Braving the Abbey’s door and pondering over the pompoms

Yesterday had been filling me with excitement, curiosity and dread. Pretty much in equal parts. Imagine spending a whole day with a huge crowd made of people you didn’t know? The venue for the #FSBBootcamp2019 was grand, fabulous, magnificent.


I was dark and gloomy and rainy when I walked from the car park to the Coombe Abbey Hotel, when I found myself facing a solid oak double door with enormous ironwork. It felt like I was about to enter the Forbidden Forest. Was it the right door? Did I want to push it open? What was on the other side? Curiosity got the better of me, and I was blown away! Such richness, so much light, such an interesting architecture and décor! I meandered through the corridors, got lost a few times, mesmerised at each turn and corner by the enchantments of the place. I thought if I didn’t find the event’s marquee I would err in here forever and become one of the ghosts that inhabit the hotel!


I found the marquee, and my mind stopped its fairy tale melodrama and got back to earth. Back to business!


The marquee was delightfully decorated, and fellow attendees started to pour in. Small chats started. I was put at ease by lots of wonderful people, notably Lorraine and Sandy who invited me to join them. We were subsequently joined my more lovely business owners.


The day was very informative and inspirational, each in their own way, and I realised I needed to be much braver and shout about me, about Activate Coaching, about my why. This post is a public commitment to start doing just that.


Another takeaway for me, which I had started to realise without being fully aware of, is the wonderful pompom story told by Holly Matthews (it’s Holly’s story, so head over to her to hear it first hand, or get it touch with me for a less eloquent but equally impactful summary!).


You see, I am someone who in order to switch off from a busy job set myself the goal to not only conquer my fear of water and learn to swim, but also complete an Ironman. Within 8 months. But not only did I complete it, I was the 12th fastest AG French athlete in all of the Ironman races worldwide that year (2017). And in the process, I qualified to represent my home country in several triathlon European and World Championships. Part of Team France? Me? The kid who was always last in PE lessons at school? No one was more surprised than I was when these things happened. That sort of person.


It was incredible and brought many rewards, not least the belief that I was good at something. But it meant that my downtime was not really downtime. It was an escape from the cerebral stuff, it absolutely was. And I became fitter, healthier, and incredibly efficient with my time. (Fitting a training session between a 4am start with a 10pm return flight isn’t easy!) I was “on it”, I was working hard, training hard, and it was rewarding. But the competitiveness was not sustainable with the tools that I had available. Not least a body that did not adjust to such dramatic changes so fast.


This year has been a year of transition. Injury has meant I have not competed much (“only” the World Championships in the summer). I have had time to reflect and have decided to take on a path that I perceived as easier, perhaps foolishly so, by having a go at ultra-running. My downtime needs to be active, but it doesn’t need to be competitive.


As for the pompoms, I’ll stick to the cheer-leading ones 😊


The FSB event has been brilliant: I met wonderful people, got inspired to be braver, and it helped me realise that downtime is downtime.


Do you have a hobby? What do you do to relax your body and mind?


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