I SHOULD probably warn you now that if you’re reading this and feeling just the slightest hint of January blues, you might want to turn the page.
I’m writing this from Los Angeles, my home from home, where the temperature has been 25 degrees Celsius all week and looks set to keep getting hotter.
In years gone by, if you’d said the word ‘January’ to me, I probably would have shivered involuntarily and immediately thought of icy winter training rides, chilly runs and hot baths. Since relocating to LA a year ago, though, I’ve had no such problems and feel positively spoiled.
After two weeks in Swindon over Christmas, I’ve slipped back into winter training here in California with alarming ease. Returning to the UK for a fortnight has, without a doubt, given me a renewed appreciation of just how fortunate I am to be based here.
The next day, with the sun beating down and just a T-shirt and pair of shorts on, I hit my first run session of the New Year and couldn’t help but grin.
I thought back to other New Year’s Day runs, which usually involved gloves, thermals and a ‘brace yourself’ mentality through the mean streets of Cricklade. The contrast could not have been more stark.
This was a relatively ‘cold’ day in LA and yet in comparison to the UK weather I’d just endured it felt positively tropical.
My grin grew bigger as I thought ahead to what the rest of January entails: three weeks in LA – swimming outdoors, riding along the coast, running on the beach path – and then off to Kona, Hawaii, for a 12-day training camp with my coach and team mates.
As I finished my run, I thought back to this time last year. I was in Swindon frantically packing and planning for my move to the US. I had no idea what the next 12 months had in store.
Looking back, if someone had told me, I would never have believed them. Would you believe someone telling you your life would entail riding through Malibu, swimming with a team so fun and supportive it becomes your second family, attending Hollywood premieres and running on mountain trails from your back door? No, I didn’t think so.
Back then I was full of apprehension and anxiety. Right now, I am full of life, ambition and adventure. I live in a city where I just feel at home; where I can effortlessly train to be the best triathlete I can be while also becoming the best person I can be.
I used to find January the toughest month of the year: bleak weather, dark days, post-Christmas blues. But now I couldn’t feel more different. January is full of hope, promise and sunshine. The year lies ahead of us and is just waiting to be seized. Go get it. Happy New Year!