I write this in the final minutes of 2018. Here’s my take on 2018, a year of many firsts for me.
1. Running my first half marathon
One of my biggest goals for 2018 was to run my first half marathon, the Cardiff Half Marathon, in October.
I was thrilled to run it for the Stroke Association in memory of my Grandpa Cliff.
It was tough (who knew mile 12 was uphill?) but the incredible atmosphere, and support from my running club, got me through.
2. Visiting Venice
Mr Pyke and I marked our 10-year wedding anniversary with a trip to Venice, a city I’ve always wanted to visit. It was glorious and well worth the wait. Read about what we did and saw here.
3. Giving up chocolate for a month
In March, I gave up chocolate for a month by taking on Dechox for the British Heart Foundation.
It felt like a very long 31 days (especially as the first day began with a 4am start with the children 😱), but I was pleased to raise £100 for a brilliant cause.
4. Being more open about my mental health
Living with depression and anxiety can be exhausting and isolating. Many of us know that one in four people live with mental illness, and the stigma seems to lessen day by day, but it can make you feel like you’re the only one who feels that way.
So in 2018 I’ve tried to be more open about it, especially when I’m struggling. It find it hard, but it helps.
The things that help me are relatively simple but sometimes feel very difficult when I’m having tough times. Meditation, quiet time, running, walking, sleeping, eating well and music all help me.
A huge thank you to everyone who has been there for me in 2018 and to those of you who’ve shared your stories with me. It means a lot.
5. Running 300 miles
I started running with the Pencoed Panthers 18 months ago and I am proud to have run 300 miles (or 311 miles to be precise!) in 2018.
There have been tears, numerous swear words and more complaining than I care to remember, but I’m proud to have kept up the running.
If you’d told 15-year-old me who struggled to run a mile in PE lessons I’d have laughed out loud. Thanks Panthers! I’m aiming for 500 miles in 2019.
6. Being a grown up bridesmaid
I was a bridesmaid for the first time in almost 30 years for my gorgeous sister’s wedding. It was the most beautiful day.
And I got to go on my first hen do abroad – to Ibiza no less – to celebrate it!
7. Being a suffragette
What better way to celebrate the centenary of some women getting the right to vote than to be a suffragette? In July I was one of 100 women who marched as suffragettes with the Porthcawl Museum float at the annual Porthcawl Carnival. It felt marvellous!
8. Becoming a trustee
Earlier this month, I was co-opted as a trustee to the fabulous Women’s Equality Network Wales, which aims to make Wales a fairer place for women. I am so pleased to be a trustee for this brilliant organisation and am looking forward to getting stuck into the role in 2019.
So thank you 2018 for bringing me lots of firsts as well as lots of ups and a few downs along the way.
Wishing you all a happy, peaceful and healthy 2019 whatever it brings.