A Good 2017 Writing And Running Year - Here's To 2018!
Every year around this time I reflect on the year that has ended, and goals met and unmet. I review setbacks and areas to improve, and set new goals. I imagine the year to come. 2017 was a good writing and running year, and a productive one all around.
I began 2017 by my not returning to life as a poorly paid nomad adjunct professor of theology and religious studies. Three years before that I taught college ESL and first-year writing, and was the director of a university writing center a collective 25 years. Leaving academia for life as a writer was a goal achieved. It's a lot healthier to be a writer, paid or not. And that's what I did in 2018! I wrote. And I continued to run! But first I created a new writing space.
Where I write about running, spirituality, books, and much more
When I run, my sanctuary is the outdoors, woods, trails, and nature. I wanted the simplicity and the solitude of the trail and the woods in my new writing space. I purged my old home office and transformed it into a bright happy yellow writing sanctuary, You can read how I created my new writing space in a piece I wrote in Thrive Global. It's one of my most popular posts.
Goal setting, discipline, and pacing helped me to achieve the following in 2017.
1. 11 Thrive Global articles
2. 6 HuffPost articles
3. My website/blog was launched in May. 17 posts followed.
4. My Facebook page - Ultra Miriam - was launched in June. My blog posts, posts of others, and 17 running-related videos, that my husband Jon helped me to create, followed.
5. Interviewed Peter Morgan, Ian Sharman, Pamela Chapman Markle, and Bart Yasso for my blog. Peter and I met at the Sole Challenge Ultra. He ran the 48-hour. I ran the 24-hour. I heard Ian Sharman in a BibRave podcast interview. I read about Pamela after she placed third female at the 2017 Badwater. I learned Bart had a new book out. All were gracious and down-to-earth.
7. Wrote a scholarly paper on the ultrarunner and Christian ascetic body. It was accepted for publication in a forthcoming issue of Spiritus: The Journal of Christian Spirituality
6. Participated in NaNoWriMon (National Novel Writing Month) and wrote my memoir draft - over 50, 000 words - in 27 days in November.
At the 2017 Sole Challenge 24 hour and Wildcat 100 mile ultra finish
1. Logged 1,163.5 miles in 2017
2. Placed 2nd female and 5th OA at the Sole Challenge 24 hour ultra - my 20th ultra and 6th
24 hour ultra
3. Placed 13/13 at the Wildcat 100 mile ultra - my 21st ultra and my 4th 100 miler
UNEXPECTED OPPORTUNITIES BECAME NEW ACHIEVEMENTS
1. Selected a 2017 Nuun Ambassador
2. Interviewed Dylan Bowman about his training for the Wings for Life World Run
3. Invited to Run the Rut in Montana in September. Unfortunately, I had to decline because the event was the same weekend as the Wildcat 100 mile ultra in Pensacola.
4. Interviewed by Ron Meyer at Blessed2Play about ultrarunning, overcoming obstacles, and my faith
5. Wrote a review of NorthFace winter running gear
6. Invited to be interviewed at an upcoming ultrarunning summit series
7. Followers from throughout the globe continue to reach out regarding my article about my B12 deficiency and running, and share their stories with me. This post is my most popular on HuffPost. My piece on being physically active with chronic illness also resonates with readers and followers.
8. With my husband's help, I planted a vegetable garden.
2018 RUNNING GOALS
I have myelopathy of the spinal cord due to severe B12 deficiency, for which I receive weekly B12 shots and daily oral tablets. However, my deficiency affects my legs and feet, and slows me down. But I don't let it stop me from running. I have registered for two trail ultras in 2018.
1. Naked Prussian 50 miler
2. Burning River 50 miler
2018 WRITING-RELATED GOALS
1. Increase my paid freelance writing opportunities
2. Revise my memoir, get feedback, find an agent, and/or submit to a publisher
3. Interview more inspiring ordinary and elite runners/ultrarunners
4. Write posts on topics that my followers and readers request
5. Upload my national parks hiking adventures page to my website
6. Create a YouTube channel
7. Write a post about how to plant a vegetable garden
Abundant harvest from my first ever vegetable garden
Photo credit: Miriam Diaz-Gilbert
FLASHBACK TO MY 2017 GOALS
At the end of 2016, I reflected on my blessings, setbacks, and goals achieved in 2016. I then had a talk with myself and made a list of 2017 goals.
I am happy I fulfilled my goals.
1. The Around-the-Lake 24 hour was not held and the Dusk-to-Dawn 24 hour track ultra sold out. So, I ran the Sole Challenge 24 hour ultra - DONE!
2. Another freelancer check - DONE!
3. My website - DONE!
4. Draft of my memoir - DONE! This was a lofty goal. But as my favorite fiction author Paulo Coelho writes, "When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it." Thank God for National Novel Writing Month in November! What great motivator!
5. Philadelphia Writing Workshop attendance & memoir pitch - DONE!
WHAT ARE YOUR 2018 GOALS
I am grateful for a very productive 2017 running and writing year. Achieving any goal requires focus, discipline, determination, and patience. How did you do in 2017? What are your 2018 writing, running, and other goals? You might want to read my Thrive Global piece about setting goals and being productive in the new year. And if you don't meet a specific goal, that's OK! When one door closes, another one opens.
As I was proofreading this post this morning, I received this tweet, along with a DM for an interview and a request to repurpose/share some of my articles. What a great way to end 2017 and start 2018! Blessed and humbled!
Productivity, unexpected opportunities, achievements, and humbling blessings await you in 2018.