“Justin Pearse – you are an IronMan”. I have done it and can now finally, after many months of dreaming, tick off the goal marked IronMan South Africa.
Despite pointing repeatedly at my crotch with both hands while running down the red carpet, as we’d been instructed to at the briefing, if we wanted to hear those famous words, neither Paul Kaye nor Brad Brown declared me such in the manner I’d been hoping for.
To compound matters, some other IronMan ( I was going to say muppet, but I couldn’t possibly called someone who endured the same 12 hours of continual exercise a muppet – we’re sort of family now) ran up behind me to cross at the same time. This means my finishers photo doesn’t have me framed by the new clever display showing my name and finish time above me. Damn.
Anyway, after the elation of completing my virgin IronMan South Africa endeavour and even more importantly, managing to sneak under my goal time of 12 hours for an 11h54 finish, nothing could have ruined my spirits.
It was a seriously tough outing that made all the hard work and preparation well worth it. It’s also why they call it IronMan and I feel particularly proud to now be able to call myself a finisher and add my name to that still fairly small number of people internationally that can do so.
The day couldn’t really have gone any better for me. Despite an uncomfortable, but bearable stomach for the duration of the cycle, I had no mechanicals, no nutrition / energy issues and felt fairly strong throughout, finishing with a really strong, fast and pleasing last 10 km’s on the run.
If you want to get a real sense of what the day is about – check out the link to the official 7 minute video highlights real at the bottom of the page.
WAKING ON RACE MORNING – IRONMAN SOUTH AFRICA
[two_third last=”yes”]I bizarrely woke up about 20 minutes before my alarm at 04h00 in the morning, having managed about 5.5 / 6 hours of sleep, and felt excited and anxious as I clothed myself, checked the last few bits and bobs and readied myself for the long day ahead.
My lovely wife emerged from the room in a full red and white Ultrabloke cheerleading support outfit, which brought some great light-hearted humour to the situation and reminded me why I love her so much. Seeing her in that outfit around the course later in the day really raised my spirits every time.[/two_third]
ELECTRIC ENERGY OF THE START
We got down to transition at about 05h30 and I went through the usual pre-race routine of:
- Checking tyre pressure
- Putting bike computer and nutrition / water bottles on bike
- Dropping a hand flask of gels in my run bag – see later description in T2 section, of great Hammer solution to the ‘how to carry my nutrition on the run’ conundrum
[one_third last=”no”] The energy around the transition area was electric…. [/one_third]
[two_third last=”yes”]The energy around the transition area was electric as athletes chatted anxiously and helped each other don wetsuits before making their way to the beach for a warm up swim.
In the dim light of the rising sun, the beach looked a beautiful hive of activity as neoprene clad athletes buzzed about having their swim.[/two_third]
[two_third last=”no”]My warm-up swim sounded huge undesirable alarm bells as my loan goggles, lent especially to remedy an issue with my usual ones, leaked large quantities of water. Thankfully I was able to mend that situation quickly with a number of tightening’s and adjustments before heading round and over the ‘check-in’ mat and into the starting pen.[/two_third]
[two_third last=”yes”]The Zulu dancers were a great welcome onto the beach and the pier looked a real site, dramatically framed in the dim light and jutting out into the dark and vast ocean. I bumped into fellow squad member Simon Owen and we stood in the pen together awaiting the start. Just having someone you knew next to you also helped to ease the nerves a little.[/two_third]
What was also amazing, even at that relatively early hour, was how many supporters were already there. The pier was rammed with people jostling to get a front row view of the start and the boardwalk behind us was also full of eager spectators cheering and clapping.
[two_third last=”no”]The N’kosi Sikele just before the start was particularly emotional. I closed my eyes for the entire duration and just dwelt on how fortunate I was to be standing on that beach injury and illness free after months of hard work and preparation. Injury and illness aside, there are also people in the world that would probably love to compete but can’t due to the expense of the sport, or possibly due to other issues in their lives that won’t allow them.
