Waving Goodbye to 2020

I entered 2020 feeling broken, Covid then broke me a little bit more.

All the things I had planned to help me cope, slowly got cancelled one by one, although before the Lockdown I did manage a walk with the Norfolk Legstretchers, something I hoped to repeat but then lockdown happened.

I really wasn’t enjoying riding my bike, so the first lockdown in March gave me a good excuse to stop, During this time I did a lot of solo walking and exploring, discovering Roydon Common, Reffley woods, and Leziate, beautiful places all on my doorstep. As the nicer weather came I longed to be back out on my bike, so I started off with some short solo rides, something I thought I would never enjoy but they filled me with Happiness.

As soon as we were allowed I started riding with my friend, Sue, as our confidence grew, our rides got longer and longer, then when it was safe Lynne also started cycling with us. We loved cycling together, having fun, discovering new places, taking photos, having picnic lunches, all our rides became a pleasure with no pressure and no one shouting at me if I got a puncture!

Just for fun, we got our own cycling shirts and became known as the FFF girls (Fabulous Fearless Females) next year I am sure there will be more of us !.

Our biggest achievements was a 100-mile ride to Ely, then after joining some Audax Guys I knew from my Audax riding days, we did their Halls 200km route, which we just loved.

As well as all the riding, and even though all my running events had been cancelled I was still enjoying my running and run/walking, I missed parkrun dreadfully so I started meeting up with Maria on Saturdays encouraging her on her road to recovery, over time she improved and we were able to do the George Munday 10km as a virtual run.

The ladybirds were also a huge part of my healing process providing lots of support and laughter where needed, just like my wonderful colleagues at work who I know felt all my pain more than anyone.

My big plan for 2020 had been the Coastal Marathon, which of course was cancelled but I did manage the Coastal half route a couple of times, a 15 miler around Sandringham and a 13 miler in Wymondham all with various friends.

Now as we wave goodbye to 2020 and move into 2021, I find myself stronger happier and more confident than I have ever been.

There are lots of plans for 2021, including The Lap of Anglia, Sandringham half and the Coastal marathon plus lots of long rides with the FFF girls……

2021 is definitely the year for lots of Laughter Fun and Naughtiness !!

Wymondham Half with Jayne

5th December, a date I am never likely to forget, The day I got married in 1986, then, funnily enough, the day Geoff dropped his bombshell about leaving in 2019.

So to take my mind off the date my friend Jayne had invited me over to Wymondham for a long run/walk, after 2 days of torrential never-ending rain, with a bit of snow thrown in too I did wonder if we were a little mad.

Luckily when I woke the weather looked bright and clear, perfect running weather in fact.

The roads are a bit more undulating over in Wymondham, I remember running a new years day 10km there in 2018 and vowed never again, although that could have been more to do with seeing the new year in !!

We agreed we would run/walk, no ratio just walk when we wanted to, but amazingly we ran the whole 13 miles, when you are chatting the miles just seem to melt away.

Lovely open countryside, bright blue skies, and good company made it just perfect, after all the rain we only came across one flooded road too.

Nice to be home with no bike to clean, new memories made and thanks to all my amazing friends for their support, I think it’s finally time to stop mourning and start living ……

George Munday Virtual 10K

A message today from a complete stranger made me realize that I had not posted here for a while, and while I am no longer the person I used to be surely I can still manage a blog post or two!

Today should have been The George Munday 10k an event I love, but like everything else this year, it was Cancelled. Instead, they decided to do the run as a Virtual one, meaning you run the distance send them the details and in return, they will send you the medal.

This year I have been running with Maria helping her to recover slowly from injury and this seemed like a good challenge without there being too much pressure.

I remember when Maria could barely walk the parkrun route, more chatting was done than running but with determination, we have worked together and built it up slowly over the months.

The plan today was to run the 10k then go for Sunday lunch but of course, COVID lockdown 2 put paid to our lunch plans. Instead, we did our run in perfect weather conditions then went for a takeaway coffee and enjoyed some of Maria’s homemade chocolate cake to celebrate, all done socially distanced of course.

I think Maria has done an amazing job and our next challenge will be the Ely NYE 10k which is also going to be a Virtual run.

Now we wait for our Medals to arrive.

 

 

Ely 100 miles

A 100-mile ride, nothing to get very excited about especially if you have done the Audax RRty but for me, this was a huge milestone, because at the beginning of the year I had seriously thought about never riding my bike again !!

In fact, if COVID and lockdown had not happened I think I would have stopped riding my bike, but because I was forced into having a break I soon realized just how much I missed it

I started back with a few short Solo rides, which did seem strange as I was used to big miles with company, luckily it wasn’t long before I could start getting back out with my Girlfriends.

We slowly started building up our miles, with that our confidence grew too, it was also amazing to see how different people treated us out on the road when it was just us 3 females and not a huge cycling group, we certainly seem to get a lot more respect.

Our rides became more about having fun, taking photos, and talking to the locals in many of the villages we pass through, rather than speed.

