Saturday, 31 December 2011


I do not generally do resolutions, and if I did I certainly wouldn't write about them here. I do not generally do a word of the year, or goals, or in fact anything that might in any way be construed as inspirational. This is not that kind of blog, people! You know that by now, right? If I'm honest, I think it's probably because I've always thought that goals = something that might not be achieved = one more chance to fail = more than my poor, frail psyche can handle. 

That's probably really stupid. Failure is part of life. Failure is fine. Failure is better than not trying. Also, opening myself up to the possibility of failing also gives me the option of succeeding, right?  (I'm sorry if that sounds inspirational. I didn't do it on purpose, and I promise not to do it again). 

I didn't give 2011 a word when it started, but as it ends I'm going to award it one in retrospect - survival. I'm really glad that I did survive it, but I want 2012 to be better than that. So, here goes. I'm setting some goals for the coming year. I'm only doing two, because the secret to success is low standards I'd rather finish two things than start six.  (These are non-spiritual things. I want to set some God-focused goals too, but I need to do more thinking about that first and I'm not sure that this blog is the right place to seek accountability in that area of my life). So, my two goals. First: 

In 2012, I am going to finish my book.  

That's kind of a predictable goal for me. I've been working on it for ages (more than a year now, which sort of kills me to think about) and with lots more steady work, I can get this done. It needs to happen. Barring major illnesses or accidents, I think it will happen.  In fact, it's kind of a cop-out because I would be doing this whether or not I called it a goal. 

And here's where I wish that we knew each other in real life - not just because you are awesome (which you are) and incredibly good-looking (also true) but because I would like to see you crease up with laughter when I tell you my second goal: 

In 2012, I am going to run 5km. 

I told my sister in law this today, and she screeched with amusement and said you? and I wasn't offended at all, I just said I know, isn't it crazy? and she said crazy? It's insane! and then we had a good chortle about it. I've never been particularly big, but I was always the slowest kid in my class at school, until I moved schools and met a girl called Anna and then for a while I was the second slowest.  And these days, I have the kind of carefully honed body that comes from spending all my spare time writing a book. Oh, and also eating a lot of carbohydrates and butter. 

I sort of feel like I can't do it.  And then I think why not? I've got two legs and two lungs, just like everybody else. (Well, you know, most people). There's no reason I shouldn't be able to do this. I'm doing a couch to 5K programme (although I've done a four runs now, starting in placebo week, and I would argue that couch is a bit of a misnomer) and there is no reason why I shouldn't be able to achieve this. I just have to do it. Sure, there is a 0.00001% chance of me being attacked by a serial killer on the river path, or a 0.0000001% chance of me having a serious asthmatic episode (you know, because I had a really bad one when I was FOUR) but I think there's about a 100% chance that I'm going to die of heart disease in my fifties if I don't start taking better care of my body. I have always had lots of reasons why I couldn't do something like this, and now I'm sick of it. I'm going to do it. 

I guess it's just that running - or any kind of concerted exercise - is an intensely un-Claudia-like thing to be doing. It's hard work, and I'm not good at it, so where's the fun? I run like a toddler, arms and legs swinging wildly in all directions. When I went to buy running shoes, I was wearing a denim miniskirt and bright pink tights and I didn't realise it was the kind of place where they videotape you running on a treadmill in order to sell you the most expensive right shoes. Oh, the shame. I suspect they put me on youtube as soon as I left - the videoed rear view of my denim-clad self jogging while my skirt flapped above my neon thighs was nearly enough to make me quit before I started. I am not a Running Person.  

But the weird thing is that sometimes I dream about running.  In my dreams, I run like I am flying. I spring off the ball of my foot and leap into the air, effortless momentum carrying me forward and up and forward and up until I am airborne, almost floating, before I arc downwards and land on my other foot and spring up again, feeling the wind on my face and the joy of forward motion.  In my dreams, I run like I was born to do it. I want to feel like that in real life, even if only a little bit, even if me running never looks like that to anybody else. Even if it's not what I think of as me.

So that's my goals. One goal that is me being me, and another one that is me being not-me. In some ways, I'm much more excited about the second. And since - I'll admit it - the combination of new year and new brain medicine is making me feel inspired, I'm going to pass it on, unapologetically and totally without cynicism (for once) and ask you - what would you do in 2012 that would be like the you that you already are? What could you do in 2012 that would be a surprising, unnatural version of you? 

Whatever you do do, I want to wish you a happy 2012. 


  1. LOVE this post (obviously) and I'm laughing because you describe it all so well.

    Yes, running would be a very unnatural thing for me to do.

    I really do hate getting hot and sweaty. And red in the face!!!

    Look out tomorrow for my one word post....

    And I can't wait to get a copy of your book delivered wirelessly to my Kindle. How's that? Inspiring you yet? LOL

  2. 1. I'm going to start buying lemons and keeping a jug of water in the fridge and REALLY try to stay supremely hydrated (b/c I'm horrible at this). It's not hard. I SHOULD be able to do this.

    2. I'm going to attempt to not wear my favorite jeans more than 17 days in a row.

    #2 is somewhat unrealistic. I'm not sure I can do it...but i'm going to TRY. Not tonight, though. Nope. Will be wearing my dirty jeans to a NYE party. Yes, really.

