Once again, Dylan Wykes faces a big challenge before his next marathon.
How long and difficult the road back will be this time is unclear.
The 32-year-old Canadian, who has not completed a marathon since the 2012 London Olympics, was competing at the Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship in Japan on Sunday when he was forced to exit midway through the 42-kilometre event with a sore posterior tibial tendon, one of the most important tendons in the lower leg.
Wykes, who received regular treatments on his right leg and was able to manage the pain before departing for Japan on Dec. 1, was attempting to clock a sub-2:12:50 performance to sneak under the Olympic standard for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
'I'll probably dwell on things for a few days, but I have to put it behind me at some point and move on.' - Canadian marathoner Dylan Wykes on his latest injury
"After about 10, 15 kilometres my pace started slipping," Wykes said by phone after returning home to Vancouver on Monday. "I would push to try to keep up but it just wasn't happening.
"There's definitely some anger but a lot of it is disappointment and frustration. I'll probably dwell on things for a few days, but I have to put it behind me at some point and move on."
The Canadian Olympic qualifying window for Rio will remain open until May 29, so Wykes has time on his side.
Rest and trying to get inflammation in the leg to subside will be his priority for the next week, at least. From there, Wykes will frequently ice the knee and receive treatment from a physiotherapist.
"If I need to give it two or three weeks before I can train properly, it's something I'll have to do," he said.
Unfortunately, Wykes, the third-fastest Canadian marathoner of all time, has travelled this road many times since the London Olympics, having battled stress fractures in his ankle and pelvic bones.
As for what contributed to Wykes's disappointing performance and ultimately being forced out of Sunday's marathon, the native of Kingston, Ont., believes it was a combination of jet lag, lack of sleep in Japan and the fact he arrived in the country too close to race time.
In March 2012, Wykes was forced out of the Lake Biwa Mainchuri Marathon in Japan after 26 km because of stomach problems.
"Japan and I don't seem to mix very well," he said, half-joking. "I don't know what it is. I was probably more devastated after Lake Biwa because at that point I thought that was going to be my last shot at trying for the Olympic team."
It wasn't, as Wykes competed in the Rotterdam Marathon five weeks later in the Netherlands and ran the second-fastest marathon ever by a Canadian in 2:10.47, almost a minute inside the Olympic standard and just shy of Jerome Drayton's then-37-year-old Canadian record of 2:10.09.
"I knew even going into [Sunday's] race if things didn't work out I would have lots of time to rebuild and take another shot in the spring," said Wykes, who finished 20th in a field of 85 in the men's Olympic marathon in London. "There's a fair bit of time so I don't want to rush this."