Turning purple…

Well well well… long time no see hey blog! It’s been one heck of a ride since the last time I wrote a blog post, but as usual, quite a lot has changed. I wonder if I’ll ever write a blog post where I don’t say that…

So 10 days ago, I began a new career. I officially became a Student Nurse. And in three years time, fingers crossed I’ll be one of the few privileged people who get to help people, make a difference and have an impact on people’s lives in such a way that not many get to do. I’ve got a long way to go yet before that even happens; 3 years of theory and practical training, 3 years to learn the ropes, 3 years to experience as much as I possibly can, and 3 years of student life to get through. But I’ve taken that first step on the ladder, and the only way is up.

But since starting my course, I’ve come across a small* (*big) problem. “Being a student nurse in Wales is great”, they said… “You still get the student bursary in  Wales!” they said… “At least you get paid to do your degree” they said…

Well you see, the problem is… I don’t. Arriving at university on my first day I found out that I was not going to be offered a student bursary. The rationale? I’ve not been financially independent from my parents for long enough. So despite being 25 years old, living in my house with my boyfriend and earning my own money for 2.5 years, apparently this doesn’t mean that I’m financially independent. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER. I got pretty angry, and am convinced I almost turned the colour of my lovely new purple uniform. They also told me that my parents are supposed to support me through my degree. Now, my parents are two of the most supportive people going. However… they’ve put me through four years of university already. Asking for another three takes the piss a little bit. And with my brother at university at the moment and my sister hoping to start soon, I somehow don’t think that’s a reasonable thing to ask them to do.

It basically means that whilst doing a full time university course 50 miles away from my home (that’s quite a lot of travelling every day), I also have to work on pretty much every day off. That’s going to be virtually every weekend, any spare days that I have off from uni… bank holidays, Christmas, etc. just to make sure that I can pay my rent and feed myself for the month. See ya later social life!

It also means relying on poor old Moss to help me out A LOT. He’s told me he’s happy to do this, but I’m pretty sure when he agreed to be my boyfriend he didn’t sign up for that! It’s a lot to ask of someone to pay for me to live for the next three years (although I’m sure if I make him lots of pies, sausage rolls and cakes he’ll be happy enough).

Anyway, I’m not here for a pity party and I’m not here for sympathy (but you know, the odd chocolate bar through my letterbox might help me through this really tough time). I also know that I’m incredibly lucky to be given the opportunity to learn and be part of such a rewarding career. And I know that there are a lot of people in a much worse situation than I’ve found myself in.

But what I am here for is to raise awareness of the issue. I know for a fact that I cannot be the only person who is having this kind of issue. Funding for nurses whilst doing our training is so low for everyone, with or without the bursary! I want to be someone that changes it, someone with a voice that gets heard. We’re giving 3 years of our lives, 50% of which is spent in clinical areas, working on the wards and in the communities. All of this being done without pay. I’ve worked in the Health Board for over a year now, and I can almost guarantee that for the next 10-20 years of my working life, I will probably be working in the same hospital in the same Health Board. I’m dedicated to making a difference, and yet am being tested and pushed almost over the edge because of the financial situation I’ve found myself in. I gave up a full time, pretty well paid job in order to do this course, and it’s quite a worry!

I know that the NHS is at crisis point. I also know that there is an incredible shortage of nurses. What I don’t know though, is how the (lack of) student bursary is discouraging me to the point where I start to think, is it really worth it? Is this what other people think? Is this why there is such a shortage of nurses? Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to get myself through these 3 years and I’m going to learn SO MUCH! And I can’t wait for it. I’m going to prove that I can do it and that I WILL do it. But at times, I have to question the rationale behind the whole thing. In 3 years time, I’ll be in charge of looking after people when they’re at their most vulnerable. Throughout the next 3 years I’ll be helping clinical staff to do this, and learning more and more every day about how to be the best nurse I can be. Is that not worth something?

To any fellow student nurses who are in the same boat as me, kudos to you. Hang in there, we’ll all get there together 🙂

Sorry for moaning, I’ll try and be more positive next time! 😉

Peace out,

A very frustrated Student Nurse

xox

 

 

 

 

Broken Pieces.

“For a star to be born, there is one thing that must happen. A nebula must collapse. So collapse. Crumble. This is not the end. This is the beginning.”

Up shit creek and without a paddle. That pretty much sums up how today has been! I never planned for today to happen. Not once did it cross my mind that my Life Plan A wouldn’t work. But today, Life Plan A failed. Throwing a spanner into the works with regard to my 5 year plan, my 10 year plan and my 20 year plan (yes I’m that sad, and I do plan that far ahead).

But today, I found out that I’d been rejected from university. The one place I need to go in order to fulfil my biggest goal. And there it was. In plain black and white, clear as day, telling me I had been unsuccessful.

