December must be the month for me to wonder on how time can go by so fast. I cannot believe that in two weeks Christmas will be over and we’ll be fast approaching New Year and 2019. This year has, in retrospect, gone by so quickly although at certain points in the year time dragged oh so slowly!
Not being one for convention I’m doing a reminiscing/recap of 2018 now, why wait until the very end of the year when in all likelihood I have achieved all that I’m going to achieve already.
So 2018 was the year I fell madly in love
- with running
- with blogging
- and with poetry
2018 was the year that I added to my list of injuries/ailments/medical interventions, a strained glute, sprained mid-foot, torn calf muscle, concussion and odd dizzy spells. Three long weeks on crutches until I decided that I’d rather limp along in pain. A hospital admission for suspected meningitis including a lumbar puncture wincing at the mere thought of that. 24 hour blood pressure monitoring. 24 hour urine testing. New referrals to ENT and cardiology. A clear mammogram and a release from regular mental health monitoring.
I began 2018 running! My first C25K run was actually on 20th December 2017 when I decided that I’d try running for RED January. Week 1 alternated just 60 seconds of running with 90 seconds walking for 20 minutes. By January 1st I was already on week 3 and scared at the prospect of running for a full 3 minutes!
But I did it and I ran each day from January 1st to the 8th when I sustained my first running injury, a strained glute. After 5 rest days where I kept my RED Jan activity going through walking, swimming and aqua classes I was ready to start running again and for the next two and a half weeks I progressed with C25K and limited myself to running only four times a week. I ended January with a triumphant run around Chester city walls (3k) and after returning home decided I’d try to run my first 5k… I think this was the point where I realized running was going to be my new thing! January 31st my first full 5k run completed in 31:20!
February I did my first parkrun with friends (3rd Feb) and my younger son started to come out running with me. Feb 24th he joined me for my second parkrun, I was already nursing a niggly foot which was exacerbated by him tearing off at a mad speed and me trying (failing) to keep him in sight. A trip to the hospital and confirmation that I’d sprained my mid-foot. In only two months of running I’d had my second injury meaning I finished February recovering rather than running. It was a long four weeks until I could hit the streets again, during which time, as well as recoving from a sprained foot, I was admitted to hospital with suspected meningitis which it thankfully wasn’t.
March passed by with only four runs logged, the last being a parkrun with my son who I’m glad to say didn’t run off into the distance this time! And April began with a week away in North Yorkshire which was just beautiful and a resolution to run 10k in memory of my uncle who had lived with Parkinson’s for many years. Game on! I upped my training sticking to running on alternate days and increasing distance. I’d selected a route which had the worst uphill sections at the start and decided that I could definitely do it.
I completed 10.6 km in 01:14:15 I couldn’t run all the way and my legs were so tired by about 8k but I’d completed my first 10k distance and raised money for Parkinson’s UK.
Also in April I’d had my first poems accepted into an anthology and started thinking that my vague idea of having my own book of poetry published was achievable.
By May I was running around 25-30 km a week including one longer run of between 7 and 11 km but I was surprised when on 5th June I’d gone for a run and it felt so good that I just kept going until I’d ran 10 miles… best run ever!
And then in the early hours of 14th June I blacked out and hit my head on the shower screen giving myself concussion and putting another two week pause on my running and meaning I had to reschedule Race for Life. I was happy to be back running for my birthday at the end of June and having decided to join running club and went to my first track session on 2nd July. But let me back track slightly, I’m sure there was something else significant about June…
oh yes… I published Kaleidoscopic Beauty! My dream had become reality, I had a very real book of my own poetry and I was so pleased with it and with the reviews and comments. I registered myself as a self-employed and started to learn a little about running my own business as an author.
11th July dawned a beautiful day and I decided to try running the route of the 4VHM (4 villages half marathon). This is the most local half marathon route to my home and is mostly run on quiet country lanes, so map, drinks and snacks packed I set off for my first (and only to date) half marathon experience. And it was quite an experience; it was hotter than I’d realised and deceivingly had more uphill sections than I’d realised. By around 9 miles I was too exhausted to even run down the gratefully received 2 mile descent to the end but I’d finished and despite the tiredness and achy legs I felt great. I had been running for less than seven months and I’d just done a half marathon in less than 2hr 45min!
I also did my first race in July, my postponed Race for Life. An incredibly tough 10k race in beautiful countryside but what really made it for me was the fact that all the women and girls there were doing it to raise money and awareness for cancer research. I was surprised when I volunteered to go up on stage and give my cancer story and is a moment I won’t forget.
As July moved into August and the UK’s hot summer continued I began to sign up for more races, enthused by my Race for Life experience I was keen to get the racing buzz again. I took part in my first officially timed 10k on 19th August and completed it in 01:01:01, a time I was very proud to achieve… and a time I was very keen to beat!
September passed by in a blur of races, probably too many races, emotionally I needed to keep the endorphins pumping to keep me feeling ok.
8th September North West Counties road relays, in the pouring rain. I was soaked and cold and I almost blacked out and my team were pretty much last but I still look back with a strange element of joy at taking part in a race for my club.
16th Sept EHM 10k given unwilling permission from my GP that I could take part as long as I took it easy I set off at a slowish pace but I felt good and soon settled into my natural pace and finished feeling great in 01:02:25.
A week later and I was gifted a place at the Southport Seaside 10k. Knowing that this was a flat course of two laps around the marine lake I was super-keen to achieve a sub-60. It was tough and after a few walk breaks I knew I had to draw on all my mental strength to then keep running to the end and get that sub-60 time, which I did coming in at 58:26. However, as I turned to put some rubbish in a bin my calf muscle went into a rigid spasm and then proceeded to hurt for the next few days, it was ok by the Wednesday so I went for a run with a friend and then a longer run the next day with different friends.
And then I signed up for another 10k on Sunday 30th to finish September having done four races in four weekends! This was a multi-terrain race with styles and kissing gates, and a killer steep hill so I was happy with my finish time of 01:02:42 and overjoyed with the unlimited Jaffa Cakes at the finish. My calf felt fine until a few hours later when it just seized up and was very painful to walk on, I rested it for the next week just doing parkrun on the Saturday and it seemed ok.
The following week was the parkrun that broke me! A trip to the hospital, a pair of crutches and news that I might not be running again for 3 months brings me to where I am now. Apart from a quick mention that in October I published my second book, I am the Stars in the Sky and have also written a children’s book All That Glitters, not yet published.
So that’s my year… running, writing and publishing.
All told a great year, despite injury, despite illness, despite family stress and uncertainty.
I have achieved so much in 2018, more than I could have ever imagined.
I am a runner.
I am an author.
I am very excited for 2019 and all it may bring.