2017 was going to be the year that I tackled some big goals. I was down to make my marathon debut in London towards the end of April, defend the European Middle Distance Tri title won the previous year, take part in the great North run and perhaps have a go at a full Iron-Distance race.
Sadly, that plan got blown well and truly out of the water due to a ruptured disc in my lower back over the Christmas period.
I moaned and groaned for a week or two then decided to try and ignore this as yet undiagnosed ailment (I had my suspicions though – seems I did learn something on my Physio training after all!).
I managed to get enough flexibility to at least sit on a bike in a modified position. Therefore the obvious thing to do was of course race at the national track cycling championships at the end of January with David McGaw. It went OK considering and we posted the fastest 4km pursuit time!
After continuing to try and get back to normal it quickly became apparent that the issues I was experiencing weren’t going away any time soon. In May I was told surgery was the only answer, but after some tough negotiating I talked the Orthopaedic guy down to 10 weeks rest (again my Physio training may have been useful here).
As this was a very boring period of my life and there wasn’t much happening relevant to a sports blog, let’s skip to the end of July. By this time I’d starting to be a bit more active. I was swimming reasonably well, could cycle for about an hour indoors and had even ventured outside once or twice (mainly when it was raining it seemed). Running wasn’t so great, but I was doing a bit.
August arrived and so did the Norwich 10k run that I had entered months earlier. I had done a few run of 6-8km and so thought I’d jog round. Bad move. I tore my calf muscle at 9k. In hindsight the extra time off running probably did my back some good and it didn’t affect cycling or swimming.
I was also honoured to be asked by Brandon Parkrun to get involved in Team Parkrun day, where a Paralympian or Olympian acted as tail walker for the day. Got to dust off my Sydney 2000 kit!
At the end of August David and I took part in the GP of Derby track cycling event. We placed 4th in the 200m sprint, 2nd in the 1km and 1st in the Pursuit. Things were looking up, although my fitness was still a bit off.
September was my only triathlon of the year at Waveney Superprint. My Calf was still not good enough to run on, but I enjoyed it anyway. I also took part in a great open swim event in the Serpentine with Guide Nick Beer and a relay triathlon with Tom Levy and Jill at the Castle Series.
For October Jill and I jetted off to the Florida sunshine. Here we kept pretty active and I started running more. We even took in the local Parkrun which was great and everyone was very friendly as at most Parkruns.
Jack Peasgood and I compete at the UCI Paracgcling track event in Manchester during November. We PB’d in all 3 of our events and finished 6th in the pursuit against some top class intinternational opponents.
In the end I still got to do a few fun events and got some half decent results – it could have been a lot worse! Jill on the hand has been doing all sorts of events and challenges this year whilst i’ve been ‘resting’.
I’d like to say thanks to a few people: –
- Andy at Anglian Chiropractor for his help and special laser treatments which really has made a difference
- My Sports Physio Joss who has been sticking acupuncture needles in me left, right and centre even though I’m phobic!
- Arctic One who supported me with a ‘Forward Motion’ grant that paid for my rehab
- Jill for putting up with all my whinging about my back hurting etc. etc.
- David, Jack, Nick and my training buddy Bobby for guiding/riding the tandem with me over the year
- All my great sponsors for your support again this year
- Norfolk Sports Academy for all the support and access to UEA sportspark facilities for training
Here’s a few of my favourite photo’s from 2017: –
I’ve got some big plans for 2018 – keep an eye out for up-date info on this and other things soon!