Half Iron Man 70.3 (and the uneven, pothole infested road that’s got me there).

*Disclaimer. You’re about to get knee deep into the biggest pity-party this side of 2016. Sorry.

In 13 days’ time I will be standing at the start line of 70.3 Durban, and hopefully finishing less than 8.5 hours later, with a second Half Iron Man medal under my belt.

I’m dreading it. I feel like the odds have been stacked against me from the very start of this race.

Firstly, the race is on 19 June, slap bang in the middle of Winter. Which means training has been happening leading up to, and in Winter – dark mornings, dark nights, freezing weather and less than ideal circumstances. Have you ever been swimming at 5:30 am on a Monday in -2 cold degree, in the dark? It’s super kuk.

When I last did the race I was kid and fancy free. I could train twice a day, and train with my now-husband and some friends. Now that we have a son we have to split our time – so one of us will do the morning run while the other trains, and visa versa in the evening. That means apart from a very lonely 5 months of exercising alone, I also never see my husband, and get to tuck my child in bed 50% of the time. We are like 3 ships in the night.

I’ve also had the worst year, health wise. I was recently diagnosed with severe anemia, which is a relief, because I genuinely thought I had caught a bad case of the stupid. I’ve given and received bronchitis several times and had more throat infections than Zumas has wives. I’ve pretty much trained through antibiotics, iron drips and the plague.

And then the broken sleep, and sick baby, and teething baby and baby in general. Holy hell. My one-year-old gives zero shits that mommy needs to be up at 5 for a spinning class, and then a full day of work afterwards. And it’s fine, because I have dragged this kid through the trenches with me. We wake him up at godforsaken hours on the weekend, bundle him in layers of clothing and trek him from race to race. He has been a champ, and I think when he gets fed up of having to attend one more training session or Club V class he decides to grow 18 molars in the space of a day. Just for payback.

So I’m really tired, and exhausted, and so looking forward to this day being done. I’m also really scared that I don’t finish in time because despite it all I’ve given it 100% and tried my absolute best from day 1. I’m so worried of what people will think or say if I fail – how silly am I?

Also, have I told you that despite training 7 days a week for the past 4 months I HAVENT EVEN LOST ONE KILOGRAM? Anyway.

My husband slash coach asked me yesterday what my next goal is after the race is done. My answer? Chill the fuck out. (Until the next family gathering when after one too many glasses of wine I agree to another race, like Comrades or something equally stupid).

Freezing morning rides
Freezing morning rides
Solo Wattbike classes
Solo Wattbike classes

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Early dark morning at Germiston Tri
Early dark morning at Germiston Tri

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Finishing Germiston Tri
Finishing Germiston Tri
Supporting mom at her race
Supporting mom at her race
Does an iron drip qualify me as an Iron Man?
Does an iron drip qualify me as an Iron Man?
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The Energizer Night Race – Post Event

I have a massive case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) or in this case KIHMO (Knowing I Have Missed Out) that I wasn’t able to take part in the Energizer Night race this past Saturday. As this time of year goes our diaries were fuller than a Christmas stocking and we had another engagement on – an early Christmas with my fiances family.

As irony would have it – my brother and his fiance both took part – and their feedback only added to my envy. I decided to do a fun QnA with my brother John and one of the winners of the hamper Kate Els.

– Which race did you take part in?

(Kate) 10km run

(John) 10km trail run

Was this your first night race? If not which other ones have you done

(Kate) Not my first, but my furthest night race so far. I take part in the Kinetic Night Trail series once a month and will be running the 8km in December.

(John) Yes, first running race and a night trail run at that!

The entertainment lineup was diverse – who was your favourite performer?

(Kate) I loved the drummers! Code Red Drum Corps I think they were called? They were fantastic and made me bounce up and down a little in the cold wind before the race

(John) Most definitely ‘Code Red’, the drumming show. Real talent and coordination. Apart from that just watching the runners freezing their butts of in the cold waiting for the start!

*Seems we have a definite favourite here!

Would you do it again?

(Kate) Definitely, I think next year I’ll organise a big group of friends and spend more time at the venue though. And won’t be as nervous!

(John) Definitely! Can’t wait to do other trail runs as well.

Did you dress up? If so, in what?

(Kate) Ha ha no! I was far too nervous about running 10km with a headlamp on to even consider dressing up. Made sure that I had lots of reflective neon strips on my clothing though. I loved the guys dressed up in morph suits that looked like tuxedos. They were winners!

(John) No, very boring in my running clothes and Salomons.

 Summarise the event in 3 words

(Kate) Energetic, fun, totally-worth-it

(John) Challenging, Rewarding, Entertaining.

Did you take part to compete or just have fun?

