The last two weeks I've been training in sunny Ft. Lauderdale after coming back from Rev3 Costa Rica. It was originally scheduled as a bit of heat training in preparation for the Nautica South Beach Race, but ended up more of a rehab/recovery block instead! My tweaked hamstring from the Costa Rica race left me pretty limited in mobility and all but eliminated my ability to run. It has been a very frustrating two weeks, ending with my first ever DNF today at South Beach. Not my brightest moments, but it hasn't been all bad. Here's a recap:
Since I couldn't do much but swim, I took advantage and decided to focus on my strength for a bit and possibly grab the swim prime in South Beach. Life gives you lemons, you make lemonade! Coach Matt and I had talked about going after it before the season, but now I had nothing to lose. So I racked up over 60k of LCM swimming in 8 days with the help of Dave Gibson at Fort Lauderdale Aquatics. I swam for Dave back in high school and his wife Jennifer was my first coach when I was 6! (possible picture to follow. mom?) Here was my background for most of the two weeks:
It took a few workouts, but I felt great with the increased volume and started to even feel fast! Of course, outside of the pool was a bit different. I had a few decent cycling workouts, but failed any attempt to run more than a mile without pain. Mostly, I shut it down and hoped that time would be on my side. Luckily, I had help with Dr. Keegan Roper at Inline Health and Wellness. My wife calls Keegan my "cute relative", but he's also a terrific chiropractor! He was good enough to see me and helped get me get to the point where I was optimistic about the coming race. I owe him big time for his help! His practice just opened an awesome new location, so if you're in Ft. Lauderdale, be sure to check them out:
Race morning came fast and early after a crazy day of braving traffic to check in and people watch in South Beach. I felt confident that I could compete for the swim prime and was ready to race as long as my body would let me against a pretty stacked field. The race started off with a combined wave of men and women pros along with a group of age groupers wearing wetsuits! It was a bit chaotic, but I made my way to the front pack by the first buoy just to see that two swimmers had already broken away from the group. I set off to reel them in, but when the two swimmers are Dustin McClarty and Javier Gomez there's not much you can do! I felt stronger and stronger as the swim progressed and came out at the front of the pack that included Cam Dye, Ben Collins, and Bevan Docharty.
On the bike, I felt good and settled into a solid pace. The loose, legal packs developed and I had trouble keeping contact with the early surges. I stayed in the top 8 through the first 20 miles, but started to lock up toward the end of the bike. I pushed on but a tiny voice in my head was telling me to back off... NOT what you want to hear when racing. I made it to transition and during the 200m run to my rack, I knew that my day was over. I couldn't maintain form even for that short run and made one of the toughest decisions of my triathlon career. I decided to call it a day and avoid making a small injury a big problem for the rest of the season. I turned in my chip, grabbed some ice, and walked a cool down with my tail between my legs.
It's a long season and I'm confident I made the right decision when factoring in how long some injuries can take to heal if aggravated. It doesn't change the fact that my body couldn't do what I asked of it. My first year of full time racing is off to a rough start, but I'm confident it gets better from here. I'm surrounded by great people and will be back to health in no time. Thank you to the Gibsons and Ropers for sharing their homes with me during the trip and to InLine Health and Wellness for taking care of me. I've got two days left in Florida to enjoy with my beautiful wife who is coming back from her Ecuador adventure. After that it's back to Richmond and back to the drawing board!