It’s a week away from one of the biggest events on the triathlon calendar: the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.
I have been on the Big Island of Kona for the last 3 weeks putting together my final preparations for my “A” race of the year. And when I say “A” race, this is the one that really counts. Every race, good or bad, that preceded this one does not matter to me right now. It’s no secret that I have been battling an injury all year, and for legitimate reasons I can understand those who doubt my ability to perform. To be honest, I have questioned my own ability a number of times, most of those after my disappointing performance in the 70.3 World Champs in Las Vegas 4 weeks ago (I wrote a bit about that race below).
However, this has not stopped me believing that great things can still happen. This is something my coach Siri Lindley has taught me from the day I signed on as one of her athletes. I know that the word on the street amongst my fellow athletes is that I am not a threat. I thank those athletes for taking the pressure off me and putting it on themselves. And for those who still have faith in me, I also thank you. Your support and positivity helps me get up every day and do everything in my power to achieve. There is no part of me that will ever quit and I’m ready to fight on October 12. I am 100% pain free as I write this and I have never felt so fired up to race.
A little bit about Vegas
Last year I unexpectedly won the IM 70.3 World Champs in Las Vegas. This year I unexpectedly finished 12th. At least that is from the outside looking in. From my inside perspective, this race went better for me than what I felt I was capable of considering the state of my body. I’m not saying I am happy with 12th place. Of course being on or near the podium is what I would have been striving for under an ideal set of circumstances with my body was operating at 100%. But once again, I feel somewhat relieved that I made it to the start line at all. On the upside of this race, I was pleased to come out of the water in 2nd and give out a fairly strong bike. The run is more or less forgettable.
One reason for my success in previous years of racing has come from consistent training and racing. However this year has been far from consistent. The torn hamstring, which I have been nursing since February, has taken me right out of my comfort zone and it has tested my mental and physical strength on so many levels. I thought this injury would go away, and I found myself still complaining about it months later. It is now under control, but I am still not entirely sure how to define control. Ideally I should have stopped training completely when symptoms became chronic, but I was too far into the season to take that option. So I had to resort to a cortisone injection immediately after Vegas. This is nothing more than a band aid to get me through the rest of the season, but it was the best decision I could have made.
Training on an injury is not fun. But most of us (if not all of us) do it or have done just to make it to the start line of our goal race. We have invested time and money towards that goal not to mention the sacrifice we make to our loved ones. However, had I sorted this injury out sooner, I would have had more time and saved money. BIG lesson learnt! And I hope that I can encourage anyone reading this to get on top of injuries right away.
My triathlon career to date has spanned 21 years and there are some quality years left in me yet. So despite my current situation, I feel very fortunate that this is only the 2nd time where an injury has had a significant impact on the pursuit of my goals.