Fuelled by lots of caffeine, I sit here jogging my memory with my daily logs and lockdown photo album. Time to get started on blog number two, whilst also remembering my aim to keep it short (I have tried, I promise!). I’ve opted to summarise the first six months with three key events: the good, the bad and the ugly. So, here goes March to September 2020…
This is hard and makes me realise just how many good times there have been! If I had to pick just one … it has to be the bike aka my lockdown NBF! I’ve never been a cyclist but a recurrence of my epilepsy in 2019 meant I was restricted to two wheels for some time. A friend told me it wouldn’t be long before I’d love it, which I scoffed at; I struggled with the mile to Princes Park, let alone much further. Fast forward six months to Feb 2020 … turns out that friend was right because here I am treating myself to a late Christmas present; a set of sparkly new wheels, which I mistakenly (but very, fortunately) had delivered to and then built in our office (ha it would likely still be in the box if left to my skills!) and took my maiden voyage around TEP’s car park.
The bike was originally going to be a ‘get it done’ or ‘you’re too broken to run’ option for the 5k but as lockdown one hit, the roads were empty and exercise was restricted to one outing a day. Everything changed and I would get out as early and for as long as I could manage. I’ve done five 100km+ rides, known as a Gran Fondo (those who are down with the lingo have subsequently told me!) and managed over 3000km in 2020 so far.
It has taken me across the North West and I was often found having Sunday breakfasts (definitely plural) on Formby beach, getting a Birchwood fix cycling to Risley Moss, chatting to the twitchers at Hale lighthouse and beyond. But my favourite… me and my cycling friend Jill (the one who convinced me I’d love cycling) deciding we’d venture out on a trip to Chester for a flat white and ice cream (sourcing good coffee is always a must!). No listening to Gerry and the Pacemakers blast out Ferry Cross The Mersey for us, we headed to the Paradise Peninsula (aka the Wirral) in style… cycling through the Birkenhead tunnel! I’m not sure if it was the elation of making it through in one piece, the socially distanced company of one of my best friends or just how good the first flat white for months sat outside in the sunshine tasted but it was and remains my number one lockdown day!
Thankfully there hasn’t been too much but there has been the odd accident or two along the way. I had a couple of falls off the bike and being covered in bruises is none too surprising, given I manage to clatter into numerous inanimate objects on a near-daily basis. However, I think I surpassed even my own ability when setting out on my first 5km swimming challenge. I mainly do my open water swimming at Manley Mere these days (I’d highly recommend you go check it out – definitely makes for more scenic pics!) where I get views of the open countryside, post swimming coffee and company from my new swimming buddy but Liverpool docks are my old faithful and being 10 minutes from home, convenience definitely wins at times.
So off I headed on a sunny Wednesday evening, I was ahead of schedule getting a pretty speedy pace, fuelled on by the chill and avoiding the jellyfish. Then whack, I manage to swim headfirst into yet another inanimate object and none other than the safety boat! I can often be found extolling the virtues of open water… switch off, focus on breathing, active meditation but I’ve definitely learnt to try and have at least half a brain cell on my surrounds since then!
Needless to say, I didn’t manage the 5km swim but settled for a slow bike ride with a sore head instead.
So with writing a To-Do list being my happy place, you may think each day was mapped in advance and executed in style, definitely not this time! One of my best friends for over 20 years was turning 40. We knew we couldn’t celebrate the way we had hoped but popping over in the heady days just after lockdown when we were allowed inside visits, was a must. The plan was I’d cycle over for a glass of fizz and get the bike done on the way home – an easy 5k day. A couple of bottles of champagne and hours reminiscing our 90s and 00s days with photos and Spotify playlists meant heading out on two wheels was not an option. Time for plan B, I was going to have to run this thing.
Risk assessment done (our H&S Manager would be proud!) I donned my hi-viz, dusted off my now very underused head torch (gone are the days of nocturnal bat surveys) and headed out at 11pm to run (a term used loosely!) 5km. 5 laps around the block later and I was finally done, couldn’t help but get my sprint on as the last song came on (Destiny Calling by James if you’re interested – I was still in the 90s zone). Recovering on the wall outside my house, I had to smile… only this 5keveryday challenge could get me doing this. So maybe there was a bit of good for me, as well as the ugly!
What Next ….
Well there we go, a whistle-stop tour through the first six months of my challenge. So what next, even a chatterbox is going to struggle to entertain with her not very athletic tales of biking, swimming and running right?! Fear not (although please keep a low bar for what classes as entertaining!) October 2020 saw a change of life and a stunning change of scene for me.
As lockdown two approached, I knew I wanted something different. I’d had enough of solo living and whilst I’m forever grateful for the quantity and quality of the parks and water in Liverpool, I knew I needed more.
I finally agreed on a social bubble (I knew it was worth saving it!) with a University friend and her young family, crammed the Polo full of gear, and took my life and my bike to the mountains, lakes and breathtaking expanse of Snowdonia. That was two months ago and I haven’t looked back.
I’ll leave you with the sunset on day one of my new office and see you next year with chat of how the challenge has continued over the border.
Thanks for reading and wishing everyone a peaceful festive season.
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