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2017: What I Learned.

It’s no secret that 2017 has been a bumpy year for me. Full of ups & downs. Now I’m back into training, hopefully the regular blogging will continue – & I’ll be aiming for a minimum of 2 a month through 2018 – so stay tuned.  Today I’m going to walk you through 2017, as it happened for me, & the lessons I learned.

img_5743img_7860I came into the year with some solid months of miles in my legs. All roads leading to Ironman New Zealand and a Kona place – it was always going to take a good run of form to achieve. January & February went exactly as they should have & when New Zealand came around – I was ready. A smooth journey & straight into the time zone meant the taper could commence & wasn’t heavily impacted. The race day went exactly as I’d planned. A rough swim saw me come out of the water a long way back. A strong, controlled bike took me through the entire field in some very tough conditions, and a well executed run took me over line exactly where I needed to be, in first place.

You can read my Ironman New Zealand race report here.

Back home to the U.K. I was in a great place. Kona spot bagged, my first ironman win, lots of confidence. I knew I could control a race from start to finish, not let nerves or emotions get the better of me. & put exactly what I did in training into practice on the big stage.

A new half marathon pb 6 days after Ironman New Zealand definitely wasn’t the most sensible thing I’ve ever done. But a solid few weeks in March and April saw the start of the U.K. season and back to training. And before I knew it I’d picked up my first injury. 7 months injury free had been refreshing, but I’d picked up a niggle in my knee that I just couldn’t shift. I bumbled from race to race, a 2:53:53 at Manchester Marathon. A 10k debut and win at the Easter Classic 10k race in London, before picking up 2nd place overall at Storm the Castle duathlon in Shropshire. But through it all, I wasn’t training properly & I couldn’t get the the bottom of my knee issues. I was learning how to run, and it felt great! Showing that with a bit of time and a strict diet, my legs can really tick over.

StC_2017_0370Races ticked by one by one, and I was sidelined. Nothing could be done. May, June & July were really tough for me. Watching races that I had been targetting all year fly by, with me on the sideline. But through this time I learned how to deal with injury. When all you want to do is get out & train, race, get back to the work – it’s tough to be sidelined. It was a very tough time mentally, 4 months of no real training really got to me. But I know next time I’m injured, I’ll be in a much better place to deal with it.

15_m-100793362-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-2000_094606-12947435Then on to Kona. And probably the biggest learning curve I’ve had in triathlon yet. And definitely the most valuable. I learned how & where to train, how not to string a race together, what not to

The end of July saw the start of training again. A slow build but nobody knew what I’d be capable of – how long it would take to come back. I build up slow – but the sessions were hard. My body had forgotten how to work hard, lost all the fitness I’d spent so long working for. Restricted to the gym, I was desperate to get out and back at it – but I knew I’d only hurt myself again. A very focused rehab and I made the decision. I was going to fly to Canada for World Champs, & I was going to race. 3 weeks of training in the legs, what’s the worst that could happen?

In the build up to the race I managed to rupture a tendon in my knee. As if the season hadn’t been vicious enough – there was another road block. Managing to string a strong race together, I came away with a silver medal. It taught me never to rule out a race, even if the odds are stacked against you.eat and more importantly, when to draw the line. It was one of the best experiences of my life – despite being the worst race. & I can’t WAIT to get after it again.

A good race at Dublin Marathon came with a sociable 3:14 in the bank and a glance towards 2018. Lots of exciting races to come and together with my new coach – Joel Jameson, I’m excited to see what we can produce. Limits only exist in the mind, right?

The stats from the year for you number crunchers:

649 hours of exercise – (7.5% of the year)
303,471 metres Swam  – (Equivalent of Cheshire to London)
10,568 km Cycled – (Equivalent London to Kuala Lumpur)
1,920 km Run. (Equivalent London to Sofia, Bulgaria)
Endless Personal Bests.

3 Continents.
10 races.
3 wins.
2 second places.
1 Ironman Age Group Win.
2 World Championship Finishers Medals.
1 World Championship Silver Medal.

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