2015: Don’t Look Back in Anger

So another year has passed and you would think that given I spent most of the year injured and in pain with my shoulder that I’d be glad to see the back of it and in a way I am but I’m also grateful for the things that happened and the things I learned.

I’ll be brutally honest I visited some very dark places in my head last year, frustration and pain with my injury, and a few other things that I won’t bore you with, but I always found a reason to come back to the light. And I have my straight talking wonderful wife Emma to thank for that.  Last year I really would have been lost without her.

I became a Dad again, to a beautiful ( again Emma to thank for that ) baby boy called Matthew. He is such a character and brings so much joy into my life…as well as sleepless nights, fragrant nappies and drool covered shoulders (the joy of teething).

My daughter Charlotte turned 5 a couple of days ago and has started ‘big school’ taking it all in her stride. As I knew she would. I’m so proud of her. This year she ran IronKids with her grandad as I was injured. Watching her having so much fun was one of the highlights of my year. 

Another highlight for me was travelling to the IAUTA 100km world championships in Winschotten, Netherlands, to watch my brother Craig run for Great Britain. It was an amazing day watching him finish 11th breaking the magical 7hr barrier for the first time. He also won the gold medal in the masters race. He is an inspiration to me as he has worked so hard. 

I also got to race alongside Craig in my only race of the year, well he was racing and I was just surviving. He won the 12hr Trailblaster race in a rain soaked Burnley park, I was taking part as a last minute stand in on a relay team. It was good to get at least one race on my cv for the year. I covered about 20 miles, which in minimal training wasn’t bad.

I started running in Sketchers Ultra shoes and I’m glad that I did. They are the best shoes I have ever worn. I now have 3 more pairs waiting to get dirty. 

I continue to work with my fantastic coach Gobi (Mark Shepherd) and although I’m not in good shape at the moment, I feel like a better athlete both mentally and physically because of his help and knowledge. He is the perfect blend of devil and Saint, kicking my arse when i need it and cutting me slack when it’s required. 

I started training with power and I can instantly say that I think it will make me a better cyclist. Granted 2015 was confined to the turbo and the power only got switched on in October but it’s a fascinating metric to look at and train with. FTP tests however are pure evil.

My shoulder was eventually fixed with a new ligament and a couple of pins. It was complete in late December when a second operation saw the scar tissue being removed. Wow what a difference when they did that, instant greater movement, no pain and as Emma says I’m like a new man with a sunnier demeaner. Funny how a lack of pain stops you being a miserable bastard. So I’m grateful to all the medical people that have helped rebuild me this year. With a special mention to my awesome physio James. He’s a genius.

I had two amazing days out with great friends supporting at IMUK and The Outlaw. Watching those people push themselves to the limit in challenging conditions, being told many times “it’s all your fault”,  and seeing friends race to new personal bests REALLY reminded me of what I was missing. The spark was ignited inside that will lead me back to Ironman. So if you raced in Bolton or Nottingham thank you. 

I was also lucky enough to be chosen to front an ad campaign with the bed manufacturer Sealy. I usually turn down endorsement deals but I jumped at the chance to work with a Cumbrian company. I’ll be writing some stuff for the website in 2016 too. It might just get me back into the writing mode that might lead to book three.

Swimming again brought one of the biggest smiles to my face in December, when I completed a mile in the pool. A hell of a lot of rehab work had gotten me to that point and it felt amazing.

My blog was read 19,000 times by people in 90 countries around the world. That’s enough people to fill the Sydney Opera House seven times. Thanks everyone πŸ™‚

I also managed to do some training, not fantastic stats below but when you consider I was injured it will do.

run : 432 miles. Turbo: 244 miles.  Swim: 2.5 miles.  Walked: 2334.5 miles.

So as you can see there has been plenty to be grateful for, so as the great Oasis advised “Don’t look back in Anger” – I certainly won’t be on 2015.


8 responses to “2015: Don’t Look Back in Anger

  1. Well done you … injury is a sod and gets you down but you’re beating it. I started triathlons 3 years ago when I learnt how to swim. Did my first iron distance (Cotswold 226) in July 2015 and a week later smashed my collar bone by a very ineligant dismount going downhill on a mtb – one titanium plate later and I’m now back on the path to recovering my fitness. Signed up for the Outlaw this year to give myself a target. And yes it is all your fault – I’m 56 and should know better but I read your books and thought why not. All the best to you and your expanding family for the New Year and maybe one day I can say ‘its all your fault’ to your face !!!!!!

  2. Robert Macmillan


    I did the Outlaw this year. I read your first book about three years ago and that provided inspiration to start triathlon despite not being able to swim. So I’m yet another you owe thousands of pounds to.

    Good luck getting back to fitness


  3. It sounds like you’ve just come out of a tough year – I wish you all the best for 2016. I love hearing about your adventures, spirit and determination. You’re an inspirational endurance athlete. Hope our paths cross in the same race this year. All the best buddy.

  4. Those dark places would make good reading in book 3, I expect – you started by inspiring so many folk by being ordinary (I mean that in the nicest possible way), but I think this year you’ve inspired injured folk, too – this is potentially a community of athletes who feel outside their community, and I’d love to read about another athlete’s experience of being stuck on the bench. I’m slowly getting back, too – so here’s to a great 2016 of proper running, swimming and stuff – thanks, Andy

  5. Great blog as usual Andy good luck for the coming seasonπŸŠπŸš΄πŸ»πŸ‘

  6. Peter Stockdale

    Its great o read you blog and journey through injury. I fractured my humerus at the shoulder three weeks ago, so managing the pain while staying positive about getting back into Tri has been hard at times over the last few weeks

    Really beneficial for me to read you blog and a big thanks for some inspiration to get through it especially being so close to my recovery journey.

    Hope your racing soon.

  7. Just finished “Can’t Swim, ride, run” πŸ™‚
    Great read. I’ve done a few events and half an Outlaw half in July. I thought that’d be my limit but deep down I don’t think it is… and now I know it isn’t! And yes, I blame you (partly). Cheers for the motivation…

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