Bye, Felicia!

Every day is a school day, and 2017 has been filled with lessons.

It’s taught me who my real friends are, and how to better identify those who have less-than-good intentions.

2017’s events have reinforced my self-belief as much as they have tested it.

I always make a point of being forthright and open in my blogs, and if you’ve been reading them for the last 5 years, you’ll be aware that I’m very much an up and down type of person. My struggle with body image and depression is not new news.

This year, I have struggled to stay “up”. The suffocating weight of unhappiness has never been far behind me. However, after one particularly bad week, I decided to take a leap and as a result, next year already looks like it’s going to be 100 times more positive.

Life-lessons aside, let’s have a look back over my year in trainers and wetsuits:

The London Marathon (The Successful Ballot Edition)The beginning of the year was quiet. On purpose. I had London Take Two to train for. But alas…. A chest infection which I still think was borderline pneumonia and shin splits and a dislodged bone in my foot and ligament damage and MANY other things conspired against me for most of January and February. Somehow I (plus Michelle) dragged my half-dead ass to the start and finish of my 2nd London Marathon and truly earned this stellar bit of bling.

Benarty Gala Trail Race

I hate running. And hills. And running up hills. And down hills. I’m not really sure why I went back to this one a second time. I hadn’t run since London. I’d stepped away from being coached and I was fed up of pretty much every aspect of fitness but this is a local race and I had New trail shoes, so fuck it. I did it. And complained the whole entire time. Nailed it.

I didn’t PB on the whole route which was a bit frustrating however I substantially PB’d on the hill sections thus proving that loudly complaining about the race you’ve paid to enter while running it is extremely effective for improving performance, sort of…

It’s always nice to support local races. Timing wise I reckon this’ll be too close to Lakesman next year. I’ll pretend to be gutted about that…

Great North Swim NOT 10km

At the time, I was heartbroken. We’d travelled all the way to Ambleside. Beardy entered a stupidly absurd hill race in Keswick. I had trained SO hard and thrown everything into my preparation for this only to have it cancelled due to the weather. This was a big lesson in taking disappointment on the chin and not letting it get the better of you.

I was able to swim a mile in Windermere on the Saturday instead and earn *some* bling. I PB’d my mile OWS time by 4 minutes in horrid conditions and got to swear loudly at a man in a wetsuit. All was not lost.

Beardy didn’t die on a Cumbrian Fell and we met some fantastic people who made the weekend even more fun.

Great Scottish Swim 10km (The Redemption)Oh man. Talk about blessings in disguise.

I entered this because I HAD to swim this distance this year. By hook or by crook. I upped the game on my training. Hammered the miles in in the pool, with peak-week hitting 27km instead of 15km in prep for GNS. And I fucking SMASHED IT MATE.

Honestly. 2hrs53min. 9th female. 4th in age category.

Looking back, I wasn’t prepared in June. I’d have done it but it would have been grizzly. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to pull a sub 3hr out of the bag. I was delighted. This is my equivalent of a sub 4hr london marathon. I didn’t think it was possible, but I worked damn hard and it paid off.

This medal is my very favourite.

The Forth Bridge 10k

This was the actual sodding day after my 10km Swim. Am I mad? Yes. I was also fucking starving.

I hadn’t really slept. I hadn’t eaten enough (but to be fair: define “enough” after a 3hr Swim…) and I was undertrained for The Running. I literally hadn’t used my legs in weeks.

However, by some aerobic miracle brought on by hours in the pool pushing my cardiovascular fitness to its limit, I managed a sub60 on a Not-flat course. I also projectile vomited (not sure what came up, because starving) at the finish line almost all over a man. While a woman admired my Fenix 3.

The afternoon following this race was just perfect. 2 lunches and 2 naps. Living the dream.

The DramathonThis was An Event. A brilliant, brilliant weekend with great friends, food and the most stunning scenery. But this race was a beast. 4km short (I’m still bitter about this because THERE HAS STILL BEEN NO EXPLANATION FOR SKIPPING THE GOLF COURSE LOOP…. c’mon guys!!) but still brutal. It wasn’t that hilly considering the highland setting. But it was slippy, and poorly marked. And quiet. So, so quiet. A proper feat of endurance for me and my pal Sarah. Willing each other on while snacking on brownies and biscuits. Daydreaming about whisky and pizza.

A gorgeous race. Not sure if I’d do it again, but one I’d definitely recommend.

Perth MoRun Not10k

This should’ve been a huge PB for my 10km pace. But they lost 1.6km of the course somehow…

MoRun in Edinburgh was my first EVER race back in 2013. Before most of my pals even considered running, biking or swimming.

Back then, Beardy had zero interest in running so I travelled to that race solo. With no support. So to be able to race with Beardy and his dad a few years later, is really cool. And something that makes me proud of how far I’ve come. Despite them leaving me in the dust, pace wise.

It was a cracking day for an almost-PB in the name of a deserving cause. And still a brilliant medal.

Now, as I gaze not-so-fondly back over a painful but rewarding year in endurance, I thoroughly look forward to 2018.

There are big changes on the not-so-distant horizon. I put on my big-girl-pants and sorted my shit out.

2018 has lots of excitement in store. As well as the small matter of 140.6 miles and hopefully, fingers crossed, with some hard work, dedication and patience: earning my Iron Crown.