I was trying and waiting on two things…first for the racers to post their reports and second I was trying to find the beer commercial that goes with the title of this blog. Unfortunately, I cannot find the commercial to go with it. It goes like this…dude walks into a bar and steps up to the bartender. The bartender asks, like he does to almost every customer, “What’ll you have?” The dude ponders the question while looking around everyone around him drinking a BudLight…or whatever. The deep background voice says…as if reading the dude’s mind…”Ah, the what’ll you have moment.”
Just like a bartender might ask “What’ll you have?”, it’s all too common for fellow triathletes and friends to ask “What’s your next race?” It’s an honest question. So, when I got back from training camp, and began making my way around my various stops in Austin, invariably the question asked was “What’s your next race?”
Truth be told I’m not sure. It was to be 70.3 St. Croix with Amy this weekend. Then it was to be IM Brazil. I’m pretty sure the schedule will be modified again. With about 10 days or so to go in training camp, the perfect storm was brewing, or in hindsight it seemed to be brewing. Only hindight sometimes reveals it, and really who knows if was a perfect storm. Looking for clues we call it. Whether elite or not, triathletes flirt with the line. It might be waking up every day at 4:30 to get in a swim before your 8-5 job. Other than being out of your element, Brett has written many times that at training camps he ends up slowing athletes down as sometimes we can be our own worst enemies.
So, I write all of the above to say that my answer to the “What’s your next race?” question is “I don’t know.” With about a week left in camp I had some hip/groin type pain. Initially it felt like a tight adductor. It didn’t get much worst, but it didn’t get much better. It hurt when I ran, but nothing else seemed to bother it. I went home and 20 hours on a plane did me no favors. Walking hurt, running killed and for 2 weeks I ran no further than 5 miles every 2nd day. But, I kept pounding the bike. Cut back on the running, still riding, no real improvement. After 2 weeks, I headed to get an MRI. Nothing too terribly bad, no stress fracture, but quite a bit of aggravation and a possible stress reaction where the hip flexor attaches to the femur.
That line was probably crossed somewhere or was it? What was it? Don’t really know. I can say it might have been running on a wet slippery track. Or I can say it might have been some really hard bike rides. Or maybe it was getting sick for a week and probably being a bit dehydrated and nutritionally deficient. The truth is, it is hard to know, and by dwelling too much on what ‘might’ have caused it if there was no single change…like bike shoes, pedals, running shoes, or something else…we’ll go crazy. There is a post on the forum about a calf injury. Naturally it shows up on the run, but it might very well be a bike issue. On the bike, you cannot move quite as naturally as you can on the run since you are fixed to about 5 points…2 armrests, 2 pedals, and 1 seat. I talked with a fellow pro who had a similar calf issue to one that’s posted on the forum. He figured his was a bike issue from cleats or pedals. He talked about a 2x world champion who had 2 stress fractures in the fibula (non weight bearing lower leg bone) that was caused by cycling and NOT running.
So, here I am 10 days with no running, nearly a week with no cycling, and an MRI that says I’ve got a hip flexor that’s angry with my femur, so much so that the two probably want a divorce. Rest and recover. Swim like crazy, and do what doesn’t hurt it. Let it heal up while applying some stress. Come back better than before, but be patient. It’s common. James’ “onward and upward” slogan fits now better than ever.