(Kate) A bit of both. I want to take part in a half marathon early-ish next year so I’ve started trying to improve my fitness and my 10km personal time.

(John) A bit if both, I told myself it was just to take part, but once I started I felt strong and decided to compete as best I could.

What was the toughest part?

(Kate) Trail runs are harder mostly because of the uneven ground and the winding path, making it more important to concentrate on where you’re running. But even though it makes it tougher, it also makes you a better runner and strengthens your ankles, so less chance of an injury in future!

(John) Waiting in the cold to start! Not the events fault, the weather just decided not to play the part but luckily the rain held out.

 Thanks to Kate and John for answering the questions – sounds like a freezing but fun event! Also, Happy Birthday to my big bro for today – see, you can teach old dogs new running tricks 😉

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Code Red
Code Red

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The Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge

‘Bloody Cyclists!’

‘Stupid Road Closures’

Argh – I HATE 94.7 for doing this to me!’

I’m pretty certain I’m not the only person around Joburg who, yearly, moans about the road closures for the 94.7 Cycle Challenge, curses the inconvenience of being trapped at home or moans about the irritation of having to plan your day around tens of thousands of shaved-legged-tight-jersey-wearing athletes taking over our roads. Right?

Well, as they saying goes – if you cant beat ’em, join ’em. So I did, and let me tell you that I have a new found respect for anyone who has ever taken part in this race.

First off, it’s crowded. This year 27000+ riders took on the challenge. Secondly, it’s bloody hot. With temperatures reaching over 30 degrees the 11km infamous Krugersdorp highway feels more like a crossfit session on the face of the sun. It’s also windy, long, exhausting, and hot. Have I mentioned hot?

I was hoping for a time of 4 hours – to fit in with my Half Iron Man training and preparation, but as luck would have it I got my first ever puncture on said Highway. Twice. That wasted us (and by us I mean Barry – I watched him fix them, while eating the potato stand out of all it’s stock) a good 45 minutes, so by the time we finished the race we clocked in at just under 5 hours. Considering the break, we still managed a ride time of 4:15 which isn’t too far off my initial goal.

So, having broken my 94.7 virginity – here’s what Ive learnt :

– You will hit a wall. Anticipate it and push through it. Mine happened around 70 kms. Just as this photo was taken. Gents – this is what ‘faking it’ looks like.

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– Eat! A lot – I burned over 3000 calories – which will have an impact if you dont refuel. I favour potatoes and bars over sweet gels – but do what works for you

– Keep hydrated. At times it feels like you’re being slow roasted – and if you dont get enough liquids you will suffer.

– Wear sunblock – otherwise you will look like this :

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– Take a moment just before Krugersdorp highway to look back and congratulate yourself on where you’ve come from. That Joburg horizon seems very far away from where you are. It’s an achievement – be proud.

– Feed off the energy of the supporters – the vibe is amazing!

– Dont (as I did) drink the day before. Or do – but keep the self induced complaints to yourself 🙂

– There are some people who ride it twice. I call them bloody lunatics. If you see them – buy them a beer or donate to their charity – they deserve it.

– Lastly, enjoy it! Make friends with riders, chat, joke and laugh. I promise it eases the pain slightly.

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PS – Thanks for the gear Biogen – Rupert approves!

 

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Impi Challenge

Never one to decline a challenge, I recently took part in the Impi Challenge race – held at Van Gaalens Cheese farm close to Hartabeespoort Dam. Despite the pre-race nerves (fear-for-your-life commentary from MC Guy McDonald not helping) the race was absolutely fantastic, and I look forward to taking part next year.

Admittedly, it wasn’t at all easy and I was pretty relieved that the 13km course was broken up by 19 various obstacles – trail running is a whole other ball game and the terrain makes you work twice as hard.

Even though I loved the race I was not amused by a few of the obstacles (10 m high cargo net and sewer tunnel included) and I’m pretty happy I only saw THIS photo of one of the obstacles AFTER I had gone through it. Vom.

If you are considering taking part in this race – here are a few pointers

– Dress up if you are part of a team

– Wear clothes you never plan on seeing again. Even 2 caps of new OMO liquid wont be enough. Ooh eh eh.

– Dont wear watches, sunglasses, caps or valuables. Trust me, between jumping 6 metres into a river, wading through compost, rolling through trees and swimming through dams, you will lose it all.

– Take your time – the event is not timed so the idea is to finish it with a smile on your face (Or not dead, either all)

– Bring a clean change of clothes for after

See you at Impi 2013!

Pre race - clean and shiny
Pre race – clean and shiny
Post race dirt
Post race dirt

 

Titan Adventures Pre Race
Titan Adventures Pre Race
2nd last obstacle - Floating LilyPads
2nd last obstacle – Floating LilyPads

 

 

 

 

 

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