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TriHardAlan - Tales of an Age Grouper
TriHardAlan - Tales of an Age Grouper

End of Season Summary 2017

TriHardAlanby TriHardAlanOct 17th 2017
Well that’s it, my season is over. My race wheels are in their covers and race bike on the Turbo where it will stay till February the 18th and the first World Duathlon Championship qualifier next year. Yep, I know, that’s got to be a bad idea. I’m hoping everybody else thinks so and I am the only one there!
And with that last race done its time to reflect on the season and the targets I had, of which there were 3 main ones;
Qualify for the ITU AG World Championship at Standard Distance â€" Yes, I got there. It was via a rolldown and the race itself was a disaster as reported in my last blog. But with some time to reflect on this it’s a bigger achievement then I first realised and a more ambitious target then I thought. I harp on about but the hip surgery but that still represents before and after periods in my triathlon career and with hindsight to qualify within 20 months of surgery was a tall order without knowing how long I would take to get up to speed. Something which even now is an ongoing project and it varies a lot for everybody. And even before surgery, I still needed a rolldown at that level. And the race being a disaster? Again, with hindsight was it? Result wise, at my best, I probably wouldn’t have been much above halfway in my AG so it’s not like I lost a podium place. And if success is racing to the best of your ability on the day with the circumstances presented to you, and this is the most common rolled out cliché in triathlon, then yes, I can look myself in the mirror and say I had a great race.
Win my AG in the London League Triathlon â€" No, I didn’t do this. Or even get close. In fact I didn’t even pick up a win in a single event till the very last one. I made two mistakes when I set this target a) Thinking the 50-54 Ag would be easier than the 45-49 b) Underestimating the level of the opposition. Arguably, this is one error. But now looking back, even without the interruption of hip surgery, I would have had to increase the arc of improvement I was showing at that time significantly to have won. But this feels an easier pill to swallow then the World Championship pill. The opposition was better. This doesn’t disappoint me, rather it inspires me to focus on the areas that I need to improve on. Not to bridge the gap but simply to narrow it. And this being the first year I have focused on London League events, even though I had done many of them previously, it was huge fun seeing the same people from race to race and of course competing with and against my fellow Thames Turbo Development Squad members. This I also underestimated.
Run a 5k under 20 minutes â€" Yes, I achieved this. My original target for this was end of 2016. Which was probably unrealistic. Even though I got pretty close to it. The calf injury at the beginning of 2017 definitely slowed process and finally achieving this on a balmy August evening at  Eton Dorney, in a Triathlon, was a big season highlight. On reflection, the collapse after the Arundel  Triathlon was a turning point in achieving this and my season in general. The life style changes I enforced after, especially sleeping more, definitely made me stronger. Around that time I also started attending the club track sessions regularly and as always if you want to run faster, well, you have to run faster. Running regularly has also made difference in terms of strength to maintain speed, which again is a bit of a “no sh1t Sherlock” statement. Another turning point in this was seeing Dr Courtney Kipps to sort my calf problems and took the opportunity to ask what I could do to strengthen the hip and run pain free. His examination and analysis was the most thorough I have ever encountered and after taking his advice, including replacing my maximalist running shoes with a more minimal close to 0 drop alternative, I have completed 5 and 10k, in Triathlons, running hard, pain free. Talking to other “Hippies”, pain free, whilst running hard, is elusive. If you have a long standing injury problem that your physio is struggling to resolve, go and see this man.
Overall, looking back, the season has been a huge success. Part of my recent problem, or shall we say incorrect attitude, is to look back at what I have done previously and measure my current status against this. Running 19.56 for 5K in a tri seems slow when I compare it to the 18.45 I used to run. But I was playing the game with a different deck of cards back then and I can only play with the hand I have been dealt here and now in the present. To keep things realistic and to make sure targets do not become frustrating the aim simply has to be to improve on 19.56. Nothing more and nothing less. Once we do that, we aim to improve on the new time. It’s really quite simple. Or at least it should be!
I also have to be thankful for the amount of times I have been able to race this season. I am still two weeks away from my 2 year anniversary of the hip surgery but managed to race 10 triathlons this year. And that’s a lot by anybody’s standard. Whilst there are many things I could have done better, or maybe should I say sooner, clearly the recovery process has worked very well and I am truly blessed to be able to race so often and at a (reasonably) competitive level.
And finally, some thank you’ s:
The Thames Turbo Development Squad and Partners â€" Training and racing with the Squad members has been pleasure and a privilege. Seeing them Development and improve, also in my capacity as co-manager, has been an honor. And for our Partners, all listed on my page, I can’t thank you enough
My coach, Nick de Meyer â€" This is the first time I have worked with a coach and frankly as an opinionated know it all I was skeptical at first but not only has the improvement across all 3 disciplines of course been very satisfying but Nick has made me feel that we are working together as a team with regular discussion and explanation and adjustments, especially when I keep adding in extra races as I am prone to do!
My girlfriend Marcia â€" Not only does she come to nearly every race to support she takes an active interest in everything I do and supports my every move and gives me a push when required. I have said it before but without her support, and indeed initial thorough research, I may never have had the hip surgery and would be in a very different place right now.
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