What I Have Planned for 2024 (And a Recap of 2023)
Another year has come to a close and so here I am to take stock of all that happened, think about it, and form new goals for the future. If you’re not new here, you know I have a long tradition of doing this publicly on this blog and I must say it’s one of my favorite annual posts to write.
It’s especially fun to put in writing when a year was as huge as this past one. We have seen many changes in the world take place, some unforeseen, some expected, and how these have changed my view of the world we’re in and what we can do moving forward shall be the core of this post.
☝️ I’ve got many audacious new goals planned – but one of them is plainly INSANE.
This post will have a theme, and it’s space. So I’ll start it off with a great quote I’ve recently heard. It’s attributed to astronaut Jim Lovell, who was on Apollo 8, the first crew ever to fly around the moon.
I began to think that, you know, in reality, we often say that I hope to go to heaven when we die. In reality, we go to heaven when we’re born.
Planet Earth is the perfect planet for us, of course. It’s got everything we need and that’s why we evolved here. But we still behave like a kid in a candy store.
🔮 Imagining the Future Trajectory of Humankind
For me, the meanings of the words ‘goals’ and ‘purpose’ are closely aligned. And I, as part of the human species, don’t think of me as separate from everyone else. We all strive towards something, consciously or not.
This is especially true when having children, as I do. Existing is a recursive action: your existence is created by other humans, you create the existence of others. Being a dead-end in the chain is a possible choice, of course, but since most of us keep the process going, I think it’s also our responsibility to think of the longterm consequences. Now more then ever.
While I myself mostly think year-over-year when I focus on the specific goals I set for myself, my personal purpose as a human being in the bigger picture is always lurking in the background. The idea of forming a poignantly defined purpose for an individual life is something I have come across quite late in life. It’s also an organic thing which needs to develop over the years. And sometimes, it also needs to shift somewhere else.
This shift of purpose has happened to me during the course of the year 2023.
From what I have witnessed developing over the course of the last few years, there are some fundamental global shifts occurring. Two of them are particularly relevant, I think. One is 🌳 environmentalism and the other is 💾 technological development.
Technology has been my first love and the first thing in my life to which I have found a direct and intrinsic connection. It started with building Legos as a kid, coding websites as a pre-teen, tinkering with electronics as a teen and young adult, studying civil engineering for a while before deciding to become a web development employee and subsequently founding a company around that. This all came more or less naturally to me, without requiring me to give it serious thought or aligning it with a certain kind of purpose or consciously predefined North Star.
But when an awareness of the effects of human behavior on our planet moved more into my field of vision, the next focus for me became about environmentalism. It seemed like the logical path to follow: Helping to conserve our planet in such a way that life on it stays as comfortable for us humans as possible – who could argue against that?
It turns out, a very vocal part of humankind does actually argue against that, at least implicitly, with their actions.
Although there has been a spark of environmentalism in the early 1980s which developed into a little fragile flame over the next few decades, the recent worldwide crises have put a big damper on it and showed that most of us would rather still not give up anything at all for reaching the far away goal of a sustainable future. We’d rather find every last drop of remaining oil and put all the carbon into the atmosphere as fast as we can, apparently.
Because of my youthful idealism and optimism, I have still followed that path of embracing environmentalism for many years and have made many decisions in my life based on it.
- 📗 I have joined my country’s Green Party, paying membership dues and attending meetings,
- 🥦 I became a vegetarian in large part because of the environmental impact of meat production,
- I have given many thousands of Euros to initiatives which deal with developing carbon friendlier methods for everyday activities,
- 🛫 I pay for offsetting all flights I’m taking,
- ☀️ I have installed solar panels on our roof,
- 🚴♂️ and I avoid driving my car in favor of riding my bike to the point of nearly making the car obsolete.
Now, this is all good and helps reduce the load for sure. And I’m not planning on stopping. The more of us change our behavior in similar ways, the better, and many already behave like this or do even more.
😥 But in 2023 I have realized that what we’re doing most certainly won’t be enough.
What we need next to massive collective action is big policy changes.
But the political environment just won’t allow for that, seemingly nowhere in the world. Which means two things: The biggest polluters are doing effective lobbying for continuing their polluting legally, and the majority of people just don’t think the issue is important enough. I don’t blame the people, it’s mostly not their fault. If I was living in a poor and war-struck country, reducing my carbon footprint would be low on my list of priorities, too. And if the education systems would have failed me and I would have no idea about the significance of the climate crisis, I would also just be as ignorant about it as most of the people on the planet.
