Phew – all the races for 2018 are done! I honestly thought I was taking a step back from racing this year, and yet somehow I still participated in 20 races ? That’s a lot! It’s been good fun, but I’m very much looking forward to relaxing end of the year – while also getting a head start on my training for Boston 2019. Lots more to come on that in the next few weeks.
Back at the beginning of the year, I listed out my Goals for 2018. There were some pretty chunky ones in there, and I don’t think I entirely realised what would be required to achieve them. As a way of recapping this year and the past few months, let’s see how I fared against each one:
- Sub-3:20 marathon – I didn’t achieve this goal, but I did at least PB in the marathon at Chicago in October. I hadn’t thought sub-3:20 was possible until 3 weeks earlier, but there just wasn’t enough time to put in the physical and mental training to make it happen this year.
- Sub-3:10 marathon – nope.
- Sub-1:35 half-marathon – again, didn’t achieve this one but I did improve my half marathon PB by a minute just two weeks after Chicago, so I’m pleased!
- Sub-1:30 half-marathon – also no
- Sub-40 10km – ha, I never even tried for this. Best 10km time for the year was 45:19 in the first half of the Semi de Vincennes ^
- Sub-20 5km – this continues to sit on my goals list year after year, but again it didn’t happen. I did run 20:58 at parkrun in January, and just before Chicago felt like I could PB given a flat course, but it never happened.
- Continue making progress towards 26.2 marathon challenge – 25 marathons done, only one left to go! I still find it shocking to think that I ran another 10 marathons this year, and my body hasn’t given up on me entirely…
- Reach 25 volunteers at parkrun – BOOM. I’ve volunteered at Bois de Boulogne nearly twice as often as I’ve run this year, and it feels great to be a part of the core team and give back to my community (however small it is). I also ran my 100th parkrun this year!
- Run 4 marathons in 4 weeks under 4 hours – on paper, that doesn’t look too bad, but by the 4th week it was a real slog! Managed to run Manchester, Brighton, London and Hamburg all sub-4: definitely one of my biggest achievements of the year, and great training for…
- Run an ultra – despite swearing afterwards that I would never, ever, ever run that far again, I somehow covered 50mi on foot by myself in under 11 hours. INSANE. Yes, I had to walk the last ~20km and sometimes I catch myself thinking that I didn’t really ‘run’ 50 miles (81km), but hell yes, I did. Moreover, I put so much effort into training for this race (to the detriment of those earlier speed goals), I can’t help but be proud. I’m an ultrarunner!
- Run the distance of Sydney to Perth (4080km) – 4080km is a big step up from the 2500km I typically run in a year, so it was a little ridiculous to think I would achieve it. However, I’ll hit 3000km by the end of the year, so that’s cool!
- Give a talk at a running event – unfortunately this opportunity didn’t come up this year
- Learn French! – j’ai reussi! Or at least, I can now hold conversations with people, and although they’re slow, only 50% of the time do they switch to English, so I think that’s a success.
OK so I didn’t achieve most of the goals that I wrote out for myself at the beginning of the year, but I just had no idea how this year would turn out. It’s been almost a year now that we’ve been living in Paris, and I didn’t realise how much of an effect that would have on me. Perhaps these would have been possible if I was still comfortable in the UK or Australia, but living in a ‘foreign’ land and having to create a life for myself here has taken me away from ticking things off this list.
However that’s not to say I haven’t achieved anything this year! Just that what I have achieved doesn’t match the goals I wrote out a year ago. So here we go: an updated and improved list of achievements from 2018.
- PB the marathon – 3:25:45, baby
- PB the half-marathon – 1:38:52 hell yes
- Run an ultra
- Run 4 marathons in 4 weeks, all sub-4 hours
- Pace a marathon – at Brighton as part of my #4in4sub4 challenge. I came in at 3:59:33 which is about as perfect as it gets!
- Run my 100th parkrun
- Reach my 25th volunteer at parkrun
- Make parkrun friends! – I really missed this in London where the parkruns are big and you can become just a face in the crowd. Now I’m truly a part of the crew, we get coffee most weeks and even go to BBQs or dinner parties at each others places. Brilliant.
- Run my 25th marathon
- Run 3 of my 4 fastest marathon times – which I did within 10 weeks! To me it’s not just about setting a PB, but proving that overall I have improved in my marathon running. One fast marathon is great, but being able to run a 3:31:22 in September, 3:25:45 in October and then 3:37:40 in November shows that I’m definitely getting better at this crazy sport.
- Run 3000km in a year (well, I’m almost there! 2897km as of 6/12/18, so it’ll happen ?)
- Find an apartment, get a job, set up a new life in Paris – never to be underestimated
- Travel to new places in the world – Chicago, Oslo, Quebec, Manchester, I’ve been lucky enough to travel to some amazing new places this year, as well as revisiting others I’ve been to before
- Make truly wonderful friends – I am so lucky to have met the people I have here in Paris, they have made such a big impact on my life ❤
Going into 2019 I’m still going to set a list of goals, but my attitude towards them is changing. No longer will the list be a scorecard for how well the year has gone, but rather a list of things which one day I would love to achieve. I like to have goals as something to focus on, but if I don’t get there, that’s fine.
It’s also important to remember that goals don’t need to be set in stone, but rather can flex and change as my circumstances do. If there are ones which partway through the year I know won’t be achieved, they don’t need to stay on the list. I can also add new ones as I go along, if I find there are things that have become more important to me. I want to be able to refer to my goals throughout the year and feel like I am making progress, that I like what I’m trying to work towards, because that is what is going to bring me success.