• Mon02January 2017
  • 2016: The curtain call on chaos

    Crikey, is it 2017 already? After a chaotic year of injury, travel, Brexit, Trump, more travel, a few weddings, a crazy few months of ClassPass, running, getting-bride-fit and more, 2016 has had its curtain call. It may not have been the best year globally or in some ways personally (see above). But as with everything in life, you have to know the downs so you can appreciate the ups, and there was a pretty significant one in 2016 for me. Here’s what 2016 taught me:

    1. Listen to your body (and your physio)

      Elegant and sophisticated

      Elegant and sophisticated

      Not wanting to labour it in any shape or form but 2016 didn’t turn out quite as I’d planned. After completing the Marathon Des Sables in 2015, I was totally up for another challenge and felt like I could take on the world. There had been a few niggles back in December 2014 but once the New Year arrived, my legs were fresh to go. I’d started building up slowly day-after-day, getting back to it, enjoying my runs again. That was until the fateful day in February when I received the call from my Doctors.

      “You need to go to the hospital,”
      said the voice from the end of the line.”Say what? But they’d given me the all clear in December, said it was a sprained ankle.” I replied.

      “They’ve found a fracture.”
      And of course, this news didn’t quite hit me until I was in the hospital the next day being told that under no circumstances should I be putting weight on my foot. Earth-shattering? Well not quite. Just as I’d learnt to cope with poo-ing into a plastic bag when in the desert, I became pretty handy on crutches. It meant I couldn’t run, cycle or even shop for a while. I also became very familiar with the bus route to work. And I practically became a hermit. On the other hand, it could have been a lot worse if my physio hadn’t urged me to get an MRI scan privately. That’s four months of my life I’ll never get back and the progress back to fitness since has been slow but it has taught me to listen to my body and not take anything for granted.

    2. You can’t always get what you want (when it comes to politics)

      It'll be peachy

      It’ll be peachy

      Brexit…Trump…Marie Le Pen’s rising popularity in France. It all feels very topsy-turvy to an easy-going liberal. In my mind, the political decisions made this year have been driven by fear not fact. Propaganda not truth. Not-in-my-backyard-style politics not based on the greater good.

      It may not have gone the way I would have chosen as someone who has been brought up thinking they were European. And the ones who will suffer are the next generation, not the baby boomers. 2016 was a bitter pill to swallow politically. But at least it got people talking about politics, which is always a plus.

    3. Travel can be a great healer

      Big Bends

      Big Bends

      There’s nothing worse than runner’s envy. How I itched to line up at the start of the Hackney Half and finally conquer London. You can also feel mute when faced with a community where everyone posts about their successes and all you have to say is that you managed to take a step at physio. So to take yourself away from it all both physically and mentally can really help mend the wounds. And thankfully, we decided to go on a roadtrip around Texas back in April/May. Not only was it amazing to travel across this huge State but we also visited the national park at Big Bend, took a trip to New Orleans when the festival was on and enjoyed all the Lone State had to offer.  There were also various trips to Italy, Austria and the North Face festival in September where I finally got to stretch my mountain legs. It’s true what they say – a break really can be as good as a rest.

    4. Go back to your roots

      I love running and would run all the time if I could. But I also love dancing. And no, I never trained “professionally” but took part in some shape or form up until the age of 22. So while I was “rehabbing” and trying not to do too much too soon in terms of running, I switched my focus to ballet barre-style classes. I even found an adult ballet class on a Sunday, which I now attend regularly. It’s a different way of working my body, where I have to constantly think about my poise and posture, not to mention remember the steps.And to complement the dance, I have increased the number of spinning classes I attend. I have always cycled around London – spinning, however, is a totally different type of exercise. It also means I can get some endurance work in without pounding the pavements. If you can’t do what you enjoy, go back to your roots and think about other things that you liked doing in your past. This will help you build up your fitness slowly and surely.

    5. Relationships change

      My Big Fat Italian Wedding

      My Big Fat Italian Wedding

      And you keep falling in love (with the same person). From helping me when I was on crutches to learning how to dance for our wedding, I can’t help falling in love with the wonderful man who is my husband. And yes, it’s not easy when you’re pretty single-minded, enjoy getting up at silly o’clock to do exercise and sometimes need time to just sit on your computer and write. He can feel neglected at times because I live by the philosophy “One life, live it”. Which you could potentially translate as someone who likes to pack out their life with as much activity as humanly possible. Do I always get the balance right? No, not at all. Does he always understand? No. Did this stop us saying “I do” on our wedding day back in September? Hell no. We took the next step after god knows how many years and are now man and wife. And no, not much has changed on the surface. We still rub each other up the wrong way sometimes and then fall into each other’s arms after a huge almighty row. Our day-to-day lives are pretty much the same. I take out the rubbish and wash-up. He cooks and occasionally cleans.  But aside from a few more rocks on my finger (and around my neck – he designed a beautiful necklace as a wedding present), there’s a deeper connection between us now. We’re in it (to win it! No, no, no) for the long term. And I have to say, I can’t wait to have many adventures with him.

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