Lucy Charles-Barclay has her sights set firmly on defending her IRONMAN 70.3 World title after making a successful return to racing.
And now, she feels she is a better, stronger athlete as she targets this year’s IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships at St George in October.
Speaking in her latest Team Charles-Barclay YouTube video, which is embedded below, Charles-Barclay was in a very positive frame of mind after a “super tough couple of months”.
She said: “To be honest, we hadn’t really made solid plans past this race [Samorin] because we just didn’t know how it would go.
“I have a call with Dan [Lorang] my coach this week where we’ll start to make plans going forward.
“My ultimate goal when I got injured was to try and be back for the 70.3 Worlds and defend that title.
“That is my big goal. I would love to be back there fit.”
Moving in the right direction
Although she will err on the side of caution, there is a strong chance Charles-Barclay will compete again before St George.
She said: “Whether we put racing in between, that is probably highly likely, seeing how well my form has come through. But we will probably make those decisions this week.”
Having returned from what she described as a potentially career-threatening injury so successfully in Samorin, Charles-Barclay says she has plenty of improving to do.
“I don’t feel like it has sunk in yet, but I have worked incredibly hard,” she said.
“When I was first diagnosed with the stress fracture, I was told that if I’m not sensible with this injury, it could be career ending.
“At the time, that was alarm bells. I felt I have to be sensible with this because I’m still relatively young as a long-distance athlete. I don’t feel like I am at the peak of my career.
“To feel like it could almost be over if I did something silly now, it was quite scary.
“In that moment, I couldn’t have ever dreamt of really being back to full fitness.
“That was obviously my ultimate goal, to recover and get back to that, but it definitely is scary to know that this injury, if not taken seriously or if you’re unlucky or things just don’t go quite right, it can be a career-ending injury.”
Patience the key
Reflecting further on her rehab process, Charles-Barclay said patience and persistence had been key.
She said: “I have worked tirelessly from the patience in the beginning of not being able to do anything, and just being really, really strict with that, to gradually bringing in more and more training and starting to see the fitness creep back.
“It has been really, really tough. I couldn’t have done it without the support of the team around me.
“It’s been hours and hours of progress. Hours of questioning what’s possible, doubters on the outside saying will I ever come back or was it too soon to come back and race.
“Actually, I feel like ‘you know what, we did it all right’. At the moment, everything is going in a positive direction.”
While Charles-Barclay’s injury came at a time when she was among the favourites for the IRONMAN World title in May and so missed her chance to shine, she believes it could yet benefit her in the long term.
She said: “I have learnt so much from this injury that’s going to take me forward as a better, stronger athlete, both physically and mentally.
“I’m excited for the future. It’s been a super tough couple of months, but we have come out the other side and things are better for it.
“They always say that the comeback is stronger than the setback, so I definitely would agree with that.”