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.