  3. If you dream about running then you're a runner.

    I don't have much more in me to say for 2011, my youngest just attacked my face with his nails because he didn't approve of my toothbrush choice for him. Sayonara 2011.

  4. I will second "survival" for 2011. I think it was the second year running that was my retrospective word of the year. I'd also like it NOT to be the word again this year.

    I haven't decided if I'm doing a New Year's goal. I probably should commit one way or the other because I've got about 90 minutes to make it up....

    I LOVE the two lungs and two legs line. Awesome. I'd like to be a runner too, but mostly I like to read books about being a runner. There is so much less sweating and panting involved!

    And congrats on the book. I'll drink a cheers to that tonight! Whether you call it a goal or not, it's a huge accomplishment that you should be proud of.

    Best of 2012 to you!!

  5. C25K didn't so much work for me because I hurt my knee and decided walking was just as good (and many nights actually walked a 5K), but I'm so glad to hear someone else dreams of running too! I have these dreams where I'm running, and running, and running (a lot like Forrest Gump now that I think about it) and I'm not tired and feel like I can go on forever. I love those dreams. I so wish my body would cooperate with my sub-conscious :-) Good luck! Can't wait to hear how it goes!!!

  6. I just gave you an air high five for both goals. Girrrl, you're going to rock it.

  7. Usually I don't run anywhere unless it is to a bar or a handbag sale. That said, YOU CAN DO IT!

  8. I love these goals. I very much look forward to reading your book, so I'm cheering you on for the first one for sure, and as a girl who once said she'd never run for exercise and then completed mountain marathons, I am a huge fan of just getting out there and trying out running. I find that when I run, everything feels better. Not always during the run, but after and in life in general. It's a combination of endorphins and knowledge that I've done something that's good for me.

    Happy New Year! May 2012 be less about survival and more about thriving. You deserve an excellent year.

  9. I was also that girl at school - and I can now run 8k, near enough. Go for it!

  10. These sound like really good goals--and I'll be first in line to buy your book. Which 5K program are you using? You can totally do it. I like to run, but am super slow as well. Happy New Year!

  11. I want to come run a 5K with you. That would be so much fun.

  12. This made me smile. So much of this year I felt like I was learning to enjoy failing. I'm sure you can beat the 5km program, but I hope you enjoy it how ever far you get.

    For me, I want to get stronger and fitter with more focus and little goals this year. No massive changes, but more of the slow progress I've made this year with little effort. The less natural goal for myself involves nail polish and feels very silly but it's week one and my usually neglected and dirty from the garden nails are five different colours and making me smile.

  13. Happy new year! I know you can do both! Though selfishly I'm more excited about #1. ;)

  14. Claudia- Just getting caught up on the last few posts. 5K totally doable and will help / possibly with the big fat Grey. It's funny to read you talk about grey in terms of depression. I had an acute bout of major depression (a looooong nother life time ago.. knock on wood) and there is little I remember about that time but one of the things that stands out is- recognizing color again, when things started getting better. I'll never forget looking out the window and realizing- whoa- that tree is green! and only then realizing that until then everything had been grey.

    You are not alone. You are not the only one to score 24. And this part is big- it DOES go away. You will return to the you that you remember. Hugs!

  15. Run, girl, run -- and don't worry about how slow or fast you are! You will be faster than all those people home on their couches! (That's how I get medals at the senior games -- my "I showed up" medals I call them). Here's my posting about a recent 5K I ran:
    Here's one snippet:
    "The recovery story is a story in and of itself. Let's just say it involved lots of swallowing of my pride once I was able to start back, and accepting that the best I could do was once around my .4 mile block, with a walking break on each short end. Being able to do that, without pain, was an incredible victory to someone who used to be in tears by the end of every grocery store expedition. When I worked up to twice around I was ready to high-five anyone in sight!"
    A lot of us are ready to cheer you on! Here's a quote from John Bingham to inspire you: "The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start." Kudos to you for having the courage to start!

  16. Great goals! I think it would be sooo cool to run a marathon...You can do it! Happy New Year!


  17. I'm reading Born to Run right now, it is awesome, and inspirational, if you need a little push. I also love reading Runner's World magazine; that is always motivating, and they have articles for beginners. I'd definitely get my hands on some issues of that. I started running in January of 2007 (started with 2 slow miles of run/walk on the treadmill), and went from being a total, complete non-runner to running a half marathon that May. I am not athletic, and I am slow. Running still feels hard to me! I don't always find the joy (like in Born to run), but there are moments of joy.

    Become a runner. Really, really, just do it. It will change you life, I promise. (Unless you, like one of my friends, think "I don't want to change my life!" Ha! ;))

    I'll be looking forward to hearing about your progress!

    OH, yeah.... Someday I need to write a book. I've always wanted to be a writer. Crazy, you have that, I have the other.

    Happy 2012!!!

  18. I was not a runner either. I ran a 5K, then a 10K, then a 1/2 marathon, then a marathon and then my body quit on me. But who knows, you might end up like Stacy and run marathon after marathon ... in the US, of course, where we could all meet you! Seriously, I love the run dreams. How powerful. Best to you in 2012!

  19. Of course you can run 5km! It takes some time and some effort but you can do it!
    I love runing! I miss it now when I am pregnant (YES, crazy, right?) but I hope I´ll get back to it!

  20. The image you described of you running on a treadmill made me laugh out loud! Good luck, those are fantastic goals.
    Amy x


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