With only a few days to go to the European AG Sprint Distance European Champs in Lisbon, Elivar Featured Athlete Garry Walker looks back on his year and wonders if he's ready.
If you'd asked me a couple of month ago if I was ready, I would have laughed at you.
It doesn't seem that long ago really that my running was non-existent due to persistent recurring injury pains that I was getting throughout last year. To be quite honest, I really didn't think that I would be running at all this year, but with a prolonged period of rest and some focused rehabilitation, I managed to find my feet again and begun the long road to recovery.
The beauty about triathlon and training for three different disciplines is just that you can maintain a certain level of fitness throughout injury periods. Training for only one sport would leave you sitting back losing patience and counting the days away. The pain I was feeling was positioned deep inside the Gastrocnemius (calf) of my left leg on a site that seemed unaffected by my pedal stroke on the bike and leg kick In swimming - so being able to continue to train really has been a blessing.
Last season was a struggle. A struggle to get fit, a struggle to race, a struggle through the pain, and a struggle to admit to myself once again that I needed to prolong the rest period, before beginning the cycle once again resulting in the very same outcome as a result of returning to early.
Ahead of Lisbon I decided to do some additional races. Call them last minute preparations, call them re-acclimatisation - they were the highly charged and competitive races that are the English Standard distance Triathlon Championships at Grafham Water, and the British Sprint Distance Championships at Big Cow.
I am simply calling them FUN. A way of finding my love for the sport all over again a way of finding my love for pain once again, the kind of pain that does not come from injured limbs, but the kind of pain that comes from effort. Effort seeping out of every pore in your body leaving its mark ingrained on your face as you cross the line. I felt that for the first time once again in Germany at the European Duathlon Champs a few weeks back finishing 9th in my age group and 3rd GB athlete.
And I LOVED it.
So Am I Ready?
So back to my opening lines. Am I ready? Not really, but I'll get there. I am a hell of a lot closer than I have been and I am running once again pain free which means I'm actually enjoying my sport again! That's a great place to be - bring on Lisbon!
Riding the route of the Giro D'Italia would be a challenge for most normal cyclists. 3,400 km over 21 stages between the 5-28th May. But what if you were 77 years old? Well, meet Mick Ives.