Age-group blog: When you think you’re done, you’re not
1st July 2015
The last 2 months have been quite challenging, both physically and mentally. I have however come out much stronger and learnt invaluable lessons, two of which I will follow religiously:
- When you suffer setbacks, DO NOT give up. DO NOT lose sight of your goal.
- When you think you’re done, YOU’RE NOT!
Since focusing on triathlon over the last 2 years I have committed all aspects of my lifestyle to hit my goal: Age Group Team GB.
Only fellow triathletes will be able to appreciate the dedication and sacrifices it takes in order to complete a triathlon, let alone set & achieve such a challenging goal. Especially from being a 2-lap max swimmer who loves cookies, crisps & chocolates and hates running.
First race of the season, a Duathlon at Dorney Lake. Following relentless training throughout Winter & Spring following my Ironman, I was pumped and this was a warm up race to prepare me for the biggest season of my triathlon career. I love this flat course because I can really push hard. The final run, I got off the bike and felt a cramp in my right calf, but had someone on my heels so had to push even harder. I cleared the gap, beat him & collapsed after the line 11th (5 minutes from podium). Solid first race.
Two days later, I woke up with a lot of internal bleeding in my calf and couldn’t walk. A visit to the hospital told me I had torn my calf and would be out for 2 months. The moment the medic delivered this message to me, I thought about the persistent work I had put in and the sacrifices I had to make to get where I am. The biggest year I have in triathlon and it’s ruined because I did what I had to and pushed too hard in the race. After being given a pair of crutches, I had a sob (obviously) and hobbled straight onto the tube and into work.
I couldn’t train for 3 weeks, lost muscle, put on weight and started to lose focus because I knew I wouldn’t be able to get back on track to hit my goals this year. At full fitness it was a challenge in itself.
“Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.”
I sulked for a few days, but then created a plan. After dedicating hours to physio, seeing specialists, self-educating myself on the injury (Youtube/Google) and speaking to other athletes who had suffered similar setbacks, my rehab went well and I got back into the gym on crutches.
Many people experience difficulties and adversity. It’s how you react to these events in your life that determine whether you’re a champion. Mike Tyson won the Heavyweight Championship after 3 years in jail.
I recently passed a selection process to enter the world of the SAS and experience a slice of their gruelling training. It was mentally & physically the toughest thing I have ever done and pushed myself to the max (I’m off crutches at this point). I thought I was already doing that, but I was clearly mistaken. Having a 6ft 3, 15 stone unit shouting at you at 2am when your triceps have collapsed, and your face has hit the concrete floor covered in sweat and blood, you have no option but to find it in yourself to execute press ups for another 2 minutes.
I suffered through training exercises, after which I’d normally reward myself with a full days rest & ice bath. However, with the SAS, I was back to training within 2 hours. This is not an exaggeration. When you think you’re done, believe me, you’re not!
I’m now back into full training, and have since raced at the Human Race Eton Swim. My time was nowhere near where it used to be, but I’m back on track and excited to race for the remainder of the season. I lost sight of my goal for a week and it hit me hard, mentally & physically. But I really believe you have to experience such setbacks to realise how much you want what you’re fighting to achieve.
I have never been so motivated. I am pumped and training harder than I was before the injury!