At the end of a lovely easter holiday, cycling, running and swimming in the mountains, with a bit of skiing thrown in as well, we headed over to Horst in Holland last Thursday, for the European Long Distance Powerman Championships. This was the first big race for me, in terms of seeing how I have recovered from tearing my hip flexor last year, and on going quad injury. After spending the last 4 or 5 key races at the end of last season, having to pretty much walk to the finish line, it was a test for me to be sensible in my racing, so not to re-injure myself, and to see how the post rehab winter training had gone!
The venue had changed from the previous year, as had the structure of the distance, so it would be difficult to compare with the times from last year, but there were plenty of athletes who raced in 2014 racing again in 2015 . Windy as ever, but dry and not too cold, the first run was 4 x 5k laps around a lake. Being careful not to over do the first run, I was pleased to break 40mins, in 39:50 which was a good indicator that being able to run again consistently was working, and it was significantly quicker than last year. The bike is always where I make up ground, and my planet X Carnac TT bike did not disappoint. I worked my way up the field and came in off the bike in 4th overall place, (in the age group race) first british age grouper and 2nd in my age group. With a significant lead over 3rd place, I could relax a bit, and focus on the final 10k which is what I was really worried about. It has been at this point over the last year, my quad and hip flexor had failed me, and race after race, I went backwards. Fortunately, the strength and conditioning and conservative but specific run training over the winter had paid off, and this was not the case! Whilst it was not a particularly fast final run, (there is definitely more to come there,) it was a final run, not walk, and more importantly, pretty much injury free! No stops were necessary, and a silver medal secured. A great mental step forward for me with the main season and key races still to come. Overall, I beat athletes who took 5-10 mins out of me last year, and not only was I stronger running, but my biking has seemed to have gone up a step as well, and its still only April. The key now is to recover, then time for one build block until Aix en Provence in May!