2017 whooshed right by without me feeling like I was really able to clock what was going on. Four family deaths in as many weeks was quite an emotional hit for our family at the end of the year and although we now seem to have brushed ourselves off and gotten back up again, spending time with family and looking after ourselves was a higher priority this Winter.
At the start of 2017 I set myself several goals that I wanted to work towards.
Achieve 100 parkruns and order my black parkrun t-shirt
Typically leaving it all to the last minute I completed my 100th parkrun on Christmas day, having run 33 events across 2017 to achieve my goal. Year on year my participation at parkrun has increased – in 2015 I ran 24 parkruns, and a further 26 in 2016. My participation will most likely drop during the coming year though, as I work overnight on both Friday and Saturdays at the moment, leaving me needing all the sleep on Saturday mornings before Dan heads off to the football.
Unfortunately I haven’t been able to order my black parkrun t-shirt yet as parkrun are awaiting more stock. The email currently implies that I should be able to order the t-shirt by February, so I will look forward to wearing that in the Summer when the weather gets a little warmer!
Increase my parkrun tourism to twenty different courses
19! Argh, so close! I could have made it, as I had pencilled in a visit to Buckingham on the final Saturday of the year. But, Dan was due to work that day and unsure of his start time (as it relied on other developers rolling out different portions of the software before him). I was working until 7am, so would have had to drive home to collect Oscar before driving back past my workplace on the way to Buckingham. It would have been very stressful for a super tired Mary so in the end, I managed to catch up on a little sleep before Dan went into work that day.
My 20th course will be this coming weekend, as I am heading down to Wendover to marshal the Country to Capital ultra for Go Beyond. The car load of marshals I am heading down with are all parkrunners so the decision was made that we would set off a little early for our marshal point and ensure we got some tourism in on the way down!
Bring my weekly mileage back up to at least 50 miles on average each week
This was a no-go due to all the traveling I did towards the end of the year, although over the past few weeks I have been able to start working back up towards this higher mileage again – ready for the races I have planned in 2018. I should easily hit this by the end of the month.
Complete at least five more events of marathon distance and above
PB at the 5k distance
Tick! So chuffed with this because it came from nowhere towards the end of the year when Laura offered to pace me to a sub 27m parkrun…and I came away with a new PB of 26m 35s!
So, this morning I managed a shiny new 5k PB at Northampton parkrun! (Thanks to pacer extraordinaire @lawburton !) Watch time: 26:35 – official time to be confirmed. *EDIT – official time confirmed as 26:35 too* A PB by 2 seconds and 35 seconds faster than I’ve run a 5k since having Oscar last September! I had a great support crew this week too. A good start to the weekend! 😁 #PB #parkrun #Northamptonparkrun #5k
Take more pictures with my DSLR
I took several pictures with my big camera throughout the year, including plenty of Oscar – having played with the settings a little more. I would like to continue taking more photographs this year, as the results are so much better than the photographs I take with my phone, although time is an issue.
Find an easier way of living
I’m no longer teaching(!) having given up my job as a Computing teacher at the end of September. I don’t think there is ever an ‘easy’ way of living though and I am someone that will always find myself looking for bigger and better and easier, even if I am doing OK. I think I’m doing OK at the moment. Dan and I are making it work and Oscar’s happy, so that’s all that matters.
Make more time for my family
I was able to make a lot more time for my parents and Oscar throughout 2017, but feel I neglected my relationship with Dan, especially towards the end of the year. Bringing a child into the relationship hugely shifts the dynamics of everything you’ve always done and been. Dan and I had been together for nine years before Oscar arrived and we were used to our monthly cinema trips and meals out when it took our fancy. We haven’t been to the cinema since Oscar was born and although we have been out for dinner, it’s usually during the day so as not to disrupt Oscar’s bedtime routine.
Five goals out of eight definitely achieved, and another two very close to being achieved. I’d call that a success overall!
Goals for 2018:
Volunteer at least six times at parkrun including in the role of pacer
Looking back on my parkrun page the other day I realised that I hadn’t volunteered at all during 2017! Having Oscar around does make it infinitely more difficult to guarantee I’ll be able to volunteer during a certain week, but there are still several roles I can volunteer in with him by my side, especially as the weather gets warmer again.
I’d also love to give pacing a go this year, having informally paced several friends in the past. Running a 30 minute parkrun is something I am fairly confident that I can achieve at a chatty-pacer pace. I can run parkrun in this time whilst pushing Oscar in the buggy, and the run obviously becomes much easier without a two stone baby slowing me down! I wouldn’t be able to sign up to pacing an event knowing that I had Oscar though, as I wouldn’t be able to nip round other runners to ensure I definitely made the time.
