Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What happened in London

hi all,

Just got back to Puerto Rico, its been a long 2 weeks with ups and down in between. Below Im posting an interview I did for Triathlete.com after my race in London. You can read what happened to me. Overall with the exception of my actual result in the race it was the best experience of my life. Soon I will post some photos.  Now I got to get a a siesta in since I'm very jet lag.

Manny Huerta

Triathlete.com: What are your thoughts looking back at the race?
Huerta: It was the toughest race in my career. I woke up that night before the race and I was very excited, very happy that I was feeling good and ready to race. I had some dinner that night that I had some food allergies, and I believe I ate something that got me very sick.
In the middle of the night I woke up wanting to throw up and my stomach just felt very bad. My girlfriend woke up and asked me what was going on. I told her I think I ate something that has some of my food allergies. I couldn’t get back to sleep until a couple of hours later. By the time I woke up, I didn’t feel like eating any breakfast. It was a matter of knowing I needed something to get me through the race. In the past I had a little bit of the allergy and had been able to deal with it in a workout, but by the time I got to the race I was actually feeling worse. My stomach was cramping and I kept telling myself, ‘I’ll be alright.’ I started the race and I had no power, from the minute I dove in I knew that my mentality went from trying to be competitive to just hanging on. I had literally the worst swim of my entire life. On the bike I couldn’t even pull through, I was just hanging on to those guys’ wheels and I kept throwing up on the bike. I threw up my breakfast, I threw up dinner, any time I drank a little I would throw it up all over again. I felt like dropping out the whole time. I knew I was having a horrible time, but the crowd, there were so many people out there, I had my family, my friends and so many people around the world, so there was no way I could just drop out. This was a very special race for me and I didn’t want to have a DNF next to my name at the Olympic Games for the rest of my life, so I just kept going. To be honest, if it would have been any other race, I would have dropped out after the swim.
I’m looking back to everything I did and all the way until that night. I had dinner and the damage was done. It came up in the night. Something I ate got me very sick, there was nothing I could have taken [the morning of the race] to make me better in such a short notice. After the race, I felt so horrible. I knew I was running very slowly but I couldn’t do anything, I couldn’t go any faster. I know I’m so much faster than that because I’ve done it in the past. It was such a bad feeling. People were so excited here for me and I was having a little nightmare. That was the longest 10K of my life.
Today I feel like my stomach, like I did 200 crunches. I’m so sore in my whole stomach area and my voice, my throat hurts, it’s burning. After that I was taken to the medical tent because I kept throwing up. By then it was just acid from my stomach. They gave me some medicine, the medical staff, but I threw that up again so they decided to put it on the IV, because that was the only way that my body wouldn’t just send it out. I got a couple of IVs. I was in there for a couple hours. They were going to take me into the local hospital, but after a while of laying down, I was doing better so I went back to the room to see my girlfriend for the first time. She knew seeing me so far back that something was wrong, so I’m so disappointed and I feel like I let so many people down that were cheering for me and they wanted me to do a better job.
I know that realistically my chances for a medal were very little. You saw yesterday, the Brownlees running almost 29 flat, and that’s something I’ve never done in my life, but I came here with the idea of being competitive. I wanted to hurt myself the best I ever hurt myself, I wanted to be very sore today, and to know that I ran the best I could, but my body didn’t let me to do that. As an athlete, I’m very competitive. I really wanted this, my coach and I and USAT did everything we could to get me to where I was and to get me ready for this race. To be ready to have my career-best performance, and this was something that was out of [my] hands. I wasn’t expecting to get sick all of a sudden four hours before the race. Even when I was getting sick I stayed positive, telling myself that it was just my stomach and I could deal with it. I didn’t want to have to much drama going in, but I dove in and I had nothing. Same thing on the bike, some of the guys came up to me and asked me, ‘Were you here for Sunday’s group ride,’ and if they only knew how I was feeling I don’t think they would have spoken to me. And I’m very, very sorry if I let people down, but I couldn’t do anything better. If I could take the race back, if I could do it all over again I would because this is what I like to do, what I love to do. But you only get one chance and that’s it, you have to make the best of it on that moment. Now that it’s my first Olympic Games and I get to appreciate even more what an Olympic medal is, what it takes because I realize how hard it is to get here, how hard it is to work towards getting a medal. I realize even more how everything has to click the perfect way for you to succeed and get that medal at this type of races. ‘
Triathlete.com: What did you eat the night before the race?
Huerta: I had dinner at the hotel (Hilton London Paddington Hotel), that’s where I had been having dinner. No one else got sick, so I don’t think it was a food poison thing. In the past I had some allergy problems. I can’t eat almonds, red beans, I can’t eat broccoli or coconut and some of the other vegetables and that’s why I always try and keep it consistent. I eat the same breakfast everyday. I always have three pieces of toast with some jam and some peanut putter or cream cheese and two cups of coffee. I tried to eat it before the race and my body didn’t even want to. One of the salads that I ate was an olive salad that had cheese and had some peppers with something else, I can’t really remember. When I looked it up, I didn’t see anything that was a red flag so I went ahead and I ate it and felt fine and I had some potatoes and some bread, so I kept it as close to what I’m used to eating every day. It just happened there was something in that salad that was very bad for me. I had some chicken and that salad with peppers and cheese and olives and something else I don’t remember. I think it was the peppers or something.
Triathlete.com: Will you continue to pursue Olympic-style racing?
Huerta: Yeah, there is business undone here. I didn’t want my story to finish on that. I didn’t want to come here on a field trip, I wanted to do the best I could and in the back of my mind want to stay around in the sport. I’m 28 so I think I have another shot at this and I also want to do some U.S. races, so I don’t know. Right now my head is just in so many things, and I just want to get out there and hurt myself training again.


Anonymous said...

Manny - One race doesn't define a career. No one was going to get in the way of the Brownlee's. Everyone was racing for 4th place. What an honor just to represent the US and participate in the greatest sporting event in the world - The Olympics. My wife, son & I met you outside on the hotel steps that evening and you were gracious to have your picture taken with them. Thank you again. Good luck with the rest of your races this season. Sincerely - John Lynch

Anonymous said...

Do not feel bad. There are good and bad days.
With love


Justin said...

Hi Manny, it's been great following you up to your Olympic debut! You have been a true inspiration to me and thousands of people. I'm sorry to hear about your untimely illness. Keep working hard and put this behind you. It would be great to see you leading the US team in 2016, but don't worry about that now - just know that you're one of the World's best and that's why you were there to begin with, and if you got there once you can do it again!

Anonymous said...


When you say this:
"I feel like I let so many people down that were cheering for me"

I hope you know that's bullcrap.

We were/are really pumped that you qualified & raced at the Olympics. I saved the BBC coverage of the event. It'll remind me of the dedication that little kid had and how it took him to the Games, 13 years later.

Thanks for sharing the details. Keep living the dream. :)

Slow cracker

Dawn said...

Sorry to hear of such bad timing ouf your illness. But congratulations. YOu are an U.S.A Olympian for the rest of your life. And thank you for not quiting when it would have been so much easier, and you had every reason to. You made your country proud!

Manuel Huerta said...

Thank you all for your support !!

Stephan White said...

Thanks for sharing the details. Keep living the dream.


Smitty said...

Manny! I just read this! My friend and I were there in London on the back straight cheering you on during the run. After watching you in San Diego, it was obvious to us that something was off for you... You just didn't look yourself! But we were SO PROUD to be chanting your name... and you inspired not only us but the entire GB crowd with your tenacious spirit and drive! We wish for you nothing but the best as you continue training... and we will be #mannyfans for life!