It’s almost the end of February and only now am I getting around to writing a post about last year. Now the days are pulling out, there’s a touch of warmth in the sun and green tips are beginning to poke their way up through the frosty gardens.

Last year was my first full year of running. From January until December I laced up my trainers and headed outside. I ran in term time and in holiday time. I ran in England, Wales and Scotland and even (somewhat controversially, it turns out) in France. I ran in the hills, through fields and by the sea. I ran alone, with dogs, in a group and in a pair. I booked a marathon and began training ~ 6 months ago, for an April event.

It’s almost a year since I PB’d at Retford, and I’ll be back there this year completing the course as a training run for a great cause. I’ve run very early, very late, on the road and on the trails. This winter I made a change to running with my dogs, where possible: I’ll drive to a suitable location then run with the dogs off the leads. Everyone wins.

Last year I completed 3 canicross races – Wilfie is a great running buddy. Together we ran The Longhorn, The Grantham Cup and Grimesthorpe 10 as a team. Wilf’s love of running endures – he now regularly makes an appearance at Parkrun. We were due to run Ashbourne 10 in a couple of weeks but I reluctantly cancelled as it clashes with the final club cross country race. He’s continuing to join me with marathon training, and is more than happy to rise before dawn and clock up a few miles with his new friend Bess on a Wednesday morning. Grudgingly, on occasion Oliver will run too; mostly to catch up with Wilf.

In January 2018 I attended presentation evening with my running club. I was extremely proud, and humbled to be presented with the club Grand Prix trophy not just for my age category but for senior female. I’ve never had my name engraved anywhere, to my recollection. I felt like it made local history, not by running fast or particularly far, just by being out there, running.

In October I travelled north to Northumberland and completed the Castles half marathon. I entered on the day and ran for the pleasure of running. It was sunny, it was mild, Northumberland was stunning. I finished in 1.57 without checking my watch.

On New Year’s Eve I ran. On Boxing Day, I ran. In December I ran 150 miles in my first virtual race.

I totalled 1200 miles for the year. I didn’t set out to do that. I had no target, goal or event in mind, just to keep running was an achievement (have I mentioned how I’m really not sporty?)

So what’s the upshot? How do I top all of that for 2018? I’d like to say I have a plan, but it wouldn’t be true. I have some races booked, many of which I plan to run for the joy of running: I have nothing to prove. I have ideas of events I would like to take part in, some more practical than others, but some which inexplicably appeal regardless.

I’m excited for 2018, for the new races that I stumble across each day, for the 26.2 miles which await me in 6 weeks and (probably more so) for the runs that come after that, minus the pressure. I’ve yet to earn a medal in 2018, but my training tshirt for September’s Great North Run should surely be arriving soon.