A new season fresh targets but a similar goal to be the best I can be. Last year was most certainly quite a experience, achieving a far greater level of performance than I was realistically expecting.
That being said there were still many weaknesses to address in my race, which gave the platform for motivation during the dark winter months. Not always do your plans go quite as you hope though.. with a difficult period from September-March where through injury I had a long spell of either no running or failure in attempting to do so. Thankfully since getting into this sport I’ve surrounded myself with people of great knowledge to solve such issues. And I have to thank Andy Coulson for what work he has done with me to help resolve my pain. Even if the problem isn’t his specific area he gave me contact to who can solve the source of pain. Unfortunately due to these issues I couldn’t start my season as originally planned. Missing several races I hoped to compete in but couldn’t risk further damage before the ‘A’ races came. Finally a break through in March came by a visit to Riverside Clinic (Osteopath) from Andy’s recommendation. And within a few weeks I felt I could complete a race even if not going at my ‘best effort’. Cardiff Half Marathon was a race on my list with its World Championship status this year. With the aim to just run at ease without risk I have to say it was to my delight to hit the finish through the torrential rain in 1.15.16. A new PB of over 2mins without really testing myself and not really being able to run for 6 months… I wasn’t complaining!! Confidence taken from Cardiff I knew in a few weeks even if not at my best, I’d go to Germany for the European Duathlon Championships able to still manage a respectable time. In going to Kalkar, Germany I would be missing the Mallorca training camp my Offthatcouchfitness coach runs. Which was a shame as it’s the best fun I’ve ever had out on the bike in those mountains. But representing GB/having a crack at the podium had a good appeal to me. After a day of travel on the team coach to Germany it would be safe to say the venue was no Mallorca. Or even comparable to my last European race in Geneva by any stretch. A converted power plant into a ‘theme park’ set a peculiar scene. Pre race day mostly consisted of a load of meeting new faces amongst your team mates. As well as course bike/run recce & testing the wind across the vastly flat course. And of course the usual contradictory race briefing. So bike racked, race number 142 attached to all the appropriate areas and it was soon time to get things going. My race had a nice 10.30 start (we need more of these) which would then lead to a 10k run 40k bike 5k run. If pre season had gone to plan I would aim to hit this race in top form but this time there were more questions about my fitness than I was used to. Regardless to that my aim was simple suffer as smartly as possible to cross the line in the best time I could. The 1st run was comfortable and for my level of effort a 33.57 apparently ‘long’ 10k was a good start point. Although I have no idea of my time split in the race as I wear no watches. 1st run so far so good, coming in 3rd overall with good gaps into the field behind. Onto the bike and my new machine a Giant Trinity courtesy of Giant store Lincoln was running perfectly. 90% of this course was perfect tarmac with only in the park a questionable light cobble like surface where most of your turns would be. The 4lap bike gave me a good view of the competition and although I’ll admit my biking ability won’t give the fastest splits a worry. It was a peculiar sight to see that no one was really claiming any time back. A 40k solo ride with a few twinges of cramp and I would still come in with a split of 1hr 34secs. Hitting the 5k with a lead over my age group was always going to be hugely in my favour. Even with my form feeling awful without having trained at this intensity much recently. The last 5k was still the 3rd fastest split of the day in 17.47. I would cross the finish line to the finish commentary announcing ‘Jordan Skelly you are a European Champion’. Those few seconds right there are the moments that hours of hitting the tarmac training go into. It’s a feeling you can’t get enough of! The evening medal ceremony was another feeling I could get very used to. Stepping up onto the podium to a vast roar from the GB team to collect a Gold medal with cameras and lights pointing at you in all directions, it’s simply a incredible moment I’ll remember for a long time. A Gold medal in my age group, 6th overall and fastest GB athlete…not a bad result without being at my best level. So now looking forward it’s onto Lisbon and another European Championships I’ll look forward to enjoying. Especially now I know that even without the ideal training, Steve has managed to keep me in good shape and fairly strong through my winters training.