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January – But Not As I Know It

January 10, 2014

Free from Britain’s cold climate, Emma-Kate Lidbury is making the most of New Year in LA
In years gone by, if you’d said the word ‘January’ to me, I probably would have shivered involuntarily and immediately thought: bib tights, booties, base layers, skull caps, sore throat, runny nose, freezing toes, hot bath.

Perhaps that list, which spewed forth with no effort at all, is telling that I’m obviously scarred from a winter or two of full-time UK training.

At this point, then, I will advise all of you who are currently suffering the cooler climes with steely British reserve that the remainder of this column might make you sick. It will involve tales of sunshine, blue skies, palm trees and training conditions that were beyond my wildest dreams when I was trying to tough it out in Blighty.

After a great Christmas with my family in the UK, I returned to Los Angeles to welcome 2014 at a hilariously fun Great Gatsby-themed ball in downtown LA.

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. The contrast couldn’t be 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 would entail: 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 Matt Dixon and many of the other purplepatch pros.

At the pool the day after this inaugural run of 2014, the sunny delights continued to smile on me. Sure, it’s a little nippy at 5:45am when you’re on a pool deck in just a swimsuit, but as you’re swimming along in the dark with just the pool’s lights illuminating the black line beneath you and then, as if someone’s flicked a switch, the sun is up and the darkness is forgotten. The sky was glowing an intense orange and pink and, as I breathed to my right, my recovering elbow framed this gorgeous scene.

I pushed off the wall smiling, thinking I shouldn’t be surprised I’m so happy. I’m just one of those people who performs optimally in the sun. There are bad days, of course, but with sunshine on my side nothing thwarts me for too long.

As I warmed down, I thought back to this time last year. I was frantically planning 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. I mean, 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 appreciate the life I’m living, I really, really do.

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. Take it, find your sunshine and enjoy your 2014.

Originally published at Triradar.com

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