So here we are another year gone by with many great memorable moments to treasure and share and look back with fond memories. It’s now 23rd January and training is building towards Copenhagen and Barcelona in May.

The Wife had a bit of a prang in the car just before Christmas, fortunately for her she was uninjureded and the children were already dropped at school, but the car has been written off so the Bike fund may well be a little lighter in the coming weeks.

The long hard December slog at work is now over, don’t get me wrong the overtime helps to pay a big chunk of my race fees, physio sessions, accomodation and flights for the coming season or in this case now towards the new car , but the 4:50am starts and 7pm /8pm finishes mean very little time for quality training sessions or even family time.

Christmas Eve at 5pm finally came round and for a few days at least I could hang up my coat, put away the boots and enjoy some quality time at home with the family. Out came the usual Christmas treats, mince pies, chocolates, nuts and all the trimmings. I knew Christmas Day was going to be good, the kids as always would be awake before my usual alarm call and I knew by 8 o’clock they would already be opening their presents and engrosed in whatever they were doing and with permission granted by The Boss (Wendy), I jogged down to Basildon Parkrun, flew round and jogged back home ready to get the dinner on,although this year Wendy had taken control of the cooking duties.

parkrun

Christmas never fails to produce family movie time and some of us enjoyed the sing-a-long with Julie Andrews and The Von Trapp family in the Sound of Music. Sadly On Boxing Day evening we said ‘Goodbye, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehn, Goodnight’ to Wendy’s Grandma who had been ill for a few weeks by then. Not only was it sad to loose a member of the family but at 92 and of German heritage we loose yet another of that generation whom would tell tales of life and survival during World War II, but I know those stories and memories will be shared again and again by other family members every Christmas. RIP Anna xxx

grandma

Training took a little bit of a back seat as Basildon Sporting Village was undergoing a refurbishment and wasn’t due to re-open until 2nd January, but the thought of four new Wattbike Pro’s had me itching to get back into some warmer indoor bike training. However when I did get back there I was dissapointed to see that none of the new bikes had TT armrests fitted so 2-3 hour session for Ironman training are going to be uncomfortable.

wattbikes bsv

The Holiday period and January itself is a strange time of year. It’s been some 8 weeks or more since the last big race and with Copenhagen Euro’s and Barcelona 70.3 some 5 months away, the post race depression and January Blues seem to have merged into one. The cold dark mornings and the long dark nights make outdoor solo runs lonely and often miserable, but then this just replicates what happens when you hit the wall in a Marathon or in the latter stages of an Ironman race. Im pretty sure we all go through the same feelings form time to time, that emptiness after a big race, that feeling of being lost after all the hype has died down and when all we really want in Winter is some warm weather training to lift our spirits.

Of course the cold winter days and frost do provide for some opportunistic photo shoots aroud the local parks and open spaces. Say Cheese everyone !!!

10307429_1503964389909330_6461964343840174264_n

Unfortunately I cannot afford the Winter away days nor would it be fair to my family but I do have a secret weapon to ensure I put in the efforts and training sessions and kept on the right track and that is my coach.

Coaching is not only instrumental in improving my fitness and physical strength but he is also able to push me and ensure I hit the sessions he sets and gives me feedback so that I know when to hit harder or ease off the training to prevent injury. We both use Training Peaks where I can see the session and content set for me over the course of the day, week and month and my Coach is able to see the instant data from sessions I have input and his feedback on how I am progressing. Together with Garmin and Wattbike apps, the approcah to everyday training is much more intense than where I was a year or so ago but it’s also too easy to get lost in charts and graphs but a basic understanding is needed to understand what you are trying to acheive.

It’s also means that should I skip a session my coach can see this and adjust my training programme if needed ensuring that I don’t miss vital fitness or endurance work over a period of time.

New Year’s Day, the day most of us think about our New Year Resolutions but don’t come into affect until the 3rd, maybe 4th of maybe the start of the next week. I thought I would start the year well, so I headed off down to Southend Parkrun 5km for only my 2nd visit but here I have a large group of Friends known as ‘The (Southend) Flyers’. A massive bunch of runners of all abilities who are more like a large family than a group of friends. If anyone is running Brighton Marathon or Brugge 15km this year or even coming down to Essex for a Parkrun or two, come to Southend and look out for the Orange Army and meet the fabulous Flyers Southend.

I rocked up with some friends and thinking it was only a 2 lap course flew out of the blocks at an easy 6:19 for the 1st mile and then 6:37 for the 2nd , then relaising I’d gone a little too quick struggled to hold the speed for the final lap and extra sting in the tail meant I finished in 20 mins 6 secs narrowly missing my 19.56 PB !!!

After a traditional post Parkrun coffee at the Local Harvester and a catch up with old friends, I was looking forward to getting back to work after the weekend and some quality training. It was also great to get a boost to start the New Year with the backing of some of my supporters Louise at The Body Matters, Leigh On Sea, who provide my Physio sessions,  David and Cathy from Run Active and who kindly provde my run shoes and Bianca at Fit Your Bike, who is also a Bike led Physiotherapist but also provides my Retul Bike fitting service ensuring my set up is as ergonomic as possible and allows me to run fresh off the bike without any cramping or discomfort.

It always good for people to support local business and for them to support local athletes and I’m looking forward to training in my GB top over the coming months and with their support. Big thank you guys !!

Last weekend saw the weather forecasts change to Snow and Ice, so the planned Group bike rides were cancelled and on Saturday I was pretty sure Cameron’s Sunday Football game would be cancelled and I was offered a place on Sunday at the Benfleet 15, a tough 15 mile mixed terrain race across fields, footpath, bridlepaths and the downs of Hadleigh around the famous castle and the Olympic Mountain Bike course. If your looking for a day out check out the facilities here Hadleigh Park, Essex

It was great to see so many club faces in attendance and another reminder of why East Essex Triathlon Club is the best in the region, if not the Country, but then I would say that wouldn’t I. As some of the photos show there was plenty of Mud this year. I knocked off another 5 mins off my course PB from 2013, running and a little hill climbing of 2:06 !

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We were all looking full of smiles at the start, feeling bored at mile 7 with Ray, the Final mile climb through the slippery paths with Pete Garrod in pic 3 and the final image shows the brutal final climb to the top of the hill and the finishing straight.

I’m now off to prep the road bike for tomorrow’s 3 hour ride before Cameron’s game and looking forward to Great Bentley Half Marathon in 2 weeks time. So here is looking forward to the Year ahead. I don’t know about you but I’m going to enjoy every moment and give it my all.

2016 ! Go smash it !