I’ll be honest. I broke. Completely. Cracked.

I cried in work, I cried on the way home from work, and I cried at home. I’ll probably cry a lot more too.

I’m shocked, deflated, confused and devastated all in one. My interview went so well, and I’ve done all the right things to get me on the best track possible to being the best paramedic I can possibly be. And yet still, it’s a no.

Explaining the devastation to a colleague was actually quite difficult. No one gets how much I bloody want this as my career. No one! But me. I likened it to my initial childhood ambition of being an elite triathlete. I tried, I tried so so hard and in the end it broke me. I had 7 stress fractures, stressful training periods, failed relationships, damaged health, all in the name of chasing a goal. Now, I’ve chosen another goal, and I’ve failed at that too. Destined to fail perhaps?

No. Pity party over & back to reality. I will not be beaten and I will not give up. Fire in my belly and all that! Plan B. Ok, here’s the problem. I don’t have a Plan B. Hence my current predicament. I’ve collapsed and crumbled, but now i must begin again.

Perhaps this year WASN’T my time. Perhaps I wasn’t totally ready. Perhaps I’m just destined to keep plodding for another year. Maybe it’s my body’s way of telling me to stop for a bit? Slow down and enjoy the ride? Stop chasing goal after goal, and relax a little bit. Who knows. Maybe I really did just have a shit interview. I don’t know.

But what I do know is that this won’t break me. Oh no, it definitely won’t break me for good. ‘Pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, and try again.’ So that’s what I intend on doing. Life Plan B will start to surface soon. But if it doesn’t, does it really matter anyway? Do I need to stick to plan? Since the age of 16, I’ve stuck to a plan. Daily targets, weekly training schedules, monthly goals, an annual focus. Perhaps it’s time I let that mentality go, and learnt to go with the flow. I’m a fiercely determined girl, with a tenacity that can quite often get me into trouble. I guess sometimes it’s important to challenge yourself, out of the comfort zone even for a short while.

So here is my promise. My resolution to ‘go with the flow’. Forget the 5, 10, 20 year plans. Forget tomorrow! Focus on TODAY. What can I do TODAY that will mean I will get the most out of the 86,400 seconds I’m given each day. Use them all up, why not? I’ll never get them back.

Time for a fresh outlook, and a pressure free year. Plod along, but enjoy those precious seconds. I’ll achieve my goal one day. Not this year, and maybe not even next. But I sure as hell am not giving up my fight.

Thank You

I haven’t blogged in a while. Blogging used to be a bit of an escape for me. Something I’d use to write down all my challenges, all my stories of some pretty tough times I went through whilst pursuing my sporting goal. It was a way of getting away from the physical side of sport, and a way of digging deep into the psychological minefield that can be so hard to understand within elite sport.

This one is different. This one is all about gratitude.

Triathlon.

Thank you for opening my eyes to so many different experiences.

Thank you for teaching me about hard work.

Thank you for pushing me beyond what I ever thought I was capable of.

Thank you for the good times, the medals, the podiums, the prize money.

Thank you for the memories, the laughs and the incredible friends I have made.

Thank you for taking me around the world with you and letting me see some incredible places.

Thank you for the bad times, the DNF’s, the failures, the injuries.

Thank you for teaching me never to give up.

Thank you for hurting me, punishing me with bad luck and cruel outcomes.

Thank you for helping me to understand that it’s never all sunshine and rainbows!

Thank you for giving me the mind-set of a winner; a fighting spirit and an ability to push myself.

Thank you for planting a seed within me, a strong desire to succeed in whatever I put my mind to.

Thank you for teaching me discipline, appreciation, patience and understanding.

Thank you for the 5am starts, the cold and wet bike rides and the pavement pounding.

Thank you for being the biggest part of my life that anything has ever been.

Thank you for always being there for me to come back to after we fell out!

Thank you for the hours and hours and hours of fun.

Thank you for the journey.

Thank you Triathlon, for everything you have done to shape me into the person I am today.

Now… where are my trainers?!

#SwimBikeRun

Girls 11990475_10153635516799806_3507573553977804413_n 10376822_10152471780699806_3960767501724934006_n 10258568_10152394849529806_8579938381845817988_o 621855_10151802624554806_1359842185_o 537912_10151317857629806_1369726369_n 525857_10150959727754806_1161572282_n 10382881_10152526442299806_7116947377428679233_n

Venture – ‘a risky or daring journey or undertaking’

I think of my life as a series of ventures; constantly changing direction, shifting my path, adjusting my sails so to speak. Life without risk is a life not worth living, and being daring enough to undertake those ventures shows you what life is all about.

