Wednesday, August 10, 2011

London Report

A little late but here it goes…
The hip injury that forced me out of the Edmonton world cup ended up sticking around for our entire pre-London training camp in France. Pulling out of Edmonton was a good decision, but it didn’t miraculously cure my hip. I still had a frustrating injury to deal with, and I foolishly thought that a few days rest would have me back up and running again. My body had other plans, and I went through a difficult 3 weeks of highs and lows, seeing very little progress forward. I like going to training camps and working so hard that I go to bed exhausted every day, but this camp was very different. Almost every ride I did was “easy”, and my longest run was just 2 days before we left for London. 5 x (2min run, 1 min walk). Fantastic.

Things started to turn around on the last few days of the camp. I could walk and bike pain-free for the first time in a long while, and my mini-runs didn’t aggravate anything. I’m not sure what made me think that I could possibly race a full triathlon on Saturday, but my competitiveness and love for racing made me determined to at least start the race. Of course my expectations were much lower than usual, and I promised to pull out of the race the second that I felt that I was making the injury worse. For some reason I thought that just maybe I could squeeze out a top 8 to secure a spot on the Olympic team. The truth is, coming into the most competitive race of the year severely underprepared is a bad idea. Also, going into a race uncertain if you’ll be able to finish makes it very hard to mentally prepare for success. Still, I wanted to be familiar with the course incase I’m back for the Olympics next year and take as many positives out of the experience as I could.

So I started. And I finished. My hip was pain-free on the run so I was determined to finish the race, because dropping out at this point would have only been because I was doing badly, and this is not a good reason to pull out of a race. I heard someone say as I ran by “I’ve never seen her run that slow before!”… Yes, that’s how slow I was running. I could hear people’s full conversations as I passed by. I absolutely hated being passed by the other girls and watch them pull away from me while my legs wouldn’t respond. This is not something that I’ve experienced before in a triathlon, and it’s very mentally defeating! I knew that I wouldn’t be able to stay with the leaders, but in all honestly I didn’t think that I’d do THAT badly, and naturally I was upset and frustrated after the race. Only 8 points separate Barbara, Andrea and I, and a few places higher would have put me back in the lead. So close!!

I decided before the race that regardless of the outcome, I needed to walk away from the experience happy with my decision and with a positive outlook on everything. I certainly didn’t want to leave London with a bad taste in my mouth, as I hope to be back here next year and I want to be excited and as best prepared as possible for this event. I’m now familiar with the course, the transition area, the layout of the venue, our accommodation and our logistics coming into the race. I also learned how to deal with media attention surrounding an upsetting and unfortunate circumstance, so this was good practice too. Another major positive is that my sister was in London for my race, so it was lots of fun to hang out with her and explore London after the race.

I’m back in Victoria now with 5 weeks to get my running legs back. Thankfully the race on Saturday did no further damage and I’m cautiously building up my running again. I always thought that having good results was the best motivation for me to keep training hard, but I was wrong. Having bad races is the best fuel for the fire, and I’m extremely determined to be back at my best again in Beijing.

Thanks for the support, as always.