Mid-year review: 2017 goals

Where the hell did the first half of 2017 go? Time freaks me out. It is a fickle thing. Speak to my husband and he'll tell you, with a mix of frustration and resignation, just how poor my perception of time is.

But here we are, halfway through another year; the days are long and I haven't switched the heating on for weeks (a victory for my bank balance, if nothing else). Ever the reflective sort, it seemed like a good idea to review 2017 and my goals so far.

A lot has happened. It's probably been my busiest running year yet. I've had highs and lows, dropped some things while picking up new and exciting stuff too. 

Trail running


It was only March when I achieved my big goal of the year - hitting the trails and completing the Forest of Dean Half Marathon. This already feels so long ago now, it's pretty good to remember and soak in my own little glory.

My second Half Marathon, and my first on anything that wasn't tarmac and flat, the FOD Half signified so much. By the end of last year, I was longing to get off-road, connect with nature and work on hills. I had some amazing training runs around west Cardiff, Cosmeston Lakes and FOD itself. I had some horrendous runs, too. Hills that mocked me, mud and fields that would turn your ankles, endless self-doubt.

But, through it all, I learned so much, and the race itself was brilliant. When you're in mile eight of a Half Marathon and you can say to yourself, "Bloody hell, I'm loving this!" you know it's a special race that you'll cherish.
Still utterly obsessed with running off-road, I did the Uni-Lite Night Trail 10k in Afan forest. It was my first night race and ended with a legendary hill and the best support crowd ever.

Race report: Forest of Dean Trail Half Marathon
Race report: Uni-Lite Night Trail 10K

Parkrunathon


 Goal #1 complete, I kept myself busy with a couple of 5-10K races without much thought about what I'd do next. I turned up at parkrun one morning and, while grabbing a post-run coffee, I found myself signing up to a parkrunathon.

For someone who plans and overthinks things relentlessly, this turned out to be a impromptu epic journey for me. Organised by fellow CDF Runners, we ran ten parkruns across south east Wales in two days, totaling 50km.

Good grief I was slow, and a knee problem near the end reduced me to a walk-run in one-minute installments. But I finished and was so bloody proud of myself.

Photoblog: parkrunathon 2017

Swimming 
One of the reasons I joined CDF Runners was because they had a swim club that was open to beginners. I have spent my adult life dreaming of one day learning to swim. After some feeble attempts in my gym pool, I decided I needed guidance if I was going to master any techniques.

So in January 2017, I took the plunge (ha) and finally attended a CDF swim session. I've been every week ever since (bar two sessions when work kept me away) and - I can't believe I can actually say this - I AM A SWIMMER. The coaching has been amazing and I love everyone's company and support. Swimming has become the highlight of my week.

Marshaling 


I'm always so appreciative of the volunteers who help to organise races and then stand about and cheer, sometimes for hours, just so others can run.

This year I wanted to give something back. So even though it wasn't one of my official goals for 2017, marshaling was on my to-do list.

Uh oh. Halfway through the year and I've helped out at one race - the Buff Trail 10K (which in fact earned me entry into the Uni-Lite Trail 10K, so not so selfless after all). I did have a great time volunteering at this event, so it's time to do some planning.

Yoga


My second uh-oh. Where did my beloved yoga practice go?! A Sunday here, a Tuesday there... Squeeze it in while I'm cooking, add a few asanas to my post-run cool down...

Fitting in yoga this year has been hard. I went to a great taster session back in April, which I loved, but realistically couldn't fit in at the time. But I haven't kept up with home practice either. Which is ironic, really, seeing as regular yoga and meditation would reduce my stress levels and help me to be more efficient. So... yeah, come back to me, yoga. Come back.

The second act
That's pretty much my 2017 so far. All my races and goals are here and I hope to add to them as the year goes on.

Having said that, I've enjoyed slowing down a bit over the summer. A winter runner, I'll be focusing on training for one race over the warmer months, Cardiff Half, before turning my focus to 5Ks for a while. I've barely been to parkrun this year and look forward to hitting Grangemoor again.

My final goal for 2017? Strength training. I have quite a knack for ignoring my own advice and I know that building strength and stability in my butt and hips will really help to make me a better runner. I recently embarked on a new coaching programme at The Studio in Cardiff. Me, lifting weights? Deadlifts and chin-ups? Ahahaha. Can't wait to fill you in on that one.


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