My last blog was extremely positive, and I promise this won’t be a negative turn! On reflection, it’s positive as I’ve learnt so much about myself in the last few weeks that I never would have done had this not all blown up in my face.

So about a month ago, a lot suddenly changed. I found out that essentially my job contract had been cut (despite initially being told otherwise). Oh poo. My first thoughts were: ‘how am I going to pay my rent?’, ‘I’ve just bought a car… how am I going to pay for that?’, ‘what am I going to do with myself?!’. I handled the situation pretty well though I thought, managed to get the facts sorted and come up with a few different options, or should I say a few different ventures that I could take?

I found a job very similar to my current role, and quickly got down to the application. I spend days on it, ensuring everything was perfect to make sure that I got myself an interview. The interview invite came, and the subsequent interview preparation began. On the day of said interview, I was feeling confident and knew I had a good shot at this. I HAD to get this job!

But then someone decided I needed a little plot twist.

I didn’t get the job.

There were a few tears, a bit of panic, and a touch of questioning as to why I wasn’t good enough. I’d failed, yet again. Failure, defeat, anger, frustration, hate; words I never want to use to describe what I felt. But then I realised that self-hate can be the worst enemy and I didn’t need to break myself down any more than that rejection already had. Forget wallowing in self-pity and picking out all my flaws you silly sausage! I just needed a new venture 🙂

So I sat myself down with a cup of tea and a curly wurly (obviously) and decided that I needed to something that scared me a little, challenged me a little more, but excited me even more than that!

My two passions are 1) sport and 2) helping people. Ok, I thought. Why not mix the two? Combine the two things that genuinely make me happy?! Of course I should! Within half an hour I’d decided. I signed myself up to complete a Sports Massage Diploma so that I could run with my dream of combining my two passions.

So out of a bad situation comes a very promising future. I’m looking forward to getting started on my course and am concentrating on doing all the groundwork at the moment. The website is under construction, business plans have been put in place and the excitement is really building. I’m so excited to be able to use my own self-motivation to move my life forward positively and (hopefully!) see results from something I’m working hard to achieve. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s going to be an incredible challenge, but I’m so up for it that I just want to get started now! I can’t wait to be a qualified massage therapist and begin to learn what the profession involves and how to be the best massage therapist that I can be.

Keep your eyes peeled for updates on this by the way – the plan will all be revealed soon! 🙂

The current venture has enabled me to see a little bit beyond the next few months. With going back to studying next September (hopefully!), I needed something that I would both enjoy doing until then, but also be able to continue to pursue whilst at university. Boom tinggggg.
Peace, love and happiness,

eli_teee

xox

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

A Jolly Good Time

Looks like it’s been quite a while since I last blogged! Which I suppose could be seen as a good thing?! So how’s life? Well, you know what? Life’s pretty freaking good actually. So much has changed in the last few months, let alone in the last year but I’m as happy and chirpy as ever.

When I think back to this time last year, I was coming back from Turkey where I raced the race that was intended to secure my selection for the Commonwealth Games. I was coming back upset, disappointed, frustrated and angry at myself and my result (my first triathlon DNF due to a puncture), not knowing what to do or where to go next.

The months that followed were a whirlwind, which involved my first half ironman, my first half ironman win, my first international win and first trip to the Caribbean, graduation, retirement from elite triathlon, selection for the Commonwealth Games, and relocation to London. Phew. It was a crazy summer, but a summer I won’t forget.

And if I thought THAT was a crazy few months… the next few months were something else (see previous blog here https://elinorthorogood.wordpress.com/2014/11/21/hakuna-matata/)! I can safely say that I am now so far from that low and dark place that I might as well be in another world. When I moved home from London, I moved back in with my parents into my childhood home. Back into my little box room, with my cosy little bed and no room to swing a cat. I’d have taken that room any day if it meant I was happy again so I really had nothing to complain about! I loved being home (the cheap rent was great too ;)) but I knew that it wouldn’t be a permanent move.

At the end of February, Glyn and I moved into our gorgeous flat closer to town. It’s actually the music room of the old local Welsh secondary school and is my absolute favourite place in the world. We had some fun decking the place out, buying furniture, colourful kitchen equipment (sorry Glyn) and planning where everything would go. When we were finally all moved in, we sat down in THE comfiest armchairs EVER and knew that we would be so very happy in our lovely flat. We’re also now only a 15 minute walk to work – BONUS!

