2020 certainly wasn’t the year anyone was expecting!
It began with us looking forward to the year ahead with races, challenges, and adventures we had planned, then COVID-19 came along turning the world upside down and back to front; it was as though we had been transported to a parallel universe. I never thought I would find myself commenting on how nice someone’s face mask was while food shopping🤣
A week before the UK lockdown on the 23rd March HWMBO caught the virus – anyone who says it’s like the flu is SO wrong. I watched my husband, who is normally healthy, not overweight and has no underlying condition, go from feeling a bit under the weather one day to not being able to get out of bed for about three weeks. He said that the pain in his bones was so painful at one point he told me he would rather not wake up in the morning than go through all that pain again – heart breaking as there was nothing I could do to take the pain away. At the beginning of lockdown no-one really knew what all the issues were with this terrifying virus, so it was pretty scary when he began to get pains in his kidneys, he couldn’t eat anything as it tasted so revolting, then the most scary part was when his breathing became a problem. I’m an asthmatic and know what it’s like not to be able to breath. We rang 111 and after 45 minutes on the phone we managed to get through and were told that if his breathing got worse we were to take him into hospital – how bad did it need to get! They were very good and rang twice during the night to check up on him.
My children were amazing and rang me two or three times a day (each!) My eldest son organised a neighbour to buy us some food and deliver it to us which was wonderful and my eldest picked up a click and collect shop for us. It was heart breaking when Wayward Daughter No 1 and my granddaughter dropped the shopping at the front door and I couldn’t go out to hug them, it was tough having them so close and yet so far. Once they had gone I sat down and cried.
Almost three weeks later HWMBO was feeling a bit better and took the dog out for a short walk. He got as far as the end of our field when he simply couldn’t breathe and had to call me to come and help him home. It took several months for him to begin to feel normal again. He was lucky and we are both thankful that he didn’t have to go to hospital and be put on a ventilator although it was extremely close. I thank my lucky stars every day that he’s OK.
I kept myself busy during the first lockdown by taking on a hula hoop challenge for 30 days. It started off with 5 minutes a day building up to 30 minutes – I have to admit that doing it for 30 minutes was a bit boring but I loved the challenge and to make it even more fun I was joined by lots of other people on FB who would send in their photos, it turned into a great little community, all of us improved over the 30 days. A few of us dressed up each day which always made me laugh and added to the fun.
Writing my new book with my ghost writer Lucy Waterlow was extremely exciting and brought back some wonderful memories together with some sadness but it felt good to get it done and I can’t wait for you all to read it. The front cover if AMAZING!
Once we were allowed out of full lockdown and measures were eased off I was lucky to be able to visit my mother, it was so lovely to see her in real life rather than on a zoom meeting. I managed to have a few wonderful adventures locally and in Scotland. I tried gravel biking for the first time which I had never done before so was a bit nervous but it was great fun. I’m hoping to have a few gravel adventures this year.
With the pools closed (I was actually quite happy with this) pressure was off for me to do an open water triathlon – breathes a huge sigh of relief! Instead I went with a very patient friend to swim in a river with the sole purpose of building up my confidence and to feel more relaxed in the water. By the end of the summer I managed a 2 mile swim (we did stop every so often)- a good end to a fun summer of open water swimming.
We all discovered Zoom which allowed us to stay in contact with friends and family. Family zoom sessions, as with many others ,turned into Quiz nights then progressed to Quiz nights with a fancy dress theme – such fun!
The most special event for us in 2020 was the marriage of our youngest son. Due to the COVID restrictions it was only a small gathering of family and friends but it was such a glorious and positive day. Harry and Lauren didn’t stop smiling!
Seeing my family together for the first time was without doubt an emotional moment. I have missed them all so much and seeing my grandchildren play and make a lot of noise in the garden was the best.
I continued to do my twice a week short run but also completed the virtual New York Marathon with my friend Liz and Centurion’s One Community half marathon. These were the longest distances I have run since 2017 – I think my knee prefers me to stick to no more than 10km but I smiled for weeks! I did a lot of virtual cycling on Zwift which I loved and especially looked forward to the mad Welsh Group rides two or three times a week. I completed my two longest rides on Zwift during the first lockdown. The first was 161km with Louise Minchin and the second one was 386km as part of Mark Beaumont’s around the world challenge which took just over 11 hours – I must have looked a bit like John Wayne getting off his horse when I’d finished!
Once the golf courses were allowed to open again I worked hard on getting a handicap which I achieved, enabling me to play in competitions. I finished the golfing year taking part in the Lady Captain’s competition in a team with two marvellous ladies – we only went and won!
There have been days when I’ve found it difficult to be motivated, getting up in the morning was hard and I found it myself bursting into tears for absolutely no reason, everything became a real struggle. I found the best way for me to get through the day was to go with the flow, it was normal with everything that’s going on to feel this way, I learnt not to give myself a hard time and to be kind to myself.
Although not the year I planned there have been many positives which I will always cherish. My confidence in all things endurance has taken a bit of a knock but I’m hoping that next year it will make a reappearance!
I’m looking forward next year to spending more time with my family and friends, hugging them all.
Sending you all a big virtual hug (looking forward to being able to hug properly soon) look after yourselves and stay safe in 2021.