It really is an extreme privilege to be able to stand on that start line and something not to be forgotten or taken lightly. I said a little prayer of thanks and waited for the gun.[/two_third]
Bang – the gun went off and everyone charged for the water. Some more carefully and speculatively, others gung-ho and savage. Water conditions were perfect. Good temperature and nice and flat.
[one_third last=”no”]….well placed elbow that smacked me flush on the lens of my right eye….[/one_third]
[two_third last=”yes”]As I’m not the greatest swimmer, I am of the careful variety and picked a spot towards the back and out to the right, choosing to avoid the melee of thrashing arms and legs. And I must say that despite one incredibly well placed elbow that smacked me flush on the lens of my right eye and temporarily stunned me, I made it out without issue and turned left at buoy one, already well settled into my stroke and rhythm.[/two_third]
The rest of the swim all blurs into one. I find time becomes elastic during long isolated times of sporting endeavour seeming at times incredibly quick while at others, incredibly slow.
As I don’t pay particularly good attention at briefings, nor read through the information guide, relying instead on my organized friend John Reardon to answer any questions I’m uncertain about, I thought the 2nd yellow buoy was the turnaround buoy, and was delighted when arriving there fairly quickly. Imagine my surprise then when sighting and noticing a significant number of athletes much further ahead in the distance. ‘OH YES YOU MUPPET’ those yellow buoys are guide buoys and the orange one is the turnaround. Reaching that buoy, a quick look at my watch yielded a half-way time of 38 minutes which I was well chuffed with.
I was breathing nicely, in a great rhythm and felt comfortable and controlled. What I did manage to notice while in the isolation of the dark water was the beauty of the clouds leaking rays of light over the ocean as I breathed to my left.
[two_third last=”no”]On the way home, while reminding myself I still had a good way to go, I started to think about the order I’d approach things in transition. My T1 transition time at IronMan 70.3 this year of 11 minutes has made me the subject of much mirth with my mates so I was hoping to redress that. I passed the next buoy, and the next, ticking them off as I went and congratulating myself as I did so. The water got quite choppy as we neared the end of the pier and final buoy before turning right into the beach.
The feeling of completing the swim was a huge psychological win for me, having never continually swum in open water for more than the 1.9km’s I did at IronMan 70.3 just 2.5 months prior. When I looked at my watch, I was also super chuffed with the time. 1hr11mins. I was expecting about 1.15 so I’d already put an extra 4 in the bank for the day. My T1 proved I’d need those.[/two_third]
MY TRANSITION NEEDS WORK
11.5 minutes. What do I do in there? I’m not too sure as it doesn’t feel that I’m sitting back and drinking a cup of tea – as my mates have often speculated. I rush through it all, but I think my OCD means I’m more pedantic in my preparation than most.
[two_third last=”yes”]I decided, after a lengthy deliberation, to swim in a speedo and put on my trisuit after the swim. That decision was arrived at mainly so that I could apply copious amounts of shammy cream to my butt – check out an earlier post on that recent joyous rediscovery http://bit.ly/1gZdHE7. My rationale on the speedo was that shammy cream applied pre-swim would all be gone after and it would be easier toweling myself dry and applying the cream under my suit.[/two_third]
So that part of the plan worked pretty well and to my reckoning was pretty quick. What followed was a very detailed and thorough application of sun cream, calf sleeves, socks, helmet, shoes, reskin patch for HR strap chafe, HR strap – in that order. Zip up tri-suit and I’m ready to roll.
Aside from dropping one or two bits on the floor and fumbling a bit, it felt pretty quick. I was NOT standing around. Time to go.
MOUNT UP – ON YOUR BIKE BOY
It felt pretty good to turn the pedals over along the nice smooth section of Marine Drive knowing that although the shortest of the disciplines, the swim was done and dusted.
[two_third last=”no”]Turning up Walmer Drive I eased myself into a nice steady rhythm, making sure I kept my gears easy and cadence high for a long, steady, but fairly easy climb out of PE. The smoothness of that section of the road was sublime and far more noticeable on the second lap after riding on many km’s of gritty tar on the 2nd half of the loop.