Speaking of work… I’ve got a good job in the University here and although it’s not something I want to do forever, I know what else is on the horizon and I can’t wait. I’m focussing on doing the best that I can do in the job I’m in, and making the most of the opportunities to learn and gain more and more experience in the working world. I have wonderful colleagues who think I’m a bit nuts (they sussed that out pretty quickly hey!) but also colleagues who care about me and look out for me. It’s a special community and I do love that. In September next year, I’m hoping to be chasing a new career (something quite different but something I’m really set on) but for the moment, I need to focus on the present, so all will be revealed once that’s been confirmed! 🙂

On the sporting front, things have changed A LOT. So back in May last year, I retired from elite triathlon. The lifestyle pressures and injury frustrations were getting too much for me and my body so I made the decision to take a step back and focus on building a healthier Eli again. I now feel like I’ve found a balance and am racing for Aprire Bicycles HSS Hire Women’s Cycling Team. And I love it! I had a pretty disastrous winter in terms of training (ruptured calf – out for three months; Christmas virus – out for three weeks; broken wrist – out for four weeks). But I’m gathering momentum slowly but surely, and finding my love for competition again. I’ve now raced two races (Cheshire Classic and the Tour de Yorkshire) and although I didn’t really have the most outstanding results, I enjoyed both and am loving being part of such a brilliant team again. The girls are all amazing, both as athletes and as friends and I’m so happy to have met them through our mutual love of such a fantastic sport.

Now back to the balance thing… I’m also enjoying fulfilling my other desire in life. My desire to travel! As an athlete, you get to travel a lot. But seeing the airport, the hotel, the race course and maybe the odd restaurant now and then isn’t really that special. Last month I went to Norway with Glyn and we both had such an incredible time and want to go back already! It’s a gorgeous country and somewhere I am so glad to have the opportunity to visit (and flights were only £16 return, so we can’t complain really!). Now that I’ve reignited that ‘wanderlust’, we’re in the first stages of planning our next trip which is quite a big’un. We’re planning on heading to New Zealand for Christmas and New Year so I’m busy saving up holiday time and money to book flights and get the show on the road! SO EXCITED!!

I’m trotting along happily through life, meeting new people, making new friends, seeing new places and experiencing new things. Keeping my life busy, exciting, full to the brim and smiley 🙂 The best way to be!

Peace,

eli_teee

10410522_10153467513353782_6452088844127938251_n 10959419_10153095239634806_6115788466903682374_n 11001901_10153116466139806_2841021809329078524_n 11040889_10153210972819806_6153108456221677290_n 11148377_10153250165454806_6682586793887949306_n in a tree

Hakuna Matata

What a wonderful phrase! It means no worries, for the rest of your days. A phrase that actually became quite important to me over the last few months. And a phrase that helped me to get through possibly one of the hardest parts of my life so far…

Some of my close friends know the whole story of what’s gone on, but initially I didn’t want the world to know so I kept things very quiet. But what I’ve realised is that by talking about it, and having the courage to open up to people about things has actually been the biggest relief I needed. I’m a ‘I wear my heart on my sleeve’ kinda girl anyway, so it probably became quite obvious to those around me that I wasn’t in the best place!

I suppose I should probably go right back to the beginning. So, at the end of July this year, I moved to London to start a new job and essentially change the direction of my life. I ‘retired’ from elite triathlon after the Commonwealth Games and wanted to focus on building myself a professional career in the big smoke. Things got off to a rocky start when I HATED my first job. With a passion. When you dislike your job, getting up in the morning gets harder and harder each day and I’d quite often find myself in tears on the phone to mum, dad, my sister, cousins, friends; anyone who’d listen to me and my worries. Now, I knew right away that I didn’t want things to continue like that. So, I moved into a new flat, was very lucky in getting myself another job straight away and things seemed fixed.

Temporarily.

After about three weeks in the new job and the new place, things started rapidly snowballing downhill, to a point where I genuinely thought I was at the lowest of the low. Apparently not though, as my life seemed to have a few more bits and pieces in store for me to crash into! A weekend trip to visit some of my wonderful family on the Wirral turned into a bit of a disaster with a trip to A&E and a totally torn calf muscle. The one thing I could do in London that was keeping me sane; run; I could no longer do! Cheeeeeeeers for that one. A lot of hugs, family support and a bucket load of tears later, I had to go back to London and tackle the place on my lovely new crutches. But here’s the thing… I didn’t WANT to go back to London. I panicked at the thought of having to go back there. Felt ill thinking about me being back there. Now, that’s not the way you want things to be. But I put my big girl pants on and pushed my own boundaries and went back. Miserable as I was, I knew I had to do it. This is probably where the real problems started…

Just your average Tuesday morning, I woke up at 7am to start getting ready for work; shower, quick call to mum, breakfast omelette eaten. Bish bash bosh, the usual routine. I knew I was still very unhappy and something had to change. It was at this point where things went from bad to worse. I started getting anxiety sickness every time I had to leave the house. A genuine fear of leaving! Totally irrational, I realise that now. But at the time, I couldn’t stop it. Then the panic attacks started; hyperventilating, uncontrollable crying and this weird sensation of having the inability to even stand up. I have never ever experienced anything quite like these before and I would never wish it on anyone. One of these attacks occurred when my sister had been visiting and it was just as she was leaving the flat. Alex & John witnessed the emotional and mental state I’d got myself into and kindly took me back to their place in Reading for the weekend. I’ll never forget that, and I’ll always have them both to thank for picking me up off rock bottom that day. The next few weeks involved much of the same, and even though I could escape at weekends (I visited friends in Brighton, family in North Wales and took a short trip home too) it was always that return to London that terrified me and brought on panic attacks and anxiety sickness.

