2011 review05 Jan 2012
I like to write myself a review of the previous year. I take my highs and lows and consider what brought each about; how can I repeat and improve on the highs; how can I avoid repeating the lows.
2010 was a difficult year. From the outset of 2011, I tried to design and live the life I want to live, now. That works wonders.
My main highlight was Ironman Lanzarote. Not completing the race, although that's an achievement I am very proud of, but the stand out memory is of my preparation for it. I practiced the hell out of that bike course. Before the days when I succumbed to bringing an ipod on long bikes, I battled through some dark times going through *that* wind, on those long and climbing roads. The highlight of Lanzarote preparation for me was this horrible moment:
I was part way around the 180km bike course, for the third time, in six days. I reached my pain and frustration barrier, got off my bike, slumped down on the side of the road; wanting to give up, wanting to be picked up. After wallowing in self-pity just long enough to annoy myself, I negotiated with myself to shut up, get up and finish... just another 4 hours to go. This mission of three 8hr rides in one week, might not have been the best physical preparation, but mentally it gave me not only the confidence that I could do this course on time, but a reminder that I have mental reserves that can work through some serious lows and pain barriers.
A massive change was finishing a decade of consulting and becoming an employee, with LivingSocial. Some people were curious how I would cope, working a regular 40hr week. I'm not sure if they realised quite how hard I had to work as a self-employed person, for so long.
It was a honour to join this team of people, amongst the best in my field. There were elements of the new job that I expected to be great: there's a feeling of ownership of work, commitment to an overall, ongoing product, a buzz of smart people getting things done, a requirement to deliverâ€¦ it's a very demanding and rewarding combination.
There are elements of the new job that I hadn't expected: the most noticeable was the almost instant, huge reduction in my stress levels. Knowing there is work, which I don't have to source, all month (and the next!) knowing there is a paycheck at the end of the month (on the day they say!) just takes away a huge weight that I didn't even realise I carried, until I no longer had to. Focusing on doing my job, making software, not the variety of other 'jobs' that are part of being self-employed, is a welcome change.
Other notable highs/lows
- Getting my divorce.
- Spending a month in Morzine, France, with a down to earth, fun, positive group of women athletes: Catriona Morrison, Rachel Joyce, Emma-Kate Lidbury and Jo Carritt.
- A 7hr epic awful-ness of a ride, alone, miserable, in driving rain and freezing fog across French and Swiss mountains. Being so cold I thought I might catch pneumonia. Arriving home to the praise of my house mates, hearing Cat coin the phrase "Keavy the fuck up", regaining much warmth and contentment, not least in my toes.
- Speaking at four conferences: Ruby Nation, Nordic Ruby, Scottish Ruby Conference and being the only woman speaker at RailsConf.
- Working in Sweden with my friends at Elabs, a professional and personal treat.
- Taking my first paid day off, ever. Using it to cycle the bike route of the Ironman World Championships, in Kona, Hawaii.
- Watching the expression on Chrissie Wellington's face, as she battled to her fourth Ironman world championship victory. Watching my friends Rachel and Cat, finish shortly after (4th and 11th).
- Getting to know some friends better, both good and bad, ultimately for my good.
- Meeting people and visiting places that encourage and enable me to be the best version of me that I can be.
- Waking up, in Tucson, in tears because I felt... happy.