It’s been almost four months since I last updated this blog, and quite a lot has happened in that time. Some good things have happened and some bad things have happened. We’ll start with the bad things and get those out of the way.
Although I ran the Broadland Half Marathon before my last blog post, I have to mention how awful it was. It was my worst running performance in a race to date, my second slowest half marathon (2:01:57) and the least enjoyable event I’ve taken part in. Moving on.
About a month later, I raced the Trowse 10k for the third time. The race itself wasn’t so bad, it was the aftermath of the race which was the bad thing. Most of the race was okay and I was running faster than I had done in months. In hindsight, running on last years fitness wasn’t the best idea. I finished the race in 46:13, which isn’t close to my PB but I was pleased with my sudden increase in pace. Immediately after the race I felt great, picked up my medal, hopped on my bike and rode home. A few hours later after resting, I tried walking up the stairs, got halfway up found myself in agony with a stabbing pain in my knee. My knee pain was back again.
In the proceeding weeks, I had regular physio sessions with Anna at Physio Kinetic (link), who was set with the task of fixing my knee. I was given further strengthening exercises along with a mix of acupuncture and sports massages. I’m not the best with needles, the acupuncture sessions were not enjoyable, even though they were (almost) painless.
In the middle of May I had my first triathlon of the year, the Quarter-Master triathlon. After a few weeks of physio, my knee felt strong enough to race in the event. Well, that’s what I was telling myself after finding out I couldn’t get a refund on my race entry. I went into the race with no open water swimming training since 2013, and not even biking 30 miles in one go in 2014. I probably shouldn’t have raced, but I thought it could help my confidence with training. I finished in 3:14:50, with less confidence than I started.
Two weeks later I raced the Outlaw Half for the second time. I knew this wouldn’t go well, but for some reason decided to still race regardless. My training level was no where near the level it should’ve been to enjoy or do relatively okay. To make matters worse, I came down with a cold 24 hours before, so I was up most of the night with a throat that felt like sandpaper and a temperature so high it was impossible to get a good rest. Considering the lack of swim training (pool based and in open water), the swim went surprisingly well, coming out of the water only 6 minutes slower than last year. The bike was another story. Having done a pitiful amount of bike training, I knew (again) that it wasn’t going to go well. In fact I knew it was going to go bad. Everything felt okay up until the 25 mile mark when my energy levels completely dropped. From 30 miles onwards I felt sick, I hated cycling, I hated triathlon and I hated myself for putting me in this position. I kept telling myself that I was going to pull out of the race as soon as I reached T2 and that there was no way I could manage another 13 miles on my feet. However, when I racked my bike, I thought “what the hell? I’ve spent a lot of money on this event, my family are here and why would you even think about giving up?” I decided to carry on, using a tactic I used in The Anglian last year; I broke the run into small sections by only looking forward to the next aid station. The aid stations had Jaffa cakes too, so how could I pull out of the race and miss out on free Jaffa cakes? I ended up walking the majority of the run. My fitness just wasn’t there. I didn’t deserve to be racing, I gave it no respect whatsoever. The vast majority of the field would have trained so hard to get to that point, and I was just plodding round after putting next to no effort into training and expecting to finish it easily. I eventually finished in 7:25:17 after a fellow Tri-Anglian caught up with me about 0.5 miles from the end. Thanks to her I managed to run the last little section.
After giving it some thought and going over my performance in the past two events, I decided to withdraw from Ironman Sweden. After the massive struggle The Outlaw Half was, I knew I could never increase my fitness enough in 2.5 months to finish a full Ironman. It was a hard decision, but I knew it was the right decision.
Moving onto the positive things…
Now that Ironman Sweden was off my schedule, the focus was now completely on the Berlin Marathon. I found the longest (and simplest) marathon training plan I could find and began that. I chose a basic plan that incorporates a run/walk system on the long runs so that I could build up slowly to marathon level and reduce the chance of injury. I am currently at the end of week 7 and have been disciplined enough to stick to stated workouts. My legs and fitness are beginning to feel strong again. Tomorrow I have a 3 hour run, and I am looking forward to it without a hint of worry about getting injured. So far, so good.
For the build up to the marathon, I have entered the Worcester City Half Marathon on the 17th August. I will be using this race to work out my predicted marathon time and to practice staying disciplined and not shooting off too fast.
So, there we have it. The negatives seem to outweigh the positives, but I feel I’m getting back on track.
For now, my legs need all the rest they can get… They haven’t travelled 16/17 miles for a while!
And, above all, don’t forget to follow your destiny through to its conclusion.