Looking back on it now, I can only assume I was heading towards a very dark place. And I mean, very dark. I should never have let myself get that miserable and that low and I hate myself for doing it now. I’ve always been so strong willed and determined, that I thought I’d be able to pull myself out of it. Almost a case of ‘man up and get on with it’! But the truth is, in the state I was in, I just couldn’t. The depression consumed every part of me, and nothing I told myself was helping my situation.

So, I took a risk. I left my job and made the decision to move out of London. It needed to happen but it was a big, big risk. I left a job that I know a lot of people would do anything to have. I left my flatmate. I left friends. And I left London, knowing I needed to fill my room in my flat as soon as possible to stop me having to fork out an absolute fortune for rent. Rooms in London are like the last Rolo. Everyone wants a room in London. The flat went within two days and another two days later I was back at home in Aberystwyth. Unemployed and exhausted but relieved, happy and ready for yet another chapter in my life.

Two weeks later and I have a full time job, working with a truly wonderful department at the University. I have my family around me. I have my mum and dad to wake up to in the mornings and say ‘Good morning!’ with a big old grin. I’m back at swimming club. I’m back riding with the cycling club (and my dad, yay!). I have my friends all around me. I have my sister to meet for lunch every day if we want! I have my boyfriend here. I have my smile back. I have my LIFE back. Nothing is ever a quick fix, and I understand that what I’ve put myself through has done some pretty substantial damage. But with the support system around me, I know that they will help to put me back together again. The long term plan is a little more complicated and will involve a return to studying at university. But that’s in the future, and why should I look so far in the future when I’ve got today to make the most out of?! Some people might see moving home as a step backwards. But I’m an optimist. I see that taking a step backwards after taking a step forwards is not a disaster; it’s more like a cha-cha. And who doesn’t LOVE a good cha-cha?! 🙂

In true eli_teee style, I do have a number of people I need to say a great big thank you to. It’s times like this when you realise who loves you, and who your genuine true friends are. Rene & Marion, thank you for everything you did for me whilst I was in London. My family, especially UJ, Cazza, Rachie, & the wonderful Dooley clan. Alex & John. My friends; Nina, Laura, Sophie, Ailbhe, Katie, Kirsty, Ben, Jack; thank you for being at the end of the phone whenever I needed you. My Glyn; thank you helping to pick me up when I thought everything had fallen apart. And most importantly, the glue to my mismatched life; mum & dad. I’m sorry for all the stress I’ve caused you, but know that by allowing me to do what was right for me, you have helped save me from the most miserable of places. Thank you for believing in me.

Much love, happiness and peace y’all

eli_teee

xox

Girls Aber Me&Dad MTB

Courage.

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes, courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says “I’ll try again tomorrow”. After all, it’s not about how many times you get knocked down right? It’s how many times you can get back up. Isn’t that how it goes?

No matter how much you plan the way your life to turn out to be, chances are it’ll never follow that plan. There will ALWAYS be a hiccup or two (sometimes three, and maybe even four) but maybe that’s just part of the plan too. Or you know, thrown in just to add a bit of flavour. After all, what’s life without a little spice?

There will be a few times in your life when all your instincts will tell you to do something, something that defies logic, upsets your plans, and may seem totally crazy to others. When that happens, you do it. Listen to your instincts and ignore everything else. Ignore the logic, ignore the odds, ignore the complications and just go for it. Stepping outside of what is considered the ‘right thing to do’ might actually turn out ok for you, but you’ll never know unless you try.

When you think of some of the big milestones in life, most of them actually come in a relatively short space of time. Leaving home for the first time and going to university. Spending 3 years thinking you’re invincible and having the absolute time of your life at said university. Learning some of life’s very important lessons (21 vodka shots are NEVER a good idea, even on your 21st birthday). Graduating. Leaving home for good. Getting a job. Entering the ‘real world’. The first time you have to really pull your big girl pants up, put your best boots on and become an adult. It’s scary, and something I as a young girl, thought of as being way way WAY into the future. But it sneaks up on you, and suddenly your entire life is packed up in the car and you’re on your way.