It’s easy to feel frustrated and without a big picture sense of purpose in this situation. This has been my internal struggle for the last few years.
🎓 But recently, an AI researcher at Harvard and MIT named Joscha Bach has strongly impacted my outlook.
He moved a step further and suggested the following thought: We should just take it as a given that the climate crisis won’t be stopped by us humans and the conditions of living will therefore inevitably get a lot worse with the vast majority of people dying off due to various climate related causes. This will already happen within the next 100 to 200 years.
If we just accept this now, we can stop being frustrated and move beyond it.
☝️ To be clear, I don’t think this is what’s called climate doomerism, it’s more like a thought experiment to explore the different possible paths ahead. I’m not advocating for stopping climate action because it’s useless, it’s not. We all need to keep pushing.
💻 Back to Technology
The way forward for human consciousness will look very different from what it looks like today, says Joscha Bach. The year 2023 has been the year of AI becoming mainstream. It’s so normal we don’t even get excited anymore when we’re using the incredible breakthrough which ChatGPT has presented to us in the beginning of 2023. The Turing Test came whooshing by and people didn’t even look up.
Additionally, projects which are trying to map the brain, like the Neuralink company, are making tremendous steps and Spaceflight companies are now privately owned and therefore incentivized to develop at lightspeed, no pun intended. India has landed on the moon for the first time in 2023 for a price of a mere 74 million dollars. Japan has done the same in January 2024.
🚀 Now imagine what the progress in those fields in the next 100 to 200 years can look like.
That's the same timeframe which will have significant impact on the global situation for humans living here.
Bach says one possible way in which this might play out, is that we (we meaning certain companies) gain the technology to fully map a brain and therefore will be able to put human consciousness onto a chip. We could then even enhance that using AI and throwing in the full Wikipedia knowledge base would be no problem at all. And combining the wisdom of 1,000s of humans into one consciousness on a chip, neither.
To illustrate this, within the last year we have just advanced from producing hundreds of millions of energy efficient and small smartphone chips per year which use transistors from a five nanometers to just three nanometers scale, increasing the amount of them from about 170 million to 470 million transistors per square millimeter. ((5/3)^2 = A factor of 2.78)
That has taken us just one year. Prototypes at 1.6 nanometers are already functioning. This pace of development isn’t going to stop as long as there’s demand.
More powerful personal workstation chips like the current Apple M2 Ultra contain more than 130 billion transistors. Those are binary and work differently from synapses in a human brain, but there are strong similarities. At around 100 trillion synapses in a brain we’re still far away from putting a full brain on a chip, but then again, the space a brain requires is a lot bigger than that of a current single chip.
Here comes the part that might seem crazy at first. But stay with me, please.
Shipping humans to other inhabitable planets has always been a problem. We are heavy sacks of biomass and not adapted to space travel. And even the slightest difference in atmosphere makes it impossible for us to exist without technological help. Also, space travel takes an incredibly long time. Just getting to Mars takes roughly eight months, and there’s not much of use for us there. We don’t see a way in which we could get humans to hibernate effectively for thousands of years of space travel.
But if we combine both ideas, shipping a chip which has (enhanced) human consciousness on it, as well as some mechanical robotic devices reminiscent of a Von Neumann Probe so we can replicate structures and this whole process itself in different environments, it becomes a realistic possibility. Taking frozen human eggs and sperm might even work. This sounds like science-fiction, for sure. But in light of recent advances, it’s actually starting to become a lot closer to reality if you give it 100-200 years.
And if you ask me, it’s already more likely to happen than our species getting its act together and successfully fighting and reversing climate change.
Which is why I’m putting my chips (again no pun intended) in a different spot, starting this year. How that will manifest and which actions I might take corresponding to this new realization, I don’t know yet. But there are always lots of ways if you keep your eyes open.
We just need to remember that writing off our efforts against climate change as being useless doesn’t help anyone, no matter what your opinion on it might be.
🌈 Is It Still Optimism?
I think so. I have always considered myself an optimist. I even published a contemplative blog post about optimism this year. I believe it’s our duty as humans to stay optimistic. I’ve recently come across a bunch of optimism about the progress on environmental issues like here in the New York Times, or this Guardian article saying we can’t afford to be ‘climate doomers’.
