Babies – the latest training aid

By Matt Hammerton

It’s time to reflect on the many ups of the 2009 season. With the main event being a beautiful (well I think so!) little baby girl born in June, my training was possibly going to be taking a back seat to nappy changing, bottle feeding and goo-goo-garring. Nevertheless, Emma (wife) agreed that I could do a race a month and so it went…

32 weeks pregnant: With everything going well, I entered Ashbourne Duathlon, a harsh run, bike, run in the peaks. This was about conquering my race nemesis. Two years earlier, the weather got the better of me and I was found sheltering in a spectators car suffering from mild hypothermia mumbling about snow on the hills, and the lack of fabric on a tri suit. However, this time, the race was a success and I obtained my fastest time on the course, bagging a podium spot in the process.

36 weeks pregnant: I swopped my road bike, for a very shiny Felt Race Team Hardtail and took part in my first off-road tri. The event was run by EnduranceLife. Not being a mainstream race, I was expecting to rank fairly well. However, a good friend of mine, Graham Wadsworth, and his xterra mates decided to rock up, all Xterra World Championship contenders and most, podium finishers. These guys, as well as Oli Mytton, meant that competition was going to be stiff. 3hr20 of choppy seas, exhilarating off road biking and breathtaking coastal paths made the race a cracker. I had the biggest blood blisters I’ve ever had and managed to get completely submerged, bike and all, out on the course, but these sacrifices were a small price to pay for coming second.

39 weeks: It was getting close. I was set to compete in Weymouth Half Ironman on the assumption that if Emm went into labour, I would stop racing and rush her to hospital. Everytime, I passed her, the question of contractions would come up. Knowing these could happen at any moment seemed to work in my favour as I had one of those rare races where everything just went to plan obtaining my best half performance by far, second in a time of 4.10.19. Phil Westmorland was close behind in 7th place and finished feeling like he could carry on and on…

4 weeks old: After an exhilarating month, where birth plans where thrown out the window and life was altered for ever, July was about staying awake and trying to fit in enough cycling to not get picked up by the broom wagon in the Etape du Tour, the hardest stage of the Tour du France finishing up Mont Ventoux. Belief it or not, I managed to maintain most of my cycle fitness and achieved a respectable 6hr29 including a gruelling 2 hours of pain up the final climb.

Now 4 months on, fatherhood and training seem to be working far better than I imagined. Priorities have changed somewhat but it’s amazing what fitness you can keep by fitting training sessions in wherever possible…running to work, cycling to the in-laws for a Sunday roast or even running up and down the stairs at work, it all helps.

Dreaming of next year…Mountain-X-Race 2010 if new sponsors are found, an Xterra, another half ironman…who knows, variety is key and life is currently about raising a beautiful little girl…have I mentioned her already??!

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