Things That Only Kids Who Went To School In The '90s Will Understand

I was chatting to a school go’er the other day when the talk turned to lunchboxes and tuck-shops. I guess in the back of my mind I’m already worried that I won’t be able to match my mom’s school lunch boxes – those things were legendary – and the talk of the quadrangle.

Did you know that some schools these days have in-campus restaurants and that the tuck shop menu features more than just a Piemans Pantry Cornish Pasty and a soggy salad roll?

Listen up, kids – we had it hard in the 90’s. I’ve heard talk of school tuck shops (are they even called tuck-shops anymore, or are they now referred to as ‘Student Lounges’?) serving sushi, hot meals and coffee.(Coffee! I guess ADHD isn’t a thing anymore)

This blog post is inspired by the almost slave labour like conditions that most C level schools provided in the 90’s.

Things that only kids who went to school in the 90’s, will remember.

Tuck-shops and school food

  1. In Primary School a R2 note at the tuck-shop could buy you half a Chelsea Bun, a large guava roll and a toasted mince sandwich.
  2. Tuck-shop ladies were always your mom and other moms. If you knew your mom was on tuck-shop duty you were in luck – as it meant getting to the front of the queue faster.

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3. A handful of coins was always enough to get you something. It was perfectly acceptable for the Grade 1’s and Grade 2’s to open a grubby fist, full of bronze coins, and ask “what can I get for this?”

4. Woolies did not sell cute snack sized, pre-cut, low carb, banting friendly treats (these were the days before Woolworths was aspirational). Our moms would pack our food (high-carb-what-the-hell-is-a-gluten-intolerance-anyway jam-sandwiches) in an empty bread packet, a Checkers packet, or in my case a 2 litre ice cream tub. Sandwich swopping was up there with marbles during break time.

Sports

  1. In Primary school, uniform regulations were strict. There were dedicated shops (I think called Step Ahead) which sold school authorised uniforms and accessories. Think navy blue scrunchies, padded alice bands and matchy matchy hair clips.
  2. In Winter, knee high socks were mandatory, and if you happened to have twig legs like me, your mom would have to sew you 2 elasticated bands to help them stay up.
  3. If you partook in a school sport, school colour and brand approved underwear was compulsory. Before every match or game the girls would line up in the quadrangle while the teachers lifted our (knee high) culottes and inspected our panties. Not school regulation grey or navy? Sorry, no sport for you.
  4. Refreshments during a school match were always the following: A slice of orange still in its peel during half time, and a packet of Fritos and a frozen Take 5 after the game.

Take 5 Fritos

Teachers and Classrooms

  1. For the longest time I thought every desk I sat at belonged to a boy named Ted. It was only in my later more intelligent tween (also, not a word that was around in the 90’s) years that I realised the permanent marker “T.E.D’s” stood for ‘Transvaal Education Department. (T.O.D in the Afrikaanse onderwyser se klaskamer)

School desk

  1. You don’t know what true claustrophobia is until you’ve sat in a pre-fab classroom with the windows closed.
  2. There were no cell phones in schools (they didn’t exist until I was in Standard 9) so the only piece of technology that was always being confiscated by the teachers was the Tamagotchi. Highly upsetting to all Tamagotchi owners, the confiscation of these always resulted in a “But Mrs de Bruyn it was going to die, I had to feed it!”

Tamagotchi

  1. There was no such thing as a Typo Stationer in the 90’s. School stationery was standard issue HB pencils, Bic pens (after a certain age) and feint lined exam pads. The only stamp of personalisation that one was allowed was a Space Case in which to keep it all.

Space Case

  1. If you saw a teacher out of school it was big news. We could never quite believe that Mrs so and so had a life outside of her classroom.
  2. Each child had a chair bag – a material item that draped over your school chair with a large pocket – useful for storing your stationery and lunches. God forbid you forgot your lunch there over a weekend or even worse – school holidays. Mom would get out the wooden spoon. (if you’re not afraid of the wooden spoon, even to this day, then you definitely weren’t a 90’s school’goer)

chair bag

  1. All class photos looked like this:

school photo

School grounds and facilities

  1. The quadrangle was the equivalent of the starting block in The Hunger Games. Most days ended and started there. Come rain or shine, hundreds of little children’s delicate bottoms grew haemorrhoids from sitting on the concrete listening to the headmaster read out roll call.
  2. School assembly’s marked a sign of seniority – the smaller you were, the closer you sat at the front. The older kids always got to sit at the back. Teachers flanked the perimeter of the school hall like soldiers at a prison camp. The floors were always dusty and one child would always puke near you.
  3. Toilets were revolting. The doors always started half way up the wall, and there was no such thing as a soap dispenser – only a soggy round white soap that sat in the ceramic indentation of the sink. To use this was a risk not many were willing to take. There was no such thing as hand dryers or paper towels- instead archaic machines were mounted from the walls from which white and blue striped material was dispensed. To get a clean portion of said towel one had to manoeuvre the round lever until the dirty section disappeared and a fresh section was revealed. To this day it is still a mystery as to how these towels cleaned themselves.

towel dispenser

So yes, schooling in the 90’s was not glamourous, but then I became an adult and realised… I would give anything to go back.

