Triathlete.com: What does the hamstring mean in terms of your overall Olympic campaign? Are you still going to stick it out? Or do you think you’ll go back to non-drafting?
McCormack: No, I am in this game all the way through. I am only eight weeks into this ITU campaign and my progress has been awesome. I think you just need to talk to the guys in the Australian camp, and they will back me on this. My speed has come back across the board and for me the issue is being delicate with the body. Physically the engine is able to be very competitive. I just need to make sure the body holds together to enable this to happen and allow me to throw down. When you’re young you take this for granted, I will say. I understand the frustration of injury now: an engine that is ready to roar, but a body that won’t allow it to. We knew injury prevention was the key going into this, but the brutality of this sport at this speed level is tough on an older body. That’s why there are not many of us here. I am enjoying this entire environment and only see upside to my improvement in many areas. I may have gone off track a little in a bid to show relevance to my comeback here within my team, but I have learned so much training with Brad [Kahlefeldt] and the guys and know exactly what I need to do. I will make some small tweaks to the running preparation post-injury and continue to develop that speed in the same way we have been doing it. To be honest I feel I have more chances of making this team now that I have started this journey than I did prior to beginning down this road. We are moving into the later stages of this season and the Australian Olympic selection has not been met this year by anyone, so this gives me the time I need to get my speed back, get my feel for this style of racing and sort this injury issue out for a push at selection. I have time and breathing room now. In bike and run I am very confident I can race very well against these guys, and I do know that I don’t share the same racing mindset as many of these guys. I will stay right where I am. It is motivating to be a part of this game. I am enjoying it.
PHOTOS: ITU World Championship Series
Triathlete.com: You mentioned in your book that you have never been seriously injured. Would you consider your hamstring injury serious? If so, how do you think it happened if it’s something you’ve avoided your entire career? If not, how long do you think it will take to heal?
McCormack: I have had my first two career injuries this year and both have come out of the preparation needed for this style of racing. This injury is not super serious, but I view all injures as serious as they highlight a weakness that needs to be addressed and when it is mid season like this, it throws a real disruptive spanner into preparation. I know exactly how it happened. I pulled it on a track session with Brad Kahlefeldt a couple of Tuesdays ago. We were in a session of 1km intervals and I was running quicker than I had in 10 years. We were nailing 2:45 intervals and I was feeling amazing. Track running is brutal and coming off the bend on the fourth interval my outside leg (right hamstring) strained and it pulled me up immediately. I knew I had an issue and it ended my day. Right hamstrings on track runners is a common injury, and I was getting ahead of myself as my run had come back so quickly. I was excited and torqued it too much off the bend. I have been in treatment at camp ever since and was forced to withdraw from the London Triathlon last week and then ultimately the WCS race this weekend. I think we need three weeks minimum to get this right, and the past 10 days we have been trying to nurse it back with a focus on competing at the WCS race. We just ran out of time. It is time that heals these things and we just didn’t have it. Now with Lausanne off I can spend the time to eliminate running, allow the muscle to heal and get the treatment I need to be ready for Beijing.