It is with a heavy heart that I have decided not to toe the start line in East London this weekend. I was looking forward to starting my year with a strong title defence in a home race, but it wasn't meant to be.
Last year I started 2014 with a bang, with Jodie and myself both taking great wins at Ironman 70.3 SA in January. The rest of the year turned out less than stellar. Perhaps this year, starting on the other foot entirely, will turn out better.
I am starting on the other foot due to how I ended 2014 - with a torn calf at Challenge Bahrain. The race went fairly well and I didn't lose any time or positions in the last miles of the run, despite the sudden pain which hit my calf with 8km to go - it felt like someone had thrown a well-aimed stone to hit me on the right calf! But in the days following it was apparent how bad the injury was - I could hardly walk! An MRI revealed a tear of the Gastroc-Soleus junction, with rest and serious caution advised as the injury could get much worse with any strain, I was told.
Many people have said that the off-season is a good time to be injured but that's rubbish. There is no good time for an athlete to be injured. And with 70.3 SA looming it was hardly off-season anyway. However, rest it was and after almost 4 weeks of swimming and rest I finally got back into training. If you have done the math in your head, then yes, you are right - 4 weeks after the 6 December Ch. Bahrain is 1 January 2015. Not much time to be ready, but I was hopeful. I was very fit going into the injury, and even if I wasn't going to be in peak condition, I could at least put up a good show if I could get the body moving well.
Well, it wasn't to be. My calf (and body) needs more time before it is put through the rigours of a 70.3, and they aren't going to postpone the race for me, so I guess I will have to postpone my return to racing.
My first race of 2015 will be Challenge Dubai on 27 February, followed by a strong focus on my other home race, Ironman South Africa on 29 March.
Good luck to all racing 70.3 this weekend (especially Jodie - look after her EL). I'll see you all at Ironman in March!