2014, what a year!

As I sit here on New Years Eve 2014 I have been thinking about what has happened in my life this year and what I am looking forward to next year, here goes!

2014 has been a year of ups and downs to say the least, in my private/ family, sporting and professional lives. Professionally this has been a great year for me, in September I completed my masters degree in Exercise and Sport at Manchester Metropolitan University, this rounded off an academic year in which I made some great friends, had some tough moments and some great moments. At work I joined a young charitable trust in the sports development team, my initial role with the organisation was as Volunteer coordinator, helping to oversee an award winning programme, it was a great summer in which I met some truly inspirational people and had some experiences which will stay with me forever. As I moved into the autumn months I applied for and got a new role as Inclusion coordinator and community coach within the same development team. In this role I have continued to work with and meet some great people and characters.

In my personal and private life there has been brilliant highs and brutal lows, this isn’t the place for some of the lows but I am happy to share the highs! In November me and my fiancée moved into out first house together, I am immensely happy, although the thought of paying my mortgage for the next 35 years depresses me! There are numerous advantages to being a home owner, one of them I have discovered in the past 24 hours, you can set up your rollers and ride your bike in the dining room doorway and nobody can tell you off, WINNER!

My sporting year wasn’t as good, a terrible winter 2013-14 injury wise carried on into the summer and killed my 2014 season half way through, it started with a stress fracture in my foot in December/ January, a strained Achilles in February, a tweaked cartilage in my knee in April/ May and culminated in a tendonopathy in my knee in August. I battled through the first half of the season before pulling out of all my races post august on the advice of my phisio. After 3 months of no running at all and with help from a superb team of phisios and fitness staff I seem to be back on track in my 2014/15 winter. I am hugely grateful to my sponsors at the Everybody Sport and Recreation APA programme for keeping the faith and helping me back to fitness. I’m still not back to pre injury fitness or form but the ground work I have already put in this winter will hopefully stand me in good stead for 2015.

In 2015 I hope to continue the progress I have already made professionally, I am excited about what the future holds as the charitable trust I work for enters an exciting future. I cant wait to see what life holds for me and my fiancée as we continue our epic adventure together. Sporting wise , I already have my 2 ‘A’ races lined up and I will be stepping up to half ironman distance , this will be tough but I am willing and determined to do what it takes to succeed. I am also looking forward to September as me and my brother will return to the land of our forebears (Scotland) to take part in the rat race coast to coast challenge, it will be a tough but great weekend. I also cant wait to see the Rugby World Cup in England in 2015, it will be a great advert for the sport and I hope it is a trigger to generate great interest and an increase in people playing the sport every week.

All that is left for me to say is 2014 you were great, I cant wait to see 2015! Happy New Year to all.

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Hello!

With this being my first post I thought I would give you all a but of background on me and an idea on what I will be writing about.

My name is Alex, I live in a small village in Cheshire, England and I am 26 years old. Since I can remember I have always loved sport, both playing and watching, it all started I suppose with football (soccer) and I would spend hours playing either alone or with friends. At the age of 6 or 7 I started playing for the mighty Moulton Youth FC! We weren’t very good but we had fun and during my time there I grew to love the game and sport in general. I think it is a testament to the coaches and parents there that most of the lads I played alongside are still playing some form of sport on a regular basis. (I should point out at this stage that due to my dyslexia I am pretty unorganised and get distracted easily so if I go off at a tangent I will have to ask for your forgiveness). As I went through school I was very lucky to have some very good, knowledgeable and enthusiastic PE teachers and coaches, without them I don’t think I would be where I am today! I didn’t stick with football as, when I got to high school I put a bit of weight on and instead started a love affair with a sport that still consumes me to this day… RUGBY! Being a rather portly 11 year old with ginger hair I found that running around chasing an egg shaped ball with my mates and rolling round in the mud was a great laugh.

Over the next few years my mum and dad ferried me around and followed me all over the country as I played at school and club level, they also took me to the hospital on several occasions when things went wrong. they have continued to follow me all over the country and continent during my 2nd sporting career as a triathlete (more on that later). After I left college and went off to university I decided against playing for uni as I wanted to play for my club unfortunately, injuries meant that I spent more time on the phisio bench than the pitch (my 20+ stone frame probably didn’t help).

On December 15th 2011 I made the best decision of my life, after stepping on to the scales and seeing my weight had reached 22 stone something had to be done. So I pulled on some tracksuit bottoms and a hoody and laced up an old pair of trainers and went for a run. 2.5k of walking, running and weazing took me some 25 minutes but I had made the first step!

My brothers were both into triathlon and I decided to enter a race so I had something to aim for, over the next 12 months I lost 7 1/2 stone and completed a sprint triathlon and duathlon and my word, I was hooked! I also got back on the rugby pitch playing for the mighty Knutsford RUFC and played for them for a season however after some more injuries I decided to focus on tri. More races followed in 2012 and I improved, so much so that in 2013 I achieved selection for the GB Age Group team at the European Duathlon Championships in Holland. This remains my greatest sporting achievement and the friendships I made there remain with me to this day, I am also proud to admit that as I crossed the line (in 173rd place overall) I got a little bit chocked up. 2014 turned into an injury nightmare, more on that in my next post!

So that’s my sporting background, in order to pay for my triathlon habit I work in sports development as a project coordinator and community coach, this involves running a programme for people with disabilities whilst also delivering some sessions each week. I went to uni for many years and hold a degree, PGCE and masters, I have also worked in shops, sales and as a full time coach. I still play rugby on occasion but do more coaching these days, trying to promote the game to the next generation.

If you are kind enough to read my blogs in the future I will mainly be writing about my training habits, sport, coaching and generally what goes on in my life.

Thanks for reading team!