Summing Up 2021:
I think it’s fair to say that 2021 was a year of massive change for me. I moved to Mickleover, East Midlands in December 2020, so 2021 was the year of a “fresh start”. I didn’t really know what to expect from the year, but it couldn’t get much worse than 2020. Just like 2020, I didn’t hit any of my running goals that I listed here, however there were a lot of positives to take from 2021…
2021 started off in lackluster style as I celebrated my 29th birthday in lockdown with my housemate. I’m not a massive fan of celebrating my birthday anyway, but a lockdown birthday wasn’t what I had imagined! I did run 49.5 miles in January, so there was some consistency. The lockdown went on through February so there wasn’t really much to report, although my running was progressing well.
In March, I started talking to a woman called Emma. We were both looking for friends as neither of us knew Derby and the surrounding area well and we had both found lockdown challenging. She lived 5 minutes away, in the next town, and we managed to spend a lot of time together through March. On April 2nd, I decided to take the plunge and asked her out. I had admitted to immediate family and close friends that I was gay, but I wasn’t in the “out and proud” camp. To my relief, she said yes! Then came another tricky part… being openly gay and changing my relationship status on Facebook. For the most part, people took it well; I had a few comments and a handful of people removed me as a friend, but the news got a much better reception than I had anticipated.
Fast forward to July and I moved in with her and her 4-year-old son, Finley. My life had changed drastically at this point, and my situation was definitely not one that I could have predicted at the start of the year! I did hit a stumbling block as July 22nd also marked the 1-year anniversary since losing my younger brother. My mental health took a hit and I ended up out of work. I hadn’t been training and due to the situation, I opted to defer my place in the London Marathon. To try and have something positive to focus on, I decided to start my own photography and design business in an attempt to do something that I was interested in.
On October 27th, I decided to pop the question and found myself down on one-knee on a platform at Severn Valley Railway! Again, luckily, she said yes! We had a few comments about it being too soon, but as I have found out first-hand, life can be all too short to wait around. On that note, we decided not to wait around and set a date to get married in 2022!
As a way of staying busy and having something positive to work towards, I enrolled with the Open College of the Arts to study towards a degree in graphic design. I enjoy being creative and having things to focus on and achieve. The study schedule is flexible, so I can fit study around my current plans and obligations.
December saw us celebrate Finley’s 5th birthday… who knew party planning could be so stressful! Christmas was also very different. It was nice to see the magic of Christmas that comes with having a child. All of December was filled with Christmas activities: making reindeer food, winter walks, seeing Santa, and so on. Then came Christmas Eve with the Christmas films, matching pyjamas, putting milk and cookies out for Santa, and of course, the strategic moving of presents whilst Fin was fast asleep, and setting the stage as if Santa had been with the flour footprints and so on.
All in all, 2021 was a year that I never saw coming! My life changed so much from what I was used to. My running and training came to a halt as I had to adapt to a new way of life. I never imagined my life to be this way, and my priorities have changed massively, but I wouldn’t change that for a thing!
Looking Forward To 2022:
I have a lot that I want to achieve in 2022, both personally and together as a family.
As a family, we have our wedding to look forward to with a date set of April 2nd 2022 (to mark our 1-year anniversary). It dawned on me last night that we only have 3 months until our wedding day! We still have lots to arrange so we’re going to be in for a busy few months!
We’ll also have our honeymoon and first holiday abroad together in 2022, which should be a nice break, and will also be the first time that Fin gets to go on a plane.
Last year we managed to redecorate the upstairs bedrooms, so next on the agenda is adding a dining room downstairs and redecorating the living room and kitchen.
On a personal level, I’m not happy with my body image or fitness levels at the minute, and that’s a tough one as I put in a lot of hard work to get to where I wanted to be, only to then let things slip. I need to get back to where I was weight-wise as I currently weigh 170 pounds. My training routine also needs to be put back into place, as I have a place in the London Marathon which takes place in October. It’s hard to set specific goals in terms of my running at the moment as my fitness levels have dropped massively. Right now, I’d probably struggle to run a mile! I’m definitely planning on getting a treadmill again as soon as I can, as that really helped my running previously. For now though, the aim is to cut down on the junk food and try to run / walk regularly and consistently.
I also want to try and gain momentum with my business, but otherwise I’ll be looking for some part time work. I should be able to complete my first degree module this year, and potentially enrol onto the next one, so that’s also a big focus for me. Oh, as is trying to get back into a blogging routine! I struggled for time last year, plus with the lack of training and races, I didn’t really have all that much to write about without turning it into a lifestyle or personal blog!
Seeing in the New Year is something that I have always found challenging, but struggle with even more since losing my brother. I know that I have a lot of positive things to focus on for 2022, and that I need to get back to making incremental changes until I start to progress. Hopefully I’ll be able to document my progress as I essentially start my journey all over again… from overweight to marathon (we’ll put the ultramarathon on ice for a little while!).