Last weekend was my first race back from a bone bruise that I had in my knee. I suffered this injury on May 5th, had to miss out on Rev3 Quassy, and do as much training as I could while still managaing to get healthy. This injury was really frustrating because a bone bruise is very hard to diagnos and also hard to come up with a plan for recovery since so much of it is based on pain tolerance. It was really hard to determine when was a good time to train through pain and when it wasn't. Fortunately, I had an incredible resource in Dr. Glowney at Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. He used a treatment therapy called prolotherapy. This therapy involved injecting a glucose solution into my knee to initiate the body's inflammatory process. After spending the first few weeks of the injury trying to control the swelling, it seemed odd to me that we now wanted to cause it. However, after a few treatments over several weeks, I was able to get in a normal week of training before the race and was able to switch my focus from the injury into something much more exciting; racing!
I didn't know what to expect with having my first race back from injury. Rev3 Williamsburg was a half and I had some pretty inconsistent training over the last month or so. Although, I ended up having a solid pain free week of training leading up to the race so I was really optimistic about what might happen on race day.
We were welcomed to some humid conditions on race day; but, overall not as hot as I thought it could have been. I had scoped out the swim in the days before the race and I knew there was an opportunity for some dolphin diving at the swim start and finish. However, a rain storm moved in on race morning and somehow managed to change the water conditions. Instead of what was a reasonable amount of shallow water; the swim start now had A LOT of shallow water. This allowed us to dolphin dive for a few hundred meters before we had to swim. (A fantastic way to spike your HR at the beginning of a 4 hour race) I was still able to get off to a good start and quickly found myself at the front of the race. With this being my first race back I didn't have many expectations and I also knew where my strengths were with the training I was able to do with the injury. I knew I could swim fast and ride well and was very unsure of my run. With this in mind, I pushed the pace the entire swim and came out first. The bike started out great with just Eric Limikeman (eventual winner) and I at the front of the race with a rather large lead over the field. I thought this put me in a great position to bike hard and get into T2 with a lead. Unfortunately, I received a penalty (which I protested after the race with no avail) about 10min into the bike. Now I understand that penalties happen and as a professional athlete I have to understand the rules. However, in this scenario I was the one who understood the rules and unfortunately for me (and also Kevin Collington who received a penalty for the same thing), this official did not understand the rules. The penalty took me away from my riding partner and I was now in between Eric and the large group of athletes behind me. I still knew that I was riding well and felt good on the bike so I decided to ride hard and try to maintain or increase my advantage over the group into T2. I was really happy that I was able to stay ahead of the group; but, I was unable to recover any time to Eric and he actually put more time into me. Arriving in T2 about 3min behind Eric and 2min ahead of the field I knew that I would have to run fast to catch him. So unsure with what would happen to my legs with the limited run training since early May; I did the only thing that made sense to me at the time, continue to race aggressively and make an attempt to run as fast as I could after Eric. This lasted for about 3-4miles until I went from running a pretty solid race pace to just trying to finish the run. I ended up dropping from 3rd at mile 5 to 11th at the finish line.
While I am by no means happy with my overall result, I was happy with pieces of the race. First out of the water is always a good way to start the race, I was aggressive on the bike, even with a penalty, and saw a huge improvement in my power compared to my last half distance race, I think I managed my nutrition much better than I have before (especially for a humid race), and most importantly, I was able to finish the race without any pain and my knee has been healthy post race!
I am really excited to be healthy again and look forward to finally getting in some consistent training. Rev3 put on a fantastic race in Williamsburg. This was a first year race and as I mentioned before this course was stunning. Rolling country roads that were tree covered and a run through the beautiful William and Mary campus. I wish I could have enjoyed my run a little more through campus; but, I will definitely be back again next year looking for a much better result!
I want to thank Boardman Bikes and Davis Wheelworks for helping me post what was probably my best half distance bike leg, Blue 70 for a fast swim skin that helped me lead out the swim, and of course Rudy Project, Clif Bar, Champion System, and Reno Running Company.
My next race will be where I achieved my first ever professional podium finish; NYC Tri!!!
(I'm taking the fight to the home turf of NYAC!!! GO OC!!!!)