Hey Trannies. Just saw this post. Let's get down to the nitty gritty...
Cam is not my coach anymore. I left him 4 weeks prior to Kona. No need to go into much detail about this, but I walked away from him as I saw his interest in coaching (and in the sport in general) decline over the few months prior. It was affecting my motivation and I needed a quick break before Kona so I could actually get myself to the startline with a level of stability and self-belief.
Next up. I have been dealing with on-off itb bursa inflammation since Ironman Frankfurt in early July. I think this came about due to a general deterioration of some basic motor patterns, probably due to a number of long term actors, but mostly apathy towards adequate recovery after that race. I had to pull out of 2 70.'3s during this period before Kona (Cebu & Sunny Coast). I would take a couple weeks off running, then run a couple of weeks without issue, then it would flare up again. This ITB injury is never something you can train through as the pain is debilitating (and reflects why I pulled out in Kona, but more on that in a sec). Though I was going to race KOna no matter what, so I had no option but to really push the limits with the rehab in order to try and get some sort of run loading through my legs. I returned to running three weeks out from the race, but at a very limited capacity. In the couple of weeks after I left Cam, I was able to direct my swim & bike to sessions that I thought suited me better for the tight lead in period post-injury, rather than the same tired loop of sessions that I knew weren't working for me anymore. I found some good biking legs, and my swim was where it needed to be. I went into Kona with a semblance of confidence, and didn't actually give the injury or lack of run preparation too much thought until I actually got off the bike and onto Alii Drive.
The race. I didn't apply much gas on the swim so as to have a group around me out of the water. The plan amongst a few of us was to drive the pace at the front & to take the race away from the cyclists. I pulled a bunch of guys around, but got no returns once we got onto the bike. Everyone soft pedalled and no one wanted to take the reigns. I felt as if I'd done my bit, and didn't want to get suckered into pulling guys around. The pace was pedestrian and very frustrating, so I jumped at the chance to join Starky when he went by, and not long after that we were joined by Wurf. I've ridden with both of these guys in races before & it was like a dream scenario until I started rejecting my nutrition and cramping at the 90 minute mark. There was points were I was riding through these crazy cramps for minutes on end. I'd have to back off my fluids for long periods of time until my guts settled, then I could resume loading again, but it would happen soon thereafter. Long story short, I made some dumb changes to my nutrition plan that I thought were a step in the right direction. I responded fine to the changes in training, but not in the race.
3 hours into the ride, I was still at the front with Wurf & Starky, but within the space of the 5 minute climb up from Kawaihae I bonked and was very swiftly popped off the back as Wurf began his assault back into town. I bled massive time during this point, but found a 2nd wind for the last 20-30km and still had some confidence that this was just part of ironman racing and it was no big deal. I just got into T2 solo before the bunch, and mentally was still positioning myself in the race for the top 5 or 10. Then I started running, and realised that my lack of run training has completely assaulted my naive belief that perhaps I could really pull something out of my ass on race day. I'm the kind of athlete that needs a lot of volume for my run, and there's never been a way around that for me. I'd never felt so bogged down and sluggish off the bike, and literally capitulated within the first 5 minutes knowing there was absolutely no way I could pull myself back. But of course, I was going to finish the race.
I got up onto the Queen K and ran about 1 miles until I needed to stop for the loo. I was pretty far back at this point, so kind of took my time. As I stood up front the john, the pain upon extending my left leg jolted me and almost felled me to the ground. In those claustrophobic moments in the loo, my itb band has seized up and the pain it now presented was so intense that I couldn't even walk. The medics came over and I tried a number of times to relax and then continue, but there was just no option. It's crazy because up until that point, the injury I'd been managing for the previous months was a non-issue on race day, and I'd actually even forgotten all about it until it blew out.
I'm now obviously on some forced rest, and am enjoying an early end to the season. I normally race into November or December, so I'm sure this is going to help me ease back into the training at a rate more conducive to an injury free 2019, rather than having to rush things because I've planned some early races. Generally, I've always been overly eager to get back racing early into the season to hunt for results and a pay check. Anyone self-employed knows you've got to have a strong ambition, but in a sport that presents an inevitably fine balance between being trained and overtrained, all the while trying to be career-focussed, it's easy to burn the candle at both ends. I'm well aware of the bubble we're in as triathletes though, and this is more or less a real world problem that everyone has in day to day life. As for coaching, I'm not sure where I'll go to from here, apart from the immediate decisions to continue steering my own ship until something better comes along. I'll wait until I have some sort of clarity after the recent events to make a decision.