2011: How did we do with those aspirations?

So, how was last year? 52 weeks ago I wrote a New Year’s Aspirations post setting out some things I would like to do in 2011. How did I get on?

  • Run the Letchworth Garden City Greenway Challenge half-marathon – we did this, not very well, coming in almost at the back of the field with a time slightly south of three hours and having walked quite a lot. But that mattered a lot less in November after we had run another local half in something close to two and a half hours and were also successful in a 10k. Mission accomplished – and we’ll be looking to get that time under 2 hours 30 next year.
  • This year’s running schedule has five events on it: an April 10k hopefully followed by a May re-run of the abovementioned half-marathon. Then training straight on for an 18-mile trail run in July, which will be a big challenge. After we recover for that we’ll go onto an autumn 10k and then finally another local late-autumn half marathon. We’ll take a bit of recovery time and start training towards a spring marathon in 2013. As well as getting our half-marathon times under 2:30 we’ll be looking to drive our 10k PBs closer to 60 minutes than the 75 minutes or so they currently stand at.
  • Go on the holiday outlined in this post – Failed, principally because we didn’t manage to organise either the time or the money to make it happen. However, our enthusiasm for visiting the best lidos and wild swimming spots in the south-west is completely undimmed and we’ll be having another, more determined, crack at doing it this year.
  • Get at least half of our allotment dug and in cultivation – a work in progress. We managed to get a relatively small amout of it into cultivation – one long bed comprising about a third of the back half. We’re now busy double-digging another, similar bed. But we can’t possibly count the allotment a failure since this was the first year of tenancy (of this or any other) when we got a really full, productive crop off it. We were eating tons of home-grown potatoes, shallots, courgettes (or occasionally marrows) and beet with a few exotica like swede, the occasional carrot, endless radish, and sprouting garlic. Kind people have given us strawberries and comfrey which appear to be overwintering successfully. So, an excellent allotment year – as long as we get digging pretty sharpish.
  • Keep persevering with my bid to master The 24 Forms (Yang Short Form Tai Chi) – Mixed news here as well. We’ve really consolidated the Tai Chi this year, and practised it with metronomic regularity, but we haven’t really progressed far with learning new stuff. We have, however, been to a taster session for local classes, and we learned lots from that, including some techniques that have helped us when running, and an idea of what is available should we decide to take a more formal class in the future. The DVD course we have been using has also been updated so it might be time to invest in a new copy.
  • Make my annual 52-book reading challenge happen – this is simply the bid to read 52 books in a calendar year and, ideally, blog about the results. I am struggling to sort this out at the moment, having come at worst close to the necessary total and at best reached it. I am, however, badly behind with the blogging and in need of putting some serious time into sorting it out. That will be the very next thing I turn to once this blog is up to date.
  • Revise the completed NaNoWriMo story that I wrote during November and December and plan a sequel for this year’s event – failed. The writing went completely to the wall this year, due to the fact I had so much else going on. I also had a slightly negative experience with the big, high-profile first novel competition for which this story was conceived. Of course, one does not really expect to succeed with these things, beyond the necessary dose of self-delusion that motivates you to produce the entry. On this occasion I worked on it daily for two months, allowing it to take over my life completely for the last few days of the competition period. I submitted it by email a few hours before the deadline – and it was over. There was no acknowledgement system for entries so I never even heard if it had been received, and it was months before the closure of the competition shortlist being announced. To have two months’ concentrated and dedicated work vanish into a black hole like that was a real knockback – perhaps more than it should logically have been, since what else was I expecting? But, the fact is, you can’t always control how you feel about things. Also, I am terrible on structural editing. Perhaps it’s time to look into getting some guidance on how to go about it.

So, what about 2012?

As well as doing the things outlined above, I’d like to:

  • In 2011 we managed at least 30 minutes of activity every single day – anything from a long run to a walking meditation, depending on circumstances and what the running training plan mandated. I’m planning to extend that through 2012 too.
  • This year’s additional subject for daily work is Insight or Vipassana meditation. Having made a start on it during 2011, I’m aiming to try to do this every single day in 2012, in the same way that we have successfully done with activity.
  • I have a new reading challenge for this year – coming to terms with a prolific classic author, an essayist, whose colllected works run to more than 1,200 pages of closely-set type.
  • On this blog I have already written about one creative thing I intend to try – the Skylight Project which is a photo a day from a particular window. Hopefully that will be one of many creative projects for the year.