Rasmus Henning ends 2011 seasonOctober 22, 2011
After listening to my body's signals the past days I have decided not to compete at Ironman Florida November 5th and instead end my 2011 season now. My left achilles tendon (I was operated in my right after IM Hawaii in 2009) has been sore since Ironman Hawaii and when I ran on it on this Tuesday for the first time since the competition it instantly became more sore and started to hurt a lot.
For me it does not make sense to try and fight my way through in Florida when I can feel that my body needs rest not to catch an injury. The achilles has been a little sore when pressing on it the past couple of months but it hasn't bothered me before in training or competition. I got a scan in August that didn't show anything but this type of injury has a tendency to evolve slowly and now Ironman in Hawaii has worsened it a lot. The week after the competition has not made it better even though I haven't been running and when I started feeling pain when running it's a good sign to stop the season.
No 'half in' on Ironman
I had the choice of trying to get my training done for Florida with a minimum of running and then hope for the best - but this is almost always a no go as the risks of being more injured, not finishing or making a poor result are too big. If it had happened before an Olympics or before Kona I would most probably have been on the start line, but the cons on my situation now is outnumbering the pros.
My initial goal for Ironman Florida was of course to get my full ironman done this year so I can plan 2012 without thinking in a WTC full distance race so I had the choice of either choosing a full distance event on my own or - like this year - not race at ironman distance at all before Hawaii.
Also - mentally it's good to be able to end a season with on a high note and not with a dissatisfying result as 14th in Kona was. I raced Ironman Arizona last year and got 2nd after Timo Bracht only six weeks after Hawaii and that is a good example on finishing off a season well. But it should not be at the cost or risk of an injury which will set me back in my off season - that won't do me any good either physically or mentally.
Reflections on Ironman Hawaii
I have spent a lot of time since October 8 reflecting on why I did not perform as I had hoped for. This year I had no accidents or mishaps like I had the previous two years.
My competition went according to plan but my body did not perform on the level I know it can. I had no accidents during the day, I didn't make any mistakes, I got my fluids and energy in and my equipment worked like it should. For some reason my body didn't have a good day and I'm of course disappointed to have an off day on a day like Ironman Hawaii.
My swim actually went well and my transition was good and sent me out on the bike in 3rd-5th position. I sat in the group as I had planned and rode with the other guys but right from the beginning on the bike I did not have the energy I had hoped for. After a few km I started to feel cramps sneaking in in my hamstrings and adductors.
It was nothing like the cramps I experienced in Abu Dhabi and Aarhus earlier this year but more regular cramps the came and went on the 180 bike ride.
I rode fine on the flat straits but the cramps came on the hills and when accelerating. About 10-15 km from the turning point in Hawi I had to stop pedalling for a few seconds and had to let the group go to get rid of the cramps. I got in a group with Frederik van Lierde and Pete Jacobs (the eventual runner up) and we had a more steady pace that suited me better but also meant time lost on the front.
Bad day on the run
Out on the run I did not feel I had the energy so I ran out in a rather defensive pace the first 10-15 km. After that my paced slowed down and the last 10 km home was a poor performance. I can run a lot faster than 3:08!
The cramps in Hawaii has to be some sort of salt/mineral unbalance when they came that early. Cramps have unfortunately been a theme for me in 2011 and now we have to get a close look on what the reasons can be. Other than that - my 14th place finish has to go in the book of off day performances - something you have to deal with as a professional athlete.
There is no reason to dwell much on it. Of course I was and still am disappointed and right after the competition I had the feeling that I didn't want to come back to Kona after poor performances the previous two races. On the other hand: I switched to ironman racing with the goal to try and win in Hawaii so OF COURSE I will come back to try to see if I can do better next year.
Book in Danish will be released November 9
I'm now back in Playitas, Fuerteventura until I will visit Denmark to promote my book that's being released November 9 in Denmark.
It is called 'Udfordringen' and is partly written as a diary from my meltdown at Ironman Hawaii 2010 up until the race this year. We are working on trying to get it released in English too with the working title 'Chasing the Dream'. I will be in Denmark for a few weeks promoting the book and hope to see a lot of my Danish friends while in Denmark.