First things First

Hello All, Happy New Year!! I hope you have had a fantastic holiday season and are as optimistic about 2018 as I am. I’ve stepped away from the blog for about three weeks–I’ve really missed all of you guys!! However the past few days have been full of waking up with thoughts stirring around in my brain and jotting down notes in my phone at the supermarket or gym so as not to lose ideas. I’m filled with excitement and inspiration which makes me confident that taking the time off was the best decision I could have made. I feel glad to be in a place right now where my mind and my body are in sync with each other and in agreement about what I need and where I’m at (it hasn’t always been that way). The end of 2017 found me full of gratitude, but also extremely physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. With a week to go before Christmas I was having trouble putting together work emails. Constructing basic sentences felt like a monumental task. Getting out of town, sleeping in, exercising at a lower intensity, and spending time with family and friends was exactly what I needed to get back to feeling jazzed about all the things I love to do.

I knew things were really getting back to a more normal happy place when I was finally able to listen to one of my usual podcasts at the gym this morning. I’m not shuddering at political talk or shutting off the news and turning on Christmas music like I was just a couple weeks ago. Rest really works!! With the pep back in my step, I am anxious to jump back into everything. But I think before I do, I want to take a very quick look back at 2017. I know I know, everyone’s already done these reflections. I’m sorry I’m late! But I can’t skip it, especially since I’ll be spending the next couple weeks really trying to get clear on my intentions for 2018. I’ve decided like everything else in my life, it’s alright if I’m a little bit behind the pack. For me, there’s always a process, and that means, first things first.

I had two main fitness goals for 2017–run a half marathon in under 2 hours, and complete my first full marathon. I’m happy to say I was able to accomplish both. In the Spring I ran 1:58:22 at the Brooklyn Half and later on in November, I completed the NYC Marathon in 4:53:18. My full marathon time was not what I was hoping for but the experience of the entire weekend far surpassed any disappointment I had in my performance. I’ve always been extremely invested in my fitness but I’ve never really set specific goals like I did in 2017. It was a challenge and a blast. I’m really glad that I was able to spend a year giving so much energy to my running and that I was able to complete everything I wanted to without injury.

Another goal I had for 2017 was to finally commit to my blog wholeheartedly. I think “success” in blogging looks different for everyone depending on what we want from it. I think for the couple of years prior, any type of success in blogging had always eluded me because I was never willing to stick with it; I was always very self-conscious about what I wrote and I wasn’t always willing to put my work out there. This past year I had a huge breakthrough–I would write, and I would share it, and I would put my head down and write and share some more. The results have been tremendous and far more fulfilling than I could have imagined. When I used to have a larger presence on social media I would always look at the number of followers or likes I had–that was what was important, what was telling me how I was doing. Breaking away from that model and instead trying to connect to people one on one through my blog has been life-changing. Now there is not a day that goes by that I don’t have at least a few (often several) meaningful interactions with fascinating people all across the world.

I think my overall hope for 2017 was that I end it feeling like I gave it everything that I have. That hope came to life. I can honestly say that there has never been a year that I have worked harder, and that has been more gratifying than I ever envisioned. In the past few weeks that I have taken off there hasn’t been one moment where I’ve felt guilty for lying around or anxious about sleeping in till 7am (I know I gotta work on that). I know that I’ve pushed and extended myself and I’ve felt deserving of every moment of relaxation and rest. It’s been wonderful, and it’s opened my eyes to exactly how I want to live from here on out. Marathon training taught me that I can push myself much further than I can see in front of me. It’s shown me that if I take care of myself, I can extend my life way beyond the boundaries I thought were surrounding me. As I start formulating my goals for 2018, I can’t help but smirk since I’m certain whatever the Universe has in store is probably far beyond what I’m able to imagine and hope for myself.

I hope all of you are feeling as well rested and rejuvenated as I am. Or is that ridiculous? Is it incredibly annoying that I should expect anyone to emerge from the holiday season relaxed? I know it can be a stressful time. Apologies if I’ve sounded a tad idealistic. Trust me, I had my moments with my family as well. But overall I feel like I got what I needed to pick myself up and give this next year a real go. There is so much I can’t wait to share with all of you. Thanks so much to everyone who has been on this journey with me for a while. For those who I am not as well acquainted with yet and especially those of you who have just recently joined me during my hiatus, WELCOME! I am so happy to have you here and I can’t wait learn from you in 2018. Please stay tuned.

I’m off to read read read all of your blogs–I cannot wait to catch up with everyone! Please say hi and let me know how you’ve been doing, can’t wait to hear from you all! x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

header: brooke lark

37 thoughts on “First things First

  1. Really good to hear your feeling focused and optimistic again chick, I’ve really loved your marathon journey and all your other posts and will be a follower for as long as you keep sharing 😘 I need to get my writing head back on and as I’ve got a fairly free weekend in my terms, I may do just that. Catching up on your blogs cones first though 😂 here’s to an awesome 2018 for you xx

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  2. Great to read such a positive post. I’ve been really sick, first time in this job I’ve been off sick. Started off as a flu and then I put my sacrum out coughing. Ended up writhing in pain on the bathroom floor 🙁Feeling very sorry for myself…however it’s giving me a change to reflect and be grateful for the level of health I usually have. Look forward to sharing with you in 2018 S x

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    1. Ah lady, I am so so sorry to hear that you have been sick! I am hoping I am writing back to you on a day that finds you feeling a bit better. That coughing fit sounds painful–I am so sorry my dear!
      It’s so great that you’ve at least been able to shift your perspective through all of this and be grateful for your normal state of health. I have to remember to be more grateful for that all the time! So glad I met you in 2017 Saoirse, looking forward to sharing more in 2018 as well.
      PS-We just booked our trip for the summer–3 weeks, with last 9-10 days in Ireland! I hope it’s ok if I might shoot you an email sometime for some advice! Cheers girl. x

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  3. Happy New Year Cat!!

