A running tour of Lisbon

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Why is it always so hard to sleep after pushing your body beyond its normal limits? You'd think it would be grateful of the rest, but mine seems to rebel even more. Having smashed by PB by around 25 minutes at the Lisbon marathon, I spent a lot of the following night awake. My legs felt sore, I was bursting for the toilet every few hours, my head was buzzing and my stomach wasn't too happy. I blame that on the gels, rather than the post run plonk.

But my sleep pattern returned to normal over the following night or two, the pain in my legs soon faded and any thoughts of discomfort I had during the run disappeared into a part of my brain which seems to be able to forget pain. That's the magic of the human body!

I actually loved the race. The chilled out approach was a welcome change to the ever growing corporate scene. Weather wise, the sun shone and the temperature of around 13 degrees was ideal. We saw plenty of the city and while the organisation was basic, it all worked.

Perfect dose of vitamin D

Perfect dose of vitamin D

After crossing the start line I decided I needed the toilet almost straight away. I don't know if it was nerves or if I had drunk too much before the start. It meant that during the first few miles my mind was occupied by finding a suitable place to pee. I eventually located a big enough tree at mile 8 and felt better straight away! Aside from a stitch at mile 19, I felt incredibly comfortable throughout most of the race.

But it was mile 15 which really stood out. My body and mind was in a zen like state; I was relaxed, I shut my eyes and I was totally at ease with my surroundings and the pace. It was bliss. It's a weird but amazing feeling when running feels so perfect and pain free.

The final three miles up hill were tough and seemed to drag, but to comfortably run under four hours for the first time was the perfect ending to my 'year of doing' in 2012.

Post run smiles

Post run smiles

And what a year it's been. After a few calculations, it turns out I've walked 70km, skied 42km, run 170km, cycled 940km and swum 9km. That's in competition or events, NOTHING to do with training!!

The year started on the top of beautiful Mount Kilimanjaro. Since then I've completed the Engadin cross country ski marathon, having barely done the sport before. I bought a road bike and learnt to open water swim. I did the Wilmslow half marathon, three of Endurance Life's coastal "half" marathons and the most exhausting "Aquatrail".

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This, along with two practice triathlons, gave me some hope and confidence of being able to finish Ironman Rapperswil-Jona 70.3 in one piece. The day after returning from Switzerland, I took part in Endurance Life's Real Relay. It was a unique experience but my legs hated me for it for a good week after. Three weeks of solid work at the London Olympics was followed by a cycle ride from Paris to Geneva, before tackling the sandman triathlon on Anglesey a few weeks later.

I've loved training and testing myself during the year and I feel privileged to have met so many brilliant people. Some of whom will have a huge impact on me for the rest of my life. Others I may never meet again but I know their stories and bubbly personalities will always stay with me.

I'm also on course with trying to raise £3,000 for charity by March. I've had to diversify from purely physical craziness, but the cake baking is proving to be a winner!

I have a lot more baking to do over the next two and a half months, but as 2013 (the year of the Ironman) approaches, I'll be keeping this in the back of my mind:

"Ability is what your capable of doing, Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it."

Life is for living!