First Blog

I’ve been meaning to start a blog for a long time.  Now seems like a good time to start.  We’re well into the new year, so it’s not so much a ‘New Year resolution’ blog merely a convenient time to take stock of what happened last year and where I want to get to this year.
Last year was full of new experiences and lessons.  I don’t want to go back over everything I did as that would probably be boring for me writing and anybody who is reading it.  I will give a brief run down of what happened, just to put things into context.
This time last year I decided to turn my attention to training for Triathlon full time.  This was a risk – mainly because I had never competed in a multi discipline sport, and hadn’t swam competitively for 10 years.  With the help of my long time coach Nick Anderson, I devised a plan that could take me from runner to triathlete in the short space of 6 months.  This obviously involved learning how to ride a bike, well not quite that extreme, but learning how to ride a proper road bike quickly and competitively.  It turned out that I picked that up like a duck takes to water  – that was two out of three disciplines cracked, now I just had to learn how to swim.
I realised that coaching myself in my weakest discipline was going to get me know where, so I signed up to a ‘Swim Technique Masterclass’ hosted by Richard Stannard.  The best outcome of the day was Richard asking if I would like to go and train with him on occasion, an offer I would have been mad to turn down seeing that he has a reputation of being the fastest swimmer in triathlon.  So along I went one Tuesday evening, he told me “You’re more that welcome to come and train with me, but I will just set the session and you’ll have to get on with it yourself as I have my own session to do.”  I thought that sounded like a good deal, so I dived in and got on with my warm up, only to be stopped 2 lengths in to be stopped by Richard to correct my stroke – ‘get on with it myself’ my arse!!  After that session I swim trained with him virtually everyday for 7 months.  My stroke was transformed – and I improved quickly, but was no where near ready for the nightmare that is an open water mass start.
The races I did last season – ranging from my first ever multi sport race a Duathlon to my first World Cup event all provided me with different lessons and experiences to take away and improve on.  Top of the list is obviously to be a stronger swimmer – not only to be quicker, but also to be able to cope with the open water starts where everyone swims on top of you and concentration is key to maintaining good technique.  It is obvious that transitions are vital to get right and not loose time, missing the group on the bike can mean your race is quickly over, especially in a drafting event.  Maintaining concentration on the run is also key to finishing strongly.  As things get strung out, with the stronger swimmers coming back to the stronger runners, the race truly isn’t over until it’s over and that is important to remember!!
This coming season I need to build on last years experiences, the good and bad, in order to improve.  I want to be more competitive in races and be in a position to use my strengths, then hopefully the results will follow.
Well, I hope my future blogs will be more engaging, less cliche filled and hopefully amusing.  I felt I needed to write a brief update of my first year before I got into the witty anecdotes about training experiences.  I will sneak one in now though.  As I have said (yada yada yada….) this was a year of firsts (another cliche…), one of which was my first bike crash.  I like calling it a crash because it sounds more dramatic than a mere moment of directional impairment.  I was on a morning ride with the Man Machine and cycling geek (sorry…) World  Duathlon Champion Alan Murchison.  As we were bombing it down a steep hill and around a sharp bend, I swerved to avoid a pothole, and ended up taking an excursion onto the wide grass verge.  Enjoying my first taste of Cyclocross, I bumped along for several meters before thumping into a fence post, doing a flip (still clipped in) and finally landing on my back, wheels in the air on a bed of lovely and soft stinging nettles.  All the while Alan is still chatting away to me 200 meters down the road.  Don’t worry, he isn’t heartless, he checked I hadn’t broken anything before he laughed at me…for the rest of the ride.  I’m yet to experience road rash, but if its anything like having both legs covered in nettle rash – I’ll stay away from it thanks!!
That’s all I have to say for my first post.  Thanks for taking the time to read.

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