Cresting the top of that climb, I slotted into big gear and hammered it out towards the turn at Old Seaview road, as did most I think, but watching my power to ensure I wasn’t pushing unnecessarily hard.
Turning off that major road into Old Seaview Road is where the new IronMan South Africa bike course really gets interesting. You’re greeted immediately with the first of 2 decent climbs before descending down through a particularly picturesque area of the course – and then climbing again.[/two_third]
Climbing back out of that area and up a fairly long and arduous climb up to the t-junction is where I wondered how the hell my brain had ‘missed’ this uphill gradient while driving the route a few days earlier. Maybe I was otherwise occupied in conversation with my wife or maybe, and a possibly more plausible explanation, it had selectively shut it out to avoid putting me through undue anxiety.
One thing that did cause some concern at that stage, was that fact that I had some mild stomach cramps that initially felt like gas. Unfortunately, without being too graphic, a few attempts to expunge that air felt like something else might be pushed through the chamber and so I couldn’t do it fully. And this unfortunate and uncomfortable situation endured for the entire 180km’s. The cramps were thankfully not too frequent, but when a cramp did surface it became really severe, requiring me to sit back on the saddle, squeeze tightly and wait for it to subside.
[two_third last=”yes”]I’m not quite certain, but there was definitely a lot more climbing on that bike route than I’d determined there was when driving it 2 days earlier. Nothing too brutal mind you, but just enough to keep you honest and mindful that some sort of energy conservation is definitely necessary.
From that point on, there was quite a fast flowing section through to the furthest point of the course, before turning left round a little headland and heading back to town.
It was at that point that, while not blowing nearly as strong as it would on the second lap, that I got a first taste of the ‘beasterly Easterly’ headwind that was to come.
From a scenery point of view, that section of the course is beautiful and really far more picturesque than most other rides I’ve done. It certainly beats the hell out of cycling out of the Cradle and towards Ventersdorp. Were the scenery of this course to have the same drudgery as that of IronMan 70.3 in East London, it would be far tougher.[/two_third]
[two_third last=”no”]Although the coastal view was beautiful, the scenery was maybe a softener before leading the somewhat unsuspecting athlete into what I can only describe as the Business Section of the course. It was here somehow that the extremely solitary nature of triathlon really bit. It’s just you, your bike and a mind chocka-block full of non-linear and disparate thoughts, jumping from one to the other as you intermittently process feelings of pain, concern over nutrition and whether you can do this for another 90km lap.[/two_third]
I discussed this concept with other athletes after the event – of whether they could hold a linear thought process for any prolonged period of time on the bike – and of the 5 of them I asked, non could.
In long events like that, my mind works like this. I think of something important I need to do when back at work (for example), then start to think about the approach I’d like to take and the order in which I’ll tackle it. No sooner have I embarked on that thought process, before I’m thinking about what a great time I’m going to have at a House party I have tickets for next Saturday night, before thinking about how nice it’ll be to see our daughters, before thinking about how much I’m looking forward to Coldplays new album, before humming a lyric, before thinking about who will win the T20 final being played that day.
And so that line of thought continues. Over and over and over. Time becomes elastic again, feeling at times both refreshingly quick and mere minutes later frustratingly slow. And then those odd feelings of pain return or the bike computer beeps to remind you to eat, things that in turn cause you to change the course of your thinking again.
It’s a real mind f*%$, but something I’m thankfully used to from many hours of running in the past. I really do wish there was a safe way to listen to music while cycling. It’s an absolute essential for me while running and really does help to ease the mind and even better – inspire.[/two_third]
There were only 2 things I could fault about the whole bike course, in terms of organisation. The first, a sign taped onto a right-hand turn on the coastal road that read ‘Rite’. Or was that all about the Rite of passage we were going through to become IronMen? Maybe that wasn’t wrong after all.
