Sunday, December 27, 2015

Closing out 2015 early

It's nearly the end of the year. We are supposed to take stock aren't we? Out with the old, in with the new. New Years resolutions. I should be ready for one last indulgence then a new year, new me.


I did a tiny bit of indulging before Christmas.  I had one night out during which I realised that I like my colleagues a lot - even enough to stay out drinking till 1:30 am with them... but after that I was tired.  I picked up a cold which has now manifested into a lovely green chest infection and I am done with over- indulging.  Christmas for me has been a time of getting together with family, a fairly modest meal with my mum and dad and another one with the Rodgers clan before retiring gracefully into a coughing heap of flegm and relaxation from which I see little return over the next week.  I am, in a word, fooked.

It's greedy to imagine that any new me will continue.  I have had a new me all year. Courtesy of our lovely nhs service who perceptively diagnosed that for 24 years, the contraceptive pill has been ruining my health. Having escaped out of the other end of a near-miss illness I have been improving in ever-lasting cycles, not sure entirely how long it will last.  Turns out, until Christmas.

The cold has charmed its way into my chest and left it rumbling like a cauldron overflowing with the green stuff. Amazingly it is the first time I have been ill all winter which makes me happy, although I could have done with it holding off until after Ripley cyclocross and the nationals, quite nicely if you pretty please. But it's not worth me sweating it, I am ill and that is that. Please don't tell me I will be well rested because I just came out of a rest period. I am just going to be weedy and aerobically screwed when I come out of this. I think the national championship race is going to be about me finishing which, for the first time ever, will be an improvement on last year when my calf muscle locked into a tiny ball like a baby hedgehog and refused to come out, leaving me with a 1st time ever DNF.

So, looking forward short term is no fun. Looking forward longer term is indecisive still. It is difficult to get excited about committing to a long term goal while feeling like death on toast, when short, involuntary whimpers emit from my throat when I move. But a long distance bike rally in Southern Europe is somewhat driving my ambitions once I can get off the sofa.

I have read and explored more deeply into my yoga practice this year and am hungry to develop. Clarity, focus and meanings sneak into everyday corners of my life where before there was an empty void.

This is why I won't be looking forward in 2016. Last year I trained without planning it and I can't see next year being that much different.  I set out with two goals in mind - to have fun and to keep doing it.  I ended up within a whisker of an age grouper's place on team GB and incredibly proud of myself for doing so.  The cyclo-cross season has gone equally well with fifth and sixth place finishes in national events and I still feel there's so much more I have to offer... if I can just shake the flu.

So here it is, my one bout of belly-button gazing for 2015...

Remember when it used to snow in England in winter?  Well, Glyn Hopkins came out for a play in the snow with me.
After dining out on English snow we went to Austria for some more.
I think I hibernated in March but we had some nice sky.
As the days got lighter in April, I was on site in Kent and Bird-watching became a side-effect of my running addiction.

All that running put me in good stead for the surprisingly sunny Whinlatter Extreme Duathlon in April where an 18 mile MTB warm up was suddenly a real thing.
In May, the weather took a turn for the worse and whilst away with Norton Wheelers we took a beating in the hills in the pouring rain before retreating to the sanctity (if you can call it that) of High Force, before indulging in a rest-day of shopping and driving... what a pair of old biddies?
In May we said an emotional (two fingers salute) goodbye to the Vanu and hello to the tipi...

...which we used to its full effect.
The roads in Wales were kind to me for the Triathlon season
In July we experienced similar fair weather for excursions on bike, foot and in wetsuit around the Scottish Highlands.

August saw a visit from royalty
and I had the opportunity to race the Tri relays with this motley crew before the big race in September - the Bala Triathlon - took me to some proper mountain scenery after an indulgent few days of luxurious recovery.
My last happy rides with Phoenix before she retired from competitive cyclo-cross
At the end of September, I was very proud to make it onto the podium for the 3 Peaks cyclo-cross for all the wrong reasons.  My dad, riding his 40th race should have been decorated with some kind of medal so far as most of us were concerned.  However, the race organisers chose to ignore such an accomplishment and instead were forced to award us the second father-daughter prize, narrowly beating an 85 year old and his 50 year old daughter.
In October, Dirty Beast made it into my life.  
And a new programme of evening cyclo-cross and mountain bike rides started to make things happen in the racing world.
including the advent of husband-racing in our family.  Rapha, providing a brilliant event for us both to enjoy.

Yet in amongst the cyclo-cross, we took some time out and did a bit of roofbox-tipi-stove (this has totally become a thing) camping in the Lake District.
November also took us to the South East twice in two weeks to catch up with this fella in the dirty...
...and slightly cleaner, with his new wife in early December.
December, is not recognisable as such.

As I've written above, December has seen me faltering, clinging on to the last edges of the will to train, compete and repeat.  Recovery is getting slower, enthusiasm waning.  A symptom of my disease or it's cause? Who knows?  My running has suffered, my swimming clings on to the feathery edges of possible.  It is like I am suffering March's downfall early.  Maybe by coming out of it early, I'll be stronger next year but since we're not looking forwards, we are only concerned with today, let's not fret that.

Today I swam.  I swam a hearty 20 lengths of a 50m pool in rounds of 300m which, considering I've been swimming 200m rounds, I am happy with.  I was not entirely annihilated by the youth of Guildford, in fact I held my own in the fast lane.  My breathing held up OK, given that I didn't need to use my nose and no-one seemed to mind the orca-style distress calls which occasionally uttered from my lungs so eloquently, so involuntary. 

So, I return to finish this post with a renewed air of invincibility and jam-packed with insane ideas for 2016.
A happy new year to everyone.  I plan to spend mine nursing my breathing system, resting my body still further and hoping, above all hopes, that some muscle has grown out of the turkey dinner consumed heartily on Friday night.

Here's to springing Januarys

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