London, London, London. Oh wonderful London. Where do I start?! The place of dreams, or the place of nightmares? No, of course it’s not that bad. In fact, it’s actually turning out pretty damn good. But let’s go back to the beginning…

Monday morning. A new day. A new week. A new career lined up. GO TIME! Ever the obsessive timekeeper, naturally I rocked up half an hour early. They couldn’t fault my eagerness. It became apparent to me from day one that this was going to be a complete change. And in all honesty, I hated it. Every single minute of it. The job itself was challenging, but not in the way I wanted it to be. It was challenging to drag myself into the office every day, knowing full well that I didn’t want to be there. Luckily, on the day I started, so had 12 others and kudos to them, they really were the people that kept me there. If it wasn’t for them, there is no way I’d have been turning up the next day. But two weeks later, I still hated it. I gave it a bloody good shot but I really couldn’t stand it and I had to leave. Who’da thought it, two weeks into the real world and I become an unemployed university graduate struggling to pay my bills. Fitted right into that trend didn’t I! It was a big step into the unknown, completely against any logic that I might have thought I had, and I’d actually like to apologise to my mum and dad at this point for putting you through what I did. The tears, ohhhhh the tears! They flowed alright. But I’m glad they did. The opportunity I was given was something I can never take for granted and something I have promised myself I never will.

A new flat, a new job and essentially a new life later, and I can finally say I’m happy in London. My flat is my happy place. My housemate Caspar makes a good cup of coffee and a mean veggie burger too. I’ve joined a swimming club, checked out the local run routes and ventured into Surrey for a nice long bike ride with a long-time family friend Henry. I’ve also been motor-paced round Regents Park by a Jamaican guy in a motor powered bobsled (I KID YOU NOT!!!) but I did not kiss the lucky egg. I’m now working in marketing, and although I spent a fair bit of my degree studying marketing, I know I have a lot of learning and catching up ahead of me. But this challenge is different. I WANT to be better at my job. I WANT to be successful and I WANT to learn the tricks of the trade. I get up in the morning looking forward to going into the office, excited to see my colleagues, who I can already call my friends. I’ve learnt so much from Sophie and Sarah and I am so thankful that they are happy to work with me. And I really cannot show my gratitude enough to Jane for giving me this opportunity and really saving my bacon. You guys all rock x

Another big thank you to my guardian angel in disguise. Sharon Lewis, thank you thank you thank you for everything. It all started with a milkshake on the beach in Aberystwyth. And look where it’s got me. You’re a star and I owe you.

So, that’s me. And perhaps the end of one very little chapter and the beginning of the sequel?! I don’t know. My time in recruitment may not have lasted long (let’s be honest, did I ever expect it to?!) but I have a feeling I’m going to be quite happy from now on. I’m looking forward to a housewarming this weekend (21 vodka shots will NOT be consumed) and really excited about what’s to come. It’s a big scary place is London, one of the busiest places on earth yet holds the capacity to make you feel incredibly lonely at the same time. But I’m not going to let that stop me from having as much fun as I possibly can and enjoying my time here. Three cheers for rainbows, smiling and happy vibes 🙂

Peace,

eli_teee
xox

“I just wish that I could bake a cake made out of rainbows and smiles, and we’d all eat it and be happy”

tumblr_m7ixzuaqbb1rwbl7wo1_500_large

IMG_1686

IMG_1690

Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

elinorthorogood

The blog you’re about to read is very different to any of my other blogs. But I feel like I need to write it and bring to the surface an issue that is so often brushed under the carpet.

Eating.

The simple task of providing one’s body with energy in order for it to function, right? Not so simple. How can such a normal, everyday activity that everyone NEEDS to do be such a sensitive issue? Unfortunately recently, I’ve become very aware of certain aspects around me that I’m uncomfortable with, and something that I feel needs tackling. By no means do I think I personally would ever be able to deal with such issues, but our society needs to change in order for the increasing numbers of people succumbing to food issues to fall significantly. I’ll delve a little deeper…

As an endurance athlete, naturally weight has a great…

View original post 877 more words

Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

The blog you’re about to read is very different to any of my other blogs. But I feel like I need to write it and bring to the surface an issue that is so often brushed under the carpet.

Eating.

The simple task of providing one’s body with energy in order for it to function, right? Not so simple. How can such a normal, everyday activity that everyone NEEDS to do be such a sensitive issue? Unfortunately recently, I’ve become very aware of certain aspects around me that I’m uncomfortable with, and something that I feel needs tackling. By no means do I think I personally would ever be able to deal with such issues, but our society needs to change in order for the increasing numbers of people succumbing to food issues to fall significantly. I’ll delve a little deeper…

As an endurance athlete, naturally weight has a great deal to do with performance. From March to September, wherever you go you’ll hear the words ‘race-weight’ at some point. After a winter of hard grafting in the pool and on the roads, it’s time to tighten up. Lean up. Lose the winter wobble. But there’s a fine line and cross over that fine line and it’s a downward spiral. And an incredibly dangerous and upsetting one at that.

