Thursday December 31st 2020 (5.57pm)

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, you will know that on November 30th, I posted a VLOG outlining my challenge for December. You may ask why I do these physical challenges, but for me the answer is simple. Exercise keeps my head together, lets the shit escape and puts me in a time and place where only one thing matters. 

With the cancellation of so many events this year it has probably been even more important for me to have a daily exercise focus. Like many who will read this, January started with RED (Run Every Day) January.  (Running can be replaced with any form of activity) and during these 31 days I managed to run 121 miles. Mentally, I wasn’t in a great space and running gave me the out that I needed. I was still having counselling through MIND and had a number of sessions with a private therapist who I am still in contact with today.

As the months rolled on and COVID took hold, I was forced to think about more important things as lockdown became (and still is) a major turning point and focus of our lives. I suddenly could not meet up with family and friends, I could not just get in the car and go anywhere and holidays were not going to happen. As I listened each day to the 5pm briefing, the impact of the virus across the UK became a stark reality as the death toll began to rise. I have written previously how COVID changed many things for me, most of which are positive. What never changed was my running, as I continued to clock up the miles whilst enjoying the quietness around me and the freedom of the roads.

On May 4th I stood on the virtual start line in Lands End, ready to run the 874 miles to John O Groats (in 6 months). I have absolutely no idea how I managed to run 162.93 miles in May, alongside painting every wall of the house that I was due to move into at the end of the month, walking Olly, and my university course. I entered another virtual challenge in June, this time running the 870 miles around the Welsh coastal path, with one year to complete. I reached John O Groats Sunday 11th October, and as I write this I have 69 miles to go on the Welsh coastal path. During October, I also completed my 3rd London marathon.

Academically, I finished my Post Graduate Diploma in Medicine (sport and exercise) and I am currently working on 3 other qualifications, which form project 21 (more on this again).

November put a temporary stop / slow down to exercise after coming off my road bike on 7th which required a visit to hospital a few days later with breathing difficulties and broken ribs. Not to be sidelined for too long I started back on the Wattbike (trying not to move or breathe). It was something that I needed to do mentally rather than physically, and it certainly helped. It was here I started to think about plans for December and setting myself a challenge. I had seen the 12Ks of Christmas advertised on social media, but I decided to spin this idea and came up with 400Ks of Christmas.

Firstly I do not work in kilometres, so I had to think in miles then convert, and secondly I had to think what I could do with broken ribs.

I came up with a running target of 161km (100 miles) and cycling on a Wattbike for 239km (149 miles). Unfortunately, due to new lockdown rules my access to the Wattbike stopped on 19th December. I was well on target to complete this part, but ended up finishing short on 200km (124 miles). Thankfully, my own Wattbike will be arriving early in the new year so more cycling challenges to come.

Today, I did my last run of the year (with my bubble buddy), taking my monthly total  to 162km (100.88 miles). Mission complete I would say.

As January comes around again tomorrow, I think ahead to new ideas and challenges. My ribs have not completely healed, pain still catches me now and again so I will probably stay off the road bike a little longer. Maybe I will do RED January again but this time REST EVERY DAY!

On a personal level, so many new and wonderful people have come into my life. I have made so many new friends through social media, some who I have become very close to. When the likes of Twitter and Instagram are used as intended it can open up so many avenues and friendships. During times of lifted restrictions I have met with a few people which is something that I would have struggled to do earlier on in the year. There have also been a few dates in the mix 😊. 

Medically, I had my MRI scan for my knee in December (which was postponed from March), and I am currently awaiting results of a brain study. Mentally, I am currently on steady ground, and as always extremely grateful for my support bubble around me. 

Olly continues to be his mad little crazy self. Our bond is inseparable as his instagram  has turned him into a mini celeb. He even acts like a diva at times. I hope he understands what he does for me as he sits close to me twitching in his sleep with his legs in the air. 

I am not one for new year sentiments, in fact I hate it; but as I look back on 2020 I got lucky in many ways. My friends and family have remained healthy and I have continued to develop and grow in different ways. To those who have lost, suffered, or struggled my thoughts are with you. I have no idea what 2021 will bring, no doubt we (collectively) will be tested and challenged. 

Whatever is thrown your way look after yourself and stay safe.

Georgie and Olly xx

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