"Better to be the one that smiled, than the one that didn't smile back"
I'll touch quickly upon the race in Mallorca - my first PRO 70.3 start after the transition from ITU. I learnt that a race of this distance hurts when your not prepared. And three months training off the back of six months of sod all, really really hurts. After the crash in January getting to a start line before the end of the season was the aim, so I guess I succeeded there, but once you reach one goal you set the next bar, and I always set it high. I exited the water in 4th but it was a quick regression back through the pack from there. I pulled out during the run with nothing to give except mental energy but sadly with no legs to assist, that wasn't going to get me very far, and certainly not as fast as I wanted. I did what I could in preparation, but at this level three months was never going to make the cut. These past three months have got me back to triathlon, reminded me what I do, why I do, and why I love it. I lost a huge part of me when I lost the ability to train and race at full capacity, but its slowly coming back. In a two week break now, before hitting winter hard, with blocks due to be spent in Fuerteventura and Lanzarote either side of Christmas.
The the 1st of January each year, social media feeds are drowned by feel good quotes...."new year, new me", "365 days, 365 new chances", "new beginnings", "today is the first page of a 365 blank book..." - well I call BS. I have had, without a shadow of a doubt, the worst year of my existence. However with every knock back, it has also been the most educating and positive, crammed with opportunity and life.
I realise its not quite New Year 2016, but for a triathlete its the start of the New training Year, the new season, and quite frankly - any excuse for New Year after my 2015 so far, I will welcome with open arms. On Saturday after the race in Mallorca there was a firework display, and it gave me comforting closure on 2015, and welcomed in a New Year of my own (i'll brush over the fact that 48hrs later the plane home landed in London not Bournemouth).
Some events in life take a little more pondering over "everything happens for a reason" than others, for example £1300 in insurance excesses on my Audi A1 after 1) vandalism and 2) hit and run are ones I am still struggling with (donations and answers on a postcard please)...but I figure if there's no obvious reason then it must be something to do with building and developing you as an individual.
All cards on the table - the crash in January broke my dream, my 2015 dream of making the U23 European and World Championships. A couple of months later, I was broken from a relationship. At the time that was it, world over - but sometimes it takes a hard fall, or two, to know where you really stand. From the first break, I knew God gives tough battles to his strongest soldiers, and that the best was yet to come. From the second break, I learnt confidence. Confidence in who I am as a person, and what I do. I learnt that with a life like this, highs and lows are a part of the deal, and consequently part of me, but that's just how it is, it certainly doesn't mean I'm broken. From both breaks I learnt that I am not what happened to me, I am what I chose to become from it. Anyone can give up, that's easy, but to hold it together when everyone would understand if you fell apart, that's a strength you can carry.
Take one day at a time folks, one day at time. And at the end of each day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy, and your eyes sparkling. Life isn't broken into 365 days, we just do that to make it easier to manage. Life is a series of both wonderful and relentless events thrown at us left, right and centre to test and teach us. I am more than ready to take everything I have learnt from the past 365 days to the next batch. So come on, 2016...go ahead, underestimate me! A lot can happen in a year, I'll give you that, but whatever happens, I promise you, you can make it yours.