Friday, 28 December 2012

2012 Review

Well the end of 2012 is almost nigh.  It's usually nice to look back over some of the highlights of the year and ponder what there is to look forward to in the coming year.

I'm going to go through a few of my highlights of the year and then review my New Year's Resolutions I set myself in January.  I'll do another blog in the first week of January to do a bit of a 2013 preview.

A personal highlight of mine was finally running the London Marathon in April.  You can read about that in more detail by checking out the post-run blog post.  It had been an ambition of mine for over 20 years and the feeling of achievement as I crossed the line was incredible.

Mile 25

In May, we flew out to Krakow for the wedding of some friends of ours.  The entire day was wonderful and we had a great time.  I'd never been to Poland before but had an amazing time.  We'd managed to rent an apartment right on the Old Town Square and saw so much of the city in just a week.  I also did a day trip to Auschwitz which was an incredible but very sobering experience.  If you're looking for a city break holiday, I'd definitely recommend Krakow.

Saint Mary's in Krakow

I managed to see some incredible gigs in 2012 and picking the best isn't easy.  One of many highlights was the Watch The Throne tour in Manchester over the summer.  To see two of the world's biggest music stars in Jay-Z and Kanye West together on stage for over two and a half hours was incredible!  Watching Pulp play a home town arena show to over 12,000 fans was also pretty special and a great way to round off the year!

Jarvis on stage

The end of the 2011/12 football season was also something to celebrate (for once).  I was at Hillsborough to watch Sheffield Wednesday beat Wycombe to confirm promotion back to the Championship, ultimately at the expense of city rivals United.  Whilst the current season is a bit unpredictable (to be diplomatic), the wild celebrations at the end of the season was incredible.

Some people are on the pitch...

It wouldn't be right to review 2012 without mentioning the Olympic and Paralympic Games and I was incredibly fortunate to get tickets to see events at both.  I took my dad to see Olympic football at Old Trafford, my wife and daughter to see tennis at Wimbledon as well as taking in Handball at the Copperbox and Volleyball at Earl's Court.  It was incredible to see the wave of support our athletes had.  Whilst the summer gave us a lot of memorable moments, I personally won't forget the drive back from Legoland to Sheffield, to get home just in time to see Jessica Ennis in her final event.  Watching her cross the line and win gold was my moment of the Games.

Inside the Copperbox

Olympic Stadium for the Paralympics

Watching the Olympic torch go past the end of our road (and the incredible number of people that turned out to see it) really got me hooked on the Olympic spirit, and getting to hold one of the torches later that summer was an amazing feeling.

Obviously there were a few other newsworthy events in 2012 such as the Diamond Jubilee celebrations (I'll never say no to an extra day of work, thank you Ma'am), but one of the most iconic moments for me was Felix Baumgartner's freefall from space.  I told my wife it was our generation's Moon Landing, and while that might be a bit of hyperbole, I'll remember my daughter sat on my knee on the landing watching it with me on my laptop.

And so onto a review of my 2012 Resolutions...  I posted a half-year review (in that link) but it's worth doing a final summary to see how well this year went:

1. Run the London Marathon

A pretty easy one to tick off - 5:30:41! 

2. Raise at least £1000 for charity

Yes.  People were incredibly generous with their donations and I managed to raise over £1500 this year which I'm very proud of.  Thanks again to everyone who donated - it was very generous of you.

3. Get a photograph published or sold

I'm counting this one as a success.  I mentioned in the half year review that I'd done some promo shots for a great Wakefield band call Skint & Demoralised and I followed that up with the cover shot for their single "When Saturday Comes".  You can listen to and download that song here (as well as seeing the 

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

I eased off the running in August after a 10k race as I was starting to feel a bit of pain.  I did however switch to an exercise bike to keep fit (and managed to lose over 30lbs in the process).  I start running again this week and I'm all ready for the Sheffield Half Marathon in May! 

5. See at least 12 gigs

I think I ticked 13 off in the end which is quite a good effort.  Obviously I've mentioned some of the highlights above, but also seeing Ladyhawke at The Leadmill in Sheffield was incredible.  Here's to a few more in 2013

6. Read at least 10 books

I think I said at the time this was a pitiful number to aim for, but at least I managed it.  If I can finish off my current book in the next few days, I'll have a clear 11 to my name for this year.  Must try harder next year!

7. Continue my blog after the marathon

This was a tricky one.  After all the effort of blogging on marathon training, I felt at a bit of a loss for what to write about.  I dabbled a bit over the summer but I feel like I've finally got back into a bit of a groove towards the end of this year.  I've also been really lucky to be able to write a monthly blog for Diabetes UK which I'm really looking forward to continuing next year

8. Support the community via sponsorship/donations etc

I'm chalking this down a success as well, though just barely.  I sponsored a mini festival a friend of mine staged for charity earlier this year.  The amount of work and effort she put in to making the day a success was incredible and sponsoring the event to ensure it could go ahead was a real privilege.

9. Expand the smaller areas of my company

This is my first failure, partially through lack of effort and partially through lack of time.  I realised that diversifying from my main business can be good, but the amount of effort required compared to the return doesn't really make it viable.  I'm having a rethink and a re-plan for next year so we'll see what comes of it...

10. Make some friends

Another tricky one.  I've definitely built up some excellent relationships over 2012 - no doubt about it.  I think what's proved trickier is to make those mainfest themselves in a non-digital environment.  I do feel lucky to count some of my Twitter acquaintances as friends but should possibly try harder to turn some of those into "real life" friendships.

So there we go - 2012 in a nutshell.  A fairly large nutshell, but nevertheless.  If you made it this far, then thanks a lot.  I hope you've had a look back at your 2012 and remembered some of the good times you've had.

I'm still pondering what 2013 might hold but I'll be back again in the first week of January to talk about that.  In the mean time, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and have a Happy New Year

Speak soon

Andy x

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