Every setback leaves behind a path to make your comeback
I started writing a long overdue blog sometime ago but never got round to finishing it or posting it. So I thought I would start again! Whilst the winter has mainly been occupied with my foot and more specifically my plantar fascia and my inability to run, there have been many positives to focus on instead of the negatives and difficult times that are associated with training full time and being injured. Here goes:
1) Feet in the pedals, head in the clouds - in November I was very excited to pick up my beautiful new Dassi road bike, a bright yellow flying banana! It is a brilliant bike, a feels a million times better to ride that my 8 year old ill fitting Giant bike. I really can't wait to race on it for the 2015 season, a big thank you to Stuart and the team at Dassi for all their help.
2) Surrey Sports Park - in September the Dassi Elite Women's Team headed to Guilford to the University of Surrey to be put through our paces on the treadmills and wattbikes. It was a great day getting to know the rest of the girls and making use of the fab facilities at the High Performance Institute. They results of the testing have really made a difference to my bike training and I went back this month for more suffering and it was great to see an improvement.
3) Full time 'rehaber' - I have been working hard with my consultant & physio on my foot, both brilliant people who have kept me going. After two lots of dry needling under ultrasound (thank god for local anaesthetic!) before Christmas my foot is very slowly improving and I live for the day I don't have to sleep in a night splint! Slow progress is better than no progress.
4) Grab your passport & your bikini - I had a nice end of season break at the end of October to Gran Canaria, a week of relaxing, resting and reading was just what I needed after a busy season and a stressful time with injury, I definitely needed to get away. Buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner?! *heaven!* I enjoyed a few easier days over Christmas too with some time off work and it was good to spend time catching up with friends and family up in Yorkshire.
5) Chlorine is my perfume - I raced a 1500m in Barnet Copthall in November improving on last season by over a minute and was very pleased though still lots more to come. I recently raced back at the 50m pool at Crawley in the South East Regional Masters where I picked up two golds in the 800m and 400m and a silver in the 50m (definitely not a sprinter that's for sure). More big PBs meant for a very good weekend and shows my swimming is definitely heading in the right direction after hours in the pool week in and week out.
Mixed 800m freestyle (heat 9) start of the race video - available here
6) Imperial Winter Series - I raced all 4 races of the series of women's Cat 3/4 races put on at Hillingdon. My bike has always been my weakest discipline so time to do something about it. I nervously turned up to the first race not knowing what to expect and planted myself at the back. A few races later my confidence has grown hugely, I've improved bike handling skills, got used to riding next to other people, avoided crashes and pulled turns on the front. I've really enjoyed the series and hope to continue to race there over the summer to gain more experience and improve my riding.
7) Reliability rides - I've enjoyed doing a few reliability rides, it's been great to get the miles in on some new roads and beautiful routes with the added bonus of cake and tea at the end. If you don't get lost! I mean one sign at a roundabout with 6 other mini roundabouts is enough to confuse anyone, right!?
8) 'Aqua jogging' a runners worst nightmare - After missing out on an entire cross country season I've been spending a lot of time in the gym getting stronger, on the cross trainer and in the pool aqua jogging. Many thanks to Caroline Whittaker for the loan of her aqua jogging belt and iPod to keep me sane. I've had some funny looks in the pool, especially when turning up at the lane session with the other very slow breastrokers in the slow lane. Probably won't be going back to that session! Hopefully my muscles can still remember how to run and what to do!
9) Sunshine is the best medicine - I left it quite late in sorting out some warm weather training but have been lucky enough to book time at Tri Spoke Activities with Steve and Carol at the end of February and back with Tri Training Harder in March. I'm really looking forward to seeing some sun and getting lots of miles in on the bike!
10) Race season - my 2015 season is still to be confirmed and will be starting a little later than I had hoped. My main aims for this year will be the British Super Series, the European and World Aquathlon Championships and hopefully a few European Cup races (and if they go well then World Cup!).
So whilst it's been a real tough time not being able to run and mentally very difficult at times, there have been many positives. As Richard keeps reminding me 'you've got to be able to swim and bike well to be in the race in the first place' hopefully a winter spent doing some huge swim weeks and getting stronger on the bike will pay off come race season and hopefully it won't take long to get my run fitness back. I can't stand it when I see people saying elite racing is 'just a running race', my guess is they've never tried to keep up in the swim or the bike and generally have no idea how tough it is out there and the work the top guys and girls do day after day. I'm swimming the fastest I've ever swum, I can nearly keep up in the warm up with my swim squad (they are pretty strong!!), and pushing more power on the bike. I really can't wait to race, I just hope my body will let me soon!
Again a big thank you to Dassi, Snugg, Bonk Triathlon, BetterYou, Stroke Crank and Scarper, Elete and Bounce Balls for all their support.
Until next time, in the words of Stroke, Crank and Scarper keep paddling, pedalling and pushing!
And to those of you that can run remember this! :P Remember those who cannot run...what they would give to have that simple gift that you take for granted...run harder for them!