    I agree that stepping away and shutting down can be a great benefit!! So glad you are back feeling rejuvenated. I was so happy to find you the later part of 2017 and follow along with your journey and I’m excited to follow along in 2018!!

    I’m about to tackle my first Half of 2018 in a week, I’ve started a new workout for lower body and abs which is effecting the way I’m walking and I’m signing up for a beginner yoga class to try and get back on track.

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    1. Happy New Year Jodi! Sounds like you’ve got some really good stuff going on. I remember keeping up with the strength training and getting into the yoga was important to you. Are you doing the yoga on your own or did you find a place that was more convenient for you? I remember you were looking!
      Glad to be following along with you as well! Trying to focus in on some goals myself before January slips away from me! Here’s to 2018 lady! x

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  4. I’m glad you feel rested and ready to take on 2018! I am too feeling that clean page feeling and ready to get going 🙂
    First things first….Well Done on a successful 2017
    A sub 2hr half is on my list for 2018! Happy New Year xo

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  5. Congrats on achieving your goals for 2017! Running a sub-2 hour half marathon is a goal I’m still chasing after, and the NYC Marathon is on my bucket list! 🙂 I’m a newish reader of your blog (I think it’s been 3-4 months or so), and I truly enjoy your writing, Cat. Looking forward to reading more this year! Hope 2018 is amazing for you!

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  6. Great to see you back and glad that you are feeling revived and ready for whatever 2018 can throw at you! Always difficult to follow up a stellar year of personal goals with something bigger and better but if anyone can do it it’s you I reckon 🙂

    I’m entirely not ready for 2018. I’ve been hoping for some sort of post-turkey epiphany but it hasn’t as yet happened. Still, if nothing else it should make for a good angsty blog post haha! Been a great year in terms of running (broke 2000km for the season!) but not so great on the writing front. I guess my main goal for 2018 is to remember why I love to write…

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    1. Nik! Happy New Year man!! Your comment made me laugh cause now I’m thinking my post was a bit more enthusiastic than I meant it to be. I am going to keep with the blogging but writing essays is not giving me the satisfaction it usually does–I think it has to do with things we’ve discussed earlier. I really need to try some other forms of writing and I think the universe is nagging me in that direction. I know what you mean about the desire for an epiphany. I had been waiting for the same thing. I have some ideas I am excited about but when I start writing, something about it is a bit dull. The only thing I can think is that if blogging alone keeps feeling fulfilling, it’s all I would do. Since it’s not, I know I will push myself to figure out whatever else I should be doing.
      Looking forward to much writing and running discussion with you in 2018 Nik. (Ps-2000km is incredible, congrats!!)

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  7. Hello! Welcome back and so glad you had a good rest. I had an “interesting” Christmas period due to family stuff, but I did find out how amazing my newer running friends are. Having five ladies basically tell you no, sorry, you are going for a run with us and then we’re getting coffee at this cafe at this time while it’s a difficult time for you on this day was just brilliant (OK, the run didn’t happen, because ICE, but the coffee did).

    Looking at 2017, I was thrilled to beat Liz Last Year on Strava by … six whole miles! Whee! I didn’t think I was going to beat her (did I mention ICE?) but I did.

    And my last run in 2018 was 10.3 miles and I’d said OK if I can get to 10 miles at the end of Dec I’m good to go into my marathon training so yay, into my marathon training, I have written a plan on a bit of paper and Manchester here we come. Best of all, I’ll be helping my friend Bernice (the top bowel cancer nurse in the country) train for the London Marathon, which she’s doing for the Bowel Cancer UK charity. I can’t wait to see her achieve her goal!

    My other goal is to qualify as a Level 1 Endurance Official. I’ve done my theory and now must complete four sessions doing various jobs at cross-country and road races, get them signed off and then I’ll be an official.

    Best wishes to you and yours for a wonderful 2018. And to all the other readers and commenters *waves*.

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    1. Liz!! Happy New Year lady! Sounds like you’ve got a pretty incredible 2018 planned–I think ending on that 10.3 miles was a solid way to close out 2017! Also so great that you will be supporting your friend as she achieves her goal–I love how much love and happiness and overall good things running brings to your life!

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  8. I yelled Yay Cat is back and my husband says who? I said one of my favorite bloggers! He looked at me like I had two heads but I was excited. Glad your break worked and you are back to writing. I can’t wait to read what you write!

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    1. Aww, Rach, you are the sweetest!! Happy New Year!! I hope all is well with you and you had a great holiday. (I was glad to catch up a bit with the recap of your last post).
      Glad to be back :). x

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  9. Welcome back, Cat! I am so pleased that you listened to yourself and gave yourself the rest and relaxation you needed. And even more please that it worked so well. I’m excited for this next year of adventures in living!

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    1. Hi Steph!! I’ve missed you! I hope you have had a wonderful holiday. I was thinking of you lots this week as I’m attempting to lower my sugar intake. Next week will be pretty clean hopefully and then the week after, I’m gonna cleanse. Wondering how your sugar beast is doing!!
      Happy 2018!! x

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  10. I’m sure your 2018 will be full of surprises and accomplishments! Congrats on your half in under 2 hours and your first full! I’m still inching closer to the elusive under 2 hour half, but I’ll save that for 2019. 2018 is the full Ironman, or as I’m calling it, the year of the “slow” because I’ll have lots of long steady miles in my future. Cheers to you! Happy New Year!

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