The curtains for many of us now begin to draw on the 2016 mulitsport season. Many more inspirational journeys and wicked challenges have gone to the sword, with memories that we’ll keep with us for a lifetime.
Once again I’ve been fortune to part of the Britcon/Offthatcouchfitness Raceteam for 2016 with the much appreciated new support of local firm Britcon. With fellow team mates Steve Clark taking on the daunting challenge of Norseman, Steve Grocock taking on triathlons big stage at Kona and Ben Baugh showing the way with multiple wins across a variety of racing. That in itself is free motivation to pull some performances out the bag when it’s your turn to take the stage.
This year was always going to be tough to follow the best level I’d ever had in 2015. But drive to improve isn’t something I struggle with, even with a high level of frustration from injury. There was still a certain extent I could work at to still maintain a level for when it mattered.
For 2016 I’d basically only chosen races that really motivated me and felt I’d have something to prove to myself. This way on those days you’re body is telling you it’s not so keen to train, the focus to get it done anyway is so much easier if you really want it.
When the first signs of spring arrives there’s little hesitation to get the ball rolling. Was the injury recovered perfect…no. Was it capable of completing, yes. A couple of journeys between Cardiff and Germany, brought home a 3min PB at Half Marathon and a Gold in the European Duathlon Championships.
Not so bad then hey?!
By working on the aspects I could control even if my left leg struggled, hope was still there for the rest of the season.
Temperatures warmed, open water swimming swiftly becoming a increasing feature in training..the triathlons were approaching at pace.
A busy 4 weeks from the end of May- June I’d be heading across to Portugal, and racing a 70.3 down in Exmoor and taking on the masses over in Leeds ITU.
More races and fortunately more results I could be satisfied with.
Firstly a Bronze in Lisbon matching Geneva last year, but most importantly proving to myself 2015 wasn’t a fluke.
Despite misfortune in Exmoor 70.3 with a disobedient chain/derailleur I can honestly say it was the day I’m most satisfied with from 2016. I’d built up one of the World’s toughest courses as something that would completely break me. But in truth I felt at no stage the race had the beating of me. A vast improvement from Vitruvian 2 years previous where I was a broken man.
That combined with the satisfaction of still finishing in a respectable position/time, despite a bike problem that would’ve put a end to most people’s races.
Leeds, well forgetting the hash they made of the race organisation. A fastest run split trophy amongst 3000 competitors was enough to put a positive on the day.
This season coupled with the main races, I had a blast at a couple of the Activities Away Aquathons. Brilliant training, great venue and good confidence builder in getting a couple of victories with a course record.
The plan was always to give July a opportunity of rest if required, a huge question mark hung over how my never fully recovering injury would cope with the racing demands. Still it wasn’t good enough to achieve the running I want to, but I’d still give it one last roll of the dice towards the British Championship in Liverpool.
A bump by a car a mere couple of days before Liverpool put these plans to bed. My shoulder in no condition to attempt a mass start punch up in the swim(or even swim for that matter).
In a way everything has a silver lining, this has given me opportunity to take focus on improving the useless left leg.
Combining the physiotherapy and the analysis of how I run on the treadmills at Blizard Physiotherapy with Jenny, hopefully come 2017 a ability to do running miles can once again come back. It might be a long process and frustrating, but nothing gets won or achieved by giving up!
2016 perhaps in terms of results has arguably been the best to date, yet there’s a distinct lack of satisfaction I could give my best level without training in running. One thing is for certain I’ll keep striving to acheive that satisfaction once again.
Looking towards next season the basis of the targets are the same, choose venues/races that really appeal. Maybe target a trip to Canada for Duathlon Worlds if running behaves or failing that Zell Am See-Kaprun 70.3 in Austria looks one hell of a venue. Either way it’ll be another year of adventures and memories with the great group of people I’ve met in this sport.
Big thanks for the year go to the Britcon team for their support. Along with the Giant Store Lincoln (Doddington Hall) for the help providing me with a bike that puts me on a level playing field against the top performers.
Yet MOST importantly my Coach Steve Clark for managing my training loads to still perform despite the problem we faced. There has been a great deal of development in my knowledge and understanding of training under his guidance.