Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Half Year Review

Whilst the title of this week's post sounds like one of those awful things your manager makes you do at work, I'm hoping that this will be slightly less turgid.

I'm going to review the first 6 months of 2012 against my New Year's Resolutions to see how well things are progressing.  It's obviously not the most accurate barometer of success/failure, but I it's better than nothing right?

I was searching for my earlier post where I discussed my resolutions when I realised I never revealed what they were so apologies for that.

1. Run the London Marathon

Well this is a pretty easy one to tick off.  As anyone who read this blog before May this year will tell you, this has been my main goal for quite some time and I can proudly say that I managed it without too many problems in the end.  I've bored you to death with tales of the marathon for a few months now so I won't go over it again.  If you're not familiar with it all, here's a link to the post-race blog

2. Raise at least £1000 for charity

This is another one that I'm proud to say that I've achieved, though I definitely couldn't have done it without the help and support of so many people.  My marathon fundraising brought in a total of £1500 for Diabetes UK and The Children's Hospital Charity in Sheffield for which I'm incredibly grateful.

I've definitely caught the running bug though (despite my appalling lack of fitness since the marathon) and I've entered into two more 10k runs this year.  I'll be doing the brilliantly named Cannon Hall Run in August which is a course from Barnsley town centre to Cannon Hall.  I'll then be doing the Great Yorkshire Run in September which will start go from Sheffield city centre to Hillsborough Stadium and back.

Once again I'm running for the two charities above, hoping to raise a modest £200 in total.  If you'd like to donate, you can do so by visiting my fundraising page

3. Get a photograph published or sold

This is a difficult one in many respects.  I've struggled for both the inspiration and motivation to use my camera as lot this year which is something I'm determined to change in the second part of this year.

I was fortunate enough to be able to take some press photos for a Wakefield band call Skint & Demoralised for the launch of their new album earlier on this year.  A few of those got used as promo pictures as part of that launch which I was really pleased with.  You can see those photos here.

I'm hopeful that something else may come up later on this year but I'll try and get more pictures out there which I've always been a bit nervous of before.  I'll leave this resolution half ticked off for now.

4. Carry on training to run the Sheffield Half Marathon 2013

I've recently got back out running after a good few weeks off after the marathon (down to injury rather than apathy).  I've forgotten how hard it was to build up a base level of fitness and I mentioned a few weeks ago about how I felt like I was starting over in many respects.

Running is really my only form of regular exercise and so I'm determined to keep to about 10 miles a week for the rest of this year which should give me a solid platform to build up to the Sheffield Half Marathon next year.

For those of you not familiar with my history with this race, I injured myself whilst training for it in 2008 and the recovery took quite a while.  I see it as my nemesis a bit now and so I'm determined to beat it next year

5. See at least 12 gigs

I enjoy live music a lot and so I struck a compromise with my wife that sees us get at least one night out a month.  She meets up with friends and I go out to see a band.

So far this year I've seen 7 gigs and I have 3 more on the calendar so I'm confident of meeting this one by the end of the year.  It's difficult to pick a favourite as they've all been different, but Mile Kane in Leeds, Ladyhawke in Sheffield and Jay-Z & Kanye West in Manchester could possibly be my top 3

6. Read at least 10 books

I completely realise that this sounds like a pretty poor target but I'd wager that I probably read less than 10 last year and that was something I wanted to change this year.  Whilst 10 is a modest target, I think it's achievable and I think that's the main thing.

I've ploughed through 6 so far which isn't too bad if you consider the first four months of this year were almost exclusively spent running.  Reading Guitar Man by Will Hodgkinson inspired my Birthday Resolutions and I've just finished reading Just Kids by Patti Smith which I enjoyed immensely.

I currently have three more on the go but I'm focussing on Whoops by John Lanchester which is non-fiction and explains how the world financial crisis cmae about.

7. Continue my blog after the marathon

This sounds like a bit of a cop-out resolution but I really enjoyed blogging about the marathon and the training and I wanted to continue writing this (albeit less frequently) if I could.

I'm finding things to write about a bit difficult to come by at times, but I'd like to think I'm doing a decent job of only writing when I have something to say rather than blogging every week just for the sake of it.

The one year anniversary of We Were Promised Hoverboards is on the 9th of September so hopefully I'll be able to make it through to that and have something to celebrate.

8. Support the community via sponsorship/donations etc

This came about because I was asked to support a few things in my local community last year and I wanted to try and do that again if possible.

I'll be honest in saying that I've not done much on this so far this year but I'm hoping I'll be able to contribute and make a difference before the year is out.

I did recently sponsor a charity festival in Harrogate which allowed a friend to raise about £1400 for charity so I suppose that would count.  Hopefully I can do something closer to home in the next few months.

9. Expand the smaller areas of my company

This is another one where I haven't really done anything worth shouting about.  I work for myself doing consultancy work for the most part, but I've tried to develop a bit of a sideline in doing web design and some photography.

As I alluded to in point 3 above, I haven't really done as much there as I'd like and, despite some advertising, there's not been much call for the web design service I'm offering.

Again, I think there's the opportunity to change this before the year is out, but I'll not be too disappointed if this is the one that gets away as my main line of work takes up most of my time.

10. Make some friends

This sounds like a bit of a poor resolution as well, but it's not without ground.  I moved back to my home town early last year and whilst everything looks incredibly familiar, the people I used to know are now really just Facebook friends and nothing more.

Working for myself means I'm often changing jobs and so developing "work friends" as is normal in most jobs is a bit more difficult for me.

I've been really lucky to connect with a good group of people on Twitter who all share a common love of Sheffield Wednesday and we've all got together before a few games this year.  I'm sure we'll all manage that again a few times this coming season too.

So really that's how the first half of my year is going against my "plan".  I've got the original list of resolutions taped up against my oven at home and it's good to have them visible as a bit of a reminder.  I'm not convinced I'll be able to tick all 10 off by New Year's Eve, but if I get through more than half then I'll be veyr happy.

Thanks for reading - appreciate I've gone on a bit there.  Hope you enjoyed it.

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