Somewhat delayed, but here’s an update on my plans for this year.
The original aims for for 2017 included the national track cycling championships (January), London Marathon (April) and defending the European Middle distance triathlon title (June). I was also hoping to do some ITU paratriathlon internationals and see where that takes me post-Rio Paralympics.
It doesn’t look like things are going to work out like that though. This is because of two things: –
1, A recent MRI scan revealed that I have 2 degenerative discs in my lower back. One of the discs has a significant prolapse causing nerve irritation and the other also has a slight bulge – I had a few bouts of back pain last year before a major escalation over Christmas (I couldn’t sit/stand for long or put my socks/shoes on for a while). This seems to have been linked, at least in part, to my low vision and some job-related issues with IT equipment/software/my workstation that took a long time to resolve…
2. Recent communication with British Triathlon would suggest that opportunities to race in elite Paratriathlons might be very limited or possibly non-existent. Whilst I believe I meet at least some of the selection principles, the opinion seems to be that I can’t make the grade to win in Tokyo 2020 therefore would likely not be considered for other races – I think it’s a shame that Olympic/Paralympics medals is all that really seems to count in Lottery funded programmes but that’s just my opinion. No-one can guarantee winning gold in Tokyo anyway, especially not in a classification that is currently factored and also one that isn’t even guaranteed to be included at the next games.
Now, obviously, issue 1 doesn’t help with issue 2 much. If I want to be considered for selection I need to do some specific early season races recognised by British Triathlon. Motivation to do so is low however because I feel that I’d be wasting my time even if I was able to put in a good performance. I might be wrong of course, but I’ve not had much encouragement over the past two years, just the odd token race start here and there (I’ve podium at all 3 by the way).
I also need to be careful with my back and it’s probably not a good idea to push it full gas too soon. In fact I have been referred to ‘Orthopaedic triage’ who could tell me just to be careful, offer Physio sessions, send me to talk to someone about surgery or just say ‘stop being such a wimp and get on with it’.
Whilst there’s still an underlying problem, I’ve worked hard on rehab thus far and things have improved massively – I can now swim normally (for me!), cycle 3+ hours and run 10k…I just need more speed.
I’ve already managed to compete fairly successfully in a few events this year too. I’m therefore still hoping to do a few triathlons and perhaps some UCI international cycling events. I’ve also got a place for September’s Great North Run (my hometown race), so fingers crossed Plan B works out OK!
Longer term, if I make a full recovery, there are plenty of challenging and fun events out there…so this isn’t quite a retirement announcement (Do bald 40 year old’s announce their retirement anyway?).
Keep an eye on my schedule here which I’ll keep updated.
Good luck with any goals you might also have for 2017!