Shoulder recovery, Lanzarote, Kona.

October 29th, 2017 by

As I’m almost out the other side of this nightmare shoulder injury, I thought I’d document the last 10 week stint in a blog. People like to blog about the successes and the good times but I think what’s more interesting is how you overcame adversity, how you had to battle hard to get yourself back on track and what happens in peoples heads along the way. When I first stacked it off my bike in Loughborough town centre over 10 weeks ago it seemed so trivial at the time that I never imagined that this would wind up being my worst injury in my career. I’ve had all sorts of high speed crashes which usually result in bad road rash, maybe some muscular niggles but in general I’d come off relatively lightly, this was probably one of my slowest crashes and I ended up seriously hurting myself and kind of threatening my career.

Once I finally figured out that racing this year would be impossible I was able to relax quite a bit and let go of any ideas about doing sport for the next few months.  I tried to figure out how I could re-coup some of the travel money that I spent on ‘training camps’ and ‘racing’ but in the end it wasn’t worth it and instead I took the trips as holidays anyway. So I went to Sands Beach, Lanzarote firstly as a coach for Ruth Purbrook (one of my star athletes I coach) and then eventually with my family for a holiday. It was nice to be away with my family and a rare occasion being in Lanzarote without a bike but also very strange and slightly depressing. I was at one of my regular training haunts watching the guys like Ivan Rana and Ruedi Wild getting themselves in peak physical condition, looking like freaks with veins popping out of their skin, while I sunbathed with a beer and a bag of crisps. Part of me didn’t envy them but another big part of me really missed being in that shape with that anticipation of performing at the biggest event the sport has to offer.

The recovery to this point was was painfully slow, un-like most injuries where you can notice improvements day by day, with this you might not see any improvement for a while week but then every so often I’d wake up and it’d have turned a corner. This was quite difficult to handle as it seemed that this was going to take a very long time to get back to what it once was, if at all.

A few weeks later, 7 weeks post injury, I got the all clear to start to mobilise my shoulder again, because my fractures were now fixed. I all of a sudden felt like I was able to run without the shocks vibrating up my body and causing me pain however it was so stiff that I couldn’t rotate my shoulders properly at all so I was in danger of causing injuries from the pelvis down if I wasn’t careful. Still, it felt so good to move the body again and made me think why everyone isn’t out there moving their ass!

I then set off for my 2nd ‘holiday’ of the month to Kona. I even had a Business Class flight that I had bought months before in order to arrive on the Big Island fresh and ready to go so obviously my flight there was bloody nice. It was fun to have Ruth on the journey with me and we lived it up in the lounge between flights which made things easier but it was still a crazy long day.

It was amazing to be back in Hawaii again, even though I wasn’t racing it was kind of nice being on the other side of the fence. Ironman Hawaii without the stress! It’s actually a nice place to go as a Triathlete when you’re not racing. I was able to start a little bit of training, 1 to eventually 2hrs on my road bike, 30min runs (flat out) with Patrik Nilsson and one armed swimming and kicking Fartlek with the dolphins. My colleagues were all preparing for their big race so I didn’t catch up with many of them but I did get to hang out with a lot of other friends and other familiar faces from the Triathlon industry.

The race was epic as ever, and it was so good to see my mate Patrick Lange become Ironman World Champion as well as Daniella winning her 3rd title. David Mcnamee also made history becoming by car the best Brit to race in Hawaii with his 3rd place. My team mate and house mate while in Kona Patrik Nilsson came in 8th as the youngest guy in the race and Kona rookie! I was actually suffering a bit from the Bob Babbitt ‘Thank god I’m m not racing party’ but personally my main highlight was seeing my first ever coached athlete, Ruth Purbrook, come home in 3rd in her Age Group and 10th Age Grouper over all. What an incredible achievement and confirmation for myself and my coaching that I can guide someone to this very high standard!

Once the race done and dusted we went crazy hard at the post race after party. This is the only night of the year where you’ll get everyone in a place together, relaxed and ready to let it all go. What a night that was…however what happens in Huggos stays in Huggos so I can’t comment on the carnage of that night! I did break my phone though by dancing in the Monsoon all night.

Once home I vowed to myself to get my act together and start to finally show some progression in my training account. My shoulder was now pain free (but not quite ready to swim yet). It’s fair to say, in general I handled the whole shoulder episode pretty well especially as it happened right before my biggest race of the year but I definitely ‘lost it’ a bit in the last few weeks and got pretty lost with the parties in Kona and general bad attitude towards training. I wasn’t very happy with myself but my friend Rob Cheetham, pointed out that it’s called “Catharsis”. noun : The process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions”. In my first week back I managed to bosh out a good 15hrs training so onwards and upwards, I hope to be swimming next week.

Some good news, I did manage to sign another year with my team which will now be under the name, BMC Vifit Pro Triathlon Team, powered by Uplace. I’m honoured to go into my 5th year with them and I promise I am going all in for my best year yet.

On that note, I’ve changed up my coaching staff AGAIN and I’m going to hand over training responsibilities with two local people that I’ve always wanted to work with. Matt Bottrill to help get me in the mix on the bike and also a very well known sports physiologist who I’ll name as soon as I’ve had my first meeting with him! I can’t wait to get started.

I have to say a huge thank you to Luc Van Lierde. He taught me so much about how to prepare and race an Ironman that’ll I’ll be taking away with me for the rest of my career. He showed me that I need to trust my talent and train smart and helped me discover my weapon in Ironman, the marathon!

I hope everyone got what they wanted out of the 2017 season. Happy winter training, this is where you invest to cash in in 2018!