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Happy New Year! I hope you are refreshed, in good health and raring to go again – or, at least, not hideously hungover – as we step into the unknown territory of 2017.

Despite some dodgy health last month, when a lingering bug revived some of the dreaded M.E./C.F.S. symptoms, I’m pretty excited about what this year is going to bring. It’s too early to say how my health will shape up. If a post-Christmas run is anything to by, I’ve lost a lot of ground – how can such an easy run HURT so much??? – so I may have to build up gradually rather than attacking training with my usual fiery aggression. But that’s fine. I’ve done it before and I can do it again.

With that in mind, I’m making just one New Year’s resolution, which is to take the rest element of my training more seriously. In an interview with Olympic champion Zac Purchase for an article I’ve written for this month’s Rowing & Regatta magazine, I learned just how important a part of an athlete’s regime this is, yet it’s the part I’m most inclined to neglect. There’s always a bit more work to be done, a laundry basket that needs emptying, a room that needs cleaning (OK, the cleaning comes pretty far down the list), or food that needs cooking. But I need to sort this one out – it’s the only way I’m in with any hope of keeping injury and illness at bay.

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So it’s more reading, more tea, more time in front of the fire, more feet up and less charging around doing stuff. Sounds great, right? – but you’ll need to keep reminding me as it’s going to be a hard one to stick to when life gets busy.

As for the blog, I have some seriously cool things in the offing, most notably a ROWING PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION which I’m going to be announcing properly in the next week or so. Time to dust off your SLR, GoPro, Kodak Instamatic (Mas C and above) or Box Brownie (Mas G and above) and get snapping. I’m busy gathering together some fabulous prizes and am hopping up and down with excitement as I have THE BEST JUDGES, LIKE, EVERRRRRRR lined up to pick the winners.

So I hope we’ll have some fun together this year. And always, the best bit of blogging is talking to all of you, so I want to hear about what you’re planning for 2017.

Until then, happy rowing!

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