I’m sitting inside our bedroom watching the back garden world through our window. A pigeon lands and bounces up and down a few times on the slender branch of a neighbour’s whomping willow. I can’t see the rain falling but I can see the puddles being attacked with hundreds of invisible pin pricks creating frenetic ripples. The sky is that shade of pale, colourless grey dank that wraps around you so stiflingly that it’s always a shock if a bit of blue eventually peeps through.
I should have done Parkrun, or at least have been out running my last few miles of the year but it won’t be happening just yet as I’m so fair-weather. Instead, I’ll munch on some cheese on toast and ruminate on how this year has gone.
Because I’m not a diary keeper, and because I’ve got the memory and the attention span of a gnat, I’ve had to look back on my previous blogs in order to recall what I’ve actually done. It’s a lopsided view as I mainly write about running. I’m sure other things have happened but most of that has slipped away into the fog of history.
I realised that my marathon aims for next year had begun all the way back in January of 2022, during a walk a with friends. This is what happens when you begin chatting about past accomplishments with like-minded people. You start wondering if you can go through the pain again and before you know it, you’ve signed up for not one, but two marathons.
However, on the plus side, my ambitions have made me a little more involved in the activities of my running club. I joined the Committee at the beginning of the year after a moment’s indecision about whether to have that little glass of brandy or whether to drive to the AGM. It was a close call. I’ve been a regular volunteer for our Summer Seaside 5K races, and I’ve thrown myself in, quite literally sometimes with the Cross Country, to some of the team events. The only ones I haven’t tried are the Fell races, and that’s only because I’ve a real fear of getting lost in the mountains.
I made an attempt at getting a little bit faster and managed to sneak under the hour for my 10K time. The training was an exercise in trying something very new, and difficult, and out of my comfort zone.
I’ve also hung out with an offshoot of the club – Pensby Runners on Bikes (PROBs) which is very exciting. I do like cycling and joining in on their weekly rides has given me the opportunity to get a little better at it, and to see some lovely parts of Cheshire and North Wales on a bike.
It wasn’t all exercise though. We had a birth, with Anne’s daughter producing a second grandson for us. And a wedding, with Anne’s son tying the knot. My niece turned 18 in wonderful style and my nephew had his very first birthday near the end of this year. Finally, we had two family get togethers to mark the deaths, last year, of my cousin and my dad and to celebrate their lives.
But back to me and my running.
I’ve got a friend who gives herself a list of goals that she wants to accomplish and then reflects on whether she’s managed them. It’s a bit bigger than New Years’ Resolutions because she spreads the goals out for the whole year. I want to do something similar but I’ve yet to think of my full list, so that may be a January post. I know that I want to break 5 hours in my second marathon, but that’s a long way away. I also want to complete my Open University MA in Creative Writing, and finally, I’d love to be able to write for a running magazine. None of those things will happen overnight, and at least one of them will take a bit of luck alongside the hard work but if I don’t have goals there will be nothing to strive for.
Meanwhile, the rain is abating but the sky’s still very grey. Do I risk it for an outdoor biscuit? Or do I make use of that gym membership that I’ve been paying for?
Happy New Year!