I’ve always been a big foodie. As a child I’d be the one going up for seconds at lunch time, waiting around in the school canteen to see if I could wangle the last piece of chocolate cake that was going spare. Turning 17, things changed a bit for me. I became much more aware of what I was eating, and began to restrict my food intake. That sense of control was something I craved but before it got any worse, I grasped hold of reality again and realised what I was doing was actually detrimental to my performance. I had no power and a real lack of energy. I hadn’t succumbed to a serious long term problem. And I’m so glad.

What is heart-breaking to see is the number of athletes, male and female getting so caught up in this. We train for hours and hours every single day, that piece of cake that you so desperately want but your mind won’t let you have? Why? Why is there that mental boundary? And more importantly, why has body weight become such an issue? I can’t even begin to try and answer those questions. I don’t have the answers. But I sure as hell wish I did so I could eliminate such issues from people’s lives. I admit that personally, I am on the larger side of life for a triathlete. I’m by no means small. But at the same time, I fit into size 8 clothing. So in reality I can’t be THAT big. I have big legs but these legs are what have got me to represent my country at both junior and senior level. They’ve done a good job so far so why should I change it so drastically? Why try and fix what’s not even broken?

The problem isn’t just rife in sport though. It’s everywhere you look. Everyday life. Magazines. Newspapers. Internet. You can’t get away from it.

Society has become so fixated on weight that no matter where you go you can’t get away from it. Social media is one of the worst things for it. The number of spam emails I get telling how I can ‘lose 10lbs in 7 days!’ or how to ‘ditch the flab’. Whatever it is, I can’t help but think why? Why does your weight have to define you? What is it with the whole thigh gap craze?! Are you really defined by the gap between your thighs? Surely not.

This weekend I surprised some of my best buds Rhianne, Katie, Sophie and Ailbhe by turning up in Loughborough. Rhianne and I went for a ride on Saturday afternoon, stopping for an ice cream on the way. I may have worked my way through an entire bottle of wine that night. And me and Katie went out for breakfast on Sunday morning. I had no worries about any of that. Until I took one look at the breakfast menu, and there they were, in tiny little writing next to each dish. The calorie content. Why? Why do I need to know that the sausage sandwich I really wanted had 473 calories in it? I didn’t. But it still made me aware of it and made me doubt my decision. But for me, that was one meal. For others, it can become a total fixation. It can take over and totally take away any freedom you once had. I hate it.

I guess what I’m really getting at is that I wish more than anything that these issues weren’t around us. Be happy in yourself, no matter if you’re a size 6 or a size 16. You’re still beautiful and you’re still on this planet for a reason. Life really is too short to get worked up by something like this. One of my favourite things to do is to bake. Yes, I love the finished product I get when it comes out of the oven and I can decorate it any way I want. But what I love more is seeing the delight on everyone’s faces when they have a slice of it! People ENJOYING food! That’s what it’s there for! It shouldn’t need to be a tool for control.

I’m finding it hard to close this blog and I don’t know if it’s because I don’t have answers or if it’s because I have a lot more to say. It’s such a tough topic to write about when it’s all around you and so prevalent. I know a lot of people who probably feel the same way I do and I just felt like I needed to voice my thoughts. I know it won’t change anything, and I doubt many people will even read this. But I needed to say it.

Have your cake and eat it too. It won’t hurt.

Stay healthy,

eli_teee

xox

10574186_10152630230024806_5897186949639955574_n

The Sequel…

It’s been a while, hey? Almost 3 months since I last blogged and I’ve finally decided I should probably give everyone a little update. Back in May, the post I wrote provided me with the opportunity to close a chapter in my life and begin a new one. That I most certainly have done, but perhaps not in quite the way I ever imagined it to. And so, the long awaited sequel begins…

In some ways, my previous blog sort of announced a ‘retirement’ from triathlon. In some ways, yes, I did move away from the elite athlete lifestyle. I enjoyed my last few weeks in Loughborough with no pressure to get up for early morning swim training, no need to be in the gym at a certain time each day and the freedom to choose whatever I wanted to do. I celebrated my time at Loughborough by venturing to the union for a rare night out, and enjoyed my first ever Papa Si’s! I felt relaxed, happy and thankful for my health and my wonderful Loughborough friends and memories.

