Thursday, 28 December 2017

Looking forward to 2018

It is that time of year again, New Year's Resolutions, finding and planning races, and making big goals for 2018. I have been contemplating what kind of goals I want to work towards in 2018.  Even though it's December 27th I don't think I have entirely fleshed out all the things  I want to work on, nor have been able to articulate the reasons why.  But it is just four days away to the New Year, so now is as good as time as any to put thoughts and goals on paper.  This may a living breathing document throughout the year as I get inspired a race or a new project. Even though it may not be totally complete, I need something to anchor myself a bit, and a concrete goal to work towards.  So here we go!

Running Goals

Work with a Coach:

I can check this one of my list.  I have wanted to work with a coach for a few years.  I wanted to see what it would be like to stick to an actual plan.  To have someone give me an individualized plan. To have someone push me. To have someone to bounce ideas off and give me feedback on my training.  Although this is something I have wanted for awhile, I could never justify the cost to myself. This year I wanted to make it work and to make it a priority.  I have made the commitment on cutting back on buying take out coffee and buying lunches at work ( I really could probably have got a coach, without these sacrifices, but it's how my weird little mind works with money, and less take out will be better for my wallet, waistline, and the environment, it's a win/win situation).

I am happy to say that in December I started working with Derrick Spafford.  He has tons of experience as a running coach. I have had some really good friends work with him, and he came highly recommended. I was worried my crazy schedule wouldn't work for a coach, but Derrick has worked with shift workers before and is really open to working with my schedule. It's only been three weeks, but I am loving it so far.  It's so nice not to have to plan out my week and think about what workouts I want to do.  It's also nice for each workout to have a purpose. I am loving the accountability and having someone to give me feedback and adapt my training based on how I am performing.  This first goal, is a big piece of some of my other goals for 2018 and beyond.

Ultra Asia Race: Vietnam (March 2018)

I came back from the Ultra Africa Race so pumped and inspired.  The stage racing experience was everything I had hoped it would be. It was a serious challenge, made some awesome friends, and had some amazing experiences.

I had been looking at Canal Aventures Road Sign Continental Challenge for a few years.  I always thought it would be so cool. But I would quickly dismiss the idea, as I didn't have the time or the money to do such a challenge.  Having completed one of the races in Africa, made me more confident to keep going with the challenge. Also, yes it does take time and money, but so do lots of other things, and when a time comes where I have more time and money, I may not have the health and physical ability to do the challenge. So when I saw my friend Andrea was going to go Vietnam, I started seriously looking at the race.  Again I was fortunate with awesome co-workers who helped switch some shifts, my partner Frank is supportive of my adventures, I found a cheap flight, and I messaged Jerome the race director, and voila, I am going to Vietnam for a four day stage race at the end of March.  I will probably write a post closer to the leaving about how my training is going and what is involved for this event. This will be my big running goal for the first half of 2018.

I like to do A, B, and C goals for races.

A: Finish in the top 3 women

B: Finish in top 5 women

C: Finish the event.

I have a long term goal of going to The Track in Australia in 2019 (more on that later). As of right now I am still trying to decide what other goals/races I want to tackle in 2018.  Some thoughts I have are....

  1. Go for a sub 24 hour 100 mile
  2. 50 miles at La Cloche race in October
  3. Find another longish trail in Ontario or nearby and do an end to end
  4. Ultra Bolivia Race Fall 2018 (anyone want to start a gofundme page lol and convince Frank and my family :) 
I would love to know what other people of working towards in 2018, and any ideas for me to consider, as I can't seem to commit to anything past March.

Non-running related goals

Sober January

I have never done an intentional sober anything.  I have heard other people doing these challenges. I would think, ugh that sounds awful.  The fact that I perceive this as a challenge, tells maybe I need to do it.  Also it gives my liver a much needed break before we go to Colombia for Carnival and all the festivities we will be partaking in there.  So there you go, I have said it publicly, I am going to have a sober January.


I have been doing some writing daily for the last month.  This is a practice I want to continue in 2018, so I find if I say things publicly, I am more likely to make myself accountable. Kind of how a race gets my butt out the door when its -25 out.  

Part of this goal includes keeping a daily gratitude journal. I have heard this practice suggested from Oprah, to so many other self-help, happiness project type books and gurus, and always dismissed it, or would try it for a day and forget about it.  I have been doing the practice for 37 days and counting now, and it is surprisingly easy, and I enjoy the practice of pausing for a few moments at the beginning of the day to think about what I am truly grateful for at that moment.  

I have chatted to one of my friends who also writes, about meeting up to share our writing, and talk about writing. Having a group to share this activity with would help with accountability, learning and sharing the experience with others.  If there is anyone else that would be interested in this, let me know! I by no means think I am a writer, but I think it would be nice to have a creative outlet to compliment my physical pursuits and the busy work environment I have. 


Ah meditation.... out of all my goals for 2018. This should be the easiest, right!? All I have to do is for a few minutes a day, is sit still and pay attention to my breath.  How hard can that be to do every day??? Well this will be my third year trying to incorporate meditation daily, so I am going to say, it's pretty fuc&%$g hard! I am persistent though, and I know how much it helps when I do it consistently. So here we go again for 2018. Go big or go home, 
I am going to mediate every damn day!

For any of my other friends out there that practice mediation. Any tips, apps, etc that can help? I would love to know!

Learn more than three lines of Spanish.

I have been dating a Spanish speaker for more than a year, and I have learned no more Spanish, than a knew a year ago (except for some swear words). I know this is pathetic. The reality of this is hitting me like a ton of bricks, as we are leaving for Colombia in a few weeks time and I am going to have a really hard time communicating with Frank's family.  I bought an app almost a year ago and never use it.  

This is a goal I really need to flesh out. 

I am I going to practice daily?
I am going to sign up for lessons?
A different app?
Buy Rosetta Stone?
Have Frank and the kids only speak Spanish to me from now on?
Some kind of Audio material, that I can listen to on runs and in the car?

Clearly this still isn't a priority for me.  But again, maybe if I say the goal out loud and publicly maybe it will get me set on actually doing some practices towards achieving it.

As I said at the beginning, this is more of a living breathing document and not a totally concrete set of plans for 2018. At least it gives me some guideposts of where I want to go in 2018. Hope everyone has a great New Year! 


  1. Great goals Steph - I'm sure that you're going to have a fabulous 2018 full of personal bests, whether athletic or otherwise!

    I'm also working with a coach (Mike) and so far I'm very pleased with the relationship and gains! And since we also are living with a Spanish speaker (Juan) we're getting mini-Spanish lessons every Friday over dinner! :)

    1. That's awesome. I didn't realize that Juan was living with you now. Nor did I realize that you are working with Mike. I am excited to see what 2018 has in store for you! It's January 2 and I haven't made any more gains in the Spanish speaking department, clearly I need a better strategy.