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Aloha from Kailua-Kona!

Since Ironman Canada I have struggled to put my thoughts together cohesively until now, so as a result, my update is long overdue. But now that I have some perspective and understanding, here it is…

In my last post, I expressed that I planned to have a good run result at Ironman Canada and have a great overall race result after all the hard work I had put into my run training. Unfortunately that did not happen and I am very disappointed in my result. I am also disappointed that I did not qualify for Kona this year. That is the bad news. The good news is that I have finally figured out what has been going on with my body and what I need to do to get healthy again. My triathlon career has been filled with many injuries and I am going to make sure things heal properly once and for all!

In my preparations/training leading up to Ironman Lake Placid and Ironman Canada, I worked really hard on my run training by doing more run mileage (and less bike mileage) and more focused and specific run workouts. These are workouts that I have not truly been able to do due since starting my pro career due to injuries. Over the summer months, while I was certainly running better than I had in a long time, there were a few runs I had to cut short due to some left hamstring tendon pain. It was a sharp pain, but I managed to keep going after a day of rest. During my speed workouts, I also never felt that I could really ‘open it up’, again, due to this hamstring tendon discomfort. However, in general, triathletes have a high pain threshold and so I just kept training and kept pushing with the great run goal in mind!

By the time I came out of the out and back portion of the bike course at Ironman Canada, my hamstring tendon felt like it had a golf ball stuck in the middle of it. It was so big that it was painful to sit on my saddle. So I stood…a lot. I did most of the last 40k of the ride out of the saddle and I lost a lot of time in what is usually my strongest leg of the race. While I was the third woman off the bike, I was 18 minutes down from the lead, and only a couple of minutes ahead of the women behind me. I was still hopeful, however, that once I got my butt off my bike seat, it might not feel so bad running. Unfortunately, it became evident the moment I got off my bike that I was not going to be able to run very fast, if at all.

To add insult to injury, I battled a bloody nose on race day too. This has never happened to me before. The first one happened in the out and back section about 115kms into the bike and I got another bloody nose on the run course that just would not stop! A very nice race official on a bike handed me a handful of tissues from her backpack, but my already slow running form certainly was not helped by trying to run while holding tissues on my face! So I hung in there to finish the race (I was determined not to DNF) with a slow run, a slow time overall and no Kona spot. Ugh. Clearly this was a race that was not meant to be for me that day, so I am pleased that I stuck it out and got to the end regardless.

Since the race I have learned that I have a substantial tear in my left hamstring tendon. And because my ischial tuberosity (the ‘sit bone’ where the hamstring tendons attach) is literally in rough shape, the tendon is catching on it and scraping over it, and this is preventing the tendon from healing. I can feel the tendon catch when I swing my leg forward which is a bit unnerving. But this clicking sensation has been happening for months and I just figured it was a tight gluteus muscle flipping over a bone with no real reason for concern. Guess I was wrong! I will be getting treatment shortly in an effort to address this problem. It is time to heal properly so that I can ‘open her up’ on the run one day soon!

The next few posts will be updates from Hawaii where I will experience the Ironman World Championship race from a very different perspective: Not as a competitor, but as a coach and spectator. While my poor race at Ironman Canada has been hard to digest, I am feeling positive about a number of things: I am finding that being here in Kona without the pressure of racing is kind of nice (though I still wish I was racing). My role as a coach is very exciting and rewarding. I am also here in Kona to research routes and make plans for Epic Woman Camp that will be held here in April which I am very excited about. And I am thrilled to now know my hamstring tear diagnosis so I can treat it properly. In summary then, things are looking good from here!

Thanks for reading.