Wednesday, 30 January 2013

9 Years can seem like a lifetime

Firstly apologies if at any point this gets overly philosophical or melodramatic at any point this one is more for me to look back on when having a down day or tough period more that anything else.

9 years ago today my mother lost her relatively short battle with cancer at the premature age of 53. Obviously this had a devastating blow throughout the family and being only 14 and with a younger sister of 9 is easily the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with and will probably be that way for ever.

As I have grown up ( I'm sure some will debate that) and especially since I have had kids of my own it has become more and more obvious the sheer amount of work that she did for me and us as a family. With a somewhat traditional upbringing with my dad being the full time worker and bread winner my mum was at home the whole time, there from when I got up in the morning to when I went to bed at night, there for support in the bad times and celebrations in the good. It's quite sad that it is only now nearly a decade after she died that I am only starting to truly appreciate what she did for me. The hours spent running me and my younger sister around to and from school, swimming club and other activities must have been consuming enough let alone looking after a house, doing food, cleaning, washing etc. the hours she spent down the local pool must have been incredible with me and my sister swimming and then doing the bacon sandwiches on a Saturday morning to help out as well. When I got into water polo more we used to have to travel to western counties training sessions at Milfield pool. She used to book us a b&b close by and we would stay the night, never did I hear here her complain or grumble about time, cost or effort to do it all. With what I know now about how hard work children can be it amazes me how selfless and committed she was to us and I only hope I can try and get somewhere close with my own kids.

It's these experiences in life that shape you as a person and the more I realise what she did the more I am driven to make her proud still, prove that all those hours at the pool where not wasted, all the potentially thousands spent have been justified and also to use her as a role model for my own parenting. It's ironic how 9 years later her death can be motivating to achieve something as somedays I wonder if I would be less committed of she was still here.

Although so hard at the time to believe there are some lessons that can be taken from it, although the human brain has this weird ability to remove certain emotions from memories or at least block them out for 99% of the time to essentially protect you keeping the happier times there instead of the sadder ones, similar to all aspects of life you never seem to remember the sad stuff so clearly, from trivial things to that hangover where you clearly state your never drinking again and ironman racing where in that run you are in pain and so tired and just want to stop but your brain manages to omit this from your memory so it seems like a good idea to do it again. I think it teaches perseverance to a massive level, although things may be rough now they will get better and this is something that can be applied to many aspects of life and you definitely gain a certain amount of resilience from such an experience and In some ways a sense of confidence that you have dealt with that before so whatever comes your way you can deal with it again, that's not to say its going to be easy but at least you know it is doable.

Another thing from the experience was my dads motto as such afterwards. He used to say no 'what ifs' no dwelling on if you had done anything differently the current situation may have been different. You are in the position you are in and have to deal with that the best way you know possible. This again is something that has really stuck with me and can be applied to all aspects of my life from work and training through to my family life, no what if I hadn't missed that session I might have gone quicker!!

I just truly hope that although I will be far from perfect that I can live up to her standards and become a person she can be truly proud of, in those dark times whether they be racing or in life in general you need things to keep you motivates and get you through whatever they may be and I think this is one of them for me, maybe not the happiest but one in which will serve me well when I need it. I just hope that I have learnt and grown from it and can use these lessons to help me achieve anything I set my mind to.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

2013 Here we come!!

Now we are officially in 2013 it seems an appropriate time to look forward as to what the year may bring. On a personal level it's about hitting the sessions day in day out week after week month on month. Building consistency in training to hopefully bring me the fitness required to race well. As far as racing goes the only race confirmed is outlaw in July and this will be the only full distance one for the year.

Hopefully kick off the year at Ringwood Classic early April, one I have raced twice before one good one bad and a lovely bike course through the New Forrest. This will be backed up by Bustinskin Osprey Sprint held at my local pool a couple of miles down the road where I completed my first triathlon in 2011 and came second overall last year. After this the plan was to try and get out to Ironman 70.3 Mallorca in may, not sure if its going to work out yet but plan B may become marshman triathlon in Kent. After this the focus will be on outlaw, an 8 week build of some solid training and hard work to deliver me to the start line in Nottingham in tip top condition ready to go for a new IM pb and a good result.

The end of July brings another local race, Bustinskin race to the bill Olympic out of the national sailing academy should be a good one. For August no races planned so far, will see how I feel and what options I have a bit nearer the time. September though brings many options, the Bustinakin weymouth classic where agin a second place overall last year makes me want to go back to try for the win, Henley Half also one I've considered as an end of season bigger one the 2nd weekend of the month, the re run of the Ringwood race is this month and the last weekend brings with it the Bustinskin Diablo, the tough ass middle distance race which includes hill, hills and more hills. After the weather of last year as a memory I think people will be keen to show this course what there made of!! Then comes the well deserved break, reflection and chilling time.

From the family view I hope they will be there to support me all the way and after a hectic but brilliant Christmas just looking forward to watching the kids grow and develop even more, with poppy hopefully starting ore school soon and Maecee turning 8 so able to do her own races if she wants I am definitely excited to see what the year brings and make the most of it. Let the fun begin.