[two_third last=”no”]The 2nd however was not so amusing. A small square drainage hole right in the corner of a very fast flowing sharp left hand turn into Sardinia Bay. Taking the corner incredibly tight, I only saw it at the last minute and had to bunny-hop over the edge, while praying in midair that I made the landing. Thankfully I did.
There then followed what felt like a fairly long stretch coming into town leading up to the University, but at that point, the ‘smell’ of the half way mark kept one well motivated and as you cruise into marine drive, enjoying the smooth road, the sites and sounds of the cheering masses do really give you a boost for the second lap ahead.[/two_third]
I must admit that although feeling pretty strong at that point, I did wonder how I was going to battle through that headwind a second time and how it would feel on tireder legs.
I’d love to describe a very different 90km’s on lap two, but it felt like Groundhog Day all over again and there is nothing really that’s worth telling bar some facts about average speed and how the wind affected it.
[two_third last=”yes”]On analysis afterwards, I surprisingly managed to maintain a healthy 31.5 km/h average pace over the first 42km’s of both laps 1 and 2. But the telling factor was definitely the second part of the lap (a 48km section), on which my first lap was an appreciably slower 27.35 km/h, which dropped down to a mere 24 km/h on lap 2.
That’s where the wind had picked up even more and the hurting took place. It was also noticeably hotter. That last 48km’s took me 2 hours between 12h27 and 14h27 – pretty much smack bang in the hottest time of the day. No wonder I took strain.[/two_third]
About 20km’s out, the soles of my feet above the cleats became really painful and I tried a couple of times to adjust my shoe straps in an attempt to alleviate it. I did read an article that said that feet often ached or were painful for the first 5-10km’s of the run due to the constant pressure applied on the pedals for 6 odd hours and I consoled myself with the fact that this was probably an unavoidable feeling.
[two_third last=”no”]At the same time, although already in a very light gear due to the wind, I consciously kept the gears very light and upped my cadence to give the legs a bit of respite before the small task of a marathon that was to follow.
Hitting the final smooth stretch of Marine Drive again brought me some cheer as the crowds that lined the street carried weary athletes home to the second transition (T2). I managed to catch site of my Nina as I dismounted my bike, her cheerleading outfit again causing me to smile and lightening the load.[/two_third]
The first few steps off the bike definitely didn’t feel too hot as tired legs struggled to initially fall in with the running motion as I headed into T2.
T2 ALSO NEEDS WORK
An unavoidable 5 minute visit to the toilet to alleviate 6.5 hours of intermittent stomach cramps on the bike leg obviously impacted my time here, but even with that unexpected eventuality, the remaining 6 minutes could definitely be cut down.
[two_third last=”yes”]The only other slight delay was caused by a desire to protect the lens on my awesome new Casco Speed Airo helmet, from being unintentionally damaged by a volunteer.
To mitigate this risk, I went back into my bike bag to get a towel to wrap the helmet in, and then put my bike shoes into the vacant spot in the Bike bag to remove the possibility of them scratching the helmet lens. Now that procedure definitely cost time, but at least my lens is in perfect condition.[/two_third]
The rest of the changeover; putting on a cap, sunglasses and shoes and taking my Hammer hand flask was pretty quick and I was out onto the run.
I remember a mate telling me how elated he felt after completing the bike ride and sitting down to put on his running shoes in his first IronMan, before the sudden enormity of the 42km run to come became overwhelming. I found transition went so quickly that I didn’t really have time to think about it.
I must at this point mention a great new discovery – my Hammer Gel hand flask – a little plastic bottle, held easily in the hand, into which you can decant the equivalent of 5 gels. Even more brilliant is that the flask is divided into perfect gel sachet quantities and marked accordingly so you know the perfect quantity to take each time. Worked an absolute treat on the run.
Hammer Nutrition then sell a bottle that contains the equivalent of 26 gel sachets at a far more economical price. Will definitely be using it in the future and will be experimenting with Perpetuem in the flask too for Comrades for easy transport on the run.
