Thursday, 4 January 2018

Looking both ways ...


Slightly later than anticipated, I'm taking a look back at 2017 and looking forward into 2018. I know that Blogland is full of this kind of post at this time of the year, so apologies if you've already read lots and have had your fill!

Last year was an incredible year for me. Amongst all the sadness and grieving, I achieved some things that I never thought possible. With a dislike of sport and very bad memories of cross country running from my school days, I decided that I wanted to run a race in Mr JK's memory and raise some money for the British Heart Foundation. I didn't even own a pair of trainers at the time. So I joined the gym and started training. Taking part in the Great North Run, the world's largest half marathon, in September was an unbelievable experience...






... something that I couldn't have done without the support of new friends from the gym. Whoever would have thought that I'd be having to reorganise my clothes to fit in a drawer full of sports kit, or worrying about whether or not I've pressed the button on my Garmin watch to record a run?! I'm sure my antics have made Mr JK smile!




One month later, I was able to run in Mr JK's footsteps in York, completing the Yorkshire 10 mile race a year after Mr JK's final run, the Yorkshire marathon. I didn't ever think that I would be able to do anything like that and I know that Mr JK would be so proud of me and probably pretty surprised too! My JustGiving page has gone from strength to strength and the total currently stands at an amazing £4117. Do take a look at it because it tells more of my running story. And if you'd like to make a donation to help fight against heart disease, that would be really lovely of you. Thank you. 







I was able to meet up with Twitter running friends who supported me over the year. So good to be able to put faces to names!





And of course I had my own support team from the gym who have been just unbelievable. I couldn't have done it without them. Their friendship has helped me enormously over the last 12 months.




Spotting myself on the TV coverage of the Yorkshire marathon and 10 mile event was a little surreal as was seeing myself in Women's Running magazine. I was honoured that the runner Susie Chan wanted to interview me and tell my story. I would never have imagined that I'd see myself in a running magazine! 





Another proud moment was presenting a trophy to the winner of the Kings Forest 50km event in November. I was so honoured that the organisers wanted to remember Mr JK in this way. 



Photo thanks to Positive Steps

Running gave me something positive to focus on during very sad and difficult times. It made me feel closer to Mr JK and I'm certain he was there running alongside me during my races, pushing me on towards the finish line. I certainly needed that focus as I have found it very hard to concentrate on things over the last year. My knitting output has been pitiful; I'm very thankful to be one of Stylecraft's Blogstars and designed two pairs of socks for their Head over Heels range of sock yarn. One was released early in 2017 and the other will be released any time now. I also designed a pair of slipper socks for the annual Blogtour and  my first crochet pattern which appeared in Crochet Now magazine. 


Picture copyright - Stylecraft
Picture copyright - Stylecraft









I didn't set myself any specific goals for 2017. My aim was to do things that would make Mr JK proud of me and I hope that I've succeeded in doing that. I do have a few goals and challenges that I'm setting for myself this year - some knitting-related and others to do with running. They sound so far fetched to me at the moment that I'm not ready to share all of them yet. But I will do as the year progresses. I am setting myself a monthly challenge to come up with a pattern for one of the many lovely Stylecraft yarns that I have in my stash. Each time we visit the Mill, we come away with a goody bag bursting with yarny loveliness and I want to try working with some of their other yarns instead of sticking with the old faithful Special DK! Another challenge is something that Mr JK and I discussed and started planning a couple of years ago on our favourite Greek beach and I'm going to see if I can turn our idea into a reality. I'll be sure to let you know if I do! 

2017 has been a year of highs and lows. The feeling of loss doesn't lessen; I frequently feel like I'm drowning in a sea of emotions. I still miss Mr JK terribly and think about him every day. But my world has definitely widened so it's not the only thing that I think about. Along the way, I've had lots of support from my dear friend Snoopydog, who has found herself making the same journey as me. And I have been very blessed to have made some friends at the gym who have been there for me too. My friends have shown me that there is a way forward and that it's ok to have fun and laugh, and for that I can't thank them enough. 

So 2018 is going to be about moving forward, living the dream and aiming to be the best that I can, all to make Mr JK proud. Thank you for your company over the past year. Your comments have helped me immensely and it's good to know that people actually do read my ramblings! Please join me on my adventures over the coming year. xxx





9 comments:

VeggieMummy said...

What an amazing year you've had Helen. You've done so much to make Mr. JK proud. I can't wait to see what you have planned for 2018. xx

TT in MD said...

what a beautiful post - a little teary eyed here. i think of you often and hope you feel the virtual hug across the ocean!

weavinfool said...

I have never met you or Mr. JK but, as a stranger looking in from blogland, I want you to know how proud of you I am. Hugs and congratulations! And a scritch for Flo.

Sarah Knits said...

What you have achieved this last year is incredible and I can't wait to see what you get up to in 2018! X

busybusybeejay said...

What a year.Mr JK would be so proud of you.

Lynne said...

Oh Helen, I've said it before and I'll say it again, you really are an inspiration! Good luck with all your plans for 2018, and happy new year to you and Flo.

Meg said...

I think you have done amazing things this year and Mr JK would be so very proud. Looking forward to seeing your 2018 plans unfold.

Jane Winter said...

What a year; as others have said you are an inspiration! I wish you well in 2018 and look forward to continuing to read your blog and follow your journey! Best wishes Jane

Jenny said...

You are amazing, tears of joy and tears of sadness reading about your year of achievements. My only concern is how you are going to top that in 2018 though I have no doubt you will. Mr JK and Flo must be so proud but you should be the proudest of all. x