If you’ve read my review of 2013, you know that it has been quite a successful year with winning Silver at the European Sprint Duathlon Championships, finishing 4th in my age group and in the top 10 women overall at the European Sprint Triathlon Championships and qualifying for the Triathlon World Championships in London in the Standard distance.

However, it has also been an extremely stressful year. I started chasing qualifications from early March until mid-September, never having sufficient time to completely sort or at least get on top the problems I have been having for the past 2 years with high hamstring tendonitis. The consequence was that I trained and raced when my body wasn’t ready, held together by the magical Rocktape and popping ibuprofen like Smarties to cope with the pain. I had 2 massive injury breakdowns right before important races, which just sent the downward spiral spinning faster. I started to dread every running session, cycling, I avoided outright in the latter part of the year. Swimming became my best friend, which clearly shows in my results, with swim PBs galore from August onwards. Seeing the physio helped, but initially didn’t solve the problem. Quite clearly, in the long run, this was unsustainable. Something needed to change for 2014.

This change may have come in an unlikely resolution I made when I was at my peak as a middle distance runner, that was about 20 years ago. Since then I proclaimed I was not going to run a marathon until I’m 40. 2014, you guessed it, is the year I’m turning 40.

Since I am much more in favour of celebrating life rather than dreading that another decade has passed, I’ve decided to celebrate my 40th year on earth like an athlete would:

a challenge a month for 12 months until my 40th birthday in November 2014:
The Celebration Year!

The challenges are things I’ve always fancied doing, like the marathon. There is a definite shift in intensity to give my body a break. I’m stepping away from chasing Team GB places and going up in distance. There is very much a shift back to basics as the latter half of the year will be purely run focused.

This is not to say I’ll be tottering around. I’ve got goals (wouldn’t it be nice to break 40 min for 10k in my 40th year?). Some of this just outright scares me, but I’ve decided to make it a year of celebration. And what better way to celebrate than to face big, scary challenges and conquer them?

The Celebration Year officially started in November, so two events have already been and gone. I’ll bring you up to speed on them in another post. But for now, meet


November 2013: Brighton 10k
December 2013: Mince Pie 10 mile race
January 2014: Sussex Masters XC Championships
February 2014: Longman Falmer Trail Race
March 2014: Eastbourne Half Marathon
April 2014: Tour of Flanders Sportive (140km)
Mai 2014: 10k road race (feel free to suggest a fast one)
June 2014: ETU European Triathlon Championships in Kitzbühel, Standard
July 2014: Long Course Weekend (Friday Iron-distance swim, Saturday 70 mile bike, Sunday Half Marathon)
August 2014: British Middle Distance Triathlon Championship in Aberfeldy
September 2014: Equinox 24hr race (in a team of 3)
October 2014: Frankfurt Marathon

These are the main challenges, but there will be plenty of other races and events added that I like. For instance, the Owler Triathlon in Ashford, a few bike time trials, and maybe a tri or two before the Europeans.

It would be great if you came along on the journey, even just vicariously. Any support is greatly appreciated. A pat on the back works wonders.

Having said that, I’d like to introduce you to my official 2014 supporters:

Natural Hero – Natural recovery products
Elivar Sports – Sports nutrition specifically formulated for the 35+ athlete
Prowell Helmets – best cycling helmets
Apres – Recovery hot chocolate (and organisers of Longman events)
Mako Sport – fast wetsuits and funky swim wear
CycleTech Eastbourne – keeping Mighty Whitey running swiftly
Reflect Sports – Swim hair care and chamois cream for women

Have a look at their products and services, they will greatly appreciate it.

So, here we go then. Bring on a completely new adventure! I’m looking forward to it.