RUN – JUST A CHEEKY MARATHON TO GO
[two_third last=”no”]I didn’t have a complete gameplan for the run. I had anxiously tried to calculate my ideal race pace from a chart a mate had sent me based on something called a Yasso test, but ran out of time to work it all out.
I know definitively, from personal experience in previous marathon and even Comrades Marathon excursions, that even splits are not solely the domain of elite athletes and are possible by ‘regular Joe’s’ like me and am therefore a staunch proponent of the ‘save some in the tank’ philosophy.[/two_third]
BUT – what would happen and how I would feel after 8 odd hours of physical exertion and whether I’d be able to run an even pace throughout was anyone’s guess. Still – I had to stick with what I know.
So the very rough run gameplan went like this: start out at pace somewhere around the 5mins30 to 5mins45 mark, a pace I was really comfortable at on longer excursions like the Comrades Marathon. Maintain aforementioned pace till about 30km’s in, hopefully without experiencing any ill-effects of any kind nor needing to walk. At that point, if feeling okay, I could hopefully pick it up.
At the start of the run, in terms of the overall goal time of 12hours, I knew I was still vaguely on track, but would have to run a sub-4 hour marathon or very slightly over to make it. The original pre-race pace and plan would hopefully do it for me.
[two_third last=”yes”]The first lap felt pretty good. I maintained my pace and felt comfortable on my legs, enjoying an empty stomach, the change of discipline and the noise and atmosphere of the supporters on Marine Drive.
It’s also great being so close to the other athletes and comparing oneself to others that looked really strong and others in various states of disrepair. I found that it helped to peg myself against other athletes, feeling good about overtaking some athletes and at the same time getting inspiration from those looking stronger and running faster.[/two_third]
Hallelujah. From the loneliness, boredom and the solidarity of the bike ride, there were now sights, sounds, smells and thoughts to occupy a tired mind and that made it a hella va lot easier.
[two_third last=”no”]Seeing the smiley faces of my lovely wife – in full cheerleading regalia – and that of my brother along the course helped immeasurably even for the few seconds it took me to pass them.
The second lap passed without issue either. In all the training and buildup to a first IronMan marathon, it’s such a daunting task. You prepare as best you can, but you just don’t know what will happen, nor how your mind and body will respond on the day. There is a constant fear of what can go wrong. Will your legs seize up? Will you bonk (a distinct threat as I did spectacularly in last years Comrades Marathon)? There are numerous possibilities.[/two_third]
Every now and then my pace dropped by 15-30 seconds, but I watched it fairly carefully and was able to up it just the little required to stay on track. At this point my legs felt a little tireder and I started developing a stitch, which I was able to breathe through, and finished the lap in a good state. 28 down, just 14 to go.
[one_third last=”no”]…..but a weary mind is not the best asset at that stage of a race…..[/one_third]
[two_third last=”yes”]I wiled away another 2km’s before deciding it was time to find out for certain what the remaining time was. I tried to work it out based on the cumulative time on my watch, but a weary mind is not the best asset at that stage of a race. I tried to work it out from the race clock, but that too was confusing. Eventually, after a few minutes of puzzling calculations, I remembered that amidst the myriad of different data readings, my Garmin 910xt could display time of day. Muppet.[/two_third]
I pushed the right buttons and on seeing the time worked out I had about 65 minutes to run the remaining 12km’s to make it in before 18h40.
[two_third last=”no”]That meant that if I kept up the pace I should be good for sub-12 hours, so I pressed on. About 5 minutes later, without warning and completely out of the blue, I had a bit of a wobbly. For a few second I had a slight dizzy spell and instinctually, though I have no idea why, closed my eyes temporarily to get through it. This is what happened at the start of my Comrades Marathon Bonk which then resulted in a painful 45 minutes of trying to right myself. Realising this, I immediately pulled into the next Aid Station and quickly scoffed 3 cokes – the magic elixir that had righted me a year back.[/two_third]
At the same time, although I felt fairly confident I could comfortably continue at the same pace, doubt started to creep in and I started to negotiate with myself, wondering if I could actually keep it up and whether it really was that bad if I missed out on my sub-12 hour goal.
