Happy New Year! Frohes neues Jahr! З Новим Роком!
It’s hard to believe another year has gone by. Time flies. As we enter 2019, here are some reflections on my 2018.
Running and fitness in 2018:
- Distance run: Strava tells me that in 2018 I ran 1,271.3km = 789.95mi, which is 298.2km/185.29mi more than in 2017 – I’m really pleased with that!
- Overall, it was a good running year. I refocused on building my endurance base with Sunday long runs, did a lot of Saturday morning parkruns, and even got in a smattering of speedwork in the warmer, lighter months. I also did some run-commuting to or from work.
- I ran my 50th parkrun in March 2018! This had been a major goal of mine and I was excited to achieve it (the t-shirt is great, too). My parkrun total currently stands at 63, with more to come in 2019.
- Racing (running):
- Road races: five 10k races (including my second-fastest ever 10k), one 5-mile race (an 8-second PR/PB!), and a 1-hour timed race in the City of London.
- Trail/Cross country races: three XC races (including two back-to-back in one weekend), a not-quite 5k trail race, a 10k trail race, and a 15k trail race (better times than 2017 in the 10k and 15k races).
- Distance cycled: 2,054.6km = 1,276.67mi of commuting to/from work in London. Fewer than 2017 because my commute is now shorter. More energy for running!
Favorite books read in 2018:
- In 2018 I read about 22 books. There were quite a few that I didn’t particularly enjoy, but to balance those out there were some gems:
- Jennifer Egan, Manhattan Beach. I really liked Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad, and Manhattan Beach was a very different sort of novel but did not disappoint. I loved the 1930s-40s dockside setting as well as the strong female protagonist and a bit of intrigue. Great writing, too.
- I don’t usually read much non-fiction, but Dave Eggers’ narrative non-fiction book The Monk of Mokha reads like a story, which makes its reality all the more interesting. I learned a lot about coffee and Yemen – apt, given the current situation there.
- I am a sucker for historical fiction, and Ken Follett is one of my favorites. In 2018, I read A Column of Fire, the third book in Follett’s “Kingsbridge series” that starts with Pillars of the Earth. Just so good.
- One of my best friends recommended Tamora Pierce‘s Song of the Lioness quartet, which I raced through. Nothing like a good young adult series with a strong female lead and a bit of magic and mystery!
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is brilliant, and I read her first novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, last year. It was not quite what I expected but I couldn’t put it down and her writing is excellent.
Other highlights of 2018, in no particular order:
- F and I wanted to travel more in 2018, and we certainly achieved that goal. Here’s where we went:
- A snap weekend in Zürich with my parents. What a nice city!
- A lovely trip to Provence in early spring (that post has somehow been lost! Sad. If you go, stay at the La Bastide Perchée guest house in Venelles).
- A few days in the Ardennes at C’s family farmhouse, with both sets of parents.
- An amazing two-week holiday in California in August, plus a couple of days in NYC (including seeing Emma!).
- A long weekend with friends in Münster in October, followed closely by a weekend in Düsseldorf with friends and F’s sister.
- Almost two weeks in Germany over Christmas/New Year, with the in-laws and friends. Good food, good running, great people, and relaxation.
- Seeing friends regularly over the year for lunches, dinners, drinks, coffees, and board gaming (game highlights: Seven Wonders, Quacksalber von Quedlinburg, Schnapp die Robbe!).
- Having my parents and five friends with us for our Thanksgiving-in-London celebration.
- Continuing to enjoy cooking and baking, both new recipes and old favorites. F and I have become more mindful with how much meat we eat and where we get it, plus we’ve been focusing on fuelling ourselves well for our respective cycling and running.
I’m not big on resolutions but my main intention for 2019 is, as usual, to find a healthy balance between work, exercise, time with F, and other things.
In some blog-related reflecting, here is a listicle of of my top posts via views in 2018:
- Lemon, Ginger, & Turmeric Infusion with Cloves & Honey – I still make this pretty regularly throughout the winter
- Baked Scallops in White Wine Cream Sauce – I’ve only ever made this once, with my dad, but apparently people like it!
- Signature Banana Pancakes – we’ve actually moved on to the pancake recipe below, but these signature ones are great
- Kale Sautéed in Olive Oil and Garlic – so good, and still my favorite way to cook and eat kale. Works well with chard, too.
- A New Favorite (& possibly the BEST) Pancake Recipe – we get requests for these from friends in Germany when we visit them
- Issues in Modern Culture – overview of my MA program(me). Feels like a long time ago!
- English Grammar Workshop: Prepositions – maybe I should write more English teaching content…or not?
- Homemade Pizza – still in our regular weekend dinner rotation
- Käsekuchen (German cheesecake) – so good
- Smitten Kitchen’s Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – no comment necessary
Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and successful 2019.