Alvaro has been working with me for the past 2 years and has an interesting story to tell:
Who am I? Why am I writing this? Well, the best thing to do is start from the beginning, or maybe from the end.
The beginning is I’m a Spanish guy living in Scotland, the end is that I’m going to represent the UK in the Standard Duathlon World Championships this week.
How did I get there? Well, it’s an easy question, or maybe not that easy. I got there because I tried to qualify and did a qualifier race, this is the easiest answer. A more complex one is that 5 years ago I decided to move to Edinburgh to improve my English and change my life. When I first got here I was about 18 stone (nowadays I’m a bit under 12 stone). First thing I did was change my eating habits and started walking a lot every day. After a few months I was much fitter and started running again (I have an athletics background from when I was a child/teenager), then bought a bike because I missed cycling and all of this led me to do my first half marathon (25/05/2014). A few months later I got an injury in my right foot and started swimming for recovery. As soon as I recovered from the injury I kept swimming, running and cycling and decided to do my first Sprint Triathlon (21/06/2014), I finished it really well although I had some problems in T1 (first transition). After my second Sprint Triathlon, a month after the first one, I decided to do my first Half Ironman in Aberfeldy, but due to an injury to my left calf couldn’t do the run but the swimming and cycling went really well for my first attempt. I kept training for the whole winter and, in a craziness attack I signed up for my first Ironman for the 24/10/2015, so almost a year to get fitter and train a lot, meanwhile I did a 57k trail run in Spain.
In April 2015 I completed my first Half Ironman in Seville in 4:44:56, my best time so far for a Half Ironman, but I must say it has been the easiest one I’ve ever done. After that one I completed a few Half Ironman races and other Triathlons, including my first Standard Distance Triathlon. As part of my training for the Ironman, I did a week camp in France, climbing up some of the Tour de France’s most famous summits. On the 24/10/2015 I completed my first Ironman in 12:25:53, had some problems in the swim and in the second half of the run due to the lack of training and poor preparation. In 2016 I did just 3 races, a Half Ironman, a Sprint and a Standard Triathlon, and not much training. Maybe too much effort in the past 2 years, maybe I was not fully motivated or just my head wasn’t in the right place for the training required. But in October 2016 I decided to hire a coach (Karl Zeiner of DeZeiner Fitness) and get back to my training patterns and establish a proper plan.
In 2017 I focused on short races, just trying to qualify for some European or World Championships, but that was not easy, although I did some good races. I then decided to do the first Edinburgh Half Ironman, which was the first weekend of July. In the middle of June I got an injury in my left calf and couldn’t run for 6 weeks! But still did a few Triathlons, just skipped the run section, trying to get as fit as I could for the qualifiers and for Edinburgh 70.3. My last session with the physio was just two days before the Edinburgh 70.3 and she was not sure I was going to be able to run at all. Did the swim (a bit shorter due to the weather), the bike and started running, it felt good and I kept running for about 16km, after that I had to start walking/running but it felt really good!!! After this race I did three qualifiers, Redcar Sprint Triathlon to qualify for the Worlds, Bala Standard to qualify for the Euros and the Thorpe Park sprint to also qualify for the Euros. Raced well, but not good enough to directly qualify, so I am in the roll down list for all of them, or at least I was, because I found out in March this year, that I had qualified for the Standard Triathlon European Championships but as I didn’t get the email I was withdrawn and they gave my place to another triathlete! I found this out just a few days before an important race this year, Stirling Standard Duathlon which was a qualifier for the World Championships for this year and next. Understandably, missing my chance to run in the Euros really got me down and I was really low. Even on the day of the race my motivation was at rock bottom and right before it started I was wondering why I was doing it, but as soon as the race started I forgot about everything and just focused on doing the best I could. In the end, I couldn’t have done it any better, and the most important part of all of this is that I QUALIFIED FOR THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS to represent the UK. Why the UK and not Spain? Because, as you’ve just read, I am a triathlete because of this country, I developed myself as a Triathlete here, and I think it would be wrong to represent any country other than the UK.
Alvaro’s World Championship Race is this Friday, July 6th, in Fyn in Denmark. Have a fantastic day, Alvaro!