It might have been a 'download week' for training, but it certainly hasn't been a quiet one in terms of work!
After a challenging 18 months with little in the way of events contracts coming in I certainly can't complain that I now have three large events to deliver in two months. This is something I wouldn't have thought would be feasible in the pre pandemic world, but it is definitely a case of making hay whilst the sun shines at the moment, and I am sure I can make anything work.
Although clients are still erring on the side of caution and keeping things virtual, I have learned over the past year that this certainly doesn't make things easier for events! I find myself constantly learning new skills and platforms to try and offer extra functionality like one-to-one networking and other nice interaction experiences to make what I offer more attractive than run of the mill virtual events. The platform I am working with at the moment can be branded so uniquely to each client that the 95 layers of 'deep branding' available have driven me to distraction at times.
This week I ran what was supposed to be a 'small demo' for a team of five people which turned into a full blown event in itself. But I have always been complimented on my ability to keep calm under pressure and boy have I been harnessing that swan like persona this week! Yes these serene Serpentine swimming sessions like the one above are part of my morning ritual that keep me sane for the rest of the day.
So, onto the (shorter) distances this week...
I am still just keeping the running ticking over whilst I focus on swimming and cycling for the next week or two, but I can't wait to get back to the paddleboard and kayak!
Having now covered a distance of 5,486km to date would find me at the tiny village of Antofalla in north western Argentina, close to the border of Chile. So small in fact that this village only has around 45 residents. Its most famous claim to fame is the nearby volcano, part of the volcanic segment of the Andes in Argentina. With the grit roads and remote location, this is an area that I definitely haven't been to on my real South American trip, but I am intrigued!
Back in the real world, I might have been reducing my distance this week, but I have still been trying to keep the hill training up. Very poignant given that I would now be in the Andes region of Argentina. My hills aren't quite up to that standard, but being in the heart of the Chilterns on my weekends at Ian's place, I decided to do some hill reps. Turns out there are some cracking climbs just a two minute ride from his flat. One thing I realised about signage is that you only get warning of steep descents, not ascents on roads as I glanced back at this 20% one which explained why I my thighs felt like Chris Hoys' by the end of this session! Kudos again to the 'old jalopy' (weekend) mountain bike.
As I come towards the end of my course on 'Menopause for Athletes' I am also learning the importance of balancing out the hard training with recovery, or to put it more accurately, to ensure that there is sufficient time spent in the parasympathetic state to balance off the cortisol that is triggered in high intensity training. I have been so grateful to my friend Dawn for her weekly online Yin Yoga sessions which have done me the world of good in the absence of the sports massages that I used to have the luxury of affording most weeks. This week I also finally signed up to the Headspace app and am really feeling the benefit of the many practices and features they offer, from early morning wake ups and breathing exercises, to meditations, playlists, and my personal favourite, the sleepcasts.
Another thing I am trying to do more of is taking the time to notice things around me, and to not just rush around. This meant that on my way through Wembley Park on Saturday I was rewarded with seeing such a lovely, inspirational wall of poetry. Apparently at the start of the year Wembley Park and, coincidentally again, the children's mental health charity Place2Be ran an art competition to raise awareness of Children's Mental Health Awareness Week. Children in Place2Be schools in Brent were invited to submit poetry along with an illustration under the theme of Bravery. This is a word that I really find very emotive and I found myself reading around 25 of the submissions that were pinned along the wall. I could see many people hurrying past, but others, like me stood quite taken aback by some of the wonderful poems and illustrations by these children.
Denise Yeats is an events director, communications consultant, endurance athlete and avid adventurer.