After such a great winter training I felt in probably the best condition ever and couldn't wait for the season to get started as was expecting some top results. Unfortunately it doesn't always work out that way and after racing Trafford 10km in early march I had an injury to my right hip.
I don't think my race strategy did it much favours as I went of like a mad man and hit a 1km, 1mile,2mile and 5km pb on Strava, so the final 5km was a bit of a struggle but still came away with a pb.
As soon as I finished I knew something wasn't right but tried to run it off but by the Wednesday it was getting worse and was hobbling.
The pain was deep in my hip and for the first 4weeks walking was painful and even cycling caused pain so I had to really back right off and let it heal. I had an x ray to check for any stress fractures which came back clear so then headed to the Physio to see if they could help
The Physio was great and after a gait analysis on the treadmill it was pretty clear what had caused the issue. My body was pretty twisted up and my right hip during running would drop alot every stride- in fact she said it was the worst lateral hip rotation she had ever seen and didn't understand how I've been running on it for so long.
So it was then into the gym to help stabilise my hips and work on my core. I already do a fair bit of work in the gym but tend to focus more on full body functional exercises than isolation exercises, but we started working on strengthening up my glute min and med as well as taking the core exercises right back to basics.
After a couple of false starts and failed attempts my hip started to feel of again at the end of may so I decided to attempt a race at outlaw half.
So 3months of no running and even swimming I was unable to kick my legs so just buoy work.
The week leading into the race I had to successful easy 5km runs and also was able to kick in the pool for the first time. My plan for the outlaw was to have a solid hit out on the swim and bike then have a really steady 10km run off the bike then pull out- that was best case scenario.
The day before I headed down to Nottingham I received my new race kit from my sponsors race skin.
They had designed my new kit around the royal marines corps colours and I'm very happy with the outcome.
Colin and the raceskin team were also down at the outlaw Half and was great to catch up with them.
The race: The swim started in waves and I was in the second wave. I was a little concerned bout the swim as all my swim for the last 3months had been with a buoy due to hip problem and had to reduce the volume as my shoulder were taking a pounding. The swim started pretty steady and I got away clean- there were three of us upfront but no one seemed to want to take it out which suited me so for this race so I just kept it steady and cruised round- I was probably a little lazy an could have pushed on more.
Onto the bike and I was on my own for almost the entire ride so pushed hard for the first 20km then backed it off a bit and really enjoyed racing again, as I was in the second wave I was passing lots of people for the first half of the ride Which was nice as it can get pretty lonely at the front of races sometimes.
I've also been experimenting with my race nutrition and wanted to try a few new strategies which worked great on the bike and my stomach seemed to absorb everything much better than previous races.
Out On to the run and the plan was to just keep it steady and get in a 10k brick. Obviously my body wasn't conditioned to running but the hardest part was to keep it really steady as you always want to race it and was very cautious of flaring the hip again as even just one lap of 10km was the furthest I had run in the last 3months, so the idea of a half marathon was just stupid and would probably have set me back instead of moving forward. The run didn't feel great or fast more like robotic but pain free which was the important thing.
Normally pulling out if a race for me is very negative and struggle to find any positives but I'm happy that I stuck to the plan and it has given me the confidence to start to get back into proper training again and get my season started.
Full credit to Carl Alexander for taking the win out- and look forward to giving you a good battle at the full outlaw in July.
Also another great event put on for the outlaw half- I really wish the larger long distance brands would take note of how a race could be put on. The attention to detail and passion for the event from the organisers and marshals is superb. Simple things like allowing your family and kids to cross the finish line with you is a big thing- triathlon is a ver selfish and time consuming sport so finishing the end of a long distance event should be shared with everyone that's puts up with all the training and moaning.
I can't wait to get back to Nottingham on July and hopefully be back to full fitness again and have a good go at breaking the course record.
The morning after the outlaw there was no flare ups and managed a nice and steady 60min trail run which was great, and great to be back running again.
Since the outlaw my focus has been to get in a couple of weeks of just steady running and building back into it- this went pretty well and decided to enter the abersoch sprint tri to give it a proper test.
Abersoch sprint triathlon:
Abersoch tri is a 750m sea swim- 20k hilly and pretty technical bike with lots of very tight twisty roads and a great run finishing on the beach.
There was a great atmosphere and it was great seeing So many familiar faces.
It was a beach start and I broke away pretty cleanly so just settled into a rhythm and set my own tempo. The only issue was sighting the buoys as my goggles were steamed up and couldn't make anything out- time for some new goggles as i think I added a little extra after aiming for the wrong buoys a one stage and sending me right of course.
exiting the swim 1st
I still exited in the lead with a nice gap for the chasers and out on the bike. It was perfect opportunity to test out my new bike and race wheels.
I am now racing on TU wheels which are a great new company that build and sell carbon race wheels in the UK. I will write a review in the coming weeks on them with more details but at first glance they are superb wheels at very affordable prices. I had decided to opt for the carbon clinchers Over tubs with a 60mm front and 90mm rear.
New bike built this week with awesome new TU wheelset
I hadn't had chance for a recce, just a heads up that there are some pretty tight sections and some hills. It was going great and loving the route- I really enjoy technical courses and there aren't enough courses that test you like this one.
Halfway round the bike on one steepish decent on single track roads I came round a tight right hand blind bend and was confronted with a big red tractor, with no time to stop or squeeze through.
my back end span out and it was just a case of avoiding the tractor and finding the softest landing. I flew over the bars and opted to aim for the hedge as opposed to Tarmac landing on my head. After a quick check of the bike and put the chain back on I was off again- the farmer was completely oblivious and just carried on up the road- so thanks for that. The road was actually closed to traffic but farmers do like to crack their own.
The remainder of the bike was less eventful and I built on my lead further.
The wheels performed great and felt super smooth- I previously used zipps and honestly found the TU wheels as smooth as, if not better-the ceramic bearings really do help.
Off the bike and had a healthy lead starting onto the run. I felt pretty good and tried to just enjoy it.
As I am lacking run fitness I held some back especially as I was warned of a nice hill halfway round followed by a quad smashing descent down to the beach.
The last 800m was along the beach with the final 400m the added bonus of hurdling the groins on the beach which was fun, and I finished with a good 90sec to break the tape 1st.
1st win of the season - at Abersoch triathlon
It was great to be finally racing again and back winning again.
I really enjoyed the event and catching up with a lot of familiar faces, which is something that I've missed since focussing on the longer distance events.
The venue is fantastic for athletes and families and with the added bonus of cash prizes.
I want to say a Hugh thank you to all of my sponsors who have shown great encouragement and patience.