Having missed my sub-9 hour Comrades Marathon goal, I quickly determined that that wasn’t a viable option. I couldn’t go to sleep that night having missed it and been left wondering if there wasn’t anything more I could have given. If I bonked / crashed giving it a good go, at least I wouldn’t be left to wonder. It was time to ‘Harden up Buttercup’. I decided to take my last gel, up my pace to 5min/km and see how I fared.
I quickly settled into a comfortable quicker rhythm and boshed through the first kilometre. I noticed that I was starting to pass a lot of other athletes and the enjoyable sensation of gliding past them at pace served to bolster my spirits further.
Running past the IronMan ‘village’ knowing the next time I heard Paul Kaye’s voice would be to welcome me home was a great feeling and I started ‘ticking’ off each landmark / gazebo / Aid station as the last time I would pass each one of them.
[two_third last=”yes”]I had jokingly told my squad that the hill up to the varsity was a non-entity, boldly / stupidly saying that I was going to sprint it on the first lap just to let the run route know who was boss. On that last lap, running it at pace (for that time of day), felt a bit like a sprint. Still, thankfully, I felt no ill-effects. Left turn and head for the varsity. Last time. Check.[/two_third]
Couple of kilometres through that University section done, turned left onto Marine Drive – only 4km’s to go. Check. It was at this point, a couple of hundred metres past the turn, that I passed a solitary spectator that had been standing in that exact spot, on his own, since I came in off the bike. He had also been there on every lap of the run and had given me and other passing athletes a big cheer of encouragement each time we passed. I told him he was a legend and thanked him for his support. Those are the special people that make IronMan South Africa, and I would hazard a guess, other IronMan events around the world so special.
The sun had just dipped below the horizon and it was now officially dark. The loss of light hadn’t dampened spirits however, and although the run back into the throngs of support now looked markedly different, the supporters still roared their encouragement to passing athletes with the same level of enthusiasm they had all day. Water table at base of hill – check. Tribe Sports gazebo – check.
[two_third last=”yes”]Finally there it was up ahead – the IronMan structure above the road. It was a couple of hundred metres ahead. I tried to turn it up a notch and again my legs responded on request. I looked at my watch, and barring a horrific fall in which I knocked myself out, I was going to make it in under 12 hours. Whoop fuckin’ whoop. The sense of relief was massive. I was gonna finish this thing AND make my goal time.[/two_third]
Suddenly my mind turned completely to the finish. First thought – make sure you point madly at your race number so that Paul Kaye or Brad Brown would usher those words I had been dreaming about for the last 18 months. 2nd thought bizarrely – cap and glasses on or off for finishers photo? Due to the dark, I quickly decided on off.
[two_third last=”no”]Concentrate concentrate . You’re not quite there yet. I FINALLY took the right hand bend off Marine Drive and onto the hallowed IronMan Red Carpet. You kind of know that you could crawl the length of the red carpet if required – as Julie Moss so famously did in 1982 and as other IronMan finishers have done subsequently – and so that is when you can finally feel that you can ‘pack it all up’.[/two_third]
All the months of training, all the hard work, the early mornings, the nutrition experiments, the careful race plans, the injury scares, the fear, the anxiety. Everything. Can all be let go and you can just delight in the incredibly simple fact that it’s done. You have achieved what you set out to do. It’s difficult to describe what a great feeling it was.
Unfortunately I wasn’t announced as an IronMan – but it didn’t really matter. I knew I now was one, and even the guy ruining my perfect finishers photo couldn’t spoil the day.
After lingering on the finish line for a split moment, I was given a medal and picked up by a delightful young IronMan volunteer who led me towards the end of the chute, congratulating me along the way and asking if he could get me anything to drink or anything else to ‘help me out’. He also gave me a space blanket, which proved very helpful later on as the body temperature cooled dramatically in the evening air.
