My last blog post was actually nearly exactly a year ago explaining that my book, Hollie's Road to Kona, was officially published, I had moved back to the UK after a year in Lanzarote and landed a job within IRONMAN. I then I just disappeared...so what has happened?
- Nathan and I have now been in our house for nearly a year and it really feels like home
- I have realised how much hard work goes into putting an IRONMAN event on! From being offered a full time role of IRONMAN UK & Ireland Athlete Services Manager (I know sounds posh right) in February last year I have learnt oh so much! It was a role I learned on the job with no job experience in events. I was pretty nervous to begin but began to slot into place with not only the role but also with the team (which is vital when working on events) all of whom are now great friends. There is much I could say about what my role involves but in a nutshell I am responsible for all of the athlete specific information and customer service I suppose from answering emails and calls to updating websites. I also generate all printed material such as BIB numbers, programmes, packing and setting up registration when on-site. I can assure you when on-site, where we are based a week prior to each event (we now have 8 pretty much back-to-back from June to September) it is stressful and tiring but so rewarding. I can categorically say that working the event is harder than competing but the no sleep on the build up and the 20 hour day on race day is so worth it to see how much those words "You are an IRONMAN" means to people. At my first working full distance event in IRONMAN UK last year I cried at the finish line and I did so again when working IRONMAN Wales at the start line. I could vividly remember my nerves when stood on that beach for the first time in 2013 and then for the second time in 2014 remembering the journey I was on for Rosie. Being back there in 2016 working after having completed Kona just signified how far I had come and how much my desire to become and IRONMAN in Tenby on the 8th September 2013 had changed my life. In 2013 I was unaware of the day and journey that would unfold as I stood there, feeling like the only person in the world, as tears filled my goggles while 'Land of My Fathers' bellowed from the speakers.
- Nathan and I got engaged, rather aptly in Lanzarote where we went on holiday. I haven't told the story much but he did he at our favourite restaurant which is a sushi restaurant in Puerto Del Carmen. It wasn't busy (thankfully) and was on the terrace overlooking the stars. He said some soppy words (which I shamefully can't remember) and I of course said yes. I did wonder why Nathan was drinking his cocktails rather quick but it was to get some Dutch courage which then also meant he got lots of things stuck in his eyes ie. he couldn't stop crying! He did later tell me he had been walking around with the ring in his back pocket for days trying to find the right moment but was so scared of losing it and couldn't wait to actually get it on my finger! The ring as well is absolutely stunning. Custom made with a pink tourmaline being the major focus surrounded by 120 diamonds...diamonds really are a girls best friend ;). We are planning a winter wonderland wedding for December 2018.
My amazing ring - I am a lucky girl
- I am currently 28 weeks pregnant...with twins! The pregnancy came as a surprise, but a very welcomed one. The twins well that was a complete shock! There were definitely a few expletives when we found that out at our first 16 week scan. In my head I had begun to get everything planned out regarding returning to work in a relatively short time frame but in that moment the realisation of twins changed everything. Not only that I have had to get a practical car as twin buggys are a hard thing to fit in Alfa Romeos! However, I now take it as a blessing. Twins was always something Rosie and I spoke and dreamed of having and this just feels like another sign that Rose is watching over me. I cannot wait to meet our new arrivals in under 10 weeks and no, we do not know the sexes. May as well keep up the surprises!
As suggested by my consultant the hospital bag is ready, as is the nursery which is Beatrix Potter themed based on my love of the stories when I was a child. Amazingly one of the cots we are using is now 26 years old and bought for my parents by my grandad when my mum was expecting me. When I get my twins in there it would have had 10 children in it, including me, Rose and all of my other beautiful nieces and nephews. I just love that! Workwise I am going on as long as I physically can, hoping to get to 33 weeks before going on maternity. My control freak nature is dictating that. I do hope to go to some events over the season to help and support on some occasions with the babies in tow :). I then aim to be doing what I love within IRONMAN in November.
I am 25 weeks in this picture
Our 20 week scan
Our babies beautiful Beatrix Potter themed nursery - still some finishing touches to go
As for training I have not done anything event training specific for around 8 months. My last race really was Kona 2015. My bike has only been out a handful of times since; pretty shocking to think considering how much I used to do and how lovely my bike is but I suppose for me Kona signified the end of an era for me and then work and life got in the way. I just didn't have that drive to compete again. This said, would I do another IRONMAN? I will never say never ;)