It’s official – I am longer the Mum of a baby but of a toddler! Little H has been walking for a good couple of months but always with help, cruising around furniture or, at best, just covering a small number of steps when set off in the right direction. For several weeks it’s been clear she had “the skills” to walk alone but had not developed the confidence. Then, suddenly, after nursery on Thursday she just…went. She let go of the side and walked back-and-forth and round-and-round. Sam and I just sat and watched in amazement. She was so incredibly proud of herself and quite rightly so. It’s only have watched H learn to walk that I really re-appreciated how amazing it is!
2015 has been another challenging year, but more for happy reasons that sad, especially when compared against last year. Whilst the losses of 2014 are still very much felt, the arrival of H at the start of the year brought a bit of sunshine back in to life again. It’s pushed me to many extremes but it’s ultimately been a wonderful year so here is the summary!
When we woke-up on Saturday, it was bit overcast. But it was dry and it wasn’t excessively windy so overcast was a great outcome compared to recent weekends. Sam ‘slummed it’ back on his mountain bike and came with me on a 10 mile bike ride (to help me prepare for a 38-miler at the start of April…*gulp*) and whilst we were out, the sun broke through. The result…the best weekend of the year so far.
I spent most of Saturday afternoon and all of Sunday morning in the garden. It really felt like Spring had arrived and I finally got the garden looking tidy again! The fact I got to dry two wash loads dry on the line also made-up for the fact I had to deal with another dead mouse in the shed. I’m easily pleased! I really do love being out in my garden.
So another year has gone by and more so than ever before, it feels like it has flown by. Following last year’s structure, I have broken the year-up by month and called out the top highlights (of varying degrees of interest!) for each. I decided to start this entry with a new section though – some ‘Of the Year’ callouts – it’s the sort of information you quickly forget and I wish I had for the last 4+ years, but better-late-than-never in starting to capture this stuff! As always, this is a long blog post, but it would have made for a dull year if it wasn’t.
I was going to train when I got home today (Lou was busy so I didn’t go to the club) but after baking in the sauna that was the train for 30 minutes (it was VERY unpleasant!) I just couldn’t summon the energy to train as soon as I got in. After a light dinner, I decided to train just before 8pm when it started to get a bit cooler. Despite that, after half an hour of kettle bells I was sweltering. It did made me think, I really dislike winter training but at least once I have started, I can get through a decent cardio session without almost collapsing from dehydration!
Of course, this is why summer training is typically sprints and endurance pieces and long weight sessions are reserved for those nippy winter evenings. Also, winter comes with it’s own challenges; It is astonishing the amount of tedious admin one can ‘discover’ when it is time to get changed for an erg session in a 0 degree conservatory. I’m not saying I want the winter back, oh no! But it does have a few benefits. Until then though, I’ll just make my peace with training in the heat. At least if I don’t train quite so much, in the summer I have fewer custard-smothered puddings to burn off!
The weather this year has been pretty uninspiring on the whole. The winter saw us on a repeated loop through cold > snow > rain > glimmer of hope from February through to May. In early June, things started to perk up a bit, but with temperatures still sitting in the low teens. Suddenly though, less than a fortnight ago, the sun arrived. Now, my it is scorching! So much so that we seem to be at the other end on the spectrum. Trains are now stiflingly hot, work clothes feel binding and uncomfortable, sleeping is disturbed and muggy.
Seems, in true British style, we go from one extreme to the other. Memories of my childhood make me think of seasons which gradually progressed in to each other. It would gradually get warmer so, when the sun hit, you were better prepared to cope with it. These days it feels as though we go from winter to summer with almost the flick of a switch. Perhaps they are just slightly distorted child memories though. Perhaps it has always been this way.
It is nice to have some sun though and the garden is thriving, if a little parched. I haven’t been out with my camera yet this year. If my memory doesn’t fail me, I shall have to try and take some snaps later on this evening. We went to Hatfield House a couple of weekends ago though and I took some shots there – on revado as usual.
Living in Britain, rain is common place. We either have none of it for ages and have fears of droughts and stand pipes. Or we have deluges of it come spring, autumn, winter or (most likely) summer and we end up feeling continually soggy! So, I appreciate the want and need to try and stay dry when it rains. But, oh, I really hate umbrellas.
