Firstly a great big Happy New Year to you all – I hope that 2014 brings you everything that you wish for and work for both in life and racing. I’m certainly hoping that it turns out to be a good one for me.
But I mustn’t grumble about 2013 really, ok so I was injured and had to drop out of lots of races, couldn’t run for most of the year but I had great fun touring around talking about triathlon, my second book came out and sold well and right at the end of the year I had a fantastic family holiday and managed to actually sneak a race in.
YES you read that correctly I ACTUALLY got a race on my record in 2013, and I didn’t do too bad in it either. We were in Florida on holiday having great fun with Mickey and his mates but the day before we fly out I entered a 5k run in St Petersburg over on the gulf coast near Tampa. It was the 31st running of the Jingle Bell Run – a family fun run where runners are given jingle bells and glow in the dark necklaces to wear ( I gave mine to Charlotte who was supporting ) on the flat and fast out and back course along the marina and downtown streets. 5000 runners take part, there is no chip timing, no official results, just a fantastic atmosphere with lots of people in fancy dress, numerous bands playing along the route surrounded by lights that would put Blackpool Illuminations to shame. All the entry fees went to a local children’s charity as well.
We’d spent the day in LEGOLAND Florida having great fun, followed by a heavy lunch at Dennys ( American Diner type place ) so it wasn’t the best race preparation but I was on holiday and having fun. I also decided to test my brand new shoes ( I love the brightness of them )which I’d only bought a couple of days before hand, thankfully they behaved.
I had no expectations, I just wanted to finish a race in 2013 so when the fake snow fell and buzzer sounded I set off steadily but with a purpose. I was quite surprised at how strong I felt – I’d not run much in the last few weeks as I’d broken a small toe – and as I approached the turnaround point and saw the police outriders flanking the leader I counted the runners ahead of me on the other side of the road. I was in 42nd place, that made me more determined to push on, after all it was only a 5k, if I didn’t at least feel like my Dennys lunch was going to reappear then I was doing it wrong. I focussed on the person in front and slowly reeled him in, and then caught the next person. I crossed the line in 40th position. Job done, I’d actually completed an event, I was no longer retired!!
The fact I’d finished so high up the field isn’t a reflection on my ability, more an indication that this was a fun event that was inclusive of serious runners, plodders, walkers, pram pushers and even a couple of people on zimmer frames ( I kid you not – and fair bloody play to them!! ) but it’s something to take forward into 2014.
Holiday and Christmas excess have seen me put on weight, I won’t lose sleep over it – I knew that I would. I’ll just chip away again, work hard and get back in racing shape for the summer. Along the way I’ll do some more events including my first Duathlon in March – I expect that will hurt. I need to remind myself how to deal with the hurt to get back to where I need to be but for now…
I’m just happy that I’m no longer retired from racing.