Blog

Apologies for the lack of blogging and information, it has been a very strange year.

This weekend is the World Champs Grand final in London and unfortunately I won't be racing. It has always been in the back of mind I wanted to get fit enough to race the event but it just hasn't happened.

It has been such a rollercoaster year, from my last blog in February where I thought things were improving and I was moving forward to where I am now the week of the Grand Final.

In February I spent a rehab period in Bisham Abbey at the Olympic Medical Centre, a few days after this, I attempted a short run and ride outside, after doing all my rehab on a treadmill it was time to get outside, all symptoms returned the few days after my run. It felt disastrous, I had a knee injury for ten months, I had done endless rehab exercises, strengthening and one run outside, and by run I'm talking 15 minutes this was not even a proper run, I was back to square one.

My injury has always been a knee injury and we have been focused on that, but always kept in mind that it could be a nerve problem coming from my back. If anyone has seen me run, I don't have the prettiest running style, my hips move a lot and I tend to bend slightly, I don't look that smooth, it stems from a scoliosis (a slight curve in my spine) I also have a condition called spondylolisthesis this is a slippage of my lowest vertebra on my sacroiliac joint (pelvis) it's not a really bad case but causes a lot of nerve compression of my femoral nerve which goes down your quad to my knee. Basically my lower spine does not look pretty

We went to see a spinal surgeon, had an MRI (another one, I've had about 8 this year!) and it was decided to do a series of diagnostic nerve root blocks in my lower spine to see if we could affect my pain in any way.

Mentally at this point I was really struggling, I couldn't see past my injury. I love triathlon and my job, I feel so lucky to be able to do what I do, but I haven't been able to do it for a year, every training session has hurt, all the enjoyment has been taken out of what I was doing and I felt like this was it, career over. I didn't see how I could ever be 'not injured'. It all seems a bit over dramatic when I'm writing this now, but I was in such a negative place. It is just an injury, no one died, I have my health and family, but as a professional triathlete you dedicate your whole life to the sport, it has an affect on everything I do, training and sport come first, because they have to, if I don't dedicate myself to what I'm doing and give 100% I wouldn't be the athlete I am now, or have won World Champs twice, been to two Olympics. I am so lucky to have a husband who has been a professional athlete and supports me through my sport and understands how training for an elite sport can be consuming and often selfish. So although it seems dramatic to be so upset and mentally down about an injury, a long-term injury for over a year has a profound affect on my life and the way my life has been for the past ten years. I have had long term injuries before, where I haven't run for ten months but at least I could swim and bike during that time. This injury has been different due to the complicated nature of the problem and the sense of being stationary. I always have a goal, something to aim for, a sense of improvement, but with my knee problem there hasn't been any of that, it has been stationary, it really hadn't improved since May 2012 and I didn't feel it was any closer to improving.

The Spinal surgeon detected a very small bulge in one of my discs and wanted to try a small procedure to see if it could affect the pain. Thankfully the procedure helped. It has been 14 weeks since I had it done and I have had a really gradual build of training, starting with 10 minute runs and 30 minute turbos. I'm not up to a full volume of training yet but I'm getting close and can for the first time since May last year it feels like there is light at the end of the tunnel and I can actually start thinking about racing again. Being back training properly is an amazing feeling, I appreciate every session (even the boring ones) because I can actually do it and training doesn't hurt.

Although my desire to get back out racing is huge being sensible comes first, and this year is just not going to happen. At this point I have to thank my sponsors who have been really supportive during this tough period and shown a commitment to me I am so grateful for, they have shown they are in this for the long haul, and as always the support team around me that believe in me.

I also want to wish everyone in the British team good luck for these next few days of racing. Enjoy the amazing experience of racing in your own country at the highest level!