If you are an athlete or not, we all have to make decisions day in day out. Life is full of it. Some are more and some are less important.
in the last few years I found myself in a certain situation again and again. And every time I had to make a decision.
Something was hurting and I had to decide to race or not to race.
You might think that is an easy one. But injury doesnt always mean “unable” to compete or train. I had a lot of niggling injuries I just kept training and racing on and they were gone sooner or later. But sometimes it is hard to find out how bad it really is. Like last year, a week before IM Hawaii I felt my knee. Doctors said just an inflammation. so for sure I raced. with a bad ending. as the pain was just too much to handle. an MRI scan a few weeks later showed a little cut in my patella.
The decision to race was wrong. But I did not know what the real problem was. You think it is one of those niggling injuries who just go away after a while.
example. last year I had a DNF at the 70.3 US Championship in Galveston, Texas. I had a muscle problem and could not bend my leg anymore after the bike. I kept training after this race, got treated and won Ironman St.George in Utah 4 weeks later. So, instead of making the decision to go home and not race in Utah, I went there and had one of my best races ever (broke course record by 8mins).
Last few weeks I was in a very similar situation. I struggled with hamstring tendonitis since several weeks. I had a DNF at Ironman NYC because of it. I kept training and racing on it. Had a good race in Gerardmer and finished 2nd at Leadman in Bend. But the problem did not disappear. so, while training in Hawaii I thought maybe not to race in Arizona. As I was in a lot of pain in every bike or run session I did there. But I already booked all my flights, so I decided to still go to Phoenix. Linsey Corbin talked about this chiropractor guy in Chandler. John Ball . He looks after most of the top US track and marathon runners. So I went there and John treated me every single day. He is not the typical chiropractor, as most of his methods are not “normal” chiropractor moves. I can only say, he did an amazing job and def set me back on track. I knew my tendonitis wont heal in just 2 weeks. but the thing was, John solved like 50% of my muscle problem. So I started to think about the race again. And as I was there already, the decision was a bit easier to make. You think, ok, maybe this wont hurt that much. I can handle it and still get a decent result out of it. Maybe make some money too.
the decision was made. I found myself at the start line. and I failed.
On first 20k I had a problem with my bike, so I lost the front group. once that was solved, I made up 1min in 30k again. but after the first of 3 loops I could hardly sit on my saddle anymore. My muscles could not work normally like this. I made the decision to keep going and to race for myself. as another DNF would have been very bad for my head. I got off the bike and had to walk through transition as I could not bend my legs. the hamstrings were totally blocked. I went into the transition tent , put my run shoes on, stretched a bit and started running slowly. there was pain, but at least not as bad as on the bike. next decision was to try and run a good marathon. I felt good and I was running with Matthew Russel (he had one of the best run times in hawaii this year). I went past the 21km mark at 1:24:50. and I kept running at 4min/k pace till around 28km. but then my energy levels went down. dealing with pain all day took a lot out of me. I had to slow down and my goal to run at least a sub 2h55min marathon was gone.
still, it was good to get it done. I will remember this one for sure next time I am out there running for a podium again. as it will hurt, but next time it will hurt only because I am going fast. and that is a much better pain to handle then the one I had to deal with on the weekend.
and after all it was not a bad season. with TOP 3 at IRONMAN TEXAS and IRONMAN SWITZERLAND I added podiums nr.10 and 11 to my Ironman career. I take that for sure.
and this is the way I look at it anyway:
Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success.
BRING ON 2013 !!!!!!!!