I do believe though, that these might be misguided. And as I’ve shown above, there are several ways to stay optimistic. Blind optimism for something highly unlikely to happen won’t get us anywhere. We need to see the signs of the times and build new paths sometimes.
This quote by Ali Abdaal sums it up quite nicely, I think:
Our goals paint a picture of a destination that gives us a direction to work towards. Of course, we don’t want to be overly attached to the achievement of the goal, and of course, we know by now that the journey is more important than the destination. But even so, there’s no journey without a destination in mind.
So, without further ado, here’s my ONE INSANE NEW GOAL.
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This was one of the best articles I've read so far in telling about a race. I couldn't put it down. Your details were so awesome. You made New York just come alive.
Great review, enjoyed reading it and recognize lots off related subjects and hurtles. I’m amazed by all your running and races well done.
Great article! I've read so many long blogs only to get bored in the middle as I suffer terribly from ADD and move on to other things. Yours has been one of few that held my attention all the way to the end.
Your good humor and ease in telling stories make this blog a really cool space. Nice review.
Amazing effort Tim, well done! Thank you for taking the time to write down your thoughts, feelings and memories from the event. There’s always something to learn from your posts and this one was no exception!! Another cracking read.
What a ride! Surely the race, but also reading about it. Thanks for taking the time to write up such a detailed report, almost feel like I was there.
🌘 I Want to Be the First Person to Run a Marathon on the Moon
Obviously, this isn’t a goal for 2024. It’s more of a goal for a lifetime. Maybe the next thirty years will suffice? Currently, there are six entities on the planet, private companies and government institutions alike, which have announced plans on building a new lunar lander to soon put people back on the moon. While most such announcements are made too eagerly and with too narrow timeframes, I still think within the next ten years we’ll witness someone walk on the moon once again.
Why shouldn’t it be someone who runs instead of walks?
Obviously, I say this half-jokingly. But only half. There’s a chance. There’s a red sports car flying towards Mars right now, after all. Just for the heck of it. And with the new generation of reusable rockets, space flight has already become much more cost effective. Maybe another ten years after the next person walking on the moon, we’ll get people there for the cost of a few million each, who knows. And combine that with the big need of many companies to advertise their products as being involved in audacious projects such as the first marathon run on the moon, there might be a deal possible! Think of the huge success of the Omega Speedmaster, for example, after it was the first watch worn on the moon. HOKA, COROS, Adidas, hit me up 😉.
The concrete steps I’m planning to take are of course tiny right now. I plan on building a small landing page website which displays my motivation behind this goal and the reasons why it should be me to go and do this. Then, I will just try and get in contact with each of the companies and agencies who are currently developing travel to the moon and see if I can get someone’s attention and start talks. If you know anyone who fits this description, let me know. Trying won’t hurt.
I’ve arrived at this particular goal when I was thinking about what will happen once I’ve checked my other current sports related goals. Those aren’t so far out of reach. A few more years and they’ll be done and I’m not sure if motivation for training, while highly beneficial to my body and mind, will come as easily to me afterwards.
Athletic ability, for me, is as much an end in itself as it is a means to an end. What I’m trying to accomplish in life is being a healthy and helpful father and husband for as long as possible, able to provide support without an upper limit to all the people in my life. A strong and fit body not only helps with the physical elements of that, it also provides me with mental fortitude so I can rise to the challenges.
Putting in place a longterm goal which requires me to stay fit up into old age seems to be a wise choice to preemptively combat this.
I’m turning 40 this year. Making sure I’m able to still run a marathon at a moment’s notice when I’m 70 and beyond is highly appealing to me. Be it on the moon or elsewhere.
🌍 Back to Earth: Here Are My Goals For 2024
This list is going to look familiar if you’ve been here on this blog during the previous few years. But a few things have changed.
📚🏃 #1: 20 Books, 20 Marathons
Over the previous years, I went from 12 up to 24 and now back to 20 each. Somewhere near the golden middle. Since I ended 2023 on 29 books and 20 marathons, going forward with 20&20 seems fitting my situation. This way I still keep on doing the things I know will make me happy once I do them.
🏃💨 #2: Sub-3 Marathon
It still didn’t happen in 2023, although I tried. It’s more difficult for me than I thought. But since I’ve given myself a decade to achieve this and six years of it are still left, I’m optimistic. I have learned a lot and my plan is better and more clear this time, so it might finally work out in 2024. I’ve recently met someone who told me he started running aged 41 and finally reached Sub-3 when he was 50. And YouTuber Casey Neistat has just broken that barrier as well, after 24 attempts over the course of 17 years. I’m not losing hope at all. My race of choice will be Hamburg Marathon on April 28.
