Despite 2014 looking like an incredibly busy year, back in February I was inspired by a number of people to make a short list of goals and challenges I would like to achieve in 2014. As we are currently working our way through the very last day of the year, and because I just managed to make a start on the outstanding item on my list, I thought I should give you an update and let you know how I have got on.
I’ll take each goal in turn…
Cycle LEJOG at Home
I will cycle the equivalent to LEJOG before we go on our USA bike trip in June. Sooner would be better, of course, but a mid-year deadline should keep me motivated. I can’t believe some people do this in a week; amazing. The most I’ve managed in one session is 20 miles in just over an hour (and that was me really going for it). At the time of writing I’ve managed 173 miles… I’m going to have to get on with it!
Lots of you got behind me on this challenge so thanks very much for all your support and encouragement, it genuinely helped. I was originally inspired by The Next Challenge to set the target, but my spare-room-cycle-challenge became a bit of a personal battle. I didn’t manage to complete it before we went to America as per my goal, but I got right back into it when I returned home and finished off what I started in seven months. Not an epic adventure by any means, but one I’m glad I started – and very glad I finished.
Please read the full story: LEJOG in my Spare Room – Finally Finished
Climb a Big Hill
I will climb a big hill – maybe even a mountain – and when I get to the top I will know I am on top of the world. A friend @tara_papworth has suggested Ben Nevis when she gets back to the UK later in the year, which may happen if there is the time and fitness, but if not then I’m happy with something a bit closer to home that involves some fun terrain and a fabulous view.
I am so pleased I set myself this goal, mainly because it helped me remember what I love about being outdoors, hiking, and something of my childhood. I headed over to Edale and walked up Kinder Scout back in July and had a really fantastic day. It might not have been a mountain but it was a very big hill and I had the most amazing views all day. I even enjoyed hiking up Jacob’s Ladder!
Please read the full story: What Makes You Feel Alive? Hiking Kinder Scout
I will learn to make marshmallow, enjoy eating it, and be happy to share my home made creations with my friends. I now have a sugar thermometer so no excuses! I also have a mini doughnut tray that I want to make good use of – I made my first batch of those this evening actually; mmmmm doughnuts.
If you follow me on social media (go on… twitter | facebook | instagram) you’ll know that I left this one very late in the day to start. After receiving a sugar thermometer for Christmas last year it took me until yesterday, the penultimate day of the year, to try my hand at making the fluffy stuff. I am a big fan of marshmallow, I love it, and I had planned on getting really good at making it so I could give it away as presents for Christmas this year. That didn’t quite happen but yesterday I gave making my own a go, and I was quite pleased with the results. I will be making it again, maybe I’ll have mastered it by this time next year.
There’s no blog post on this one just yet but watch this space as there will be early in 2015.
Run Race for Life 10k
I will run the 10k Race for Life in a close-to-personal best time. I have not run anything close to this distance since the British 10k in 2011, when I gave up on running pretty much completely. My PB is currently 1 hour 3 minutes; something under 1 hour 10 minutes would really make me smile. You’d better check with me in April to see if I’ve started training properly! I have a justgiving page if you would like to sponsor me.
While a personal best time (or even close to that) wasn’t to be at Race for Life this year, in the end I wasn’t disappointed with my efforts. I finished the run in 1 hour 18 minutes. Slow, yes, but that’s okay. Race for Life is by no means a race; it is a community focused fun run designed to bring women together to do their bit to help raise money to beat cancer. Even when I was cursing myself for my lack of speed and stamina, I knew that actually it didn’t matter, it really was the taking part (and actually finishing) that counted.
Please read the full story: Race for Life and my new Brooks Trainers
Be Silent at the Grand Canyon
I will stand at the Grand Canyon (on our motorbike trip in June) and look, silently, for at least a minute, breathing deeply and opening my eyes and mind wide, before taking any photographs of the view. I want to make sure that scene is fixed in my memory as I know it will be one of the most amazing sights I have ever seen. I hope it’s a clear day!
Oh wow. What a day that was! I still struggle to describe the view even though it was six months ago and I’ve had plenty of time to think about it. I was silent for way more than a minute – the Grand Canyon took my breath away and I will never forget it. It is so vast! Even standing there, on the edge, it’s impossible to take in the vastness of space, the fact you are stood overlooking a forty mile long crevasse that’s been carved over thousands of years. Awesome.
Please read the full story: Movie Set Scenery – Wild West Part Four
Complete the Spires and Steeples Challenge Walk
I will complete the Spires and Steeples walk from Lincoln to Sleaford in October (although they haven’t confirmed the date yet, so it will firstly depend on when it is). I’ve walked it twice before but last year it defeated me (I blame the weather!). This year the victory will be mine!
Victory was indeed mine! I took on the Lincoln to Sleaford marathon Spires and Steeples challenge walk in a re-match that I don’t think I was physically ready for, but for once my mind did its job and kept my legs moving. I completed the walk with a smile on my face and am definitely up for taking it on again next year.
Please read the full story: A Spires and Steeples Re-Match
Go Mountain Biking
I will go on some off-road bike rides. This is the reason I bought a mountain bike in the first place (a few years ago now), and am yet to make the most of it. I used to ride on trails as a teenager, and I miss it. I was thinking of signing up to the British Heart Foundation’s Robin Hood bike ride in October if I’d managed to do some decent rides in time, but that has already been cancelled – something to look at next year perhaps.
I had a really fun day at Sherwood Pines, the nearest dedicated mountain bike trails to my home, and definitely fell in love with mountain biking again. It’s a shame that there aren’t any trails like this closer to home to make riding them less effort than bundling the bike in the car and driving 30 miles. I need to do a bit more research on where I can and can’t ride in the Lincoln area, and I’ve also got my eyes on one of the many mountain bike courses I’ve seen advertised.
Please read the full story: Mountain Biking at Sherwood Pines
Learn to Snowboard
I will learn to snowboard. I’ve been wanting to for years – it looks so much more laid back than skiing, and in my head I reckon I’d be awesome! I did have a lesson booked in January that got cancelled, but when that happened I promised myself I will have a lesson (or two) at a snow dome in the summer rather than waiting until our next winter holiday. Yes, I’ve been inspired by Jenny Jones – apart from the obvious amazing performance she’s also the same age as me and I often wonder if I’m too old to become really good at anything now.
I was given a helping hand to tick this one off this year’s list when Snozone got in touch and offered me a snowboarding lesson on their slope at Milton Keynes. Naturally I jumped at the chance, and had a really fun (and incredibly tiring) day learning the basics with the lovely and knowledgeable Jo. Am I an expert? No way! I am definitely not a natural (and find this most disappointing). I did, however, make decent progress and ended the lesson being given the thumbs up for my linked turns. I wonder if I’ll remember how to do it when I next strap a board to my feet?!
Please read the full story: Learning to Snowboard with Snozone
So there we have it – eight goals and challenges for 2014, eight ticks, just about. I’ve started putting a list together for 2015 and will let you know what’s on it in the next week or two once I’ve given it some more thought. In the mean time tell me – what were your goals and challenges for 2014? Have you got lots of ticks and a bit smiley face at the bottom of your list? Or are there some things that will roll over into next year? Let me know.