Posted by: Thys Wind on Jun 18, 2009
Many of you probably already know who Alex McDonald is. Alex moved to NC last year after completing medical school and his full-time gig is now as a professional triathlete for Timex - something most of us can only dream about. Alex is obviously known for being fast (2007 IM Lake Placid winner, 2007 & 2008 Duke Half IM winner, etc.), but he's also a super nice guy. Most age-groupers know Alex as the "fast guy that cheers for everyone as he's winning the race." I received an email from Alex today, and thought I'd share it with you. It gives you an idea of how hard these guys train, how fast they are, what sort of opportunities come their way, and unfortunately what kinds of obstacles they must overcome to stay on top of their game.
After a great start to the season at Ironman California 70.3 I entered 4 week block of very heavy training. I was training 30-35hrs each week, averaging about 20k in the pool, 350 miles on the bike and 60 miles of running. I was certainly tired by the end yet I focused on proper recovery and nutrition before and after every workout and my body responded well to the training stress.
At the beginning of April I then entered a heavy racing block. I began with a local race in North Carolina, the White Lake 1/2 where I had a great race, but a flat tire caused me to miss first place by just 30 seconds. None the less it was a great mental practice to stay calm and continue to move forwards in the face of adversity. A week later I raced at Ironman Florida 70.3 at Disney world which was a great venue. At this race I lost focus for a few minutes at the start of the swim which cost me a few minutes and I was playing catch up all day. Despite the depth of the competition I knew with a better swim I could have had a top ten finish. Lesson learned and I will certainly make sure to avoid such loss of focus in the future. Then 3 weeks later I made the trip to Middlebury CT to race at the inaugural Rev3. My goal race for the first part of the season was Ironman Coeur d'Alene, just 2 weeks later, so I did not give myself much rest prior to this race and entered it more as a learning experience and practice race. However, a week before Rev3 I was training pretty hard and my hip flexor began to cause me some pain while running. I had rested it yet it was still very painful to run. I had diagnosed myself with tendonitis of the hip flexor, but you are never supposed to diagnose yourself, so I went to a sport medicine doctor. My diagnosis was correct and rest was really the only option. As a result Rev3 became a swim and bike race for me and I had decided not to risk further injury by challenging myself on the run course. At the Rev3 I definitely felt the affects if racing 5 half Ironman in just 5 weeks along with heavy training leading up to IM Coeur d'Alene and felt very flat and fatigued during the race, so I treated it as a last heavy training day before I taper for IM Coeur d'Alene.
This past friday, a little over a week before IM Coeur d'Alene I tried running again, having not done so for almost 2 weeks. After a through warm up, I began to jog lightly and immediately the pain returned. At that point I began to worry that I might not be ready to race an Ironman a week later. After a conversation with my massage therapist, my wife (she's a doctor also) and my coach I decided that I would not be racing. A best case scenario would be a sub-par performance and further injury to my hip which would possibly persist for the rest of the season. Instead I decided to focus all my energy on healing and set my sights on Ironman Lake Placid at the end of July. Having trained and race on that course numerous time, including winning the race in 2007 I certainly have some positive memories and energy associated with Lake Placid.
Although this injury is very frustrating and has interrupted my plan for the first half of the season I know that this is the best decision which will allow me to emerge stronger and faster. Please take a look at my website and blog for all the details www.alexmmtri.com
Lastly, I I have been asked to serve on the newly formed Timex Performance Center Advisory Board for the NY Giants new training facility in the Meadowlands in New Jersey. As a professional triathelte, physician and ambassador for the sport this is a tremendous opportunity. A one of the four member advisory board I will collaborate with world class orthopeadists, sport trainers and NY GIant atheltes to bring new ideas to the sports of American Football and endurance sports. Although the board is still in it's infancy and constantly evolving we plan to meet quarterly to develop new and exciting technologies as well as training methodologies. This is an excellent opportunity as an athlete and physician about which I am very excited.
Thank you again for your support and I hope to continue as a contributor to Endurance Magazine.