🏔️ #3: Western States 100 Qualifier (Zugspitz Ultratrail)
Quite recently I lost the lottery for entry into this legendary Californian 100-mile race once again because with my two tickets I just had a chance of 1.5 percent of getting in, making it necessary to enroll yet another time by first finishing an official qualifier race.
Here’s the punchline: I’m taking bets, what do you think will happen first, me getting into Western States, or me running a marathon on the moon? #youllnevergetintowesternstates
Never give up. I had eyed and actually signed up for a different qualifier, the easy and flat “Race to the Stones” in the UK, but then the Western States committee removed it from the 2024 list for being too flat of a 100k race. Fair enough.
Although Zugspitz is a difficult alpine race, it’s the only German one on the list and quite prestigious and pretty, so I will move through a tough ultramarathon once more, but this time in my home country. The 106 kilometers with 5,080 meters of elevation gain will certainly require a recovery period lasting a few months again. Still I’m looking forward to it a lot and already have the elevation profile pinned to the wall next to my desk.
🕺 Two Additional Fun Goals
My three big ones are aided by three fun ones, as last year. Two of them are new additions.
🇩🇪 Bonus Goal #1: A Marathon Race in All 16 Federal States of Germany
In 2023 I added the states of Bremen, Bayern, and Niedersachen by running Bremen Marathon, München Marathon, and Hannover Marathon, respectively. This got my total to 11 out of the 16. Missing still are Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland, Sachsen-Anhalt. I have booked two of them for 2024 and might be able to add more, depending on some other plans. Getting closer!
🚅 Bonus Goal #2: Sub-3 on 1,000 Meters
Three minutes, that is. I’ve recently heard about that and thought this might get interesting. No idea how difficult it is, probably very much. But it sounds like fun to systematically try and train for it, and the resulting speed and power gains might come in handy when training for Zugspitz and the Sub-3 marathon.
📝 Bonus Goal #3: Finish Writing my Marathon Running Guide
It’s been sitting in my drawer 90% finished for many years now but it was just supposed to be the quick entrance level guide for everyone, to be read within one sitting of maybe an hour or two. The year 2024 must be the one where I finally rework the chapters, update them with my current knowledge, and get it into proper PDF form to offer as a free download to everyone.
✅ Again With the Habits!
These ten habits seemed to have been the winning combination. I’m copying those exactly from 2023 to 2024. Here’s the list.
- 🏃 Running every day – A bonus goal and a habit, too.
- 💪 Core exercises every day – 10-15 minutes with Fitbod.
- 😮💨 Breathing exercise every day – Wim Hof’s 11 minute guided routine (YouTube).
- 🌱 Eating 100% plant-based as often as practically possible.
- 🚱 Avoiding alcohol as often as possible.
- 🛍️ No purchases of stuff I don’t need (thanks Mr. Money Mustache).
- 🛏️ In bed at 21:30 every day (thanks Matt Walker).
- 📴 Less than 60 minutes of screen time per day (thanks Cal Newport).
- 🔤 Solving the New York Times’ Wordle every day. Record streak is 174.
- 🤳 Taking a selfie each day to visualize my face’s decay. Or improvement? 🤔
Habit #1 status: At the end of 2023 I’m at exactly 730 consecutive days on which I went for a run. I will continue into 2024, reach 1,000 on September 27, and keep going beyond that. I love it. Even though on some rare occasions I don’t feel like it, doing that mandatory one mile stroll around the block to keep it going raises my spirits. And the difficult days keep it interesting. I’ve slightly changed my own personal minimum from 2k to 5k back to 2k and now to 2k and 15 minutes as a minimum. The simple reason: Strava doesn’t count activities of less than 15 minutes duration towards certain goals.
Habit #5 has been enhanced and converted into a streak since April 1, 2023. Haven’t had alcohol since (except when it’s part of medicine or cake) and plan on following through with #oneyearnobeer. Afterwards, I plan on having beer once per month or less, in a planned way. Getting strategic about beer consumption, does it get any more German than that? The first one will hopefully be a victory beer on April 28 after going 2:59h at the Hamburg Marathon, and then I’ll be doing the 4th Great Munich Breweries Ultra (sign up here!) in June, but going alcohol-free on all possible occasions there.
