14 March 2017:
I decided to commence my race report 3 weeks early, why you may ask? Because my race report basically should start from the 11th of April 2016, the day after my last full IRONMAN. 2016 was meant to be my swansong, il grande finale. Problem was/is I was so used to training 12 to 15 hours a week that I just sort of carried on and come October I realized I may as well have a goal and entered IRONMAN. Also in 2016 I had crossed the finish line (I donít use the work beat as my view of the ironman ethos is not about beating anyone) before my very competitive sister who wanted a rematch. So I entered. Up front I have to profess that without my understanding wife (my greatest supporter) all of this would not be possible. Also thanks go to my family and my friends who put up with the eternal bore that I become the closer IM looms. Lastly I have to thank the company I work for that gives me leeway to train and participate in these events. Itís give an take and it works.
The journey to this point has not been easy. I have experienced unprecedented injuries such as tennis elbow, planter facilities (which I canít even spell), knee injuries and so on. The last 6 months have taken their toll on this body. On top of that I have been held at gun point one early morning by a mugger while out on a run. Fortunately a group of cars came along and he got distracted. I ran away screaming like a lil girl, the silver cloud being that the next 400 metres I ran at a pace faster than I have ever ran and since then too I have never matched that. Fight or flight is real, I have the HR readings to prove that.
If I add up all the hours I will have trained from 11 April 2016 to 1 April 2017 I expect it to be around 500 hours. Around 10 hours per week. Some weeks up to 18 some as low as 3 but on average around 10 a week. I just cannot maintain these levels any more as my family needs more of my time and secondly I will be relocating in August and will need to have more focus on my career. On top of that, the financial aspects are becoming ludicrous too. The amount of money I spend on takkies and tyres I can no longer hide from my wife hehehe. I will continue doing half events and have entered Weymouth 70.3 in September to keep the body working and have goals for my training. 6-8 hours a week is easy enough to maintain and its healthy.
After the Durban Ultra where I took severe strain I felt flat and drained and seriously questioning my ability to complete IM. After this last week of the Sarens run and some training runs I feel good so confidence has rebounded brilliantly. 2 weeks to go. Next week will be my last 10hour plus training week (possibly ever) and then taper. With Tuesday being a public holiday I should get a last long cycle in and brick run too. Very handy that public holiday. Another little item worth mentioning is that in a spin class this week with the fair Bonnie shouting out instructions and playing great music I had a little emo moment. I guess sometimes the magnitude of the effort that goes into IM kinda catches up with one. Itís humbling to be able to participate in this sport and have the means to do it.
27 March Ė
Taper week, and now you wonder what the hell to do with yourself. This year I commenced taper week with a 90 minute long massage and I got worked over thatís for sure. However today I feel fantastic, and must fight the urge to go run this evening. I will do a short run tomorrow and a spin session and maybe a swim session tomorrow night. Then rest Wednesday and run 5 kays on arrival in PE Thursday. Short cycle and swim Friday, rest Saturday and watch super rugby and drink liquids and eat pasta. Watch the kiddies race which is superb to watch and just generally relax. Last year I did 5 hours of training up to the Friday and on Saturday I walked around a lot. Both of these were errors. This year no more than 3 hours in the week, and Saturday much more relaxing.
Look forward to the expo, nice to walk around and just look at the new tech and clothing. Hope to find a long sleeve IM shirt of some sort this year. AS this is my last full IM and my last IM event of any kind in ZA I would like to get some mementos. Taper, both a blessing and something I have looked forward to for the last 6 months, but also a curse in that itís going to drive me nuts. Drive down Thursday from around 3 AM to get in PE around 2 pm latest.
28 March Ė
Nice run to gym this morning, a lil spin session with a comfortable run home. Will try and get a swim session in tonight but no biggie if I miss it. Looking back I made a couple of training mistakes however the biggest one was running the Sowetan marathon. It was great, I enjoyed it even though it beat me up but the toll it took on my body was extreme and all my injuries and illnesses seem to stem from the period immediately after the marathon. Any, live an learn. Looking at the weather we in for a lekker day in PE, we wait n see.
Woke up around 5, feeling good and made my way to transition to pump up tyres and load bike etc. No problems. Wife and I had a great vantage point to watch the cannon and the national anthem. Goosebump stuff for sure. Soon enough I was in the starting gates which I thought was a great idea and off I went. Start time 6:56. Swim went well enough, no real issues except for the fact that many swimmers are telling pork pies when they self seed but such is life. I was at the turnaround in 31 minutes and on track. I was aiming for a 65 minute swim and sure enough, 65 minutes it was. (not seen official times as yet). The water was extremely choppy which means everyone was swallowing loads of seawater. But hey its iron man.
Started the bike leg and felt good, Gently got into the bike and started turning up the screws a little. Holding back as I wanted a negative split. Uneventful except the scenery is awesome and you smell the ocean. Return leg was good. First lap in 2:55 ish and decided to put the hammer down. All was going to plan til I got to grass rooves where I got severe cramps. I had to stop and stretch and gently get going again. However, the cramps were with me for the rest of the way so I was stretching a lot on the bike and having to stop on a number of occasions and just walk. Coming back out of Seaview at around 5 kays it got to so bad that both legs seized up solid for about 30 seconds. I thought thatís it, year of training , thousands of rand and I wont be able to continue. Luckily it got better an I just made a note not to push at all but just gently keep the pedals turning no matter how long it took. One or 2 stops more but it was manageable. The wind (as I saw it) had somehow changed direction so the last 20 kays were at a gallop and life looked a bit better. T2 and I had a massage on quads and shoulders and started the run at 14:45 ish. First couple of kays went ok , I can swim but cannot run so I take what I can get. And then gradually performance started tapering off. Uneventful except for the fact I must of drank 10 litres of coke. (hence I could not sleep last night I suspect). I also thought the crowds were a little less than previous years but could just be my imagination. I finished aroung 20:45 ish for a time of around 6:50. Not looked at the results as yet. Got to see lots of familiar faces on the run, and you support each other to make the time and kilometres go. After 5:59 I was on the red carpet and after the days woes it was a surreal moment. I then went and ate like a pig, and sat in the stands and absorb the moment and see some of my mates come in. the enthusiasm was infectious. A must do.
Its called ironman for a reason, everyone has highs and everyone has lows on the day. My problems were the cramping issue and it cost me 30 minutes or so I reckon, nothing more and in the bigger scheme of things it matters not. I am still an Ironman. Those of you thinking of doing one at some point, I heartily recommend it. You learn things aobut yourself and it gives you a sense that anything is in fact possible. Put in the hours, do the training and its possible. I am no athlete, not by a long shot, and I saw other non athletic types that finished be it 15 hours plus.
A great big shout out to the volunteers, the fans and Ironman themselves. As I sit writing this I am in the Roadlodge overlooking Hobie beach. The sun is coming up, itís beautiful. I will go swim later then sit in Barneys all day and drink beer and then the awards evening. (which I seriously enjoy)
And, if you still reading this, thanks, its long and winded and terribly written but in a sense its cathartic and hopefully chases away the Post Ironman bluesÖ.they real. Only way to lessen them is to relive the moment and set new goals. I will be doing Weymouth 70.3 in September. No more full IM, my body cant handle it anymore and my family now needs more of my time.
Oh, and in case you wondering, I crossed the line ahead of my sister this year. I retire undefeated.