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30 Things I've Learnt in my Thirties

Turning 30 for me was kind of a big deal – as it is, I guess, for most people. The day itself was average – with me typically expecting too much and receiving a wrapped bundle of disappointment in return, but I digress.

2014, the year of me being 30, has been an absolute roller-coaster. There have been ultimate highs, and ultimate lows and a bucket load of missed emoticons in between. 8 months in, and edging closer to the big 3-1, there are certain things I have learnt about my self, that not even my progressive chest wrinkles can dampen.

1. You will find the money to do something you really want, or buy something you really need. We bought a house at the beginning of the year, and with an older house on a large stand comes the hemorrhaging of money. But it is worth every cent. Truly.

2. You will end relationships, and be OK with it. There comes a time when you realise that the people who suck the life out of you, make you feel anything but good about yourself, or don’t see your value, are just not worth it, and most of the time walking away becomes the best feeling in the world.

3. You will entertain more and go out less.

4. Clothes become something of value – and your monthly budget may go towards one staple item, then 5 smaller ones. (This is me justifying my costs-the-same-as-my-bond boots I bought this winter)

5. You will want to spend as much time as possible with your mom and dad. And you will worry, knowing, that the older you get, the older they do too.

6. Your body will let you down. You will pay a fortune in meds for some or other ailment which needs addressing. Your medical aid savings will run out before Easter.

7. You will learn the art of negotiating. A month back I went and bought a new car because my current car was costing too much (see point 8).After the salesman had worked out my monthly installments I told him it was unfortunately too much and left the dealership. I was’t playing games, I simply didn’t have the extra money. 5 minutes later the same salesman phoned me and offered me a substantial discount on the car. I bought it.

8. You will become frugal. I now compare prices of long life milk before buying it and swipe my loyalty cards with enthusiastic vigour. Inflation sucks.

9. You will learn the value of work life balance. When I first started working I would graft for 12, 13 hours a day. I thought I was so clever, telling everyone how busy I was. The truth – I was doing it to prove a point, to be noticed in my job, and clearly not managing my time well at all. I now add ‘Gym’ into my calendar and treat me time as a meeting. There are many days when I work late or from home, but it is not the norm. Anyone who tells you they are so busy all.the.time is probably just looking for attention.

10. You will crave a baby. The beating of your ovarian drums will drown out most radio station playlists.

11. Your bullshit tolerance level will drop to a staggering low.

11. You will get better at confrontation. Yes, your heart may be racing at a million ticks a minute, and you may get that prickly underarm sweaty feeling – but the result of actually telling someone how you feel, is totally with it.

12. Furniture shopping, as does going to the nursery, becomes the highlight of your weekend.

13. Most people are in the same boat as you. I have a terrible habit of comparing myself to my peers, constantly wondering how they can afford the overseas holidays, fancy cars and seemingly better lifestyles. Turns out, they do the same with other people, and the result is everyone feeling incompetent, poor and hard done by. No-one’s life is perfect – everyone is fighting a battle.

14. You will become less ‘cool’. I don’t know when it happened, but I suddenly do not know the name and artist of every single song that gets played on the radio. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t worked in radio for many years, but man, I used to be the thesaurus of music. Not so much anymore.

15. You will look your age. Fuck.

16. You will drink a lot more than you did in your youth. Consistency is King, and in my Palace that means 2 reds a night.

17. You will find marriage to be one of the hardest, fun, exciting journeys – especially if you are recently married.

18. Your metabolism – if it hasn’t already – will take a nosedive off a very steep carb laden cliff.

19. The thought of going to a night club, on a Contiki tour or anywhere that involves fighting crowds for things is a terrifying and unpleasant thought.

20. You will become a lot more aware of people and their needs, and your empathy levels will grow in leaps and bounds.

21. You will embrace fibre.

22. You will do as much shopping online as you can, in order to find more time to do things that actually make you happy.

23. You will notice more lines, more hair and more cracks all over your body. Conversations with the salon include the terms ‘age spots’, ‘peel’ and ‘irreversible damage’.