But now, enough about the future! What about 2023? This was supposed to be at least half a review post!
Let’s start with Habit #10, a nice visual of my face’s decay and/or improvement.
🎥 The 2023 Highlights Reel & Learned Lessons
A lot has changed for me during 2023. The biggest change was concerning my work situation. In addition to my main company, at the beginning of 2023 I had just started another company together with some marketing professionals in Berlin. At the end of 2023 I had just successfully managed to completely sell both companies. What has happened?
I’m thinking that I might write a separate blog post about it during the year. But the short summary would be that my motivation to keep going with the same type of management work I have done over the course of the previous twelve years from 2011 to 2023 has continually dwindled during the last two or three years. My first reaction to that realization was that I should try and run forward to keep it interesting and grow the company to 10 employees over the coming decade. I set that as a goal back in 2020. I made it to 7, but it didn’t become any more fun. Then I changed direction and helped found an additional company which measures the carbon footprint of websites and offset them, but in the day-to-day this turned out to be too demanding for me.
The big question of WHY needed to be moved to the front.
I asked myself, ‘am I doing this because I want to, or because I feel like I have to?’
So I looked around for different solutions and in the middle of 2022 met someone who wanted to be part of the executive team. Perfect timing. In a few steps over the course of the year, I’ve sold it all to him and he’s now running the company as well as owning 100% of it. And I couldn’t feel any better about it, honestly.
This is a rare case of Goal Deletion, and I think it’s great that I made this decision. People change, circumstances change, and running after that one goal blindly forever doesn’t necessarily make you happy.
Fortunately, the sale of the company now allows me to take it slow finding a new source of income, so I can put my kids and the housework first for now. And I gladly do that. On the other hand, it’s a lot of fun for me to think about different new ways of earning money in the future.
It’s an open field with so many possibilities!
One of them has already presented itself to me, and that’s a little web-based chat tool called Speechbox. I coded it over a weekend when I was bored at an internship in Munich back in 2007 (that’s 17 years ago 🤯) and starting right then it somehow grew on its own. A few friends helped develop it further before I took it into my company where the profits then went to and my developer and designer employees put some effort into it from time to time to improve it. It was never a huge thing, though, just a side project mainly loved by me and no one else.
During the talks about selling the company I decided to take Speechbox back out of the company and we agreed on it. Moving the infrastructure was a big project during the past few weeks for me, mainly because I’m a bit rusty at Linux, PHP, and all that surrounds it, but now it’s my private property again and I’ve rekindled my old love for it. Seventeen years later, it has come full circle and I’m looking forward to building some new features here and there and taking it international during this year. Who knows what the future will bring – but it’s a rewarding project for me regardless of the outcome.
The business side of things melts with the hobby side. So let’s move on to my main hobby, running.
🏃 Running Goals of 2023 Outcomes
The year was exceptionally great in this regard. I had three major highlights which were so huge to me, I almost still can’t believe I got to experience them. Those were, in chronological order:
I couldn’t have asked for a better year in this regard and I’m pretty sure not many others could have. I’m beyond grateful that all circumstances aligned to make this possible and that my whole family supported me in these endeavors, first and foremost my awesome wife Sophie but not forgetting my hugely supportive mother-in-law, Susanne. 🙏
It feels weird to even mention the tiny disappointments in the running sector I had.
- ❌ My Sub-3 Goal failed: At the beginning of 2023 I did a tough training regiment, planned by my friend Mathias. I unfortunately fell ill a couple of times during it and couldn’t be fit on point for the planned record breaking race. My fastest marathon of 2023 was a 3:14h at Hamburg Marathon in April. The other plans of the year didn’t allow for another three month long strict training plan. So 2024 it is!
- ❌ I didn’t get to 24 marathons in 2023. When setting the goal I knew it was a long shot, but it should have been possible. What I didn’t expect was that the strenuous Lavaredo 120K race came with a such a long recovery period I wasn’t able to do a full marathon for a couple of months after it. In the end I landed at 20 marathons by running a lot of great fall races on a weekend to weekend basis and also added three solo winter marathons.
- ❌ Although I kept the streak running going, I started the year by stating I wanted to do daily runs of a minimum distance of five kilometers instead of the 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) the rules require. But soon I would encounter some days, especially those when I was sick, where even 1.6 felt long. I never got below two kilometers, but on 63 days I ran less then five. From a training standpoint, this isn’t bad though. Rest days are known to help with recovery, even though I usually prefer to stay active.
