Tre Houston had tried to convince his body and mind that he was ready for the 200 metres heats at a packed Carrara Sadium yesterday.
His tears of frustration after failing to reach the semi-finals, finishing fourth in the opening heat in 21.67sec, exposed the harsh reality.
Houston was ring rusty and undercooked because of injuries, and found himself in the unenviable position of running for the first time at a major competition this season.
A coaching change requiring him to relocate from his namesake city in the United States to Bermuda further disrupted his Commonwealth Games build-up.
“That wasn’t what I wanted, that definitely wasn’t what I wanted,” said an emotional Houston. “That was my first real race of the whole year! I was more than rusty. It’s more of a mental thing when you’re in that type of state. I just tried to run as well as I can. I doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. I know what I’ve been battling through. I’m wounded right now.”
The 28-year-old returned home at the end of last season after a difference of opinion with his former coach Eric Francis, of the Houston Elite Performance Track Club.
He has since been working with his longtime mentor DeVon Bean, the Bermuda athletics director, who Houston says “brought me back alive”.
Houston, whose personal best is 20.42, said: “They don’t have a lot of materials in Bermuda. You get injured and you have to fly out, spend money to get treated. That’s days lost and you have to recover from that.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to train back at home but in terms of the competition and equipment you need, Bermuda just doesn’t have it.
“I had a situation with my former coach; he said he was going to do this and do that and Mr Bean, he brought me back alive.
“It was good teaming up with [Bean] but we can only do so much. I know if I’d had races leading up to this … I’m a person who takes it race by race.
“I know I did the work but I didn’t do enough work for me. I’m glad to be here and I’ve got my family here. Hopefully I didn’t let them down.”
Houston plans for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games to be his swansong and looks set to move to Orlando, Florida, to work with a new coach.
“I’ll make adjustments and I can’t just keep letting this happen,” he said. “I’ve been here too many times.
“Mr Bean has linked me up with a new coach and the next few years are going to critical. Hopefully I can get more financial help to back me a little bit more and that way I can focus on training.”