Soon after, it was time to leave my bubble. It was emotional, but it also marked the end of 4 incredibly fantastic years. Moving out of my room wasn’t too difficult (although fitting everything into the car was slightly more challenging) but saying goodbye to everyone was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. So many tears! I said goodbye to Soph, my long time training partner and friend and the journey home began. When I arrived at home that evening, I casually mentioned to mum that I wanted to a half ironman. Thinking ahead here, I was planning on this to be sometime in the next few years. A quick google search (and a glass of wine or two) later, and I was entered into the Bala Middle Distance triathlon on June 8th. This year. Oh you know, just a week away. That’s the last time I tell my mum anything post sharing a bottle of wine!

I’ve always wanted to do long distance triathlon, and with my strengths lying in my swim-bike as opposed to having any ridiculous run speed, I reckoned I was quite well suited to giving it a go at least. I rocked up at the race with no clue what I was letting myself in for and having never ran a half marathon before in my life. Adrenaline will get me through it is what I kept telling myself. Well, it turns out adrenaline lasts about 5 miles into the run, and then you blow. And after that, it freakin’ well hurts. Somehow I survived, and I surprised myself by winning. First half ironman, first win. Hey, I’m unbeatable at a tri distance! No, in all honesty, I was just quite grateful to still be alive once I crossed the finish line. I proceeded to struggle to walk for the next two weeks and decided it might be a while before I do the next… But you know what, I had SO MUCH FUN! After Bala, I joined Racetime Events triathlon team, and I am so excited to be part of an up and coming team full of some absolute superstar athletes.

Soon after Bala, I had another race lined up. An Olympic distance race in Tobago. Oh I forgot to mention that didn’t I?! Me and my lovely Irish chum Ailbhe jetted off to the Caribbean for a week! And what an incredible week that was. I raced in a thunderstorm (something I’ve never experienced before) and won my biggest paycheque in my triathlon career. Kerrrrr-chinggggggg. (note: this isn’t something that was too difficult to beat, and let’s just say it meant I could treat myself to a large ice cream rather than a small on our tour of the island!). Tobago was truly beautiful and racing there was an experience I will treasure. The post-race beach party was fantastic and my travel buddy and I had the most amazing time. I’ll be going back next year for sure!

So Tobago came and went. I came home and suffered with ridiculous jet lag and was missing island life. In the meantime, I hit another milestone. I graduated from Loughborough University with a 2.1 in Sports Science with Management. Job done. As a kid, I never ever thought I would go to university, let alone Loughborough and to have graduated with a 2.1 is a dream come true. I’m proud of myself and also proud of all my friends who graduated alongside me. In the build up to the graduation ceremony however, I had some news which sort of put graduation to the back of my mind…

Whilst getting my nails done for said graduation (priorities girls, priorities) I had a phone call from a number which I didn’t recognise. Answering the phone I kept calm whilst my mum looked on excitedly but also a little nervously. ‘Yep, I am’. ‘Yep, as fit as ever’. ‘Pretty sure I’m in the country’. ‘Awesome, I look forward to hearing from you’. That’s all that mum heard. On that day Tuesday 15th July I was asked to be part of Team Wales at the Commonwealth Games. A day that I will remember for many many many years to come I’m sure. It was all a last minute rush to get things together and wait for the official announcement to be made. But on the morning of my graduation ceremony, it was official and I was going to Glasgow. I will never forget that day; a day of celebration of two major achievements in my life and I got to spend it with my favourite people too. I couldn’t have asked for more.

I feel that my Glasgow experience cannot be expressed in this blog and requires a chapter of its own. To sum it up, it was UNBELIEVEABLE. INCREDIBLE. AMAZING. Unlike anything else. Unfortunately, going to Glasgow as travelling reserve meant that I didn’t get a chance to compete but I made the most of every opportunity there. I met some lovely people, famous people, inspirational people too. I trained hard, I supported even harder and made some unforgettable memories. I’m sure I will expand on my Glasgow experience in a further post. But it really was fantastic and I will treasure it forever.

Coming back from the Commonwealth Games I hit the ground with a bit of a bump upon the realisation that I was moving to London the next day. My life currently is a never ending book, flicking quickly from page to page with adventures in every single chapter. The story is exciting, taking twists and turns at every possible moment and venturing in so many different directions. I’m not complaining though. I never would. I love my life the way it is turning out to be (albeit very different from the dream I had as an 8 year old when I wanted to be a mermaid!). You’re always told to live in the moment, add life to your days and not days to your life. Love life and do what makes you happy. And that is exactly what I’m doing. It’s an adventure, and I’m making mine an unforgettable one.

Peace.

eli_teee
xox
10501623_10152575717589806_1572039421640244033_n

10532502_10152563018094806_8591035315702789843_n

10462887_10152526444039806_3989740916059107243_n

10407464_10204132264048827_6920664878054095240_n (1)

10382881_10152526442299806_7116947377428679233_n

10345726_10152563016639806_5112961319627285512_n

10568881_10152578224834806_7796842250375057827_n