 25km this year :)

My trail buddy was getting knee surgery the next week, by tibialis posterior was jammed up.  Two runners went for a rainy hike.  September.

Montrail teammies Matt & Sean show the power of teamwork!  Photoshoot in Telluride, CO.  August.

Speaking at the PRR running seminar on my specialist subject - injury!  October.

Gran Fondo Langley.  172km on a bike, and I'm slow!  July.

I've never looked so chilled at No Hands bridge :)  That place is pure magic.  June.

Western States, tough not to race but great to see so many friends!  June.

My first tweeting assignment for iRunFar!  Western States 100 miler.  June.

Finished Telluride hill climb with no fibula pain!  The quads were kinds hammered though!  August.

Some very awesome friends in beautiful BC.  September.

Team Ellie after Moray Marathon, Scotland.  September.

Fun times attempting to mountain bike and surf at Team Clif Bar Athlete Summit.  San Fran.  November.

Talking nutrition and drinking beer with some great people and fab runners.  November.
Fun evening speaking at Cambie Running Room pre-BMO Vancouver marathon.  May.

Volunteering at IronKnee 25km.  North Vancouver.  June.

MacAllans whisky for a marathon win!  September.

What would injured Vancouver runners do without the BCMC (and the gondola down!)?  One of my MANY repeats this year.

My most common training location in 2013 :)


  1. I'm sorry it's been a bit of a struggle this year, but hoping for better things in 2014!

  2. Thanks :). I guess that injuries are an occupational hazard of being a runner!

  3. Ellie, good luck with next year. I know what it like to run with a stress fracture (ouch). I know you will be back stronger than ever.

  4. Looking at it, it's still been one heck of a year!!! Time will bring your confidence back and you'll be loving the trails again soon!!! Here's to an amazing 2014!!

    All Day!

  5. 2014 would be your year. All the best Ellie. Keep inspiring! :)

  6. It was sad to see you sidelined with an injury, but I am sure your best races (and wins) are ahead. All the best in 2014!

  7. Looking forward to a 2014 year with seeing your name in the results. Like I say with people like Geoff Roes and yourself, 2013 can be a example of how you can continue to help show the way with our sport even when not racing!! Bravo to you.