Things have been very busy over the last few months for me, so apologies for the silence on the airwaves.
Before I close out the year, here's a quick recap of what I've been up to:
After a rather sketchy start to the year I managed to get back into my stride and even got in a few running races. While in Milan I ran the Milan Marathon Relay with my work colleagues. I set myself a challenge of doing the first leg which was 8.75 miles. A few years ago this would have been a fairly straight forward matter but I had to do quite a lot to avoid injury - especially as I had missed out on a lot of regular training. I was pleased with my 67 minutes. I hope the team was ok with that too! I also ran the Nike "We own the night" women-only 10k in Milan with my Cassinis Cycling team buddies. That proved to be a good event too. Since being back in the UK I have been doing Parkruns - mainly on Roundshaw Downs in South London and also Lloyd Park, Hull, and Congleton which is not far from my new home in Macclesfield. I feel that now that I am in Macc I am getting fitter than I had been in Milan, and look forward to doing more races next year - well I'm already signed up for the Wilmslow Half Marathon so the training has started already!
Talking of fitness (or lack of it) my cycling suffered during 2013 - mainly due to being in Milan and not being able to get out and do regular club-runs, particularly mid-week rides.
After all the palava of getting an Italian racing licence I only managed to do one cyclosportive - in Oltrepo Pavese. Although the event was well organised and friendly, I can't say I enjoyed the experience. My performance was p!5s poor and that's probably better left forgotten!
Since moving back to Macclesfield I have managed to do mid-week rides with my local club - Macclesfield Wheelers, and I even get out and do circuits of the hills near my place of work at lunchtime. I feel quite spoiled to be able to get onto some of the hills near the Peak District so easily. This has even given me the confidence to do some cyclo cross races. I have done a few in the Manchester area, plus one in East Yorkshire, one in the Peak District, the Rapha Supercross races, and I now have the National Cross Champs to look forward to early next year! No idea how I will get on, but the fact that I even dared to enter the race is already a big step from while I was in Milan.
You might think that I did not enjoy my experience in Milan. In actual fact, I did! After all, I managed to meet Paul Smith there when he launched his Maglia Rosa jersey for the Giro d'Italia. I met some interesting people through the Italian conversation exchanges that I did (which really helped with my level in Italian), and I managed to go ski-ing quite a few times - which is no bad thing!
As well as my excursions ski-ing, I did various trips to different parts of Italy - almost always with my bike. I was able to explore more areas such as Liguria, Tuscany, the Alps, plus local regions of Brianza and Oltrepo Pavese. All these visits involved going up iconic climbs like Monte Generoso, Madonna del Ghisallo, Sormano, Monte Bisbino and Bernina Pass.
Then there were a few trips to Lake Garda, one of which involved a photo shoot for a Cycling Active article. Watch this space to see the finished product!
My most memorable trip of the year was the trip to Paris with my other half and my 17-year-old nephew. It was great to be able to show him the sights and introduce him to the delights of travelling, and Paris was no better a place than to do it - especially while the Tour de France was taking place. So once I had shown him all the iconic sights we were then able to bask in the sunshine and watch the racers set off from Versailles and then ride around the Arc de Triomphe.
Life in general
So, the Milan job has finished and I am now back in the UK having started a new job in Macclesfield. The process of looking for a new job while in Italy and then moving my stuff from Milan to London and then up North was quite taxing and there was a fair amount of upheaval. Still, I am enjoying life in this rather small town. Being right on the edge of the Peak District is great for the outdoors, especially for cycling. So two-wheeled fun is very much back on the menu and will be during 2014.
In 2013 I only managed to write a couple of articles for Cycling Active magazine and for Sportsister website, but I already have a few in the pipeline for 2014.
During 2013 I also became an auntie for the third time. My new niece looks gorgeous (if I don't mind saying)!
I also got proposed to by Fred aka Stan, aka Him Indoors - and I said yes! So I am finishing off 2013 looking forward to the prospect of becoming a Her Indoors, though I will always be a 2 wheel chick!
Happy New Year and I look forward to putting up regular posts in 2014.