• Rest, relax, reset...

    2013 has been a brilliant year for me – a transatlantic move, new friends, a new start, a new life, great training and racing. It has also been an extremely busy year and after the 70.3 World Championships in Vegas I definitely started to feel like the tank was beginning to run on empty. I squeezed one last race in – 70.3 Augusta, three weeks later – and still held out hopes of racing 70.3 Miami this weekend, but as any racer knows, when the body and mind tell you it’s time, hell, IT IS TIME! I’m just no good at racing at anything other than 100 per cent, so regrettably I won’t be racing in Miami but wish everyone there a terrific race.

    Since making the decision not to race, I’ve been enjoying some well earned R&R time. Rather than climb aboard another plane, I decided a “staycation” here in LA would be just the ticket. After all, this place is ridiculously beautiful, so why flee from your own “backyard” (as the locals would say) when there is so much to see, do and enjoy here?

    In the past few days, I’ve discovered deserted beaches, visited temples, hiked, trail run, baked, read, baked some more, eaten hotdogs (well, a Rattlesnake hotdog to be precise!), fed my addiction to Breaking Bad and watched the sunset with a glass of Pinot Noir in my hand.

    I’ve evaluated the year and begun making plans for next. I’ve celebrated what was good and learnt from the not so good. Over the space of this year I’ve grown more as a person and as an athlete than I could ever have imagined possible. And I look forward to growing and evolving some more over the winter ready to hit the 2014 season with a bang.

    In the meantime, next week I’ll be enjoying some long overdue family time with relatives who are flying here from England, so it’ll be great to be a tourist in LA and see this marvellous place through their eyes. Oh, and I promise to be a little better at blogging too…

    Until next time

    Eccles

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  • USA is the perfect place for me...

    Taken from TriRadar.com, 06 Oct 2013

    Our new columnist Emma-Kate Lidbury has no regrets about leaving the UK – except the lack of Percy Pigs…

    As the plane took off from Heathrow I took a sharp intake of breath, closed my eyes and felt my stomach somersault. I’m no nervous flier, so the stomach gymnastics couldn’t be attributed to any anxiety about take-off. No, I knew exactly what was going on here. I’d just left behind the oh-so-comfortable life I knew and was California-bound. I’d said teary goodbyes to my family and was trying – and failing – to get my head around the last phrase I’d heard my five-year-old nephew say to me: “See you in half a year, Auntie EK!”

    I’d done it. After weeks of wondering whether it might be the right thing for me, I’d set about starting a new life in Santa Monica. Don’t get me wrong – moving to a place where the sun shines constantly, the beaches are heaven and everyone looks like they’ve walked off the set of Baywatch isn’t exactly a tough move. But diving into the unknown elicits fear and trepidation in all of us.

    My transatlantic move was a bold yet calculated one that my coach Matt Dixon and I hoped would yield greater career opportunities. Up until this point, I’d been a successful triathlete, a good triathlete. But I didn’t want to be good – I wanted to be great, and Matt believed, like me, that in the right environment I could achieve exactly that. Training alone in less than triathlete-friendly climes had stunted my development. If I wanted something more, it was time to go and find it.

    I left the UK on January 13 this year with no way of knowing whether it would work out for the best. When faced with a tough decision, it’s usually best to rely on your gut and, despite the dancing my insides were doing as we took off that day, I knew deep down that this was the right thing for me. This was what I wanted – no, needed – to do. Less than 48 hours later, I was driving along the Pacific Coast Highway, having just done one of my first swim workouts. As the sun beat down over the ocean, I laughed aloud that I’d ever felt those nerves. I already knew I’d made the right move. I already knew this was the perfect place, not just for me as an athlete but for me as a person.

    From that day forward, I settled in so ridiculously quickly that I found myself referring to “home” as Santa Monica and never really knowing how to refer to the tiny Cotswold town in which I grew up. It was odd to return to the UK recently and feel like it was a foreign place. I wondered if I’d landed in Legoland. Everything was tiny, the M4 seemed like it was missing a few lanes and why oh why were we driving on the wrong side of the road?

    Of course, it was a great treat to have roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, fish and chips, Marmite and my beloved Percy Pigs from Marks & Spencer (just don’t tell Matt or my nutritionist!), and I returned to the US with a suitcase full of the latter two. It was only then that I realised it: home for me, right now, is most definitely here in Santa Monica.

    I’ll always be a Brit, through and through, but the move I made back in January is quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever done. Regardless of what I achieve in triathlon from this point forward, I’ll know that I’ve done everything possible to set myself up for success. And that, well… that just feels good.

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