👟 My Running Shoe Rack at the End of 2023
I started the year with ten pairs of shoes, eight of which were purely used for running. At the end of the year, I had seven pairs. I removed and replaced six pairs because they had exhausted their lifespans and had fallen apart. The TOPOs are the only ones remaining. With about 4,000 kilometers of running in a year, you go through some shoes. I’m starting 2024 with the following selection:
- 🟠 HOKA Mach 5: Super trusty allrounders, but also near the end of their lifespan at over 1,500 km, maybe replacing them with Mach X soon
- 🔴 HOKA Speedgoat 5: Cushioned trail shoes, too chunky for me to use on technical ultras, but great for the wet and muddy fall, winter, and spring seasons in Hamburg
- 🟢 TOPO Athletic Ultraventure 3: Best trail running shoes I’ve ever had, medium cushioning, large toe-box, massive grip
- 🔵 PUMA Deviate Nitro 2: New and fast carbon shoes, relatively cheap but no perfect fit at the heel for me
- ⚪ NIKE ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 (Version 3): These previous world record shoes are fast for about 150 km, but done after 200 – good thing I got them on sale
- 🟢 ASICS Novablast 4: Great new allrounders which have just recently replaced my version 3 which I loved
- 🟢 HOKA Rocket X2: A recent addition racing shoe which I plan on taking to the Hamburg Marathon in April
🥇 The Best Races of 2023
With Boston, Lavaredo, and New York City out of the way, there were actually a bunch more during the year which I enjoyed a lot. I’m not putting them into any particular order, but worth mentioning are:
- Venice Marathon: The historic city provided an astonishingly beautiful backdrop for a warm Italian fall race.
- München Marathon: A big event with a diverse course but some mishaps on the organizer’s side.
- Sülldorfer Feldmark Marathon: Put up by marathon legend Hajo Meyer (1.619 lifetime marathons!), I came first of 30 participants.
- Hamburg Marathon: Always a favorite in my hometown. This year I helped pace my friend Mathias to his new personal best of 3:09h.
- Salzkammergut Marathon: Picturesque Austria. A wonderful course in mixed weather.
📊 The Running Stats of 2023
- 4,258 kilometers run (down 6% from 2022)
- 30,166 meters of elevation gain (3.4x Mount Everest)
- 11.4 kilometers average distance per run
- 407 hours and 5 minutes spent running
My lifetime total kilometers run is now at 28,676 kilometers, meaning I’m just 11,399 km shy of having run around the Earth’s equator. Give it three more years!
📚 Reading Goal of 2023 Outcome
At the start of the year I wanted to move up to 24 books during the year. This type of goal setting works well for me, because every day I have it in the back of my mind and wanting to reach the goal makes me pick up a book and block time for reading it. Audio books are not allowed because I tend to drift off into thoughts on it while listening and miss key points. I can only really understand the contents of a book when reading the words, which I usually do on my kindle device.
I mostly read non-fiction because I want to learn things. Also, here I changed course slightly, because at the beginning of the year I wanted to focus on learning about marketing and sales as well as better management tactics for running companies, but over the course of the year my motivation for those topics faded and my work situation, as mentioned above, changed as well.
Of the 29 books I finished during 2023, 8 were fiction books, which is a lot for me. Three of the 29 became new favorites of mine and made the list of my Top 12 recommendations on the bookshelf overview. I’m very happy I found them. So here are my top three books of the year 2023:
I did continuously read throughout the whole year. No big breaks. In the middle of the year I read the tough Illuminatus! trilogy, which wasn’t that much fun but I still wanted to get through the whole thing. All other books were either enjoyable or taught me something – or both.
At the end of the year I finally got into the Harry Potter books. Yes, it’s 25 years too late, but they are still highly addictive. My oldest two girls read them all during the past year and talk about them a lot, so I finally thought I’d give it a try as well. At the start of 2024 I’m in the middle of Book 4: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 🔥. So fun! We’re planning a trip to London to see the Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studios Experience in April on my initiative.
⌨️ Writing / Coding Goals of 2023 Outcome
I don’t set specific writing goals for this blog or anything else, because for me this is just a recreational activity and I write whenever I feel like I want to say something. There is one exception, I’ve got this draft of an easy and short “Complete Guide to Running Your First Marathon” ready in my drawer for such a long time now, it’s getting ridiculous. As stated above I’ve set it as Bonus Goal #3 and 2024 must be the year, because in 2023 I failed again.
