Christmas at home was the usual mix of resting, eating, partying, fun with family and friends and a small amount of training. The only difference this year was that Ritchie and I got engaged! Ritchie, the romantic that he is ;) proposed on Portstewart beach on our way back from a nice easy run. Our families were quite surprised and it added some excitement for all of us around Christmas.
I had a relatively long break at the end of the season of around 6 weeks off structured training. The length of my break wasn't something that I planned but it worked out something like this: 2 weeks completely off training (apart from 2 x country races which I am much too easily talked in to!). The first week or so was quite a novelty but by the end of week 2 I was starting to miss training. I then had two weeks of doing whatever training I felt like; for me it was mostly running as it’s the most simple and takes the least planning. Ideally I would start to add structure to my training after 4 weeks off but because I was travelling to Egypt with my new team I just did whatever training I could to get back in to it before heading off to my first training camp of the year in Lanzarote. By the time I got to Lanzarote I was more than ready to start training properly and I couldn't wait to get in to it, however as soon as I arrived I got a kidney infection which slowed me down a little but it wasn't long before I was back in to the swing of things and getting on with some great training.
I had decided at the end of the season that that I would be self-coached for 2015 but after giving it some thought I decided that I would contact one coach, Lubos Belik, to see if he would take me on. I had the view that if he didn't take me it wasn't meant to be and I'd just coach myself. I contacted Lubos by email and he replied saying that he couldn't coach me as he already has quite a few pro athletes, not so surprising as he is the coach of the Ironman World Champion! At the time I was disappointed and I started to get my head around coaching myself. After about a week Lubos got back in touch, we talked back and forth over email and decided to give it a go. I felt very happy with the decision and looked forward to getting the training started with him.
This year I will be racing for a new team Alameda o.n Triathlon Team. Our team is based in the Middle East. Hassan Afifi is the main man behind the team; he contacted me in the summer and explained his ideas for the team and the vision he had for it. As well as fully supporting the professional athletes our team also focuses on developing young talent in the Arab region and promoting the sport in the Arab world. I am very honoured to be a part of the team along with Leanda Cave, Lawrence Fanous and Omar Nour.
Along with Alameda o.n Tri Team other main sponsor for the 2015 season is FSG property services LTD. FSG are a company based in Milton Keynes where I used to live, work and train when I was racing as an age grouper. I am very grateful for their support and I am looking forward to representing them this year.
I've just finished my first block of training in Lanzarote and I've loved every minute. Special thanks to Bella Bayliss who let me join in her coached swim sessions at Sands Beach. Bella has a great group of athletes both pro and age group and it was great to have the opportunity to swim with them. Right now I'm headed to Dubai to meet up with the rest of the Alameda Tri Team for a team camp. Ritchie will be racing at challenge Dubai so I can look forward to supporting him there too. The race is a little too early for me but I'm looking forward getting going at Challenge Fuerteventura at the end of April.