I have gone back and forth over the last couple of weeks deciding if I was going to write anything about my race in Hawaii. I headed over to Kona with a ton of doubt about my fitness, but tried to focus on racing to the best of my ability. As I have written in past blog entries, this year did not start the way I had planned. Two back-to-back knee surgeries left the muscles in my right leg a fraction of what they used to be.
After my second surgery in mid-April I knew I needed to really get to work in preparation for Hawaii. I had not raced Hawaii since 2007 and there is no other IM that compares to the atmosphere on the big island. I felt if I put in a solid 6 weeks of rehab and then trained as smart as I could up until October, I would be ready to race. I was wrong.
I sought the advice of some very smart coaches in the sport and they all advised me that Kona may not be the best option for me this season. However, I had my heart set on racing (I felt I owed my sponsors even though they never put one once of pressure on me to race). My good friends were also coming over from the East Coast and they had never even seen a triathlon before. This is why it helps to have a coach, but I will get to this later.
My build for Kona started well. I was doing some solid riding with Luke and my fitness was coming back. My swim was starting to come around as well, but my running was a concern. I wanted to ease back in to it and pay attention to my knee. By mid-August I felt I was right where I needed to be. However, right about this time I strained my right glut by lowering my saddle WAY too much when I started using some different cycling shoes. It initially did not bother me too much, but I continued to train through the injury. By the end of the month, my right glut was bothering me significantly when I rode and ran. I was able to get through Santa Barbara, but shortly after that race the pain would not allow me to train with any consistency. I was getting acupuncture and massage from Greg Borque twice a week just to ease the pain. I also was getting ART treatments from Gino to help as well. I tried to do the smart thing and listen to my body, but it was obvious that my fitness was suffering as well. I was doing my usual group rides and could not hold wattage I used to hold comfortably. My weekly running totals maxed out around 30 miles as well. If I had some solid base in my body from the Winter I would have been fine, but coming off 6 months of no training at all finally caught up to me.
The race itself was not good from the get go. I simply turned off my brain during the swim, I struggled to even hold 220 watts coming back from Hawi and the run was pretty much over before it even began. I finished, which was definitely a goal (and always is), but my body was simply not ready to race.
So what did I learn from this experience? I need a coach for the 2011 season. Self-coaching is not working for me. I need to work on my firing patterns, muscle imbalance, and core strength so I do not get injured again. I have already started this with Gino and Chris using the TRX system and many other exercises that will address my weaknesses. I went in for an assessment at the beginning of the week and my body is a mess from the knee surgeries and compensation from my right glut. Last, but not least I need to stay healthy and race when I am ready. There will not be anymore triathlon races I compete in where I am not adequately prepared. I plan on doing some early season running race, but will not be racing any triathlons until I am ready both mentally and physically.
Besides the race, we had an amazing time in Hawaii and I am very eager to return to the island one day to race again.
Here are some pics from the race . . .