This blog here is doing great and provides a constant source of joy to me and apparently also to many people around the world. I don’t make active efforts to grow the community here, but the search engine ranking for quite a few niche topics is improving and leading lots of curious people here. At the end of the year the blog even surprisingly appeared on this list of Germany’s Best Running Blogs.
Some of you visitors stop to leave a friendly comment (a new feature I coded this year) or send me emails telling me how my posts helped or positively influenced you. I love that and I am very proud of this achievement. 🙏
Other improvements I made on the blog during 2023 include:
- Moving my formerly separate blog about the 28 EU capital city marathons here and including it as a topical landing page
- Coding the infrastructure to send newsletters out to subscribers so I don’t have to rely on outside companies anymore (turns out this was a very smart move, since my former provider, Substack, has apparently decided to become a platform for Nazis now)
- The new comment and reactions feature under every post is coded by me as well, including the approval mechanisms, email notifications, and reply feature
- A full front page redesign including a better flow and clearer hierarchy of information
- Three new dynamic sub pages at teesche.com/about (including the new sub navigation):
- 🚭 “I Quit Smoking”, a counter reminding myself and others of the incredibly positive effects of quitting cigarettes.
- 🏃 “Run Stats”, since I now automatically pull all my lifetime running activities into my own database, I can access them and create fun stats. I’ve run 3/4 of the Earth’s equator’s length so far. Big party coming up!
- 🧮 “Marathons & Books Counter”, to keep up with my progress on the 20 Marathons & 20 Books in 2024 front, I’ve created this overview.
🏆 My Own Favorite Posts of 2023
While not always completely in sync with what’s most popular on my blog (that would be the posts about nutrition, who knew), I am most proud of the following three posts, coincidentally also regarding my three highlight races of the year. In order of how good I think they have turned out:
- 🗽 New York City Marathon – Since it’s a bucket list item for many runners all over the world, I tried to describe the experience as detailed as possible. Feedback included that I “made New York City come alive”.
- 🏔️ Lavaredo Ultra Trail 120K – This post is an adventure, just like the race. Feedback has been great and readers told me they felt like they were with me on the journey.
- 🏛️ Boston Marathon – I put emphasis on giving people who have qualified and signed up for Boston as much practical advice for making the trip as great as possible. It sparked lots of constructive discussion on Strava.
I hope to continue this trend and aim to improve the quality of my writing further in 2024. In what was a first for me, I had the opportunity to write two reviews about running tech gadgets. Those were about the COROS Pace 3 GPS watch and the CORE Body Temperature Monitor. It has been an interesting task, but in all honesty I prefer writing about races.
Honorable mention of 2023: My 2nd place finish at Blankeneser Heldenlauf post. What a surprising additional highlight of the year!
🪣 Bucket List Progress
The idea of keeping a public bucket list has appealed to me right when I first heard about it. Since I had one on my writing computer, it wasn’t a big deal to put it online. The items on it differ wildly in complexity and it’s been a while since I’ve ticked some items off, but 2023 has been a year in which that finally happened again.
- 🩸 I finally donated blood for the first time in my life. To share the motivation and keep the information public, I wrote a blog post about it here. This had been overdue!
- 🗽 Again, I mention the New York City Marathon. I’ve been trying to get in for seven years total and it finally happened in 2023. Beyond grateful for it.
I’m also very close to check off “Learning how to juggle with three balls for a minimum of 60 seconds”. It doesn’t come easy to me and I practice almost every day for exactly five minutes, to keep the entry barrier low. Right now I can reliably do about 30 seconds.
A good chance of happening in 2024 I estimate for items #1, #7, #10, and on the bonus list for items #2 and #6. Have a look here!
🖼️ And Here Are the Pictures, Finally!
🚀 Starting the Year 2024 Right
The New Year’s Day tradition I have established includes not waking up hungover hating myself, but getting up early and running an ultramarathon. I usually keep it light with a basic 50k in a flat area. This time, thanks to my mother-in-law Susanne, we got to spent the time on the sunny Canary Island Fuerteventura and had a wonderful mid-winter break with her, all my five ladies, and my brother-in-law Neil. I swore to myself I’m going to do the same thing for my family in a few decades and just invite them to great places. Such a good idea.
Although it looks very similar at times, I did not get the idea for the insane goal of running a marathon on the moon here!
Start the year off right and keep going. To the moon and beyond! 😄