Being a person of height (I’m 6ft or there abouts), I am at ‘eye-gouging’ height for the average Brit wielding an umbrella. Waiting at the traffic crossing enroute to the tube this evening, I got hit in the shoulder, face or head by no less that 4 umbrellas. These were being driven by women frantically trying to get back in to the dry. But this is not isolated to the female gender, oh no. Worse are usually the guys with short cut hair and rain macs who insist on using a golf umbrella to protect their waterproof jacket and <1cm locks. Hmmm. I will be honest, on extreme occasions I have used an umbrella: some truly torrential rain we had last summer and when going to a 'do' and smart waterproof garb was not readily available. But, for the most part, I use another wonderful invention which I feel should be a mandatory purchase for everyone: a waterproof jacket with a hood!
It is the middle of March and it is snowing. SNOWING! Perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised but last week we were almost in spring, or so we thought. It was just starting to feel milder and get lighter in the morning. Then, BAMN, this week it got cold again, the wind picked up and then this morning I look out to see flakes of the white stuff falling. Typical when I am back in an early morning crew at rowing tomorrow. Thermals at the ready…
So, I want to put the weather in to Room 101, letting the spring and the sunshine come forth. Everyone really needs it!
It’s a difficult time of year for training. The weather is not at it’s best and there is nothing harder than forcing myself out in to the dark and cold conservatory to erg. Or out of the house and down to water training after work. Or out of bed early on a Saturday to de-ice the car for weekend outings. I enjoy my rowing and my exercise, but with just the rigmarole of getting to and from work in the cold, as well as doing normal house-hold tasks, I find my energy lagging at the start of the year.
I’ve mentioned before in a blog post that I wonder whether it is possible to commute and seriously compete in the world of Senior rowing. This isn’t one of those posts, but I suppose this is the time of year where I find myself asking ‘Why am I doing this?’. Not the rowing, as I said, I love the rowing, but the repetitive commitment I make to it as I try and stay at a certain level. The pressure to do that comes, for the most part, from within too.
For fear that some of my squad will read this and think I am not pulling my weight, I do train my way through these dips; I guess that is what the routine does – engrains the training habit in to you. Yesterday though I had my first “Nah, I don’t want to.” moment mid way through training. It wasn’t because I physically couldn’t (the reaction we all often get during a rather arduous erg piece), rather I just didn’t fancy it. Any ‘normal’ person would probably have let it go, but I felt a tinge of guilt at not seeing the session through. But then, this is my spare time and my hobby, should it matter?
I suppose this is why professional athletes tend to retire at the top of their game. To compete at a sport of any kind means you have a certain level of competitive drive. This is usually underpinned by a desire to be the best (or try your damn hardest to be as far up that ‘Erg Score’ list as possible!). To not have a clean break is difficult because you just have to slowly watch yourself slip down that ladder, all the time knowing what you used to be capable of. I guess there is one obvious word which sums this up: pride.
I’m not really sure what I am trying to achieve from thinking all of this through – perhaps reaffirming to myself that I do get some pleasure out of it. Having not raced in such a long time, it’s hard to know. It’s just not very motivating to realise that some of the races which may re-inspire me involve sitting out on the river in these sub-zero temperatures! Time to buy some more thermals maybe…
A couple of weeks ago, the water companies declared a hose pipe ban. A lot of the southern counties were in drought after months of no rain. When it came to thinking about it, there really hadn’t been much rain. Sure, we had had lots of ice, cold days and even snow. But none of these things keep our resevoirs full. However, a mere two days after the hose pipe ban came in to play, the heavens opened. And it almost hasn’t stopped since!
Now, I know we need the rain so in many respects I don’t want it to go away. I am also not naive enough to even think two weeks of rain is enough to get us out of drought (although no doubt some people do / will). But, one does get quite tired on leaving for work and getting wet, arriving at work wet and then travelling home getting even more wet (usually drying out in the middle portion of the day). But, yesterday was quite a bright and sunny day, showing that bits of spring are creeping through. Also, they do say “April Showers” so perhaps this is to be expected! So to cheer you all up, here are some lovely tulips!