Wednesday, 23 March 2016

From indoor to outdoor

Sunday marked the end of my indoor season. I competed in 5 competitions in the end, all of which taught me something and will help me prepare for the upcoming 100m races I have. My body has held up pretty well and I've managed to come through the last three months injury free, which is a really positive step. My body is slowly getting used to the training - the operative word being slowly. But I'm not complaining - every day feels like a step forward. I've managed to do dips and pull ups in the gym for the first time in 18 months without being in pain - win. I'm back under 87kg - win. My left leg is now as strong as my right leg again - BIG win. Taken in isolation, these are small things. But when added together, they amount to proper progress. It's this combination of small things that gives me hope. The last race of the indoor season was the Middlesex County Championships, where the standard was pretty high. Watching back video footage of my race, I can see that my flexibility still needs some work, especially my in my hips and lower back. Equally, however, there were some good points - my shoulders were relaxed, I was driving with my arms and I didn't panic when I felt people move away from me. I've now got two weeks to get my body in the shape I need to make me competitive over my preferred distance of 100m. Lots of stretching and gym work are on the cards, and the clocks going forward means I've got sunny evenings to look forward to on the track. It's hard to get that instant real time feedback in my sessions now that I'm not with my coach any more, and not having an elite athlete as a training partner means I'm not pitted against someone better than me whenever I train, so I don't learn as much. However, I was fortunate enough to learn so much from them both in the time we worked together as a group, and I still apply this every time I train. Without this bank of knowledge I think trying to make my comeback would have been much harder. Looking at my times, I'm currently running at 95% of the speed that I used to. That might sound pretty close, but in a sport where a hundredth of a second is the difference between winning and losing, it's a long way away. If I can get to 98% of my previous speed by the end of August I'll be happy and I'll have a solid platform to build from through the long winter months. I'll be updating again in a few weeks when I've done my first few outdoor races, hopefully to provide some good news. In the meantime, thanks for your continued support!

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

The comeback starts here ...

Feels a bit strange starting this blog again, but I’m going to give it a go. This blog began back in 2012 when I decided to get back into my athletics and see how much progress I could make over a 4 year cycle, and how close I could get to the Olympics in Rio in 2016. A lot has happened since then. I spent two years training up to 3 hours a day, 6 days a week, and transformed my mind and body into that of a sprinter. I lived like a monk and made a number of sacrifices to try and get as close as possible to my dream. I made good progress, taking 0.8seconds off my 100m time and a massive 2.2seconds off my 200m time. Things were definitely going in the right direction. Then there was a bit of a hiccup; one car accident, a broken neck and collarbone, a shattered femur which required a titanium support which I’ll live with for the rest of my life, and 11 months of rehab.
I still have regular trips to the physio and need massages to break down the extensive scar tissue. Through a lot of strengthening work in the gym, low impact recovery sessions on the bike and in the pool, and some pretty uncomfortable sessions on the foam roller and stretching, I’m got my body back to a decent shape (round is a shape, right?) I was told by the consultant at Coventry hospital that I’ll never be as fast as I was; that suffering an injury like this has massive repercussions for your power and explosiveness, and I should just be happy that my leg wasn’t amputated. Well, I’m OBVIOUSLY thankful that I’ve still got two legs, and that breaking my neck didn’t paralyse me, or even kill me. I’ll be forever grateful for that. But at the same time, I can still remember how I felt when he said those words, he seemed so certain. All I felt was pissed off; I was just thinking “you don’t know me; I can’t wait to come back here and prove you wrong.” Fast forward 12 months and here we are: January 2016, just seven months away from the Olympics. I know that getting there is as close to impossible as I’ll ever be willing to admit now; perhaps it always was. But I have to believe that I can get back to where I was before, at least. So the journey begins all over again. I’ve lined up 5 competitions over the next 10 weeks, cut out the booze and sweet treats (the latter being much harder than the former!) and I’m going to try and get my body back to the point where I can perform at a level I feel I am competitive at a standard I feel happy with. And if I can get to being even 0.01s quicker than I was I will run back to that hospital and find that consultant! Here goes nothing …