Complete at least six more distances of marathon and above
I have at least this many pencilled in to the calendar already, although more on that in another post. Having ticked off my 100 parkruns I am slowly working towards joining the 100 Marathon club, with thirteen marathons and eight ultras under my belt. Just another 79 events to go then(!)
Complete a 100 mile race
This is the big stretch goal for the year. The one I will be working really, really hard towards. I’ve entered the South Downs Way 100 in June, and am currently in two minds whether or not to also enter the Autumn 100 in October as a ‘back up’ event just in case it’s not my day on the day of SDW100. I want to complete 100 miles this year!
PB at 5k, half and marathon distances
This goal is rather vague, but definitely achievable. These three distances aren’t my main focus for this year (the 100 is) but I would like to think I can improve my speed further in order to bank a 5k PB, my half marathon is out of line of all of my other race times and that with the added exercises from the physio I have been working on each evening lately, that my body will be much stronger to deal with the latter half of the marathon distance and help me to tick off a faster time there too.
Put aside £500 from side hussles each month towards the deposit for a second property
Purchasing a second property has been on my to-do-list for a long while, but I need to stop talking about it and start actively working towards it a little more. Although I’m no longer bringing home as much money from working my main employment as I once did, I have begun drawing in money from several odd jobs as well as saving money in several areas for our household. Dan and I sat down and looked through our budget when we decided I was going to step away from teaching, and before the new year we sat down and clearly went through a budget for the year, to be reviewed monthly.
Respond to/clear notifications on my phone quickly
I’m awful at responding to anything straight away and often end up leaving notifications on the top of my phone screen for a really long time until I remember to deal with them (usually on my 4am break at work on a Saturday morning!) or until Oscar swipes them off by mistake.
It really bugs several of my friends to see so many little icons on the top of my screen, and I must admit, every time I pull out my phone my heart drops a little to think of all the messages I still need to reply to or action. If I’ve taken the time to pull it down to check, I can surely spend a few extra seconds responding to that message as well?
I spent a lot of time with my Dad in December. New to living alone my Dad is currently going for the quick and easy to prepare/pull out of a packet deal when it comes to meal time. He’s all about the here and now. “I’m hungry? Well I must need feeding immediately!” At the moment he doesn’t think twice about buying a pack of five donuts (because that works out cheaper per donut than purchasing them individually) and then eating them all in the space of a day and a half (because otherwise they don’t taste as nice). He can cook, and will cook, but doesn’t enjoy doing so for just him, which is perfectly understandable, and I’ve often felt similar in the past. He has had false teeth since a teenager (when he stood too close to a friend playing with a cricket bat) so doesn’t worry too much about damaging his teeth. But he doesn’t understand the problems this type of food can do to his heart and sugar levels, so I’m hoping to educate him a little. When I stayed with him for a week before Christmas we spent some time making large quantities of vegetable lasagne (Dad is like me and isn’t a massive meat fan) and he has enjoyed these, so perhaps I could also have a think what snacks we could make in bulk to prevent him dipping his hand in the biscuit tin seven times a day!
I tend to make home-made meals for Dan, Oscar and I at least 5 days of the week, but it is the snacks and sugary things I struggle with when it comes to processed food. When Oscar is hungry, just like my Dad he’s hungry immediately, only as he’s only 15 months old I can’t reason with Oscar that he just has to wait five minutes whilst I prepare something! I often keep a handful of raisins or child fruit gummies in my bag for ease, but I would prefer him to have actual fresh fruit or vegetables as a snack.
As I work the hours of 10pm-7am a couple of nights each weekend, I’ve struggled with not having processed snacks just lately as well. Because I only work part time I don’t want to go about meal times the same way as the full time night staff do. (They tend to have their main meal at 1am during our ‘lunch’ break, have breakfast as normal when they return from work, sleep through lunchtime and then have their tea with family at a normal time.) I’ve been having my three daytime meals at the normal times, but am ravenous by the time I finish work and have been snacking on anything I can quickly get my hands on at the end of the shift. Not good!
*Edit – I just thought of two more goals I want to add to my list…
Move at least 10,000 steps each day
I know 10,000 is just an arbitrary number, but I used the number 10,000 as a focus to get moving each day during my pregnancy, achieving at least 10,000 steps on every one of the last 71 days before Oscar arrived. I felt so much better for remaining active during those days where I often just felt like slobbing out at home. I’d like to have another go at sticking to 10,000 steps for each day of the whole year this time. (Currently nine days in and achieving it with ease!) It’s on days when I travel that I really struggle with getting up and about.
Raise money for a cancer charity
For obvious reasons.
I haven’t decided fully how I’m going to go about it yet but I’ll announce on the blog when I do.
Do you set yourself goals each year? What are your goals for 2018?
Were you successful in achieving your goals for 2017?
Any suggestions for bulk baking snacks I could get my Dad to make?