Wrapping up 2018

Again, the time has come to sit down and look back into the past year. It's almost end of a busy, little dull year of 2018. If you're following my blog, please sit down and revisit with me the last 12 months of my life.

Running and training

As usual, I'll start with a quick look at my sport / fitness training. For many years now I've been a Strava user, and I'm pleased with the summary details they provide.

My Strava calendar for 2018
My Strava calendar for 2018 - Over 115 hours of training and almost 800km in distance.

I almost can't believe this, but I beat last year by around 20%! I've been slightly more active and logged 790km. Not all been running though. I've had a few casual bike rides as well as some hikes and walks.

Running and hiking on Tenerife

You can see from the calendar above that June was my most intensive month of the year. This is because I've spent 2 weeks on a small "training camp" on Tenerife. It was a spontaneous decision to go for this last minute trip, but I'm happy that I've decided to go there.

During the time there I've had a chance to hike and run through some beautiful trails. The scenery was amazing, a mixture of mountains, sharp coastlines, dry fields and of course the volcano. With grueling effort, I've managed to climb 3,718m El Teide through the night, up and down in around 6 hours.

I've taken some beautiful pictures on this island too. If you have time, I invite you to check some of the photo stories I've shared on my blog.

Munich Marathon

In October I've run a marathon race in Munich, Germany. It was a challenge I mentioned some time ago here.

Collection of photos from GENERALI MÜNCHEN MARATHON, 2018
GENERALI MÜNCHEN MARATHON, 2018

While I'm happy that I've managed to finish the course with the time of 5h:15m, it was definitely a slow race. The cause for this was some injury I've caught while running on Tenerife. I must have then sprained some tendons in my left foot, and I've felt it painfully for the couple following months. That was also the reason that I took a break from training in November and December.

I think I'm also done with such road races. It's not that much fun like it used to be and I think I'll give it a pause. Perhaps I can only consider one more major marathon race like London, Berlin or New York. But other than that, I think I'd instead place my focus somewhere else.

Parkruns and Wings for Life

Early in 2018, I've joined 3 parkruns, two times in Gunnersbury Park and one in Richmond Park. Somehow through the year, I've never got around to wake up early enough to join the runs.

I love the idea though, and I want to join more Parkruns this year. I think my Saturday laziness can be attributed to bit excessive beer/alcohol consumption and staying up late. I'll be actively eliminating those factors this year, and I hope this will result in more running.

In May, I've participated in a global running event called Wings for Life. It was a great experience, and I'd be pleased if I could repeat it also in the current year.

Work

This was definitely a busy year. I've been working with the same company although my team has completely changed and I ended up in a new product team structure and with the fresh, modern software stack. We've started creating new architecture based on NodeJS, React, Redux, Redux-Sagas, and Jest.

Together with my new team colleagues, we've worked hard to rebuild our product (search) pages and be ready for the ultimate deadline - Black Friday of 2018. It turns out we finished on time, and the new platform was doing great during the busy, demanding time.

What will 2019 bring? Definitely a change! Perhaps new challenges, new projects, new technologies to master. I'd be looking deeper into GraphQL and Typescript.

Personal projects

I didn't make any progress on my personal projects. Most ideas I had have stalled and "burned out". I did some side work supporting & mentoring development for a startup in the cryptocurrency scene, but since the hype has faded, I don't think it will get any success.

Scotland roadtrip

Panoramic view over Edinburgh from Castle Rock
Panoramic view over Edinburgh from Castle Rock

Besides plenty of business flights between London, Munich & Krakow and a two-week "training camp" on Tenerife I went for one vacation trip. In late October, together with my wife, we've visited Scotland for one 7 days.

Panorama near Fort William, Scotland
Panorama near Fort William, Scotland

Initially, we've planned to take this trip during the Summer, but a week before the scheduled dates we've got sick and had to postpone it. Fortunately, it was possible to rebook the tickets and our Airbnb reservations.

During the 7 days, we've visited Edinburgh, traveled to Fort Williams to ride the famous "Harry Potter" train, seen the Isle of Skye, and drove about 500 miles through Scottland.

A view on the Isle of Skye, Scotland
A view on the Isle of Skye, Scotland

It was a fantastic journey, although it was cold and has rained way too much. But if I'll have a chance, I'd definitely want to go back in warmer season to do more hiking and walk in nature.

Update on blogging

I still don't post very often. I've counted only 12 articles in the past year, that gives only one per month. Definitely not as much as I'd like… So this is the area I want to focus more in 2019.

I'm also struggling with a decision related to reworking my blog again. There's nothing wrong with the current state, but I want to expand some sections - precisely, to build my photo gallery pages.

The main reason behind this is Flickr change to limit free accounts. I'm not entirely convinced to switch to the paid version, because I've got already cloud storage from my Adobe subscription and I think I'll simply move all my photos to Google Photos and also build some photo space here for featuring my most interesting images.

Anyway, I'm leading towards Gatsby as it is based on React and GraphQL, but I didn't fully explore it and I'm not sure if it will fulfill my requirements regarding asset storage, directory structure. I'm still confident that static site generators are a great choice for my needs, just need to find out which one suits me the most.

Photography

I wasn't doing much photography last year, I admit, filling that under "not enough time excuse". But I did find some moments.

London Marathon

In April I've captured runners of the Virgin Money London Marathon. It was my 2nd attempt to photography the event. It's an exciting event to watch, although the streets are packed everywhere with spectators, so it isn't an easy job to spot a place. In 2017 I've found a much better spot and this year I was just walking along the course.

Photo from a courses of 2018 London Marathon
Photo from a courses of 2018 London Marathon

Richmond Park

One random morning, I went for an early, extended run at my favorite park in London: Richmond Park. I was surprised with a spectacular show of sunlight, fog and the beauty of the area.

Great shot from sunrise in Richmond Park, London
Great shot from sunrise in Richmond Park, London

I've only got my old iPhone SE with me, but the lighting was so good that the photos I've taken still looked terrific.

This however inspired me to refresh my photography gear. Since then I've upgraded to newer iPhone and also bought new, mirrorless, full frame camera. So, in 2019 I will unquestionably focus more on photography.

Challenges for 2019

Last year I didn't make any serious goals or commitments at the beginning of the year and it turned to be okay. I think I'll stick to that also for 2019.

I've got a few areas I want to focus on, that I've mentioned earlier - to rework my blog and be more active with photography.

What else? We will see. I know I'll continue to run and train although I don't plan to participate in any longer races. But I'd like to visit some of them and take pictures. That feel inspiring!

If you got this far, I'd like to thank you for following my thougts. I wish you all a happy and productive year! Up until next time!

Written and maintained with ♥︎ — Jan Kraus, 2007 — 2019