It’s a good job I don’t really believe in New Year’s resolutions. Not really. I mean, I’ll do the usual thing of resetting all the Christmas gorging and making an effort to be generally healthier, but you can do that at any time of year and I know it’s inevitable that I’ll have to. I do set goals for the year, I just try not to make the sort of unrealistic plans you see on Buzzfeed lists or unhealthily idealised Insta-porn.
If I did set a lot of store by New Year’s plans I would be feeling pretty sorry for myself just now. Well, I am feeling pretty sorry for myself anyway to be honest.
My 2018 running plans were to have got off to the best start possible at the Serpentine Running Club New Year’s Day 10k in Hyde Park. I’ve run this race the last couple of years and it’s brilliant; doesn’t start til 11am so if you’ve been out for the big night there’s enough time to make yourself human, and if you’re like us and don’t really bother with New Year’s Eve it’s a lovely way to actually do something to mark the start of the year. In 2016 I ran what would remain my 10k PB for two years at this race, and last year it was my first race back after three months of injury lay-off and marked the start of London marathon training. It’s a special race and I always really look forward to it.
But I’ve got to be honest, I am in no fit state. I don’t mean in terms of actual fitness (although that is also now questionable) – earlier in December I ran a new 10k PB of 56:06 and a 5k PB of 26:51 so I should have been in excellent form for Monday.
No, I’m afraid I have got Lurgy. Really nasty Lurgy, and I think at least three different types.
My body did that always delightful thing of waiting til it knew I had the whole of my favourite time of year off work and chose to unleash this Lurgy the day before the Christmas break. It began with a horrible cough, went through a normal level of congested head cold and then developed into really painful sinusitis. It completely ruined Christmas because apart from feeling unwell and in pain I’ve barely slept and can’t taste anything.
I foolishly convinced myself to try parkrun yesterday to see whether I thought could manage the race on Monday depending on how it went – I just scraped sub-30 and thought I might plod round the 10k after all to be sociable. However before 5am this morning I managed to cough up what felt like half of the inside of my face, and have admitted defeat.
It’s just not worth it. If a friend came to me and said ‘hey, my sinuses are bleeding, I haven’t slept more than three hours at a time for nearly a fortnight and my face really hurts, but I can run 10k tomorrow right?’ I would definitely not say yes to them, so there we are. Decision made.
Which brings me to my actual resolution, in the spirit of the tradition I don’t really believe in. It’s quite a simple one this year.
At least for the early part of the year, work is likely to provide quite a few stressors. I’m being very deliberate about not saying ‘likely to be stressful’. Several years ago, I worked with one of my favourite ever work pals in a job that could be quite overwhelming. One day he came into work all smiles and rainbows instead of with our usual resigned and somewhat downbeat bearing. I asked him what had happened and he explained it was very simple; we spent long hours working here trying to do our best. Wouldn’t it make things go easier if we were smiling while we did? He was right, it did. He chose his attitude. He’s in charge of that place now.
So I could be all doom and gloom that I’ll miss what should have been another PB opportunity tomorrow, and probably the first training week of the year as well. My goals for 2018 are to tick off all the first Xempo targets; sub 26 5k, sub 55 10k, sub 2 half and sub 4:15 marathon, and based on my form in early December I should have been not far off the first two of those by February. It remains to be seen what this enforced lay off will have done to my chances of that.
But what I’ll do my best to do is simply accept that there is no point forcing myself to run when I’m so poorly, and that’s ok. I’ll soon sort my fitness out again when I can breathe without my face hurting. We can never tell what will happen with illness or injury and there’s no point plunging into despair when things don’t go perfectly according to plan.
Besides, 2017 started slow running wise, and I ended up achieving more than I could have hoped for. There’s no reason for 2018 not to be the same. I shall choose my attitude to it, the same as I will at work.
Happy New Year, and good luck with your running goals and resolutions, even if you’re not setting any!