While I did tell you I'm not really up to this whole blogging thing actions speak louder than words and so here we are several months on since my last post.
I have made huge strides, quite a lot of pedal rotations and even a few strokes since we were both last here. Today is the end of my first 3 week block of structured training and while I feel totally smashed and things have not gone perfectly it is hard not to feel pretty happy with my progress.
My performance has been improving day-on-day like I'm a beginner again which is pretty cool and motivation is sky high even if it is a turbo training marathon on the schedule. The biggest struggle has been swimming, partly because my local pool seems to be progressively banning all swim aids, but mainly because I just didn't have the range of movement in my neck and shoulders to facilitate even a half decent stroke. At best I was training awful technique and at worst it was just hurting me so it has been very stop/start. With much help from my physiotherapist I finally managed to complete a good swim set at the start of this week and would go so far as to say that I don't feel like an injured person anymore, just a very de-trained one!
I am itching to compete and despite being way off my previous level I just want to race. I've been eyeing every 70.3 on the horizon with the hope that I'd have made enough progress to give me the confidence that I'd at least be able to finish however the swim complications have just taken too long to clear up. With the European season coming to a close it looks like I might have to draw a line through 2014 as travelling to the US or Australia is just not on the cards when my form is so uncertain. I'll likely wrap up this season in the UK much like I ended 2013 with a mixture of duathlons and running races with perhaps the odd cyclo-cross race thrown in. No performance objectives, just going to enjoy being out there and pushing myself to my limits.
I did manage my first event recently, The Ride for Michael Bonney, a fundraising ride in aid of a guy much less fortunate than myself who ended up quadriplegic after a cycling accident. It was great to meet Michael after the event and inspiring to talk to him about how he is dealing with his tough situation.
At my last check-up I received some positive news; 2 of the vertebrae in my thoracic spine which where bridged (fusing 4 vertebrae together) have unexpectedly healed well enough that at some point I may be able to have the metal work removed. Although I'll not have it done immediately as it would set me back from an already weak position it means that should I find that the fused section of spine is affecting my swimming stroke or making it impossible to hold a good position on the bike then at least I have the option.
Rehabilitation from my other injuries which predate my accident has also gone well and I was pleased that as my training has ramped back up there has been no return of the knee pain which has plagued me since I broke my pelvis in 2012. I'm also lighter, leaner and stronger than pretty much ever before and have the best core strength since rock climbing used to be my primary sport 10+ years ago. So all good really.
With a firm idea of my goals for 2015 I'll be spending the coming weeks pursuing sponsorship which isn't something I really enjoy at the best of times and after a season like this...well. Oh, and with that in mind I'd like to thank my sponsors this year who have stuck with me through a difficult time.
And finally my decision to not shave or have a hair cut between triathlon races has back fired totally (who new it was going to be 6 months+) and I look like some kind of crazy hobo. It does mean I don't need to use drag shorts in the pool however.
Hi, I'm Ali. I like riding bikes and coaching people to achieve their athletic goals. I've been coaching for more than 10 years now and have never failed to make an athlete faster (I can't quite believe this myself either). I used to race bikes, triathlon and in 2014 I broke 9 vertebrae and my skull. Follow my journey here and on Twitter.