A timeline of the last year

This one most definitely goes down as the biggest year for me yet in terms of learnings, travel, relationships and work. I've been to Portugal, Cornwall and Devon, cycled to Edinburgh, cycled to Copenhagen (solo in Feb), completed Ironman Wales and the 90 mile Velothon in Cardiff, ran a 36 mile ultramarathon with my friend Zennor in Austria, moved house three times, worked with 5 different jobs, went back and forth to Pembrokeshire like a yo-yo and went to three beautiful weddings. My grandpa passed away last month, my friends have had babies and gotten pregnant and my sister got engaged. I've also been to gigs and concerts including Matthew and The Atlas, Michael McIntyre, Van Morrison and The White Buffalo, done courses in Photoshop, pottery, joined a choir, kickboxing and been to two different dance clubs - Afrodance fusion and a swing dance intensive course.

I've made a bit of a habit of reflecting on the year that's been on New Year's Eve. And this year was no different. 31.12.17. Fresh start tomorrow and 2018 brings plans for many more exciting adventures, more weddings, more triathlons, new work, exploring a side project, spending more weekends with friends and family plus I've signed up for a level 4 diploma in holistic massage too. 

I put my photoshop skills and memory to the test and took a trip down memory lane, this is the result! 


Moments that made my 2017, made by me on NYE 31.12.17 

I'm an Ironman (x 2)

Last Sunday was the toughest physical endurance challenge of my life. 

Two years ago I flew to sunny Mexico and competed in my first Ironman - on the island of Cozumel. It was 35 degrees, flat and windy. Shortly after I finished it, I decided I'd one day like to complete Ironman Wales in my home county of Pembrokeshire. So on a winters evening in January this year me and my best mate Jo signed up for the race. Along with my husband Ross and my little sister Jaz. The four of us didn't quite know what we had got ourselves in for but trained hard, with grit, tears, sweat and blood. This determination got us to the finish line last Sunday but not without a battle on our hands. 

The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.
— Isak Dinesen

In classic Pembrokeshire style we were treated to a colourful forecast to say the least.

 

Throughout the day we experienced gusts of up to 40 mph from the WSW (head wind to Angle and tail wind to Narberth) an horizontal rain. There were oil spills and other challenges along the way - in the chaos of transition I left my swimming ear plugs in for the first 10 miles, on the 2nd loop of the 112 mile bike I got a flat tyre which I sorted but without co2 or a track pump didn't get the pressure above 50psi... and I threw down ibuprofen and paracetamol to ease the pain of my left IT band on the marathon.  Although I did my first Ultra in June, my self inflicted knee injury meant that for the 5 weeks leading up to Ironman I didn't run more than 7 miles. Not ideal in preparing for a marathon. 

They say if you finish between 11pm and midnight then you finish in heroes hour because you have been going the longest. Our race started at 7am and I crossed the finish line after 16 hours and 6 minutes... at 11:05pm which I guess makes me a hero??! Nice. I was pretty beat coming into the 'Athletes Village' and was treated to a 10 min sports massage which I could have enjoyed all night, a hot chocolate, a slice of pizza and a hug from Ross and eventually my sister too. 

Our fans lined the course in most villages we passed on the bike ride. Seeing familiar faces peppered between crowds of strangers all shouting "Go Alice Go, you got this, you're going to be an ironman, well done Alice, keep pushing Alice, nearly there Alice, one more lap Alice.... Alice Beese You Are An Ironman".... it was all super awesome. 

Why did I do it? You don't get many opportunities in life where you push yourself really, really hard. Most things come easy and you float along on the comfortable day to day hum drum of life. When you sign up for something like this all your free time goes into training - morning sessions in the pool, long days on the bike and short, medium and long runs - sometimes fast sometimes steady. You work so hard for something and then you test what your body can achieve - and if you let it, it will often do much more than you might ever have imagined possible. 

So much of the Ironman journey is a mental one - and 15% of the competitors didn't finish the race last Sunday, not surprising given it's the 10th toughest Ironman course in the world and the worst conditions they've seen in the 7 year history. Still I made it to the finish line with 55 minutes to spare before the midnight cut off and felt so proud to receive my medal - couldn't bear the weight of it though what with the rash on my neck from the swim and my weary legs. 

 

Good For Nothing Bristol!

Last night we launched Good For Nothing in Bristol. It was in the Boston Tea Party Cafe on Cheltenham Road in Stokes Croft - a vibrant, cultural and passionate part of the city. There was cold beer, cheese and wine and a group of about 30 individuals who all showed up to find out more about Good For Nothing. There was a real buzz and we're all super happy with how it all panned out - here's a little video about Good For Nothing and how you can get involved.

I helped with the event set up, registration, communications and a bit of hosting and ushering on the night. Today the new chapter has been formed and we have ten folks who are going to crew this local group. Going forward I'll help ensure the chapter leaders are set up to run with this in Bristol and take on the event organising and community building themselves. Tonight Good For Nothing is being launched in Bath and then at the end of the month we're doing the same in Exeter and Birmingham. It's an exciting time for this creative generosity movement and I'm humbled to be a part of it. 

Hugely grateful to Boston Tea Party for providing the space, the wine, the beer, the cheese and the good vibes - hoping this partnership thrives and looking forward to seeing where this journey will take us. 

#gfnbristol