European races completed!

we left to France in July after the kids broke up to sign and get into our house overlooking the start of the Alpe D’Huez Long distance course (see picture from our garden above.) Unfortunately, it was slightly delayed so our first week was camping and looking at it from a distance, in regular rain storms. However, despite this frustration, I managed to get some mountain climbing in to test out the hip flexor and knock on issues with my hips. All seemed fine riding, but more than 25mins running still caused a problem. So, I decided not to go for the short distance in the Alpe Dhuez triathlon, and shift to the long as an endurance training session, rather than trying to race at speed and making the injury worse (well it made sense at the time!). The plan was to swim, bike and run one lap of the 3 lap 22km run, and if I was getting any jip, end there. So I have to say I was really looking forward to the session, I have done it a few times before, and its a hard challenging bike, but stunning, and going into the event for training purposes, rather than busting a gut meant I could actually enjoy my surroundings a bit more! Well, due to poor weather the lake was absolutely freezing. Quite a few had to be fished out, the medical team didn’t let some out on their bike and a lot were having to be assisted getting wetsuits off and layers on, as hands feet etc no longer felt as if they were part of your body! My whole body didn’t stop shivering until the first climb! For those who don’t know the race, it consists of 3 hard climbs (cols) to ride, the last being the infamous Alpe Dhuez.Personally I felt that the second was the hardest this time due to the head on wind and exposed nature of it, and you get so much support going up Alpe Dhuez, it really does help you up. So, the run!!! 25mins in I started having problems so after one lap I stopped and had a long debate with Ade (which didn’t really do my run split much good!) whether I should stop. We figured that I should, and the run went through transition, so on the way through, I tried to work out how to quit……and failed, and kind of got swept along with the other runners onto the second lap. So, the plan went out the window and after gingerly completing the second lap, I figured I might as well get the T – shirt! Final time wasn’t great, but considering stoppage time, conditions, and the fact I wasn’t racing, it wasn’t bad either, and I didn’t feel too bad. So, did this mean yes to Germany or no?!? At this point I still didn’t know and had 10 days until the event!

I did a bit of riding, avoided running and got in the pool when it was possible around visits to IKEA and DIY on our new French property! After many evenings discussing whether I should race, we figured that as we had to come back to the UK, Wiesbaden was on route back home (well, sort of) so as I was entered, we thought, swim and bike hard as I knew I could, and just see what happened on the run. Best case scenario, I could maintain a 1.40 pace, worse case scenario, I would have to stop lots or pull out on the run. Either way, at least I would be able to see how I faired with the other girls on the swim and bike, and see what work I needed to do for the next season! :) Well, the outcome was after the bike section I was in 2nd place in my age group, which I was really pleased with, and first lap of the run was on pace for 1.36 finish. Unfortunately, once I hit that 25 min window I seem to have with my running at the moment, the hip flexors wouldn’t play any more. Really frustrating as I felt fine in myself. If Im honest, the rest of the run was horrible. I finished the race, but in a fair bit of pain, with plenty of stops and once across the finish line I could hardly walk. Disappointing, as I went from 2nd to 6th, but not surprising. My physio said I wouldn’t be able to run, I guess he was right. So, the plan now is to rest, avoid running, fix the problem and come back even stronger. Seems I am swimming and biking well, so this winter I will be following the physios instructions, plenty of strength and conditioning and then back to running!!!

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