I managed to find my wife and brother shortly after that, giving her a big hug and getting emotional and tearful as I shared my delight with her and thanked her for the many sacrifices she’d made along the way in affording me the time to pursure this goal and all the time of training that went with it.
The rest of the post-race was a quick procession of:
1.) MASSAGE – first priority – and what a heavenly experience that was, having tired legs rubbed down by 2 very friendly volunteers simultaneously.
2.) BAG COLLECTION – I started shivering uncontrollably on exiting the massage tent and while the space blanket helped, it’s not as comfy as the extra shirt and jacket I had in there.
3.) FINISHERS SHIRT and TRANSACT slops – just across from the massage tent, you collect these items. The finishers shirt is a cool looking long sleeved collared t-shirt in cotton material with the 10 year emblem on the chest and the flip flops are pretty comfy too on tired feet.
[two_third last=”yes”]4.) FINISHERS PHOTO – taken in front of an official IronMan South Africa backdrop. They also allow friends and family to get involved which makes for great photies.
5.) FOOD AND DRINK – there’s a tent in which you can grab a prego roll, pizza, fruit and a variety of drinks. Strangely enough, I couldn’t fathom eating any food at that stage. The thought just seemed abhorrent. Instead I boshed 2 chocolate milks and a 2ndCoke. No such issue with fluids. I literally couldn’t get enough in me.[/two_third]
Again, the professionalism and helpfulness of all the IronMan South Africa staff really stood out in every interaction and one really understands that you’re participating in something special that more than justifies the entrance fee.
My great mate John Reardon came in a few minutes later and after congratulating him, we decided the best course of events was to head home for a shower and then return to the finish to sit ourselves in the bar and watch some of the other finishers.
After removing our bikes from Transition – the final ‘chore’ of the day, we headed home.
TOO EXCITED – CAN’T SLEEP
[two_third last=”no”]After one of the best showers I can recall, my appetite slowly returned, but not in the mad, ravenous, wolf-style other IronMan finishers have related to me in the past. I just managed to eat one of the prego rolls from the finish, washed down with an awesome ice-cold beer. Mmmmmmmm
There was a lot of excited chat about the day gone by, particularly with my boet who was glowing in his praise of my run and how I’d managed to smash it out the park and ensure my goal time. It was great having him there and his enthusiasm was infectious and made the day’s feat that much more rewarding.
We settled down to watch some telly, and a half hour later, both brother and wife were asleep next to me. It’s clearly more taxing being a supporter than a competitor. I suppose they’d also been up since 04h30.[/two_third]
I quick chat with John yielded that we were never going to make it back to the finish. It just felt like too much of a mission.
I turned on my PC and for a while I looked up people’s results, before getting ensconced in the live stream of the finish line for quite some time and sharing in the delight of those still finishing. In fact on many levels I felt even more respect for those still going 3 / 4/ 5 hours after I’d finished. It takes even greater mental fortitude and reserves to keep going for that length of time.
I kind of got lost in the whole thing, so when Paul Kaye emerged with a shotgun and started readying himself to call it a day, I couldn’t quite believe it was 24h00 and I still felt wide awake.
I took one last proud look at my finishers medal, reflected briefly on an awesome day and my achievement before turning off the light with a massive smile on my face.
To get a sense of what the day is about, check out the official raceday highlights package – http://vimeo.com/91501105
A big thanks must go to:
1.) My coach Samantha Harrington of Exercise Solutions for the many tailored programs that equipped me to be able to not only finish, but to achieve my sub 12 hour goal. Thanks Sam.
Definitely get in touch with her at firstname.lastname@example.org and check out the site at http://exercisesolutions.co.za/
2.) 2XU – the best Triathlon and compression gear in the market for having me as a brand ambassador. Thanks Mariette.
Check out their website at http://www.2xu.co.za/
3.) Noelle Gornall – the best physio in the Northern suburbs of Joburg. An IronMan finisher herself and age-group podium finisher in IronMan 70.3 – she knows her stuff. And she does dry-needling too.
You can get hold of her at 087 940 3893 or email: email@example.com.