Wednesday, 13 September 2017

My Year in a Meme...

I’ve been thinking of a way in which to sum 2017 up so far. I say so far because I’m optimistic that we still have the final quarter ahead of us, and as D:Ream taught us in the 90’s, ‘Things Can Only Get Better’.

Worthy of noting however; further D:Ream pearls of wisdom include ‘Drop Beatz not Bombz’ and ‘I’ll be Your Dog’…

So back to the present, and a way in which to summarise the last 9 months. For those of you familiar with my previous updates, I tend to use analogies of some description to tell my story. Whether it be from the well known book of DJ Casper, ‘Cha Cha Slide’, Chapter 1, Verse, Never Ending; or the obvious parallels that can be drawn between my actual life and lemons; I like to dress things up in the vain hope of presenting something mildly less mind numbing than a run down of my Training Peaks account. Because in reality my life can be accurately depicted, graphed, pie-charted, GPRS’d and analysed by a few simple clinks through the afore mentioned website. 

Trying to be ‘on trend’ I started flicking through ‘Meme’s’ and ‘GIF’s’ that might represent the last 250 ish days. An hour or so later, whilst flicking through some obscure article entitled  “25 thing’s you’ll remember if you’re a white, British, 5ft5, female, from South East London, born in the 80’s, parents Dave and Carole”, I realised I’d got somewhat side tracked by the labyrinth that is the internet. So a little dejected, and clearly off task, I did what everyone does when they don’t know what else to do, I opened up Facebook. 

Now I have this theory that Facebook knows everything. You go to McDonalds once, and as if you don’t feel bad enough about it, you're entire feed is then filled with bikini clad goddess’ selling diet pills and HIIT workouts. It is all knowing! OK, in reality I know that I Googled the closest Big Mac and thanks to those misleadingly named marvels of technology, cookies, my browser now knows of my sins. But in my head I’ve built Facebook up into some mystical, big brother kind of character. And on this particular occasion, it didn’t disappoint. 

“Non we thought you might like to see this from 6 years ago…”   

Yes Facebook. Yes I would. 

And there you have it. A personal Meme, GIF, visual depiction of my 2017 to date, all rolled into one. And not a tenuously linked analogy in sight. See Facebook knows! 

As photo 1 suggests, 2017 started with smiles, all fun and games. 
But fairly quickly plans fell through somewhat.
Cue photo 2. 
I should probably have relaxed, laid back, and let things run their course, like my good friend Callum there on my left. Instead, I fought my body, and warred with my head, and got myself in a right old tangle. 
Insert photo 3. 

This seems to have happened on a repeated cycle all year too. Every time I’ve got myself back up in that chair, something’s come and knocked me back off again. Other than a long term achilles issue that finally said “no more” after Leeds WTS, there hasn't been anything major. Just lots of little things that have continually interrupted training, worn me down and hacked away at my confidence and my happiness. It’s been a battle for me, and those closest to me, and as always I’m grateful for their support and patience. They’ve seen me at, and carried me through, some of the lowest points in my career to date. They’ve stopped me from leaving the sport on more than one occasion. Whether they’ve realised it or not. 

After 10 weeks off running and 6 weeks away from the bike with the achilles injury, I was finally starting to feel like I was getting back to some respectable degree of form. I was happy, and though finding fitness was making training hard, I was enjoying it. I was harbouring no ambitions or expectations going into the WTS Grand Final in Rotterdam. My aim was to simply race as well as I could, and have fun doing it in the process. However, the chair got rocked again this week, less than a week out from the race, and I was struck with what I can only describe as Death Plague (although medical professional would probably tell you it was Gastroenteritis). I’ll spare you any further details, other than my swift departure from a wedding I was bridesmaid at 2 minutes into the best man’s speech. After managing barely any food in the following 4 days, and failing the “can you walk for 20 minutes test” I’ve had to make the decision to withdraw from the race. 

So the chair is a little less stable than photo 1, but we definitely haven’t reached photo 2 or 3 again. I managed more than a couple of digestive biscuits today, so my perch is pretty much on a sturdy well built, and very level floor again. I’m still looking forward to racing Super League Jersey next week, and although my season has been a little bare, that will be my final race of the year. Both body and mind need a few weeks to relax and recover from a year that has been exhausting for unfortunately the wrong reasons. But I’m already excited about the prospect of next season, the challenges and hopefully success’ that it will bring. And with a bit of luck, next year’s Meme will look a little more like this;


  1. Non, your blogs never fail to disapoint;full of bitter sweet humour! Terrific writer and athlete.

  2. Get well Non. We all felt for you. Better days ahead.

    1. Thank you Liam! Thank you for your wonderful hospitality and I'm praying no one with you has picked it up too?!