Anyway, we decided our aim, for now, would be a 100-mile ride, so we found a route we really liked, thanks to one of our fellow TTT riders, watched the weather and picked our day and what a fabulous day it was.

The highlights had to be stopping in Welney and talking to a local couple as we watched all the fish in the river, riding through Pymoor and seeing all the Scarecrows, riding up the hill at little Downham, the hill I run up on the Ely New years eve 10km, no Scottish piper at the top this time though! sadly seeing the burnt down Corker’s crisp warehouse. Lunch was by the river in Ely then an excellent Tea stop at Denver windmill.

Ely 100 miler.…. A fantastic fun happy memory for 2020.

Roydon Common

Roydon Common, a magical place I discovered just before COVID 19 and lockdown. 

Disappointing weather over the weekend meant biking plans had to be canceled, so, after a  drive to Thetford to drop off a bike with my son I  made the most of a blowy showery day by getting out for a walk across the common with Sue.

Roydon Common is looking stunning after the rain, So much has grown since the beginning of lockdown and those lonely solo walks, there are so many wildflowers out now with an array of stunning colours, it won’t be long till the heather is in full bloom either

Luckily we got round the 6 miles without getting wet, unfortunately, I arrived home to find my waterbutt had been blown over in the wind but at least it wasn’t me getting blown off my bike!

 

Before Covid 19

Before all this madness with the Corona Virus or COVID 19, as it is now known, and before we were all locked down and isolating from each other, I dusted off my walking boots and went on a group walk.

I joined the Norfolk Legstretchers, a group I used to walk with many many years ago, on a 17-mile Circular walk from Stalham going via Happisburgh lighthouse, somewhere I had been wanting to visit for a long time. As Stalham is a good distance from Kings Lynn my friend Gina, who was also going on the walk offered to put me up for the night.

On the morning of the walk, it was lovely to wake to see sunshine and not rain, it was amazing to also see so many other walkers turn up for this walk,27 if I remember right, including my friend Jayne, definitely the biggest group walk I have ever been on.

It was a fabulous walk, lots of interesting people to talk to and I loved that no one knew me so I had no upsetting questions to answer! The walk was at a brisk pace with 2 stops, nothing quite like coffee from a flask by the sea and the lighthouse was not disappointing looking quite splendid in the sunshine.

The Norfolk Legstretchers seem the perfect group for me, they walk a decent distance and meet the first Sunday of every month so today I had hoped to be meeting them at Aldborough for the April walk but instead, I shall be working and looking forward to life getting back to normal…. for everyone!

Moving on to new adventures…..

With Geoff’s sudden and unexpected departure from my life, its been a difficult few months, much harder than I expected or have let on !! I have tried to keep myself busy forcing myself to go out on my bike, weather permitting, knowing if I stopped riding now I would never ride Annie again, which would be so sad !!

Things felt slightly better once I admitted to myself that I no longer wanted to run Cambridge half marathon, I was worried about letting my friends down but really couldn’t face the thought of going to Cambridge. Once I made the decision it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and it was nice to make Amanda’s day by transferring my place over to her.

I have also learnt that there is more to life than biking, running and driving up and down the A10 ! I have re-discovered the joy of reading and going to the cinema, but most of all I have learnt how to love myself again and discovered what wonderful marvellous friends I have.

My life will never be the same but who knows in time it may be better so now its time to plan some new and wonderful adventures!

Positive Steps Forest Festive Challenge

Little did I know when booking this event that it would not turn out to be quite the Festive event we had planned. Geoff returned from Bangkok on December 4th and dropped a bombshell, He intended to put his house up for rent and return to Bangkok ASAP leaving no room in his life for me, anyone that knows me will know how devastated I am.

It would have been easy to take time off work and hideaway for a while but that’s not my style and on Saturday 7th December I found myself driving to Kings Forest in West Stow Country Park to meet Gina and Jayne for our 20-mile challenge, an event put on by Positive steps in aid of the St Nicholas Hospice Care.

The event had a nice festive atmosphere, most people had made the effort to wear some kind of festive clothing, including me !! and the whole event was very well organized.

The half marathon distance and the 20 milers start together and stay together until the 20 milers go on to complete an extra lap. After all the rain in the week leading up to this event we were very lucky to get a nice dry bright day and much to our surprise there was little mud or sand on the route, it was just nice and springy underfoot.

The marshalls were fantastic friendly and very encouraging, and we had some of the Famous cheesy feet at the feed station, along with cinnamon trees and other goodies. We did wonder if we would dislike the fact that the route was made up of 3 laps but you actually don’t notice.

While enjoying a cup of tea at the finish it was nice to chat with some of the volunteers, one man was telling us how much he loved marshaling at these events, was also interesting to hear there had been 82 nonstarters, which is a shame when so many others wanted a place. and amazingly £6500 had been donated to the hospice.

All considering it was an enjoyable day and good therapy for me surprisingly we did well with a moving time of 4.34 and elapsed time of 4.46…..

Next it’s the ELY NYE 10km then the LDWA 26 mile Stansted stagger