24. When a male hits on you, you want to roll over onto your back – bulldog style – and thank him for seeing the value in an older woman.

25. Conversations with friends include words such as “If my child ever dared…” and “Can you believe they allow teenagers into this place”. Also, it turns out the teenagers you speak of are in their early twenties.

26. You will attend more babyshowers then weddings and birthdays combined.

27. You will start shopping for jeans that aren’t low rise.

28. Punctuality is a thing. It always has been for me – I can’t be late for anything. But god help the person who is late for me.

29. Your collection of friends will become the most valuable asset you own. Over the years you have cultivated an amazing bunch of people who share and care deeply – cherish them.

30. You will learn to enjoy yourself so much more. I’m still helluva insecure and care way too much what others think – but I love who I am, who I have become and how my life has turned out.

Here’s to the next 30!

Before and After

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The Top 13 of 2013

Last year on 12/12/12 I wrote this. Unfortunately there is no such date as 13/13/13 so 19/12/13 shall have to suffice for me to recap on the 13 biggest (baddest, bestest and saddest) things to happen in 2013.

1. We got married! Yay!

2. I left a job where I was being bullied and harassed by management and started a new job where I’m treated with kindness and respect by my superiors (let me tell ya what a difference that has made to my self esteem)

3. I took part in and finished my very first Half Iron Man!

4. I traveled to Malaysia with my hubby for the words best Honeymoon. You can read about that here and here

5. My mom in law suffered a stroke and pulled through like an absolute champ.

6. I had my heart broken by a friend and learnt how to pick myself up and carry on (sort of)

7. I came 2nd in a night-trail race and beat my PB by 3 minutes.

8. I learnt how to forgive and forget past hurts

9. I changed my surname. Rankin Rankin Rankin (Apparently the more I say it the quicker I will get used to hearing it)

10. Our beloved ‘Tata’ Mandela passed away and caused the entire world to become proudly South African. 

11. My brother got married and I gained a new sister and her fabulous family.

12. I landed a huge voice over and TV deal

13. I gained some new friends who I cant ever imagine my life without. 

To everyone who has made this year the rollercoaster ride that it was – thank you.

What are your Top 13 of 2013?

XXX

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The Rankin Honeymoon Part 1 – Kuala Lampur

Choosing a Honeymoon destination is not easy. You need to think of places undiscovered, places you will probably never go again, romantic places, interesting places, exotic places. Then there’s the other options to consider – budget, time, tsunamis…

Our original Honeymoon choice was Kenya, but after hearing the prices we quickly forgot that plan. Islands such as the Maldives and Mauritius, although beautiful, just didn’t appeal to us – we wanted sea and sun and sand yes, but we also wanted food and photos and adventure and culture. It was only after my parents suggested it, that Malaysia became an option, and then the only option.

Choosing the country was where my involvement ended, and Barry’s took over. He planned the entire thing from start to finish and, if I may say, did a bloody good job!

The itinerary was a surprise until the day we left, and because we managed to fit so much in I thought it best to break #therankinhoneymoon blog series up into bite size chunks.

So here goes; the first installment. Kuala Lampur.

‘I don’t sleep well in pla…’ was about all I managed to get out before I passed out and slept literally all the way from Joburg to Dubai. They will tell you planning a wedding is exhausting and they will tell you, you will sleep. They were right. From Dubai we caught another flight to Kuala Lampur and apart from sleeping most of the time as well we still managed to fit in copious amounts of GnTs – Emirates are not stingy with their cocktails.

Landing in Kuala Lampur you are greeted by…well, nothing. Its 9pm and you’re exhausted so apart from fruit stands selling dessert in egg shells and the striking humidity of the place, it all looks very ‘Joburg’. That is until you see it in the day.

Our first night was a on-event. By the time we managed to get to the hotel, check in and shower it was well after midnight Malaysia time and because we had been flying for around 23 hours we quickly fell into bed. Into a King sized 1000 thread bed at the Majestic nonetheless, but fall we did.

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The Majestic Hotel
The Majestic Hotel

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The Majestic Hotel
The Majestic Hotel

Breakfast at this hotel, and all the others, looked like something out of an all you can eat Malay buffet. Delicious!

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The Majestic Hotel
The Majestic Hotel

Cue day 1 – the official start of Honeymoon and trying to impress me Barry suggests we go shopping. Our hotel transfer takes us to a shopping mall in a district called ‘Bukit Bintang’.

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Bukit Bintang
Bukit Bintang

Sadly for me the cheapest shop was a Louis Vuitton, and apart from browsing and silently weeping at the things I could never afford (apart from a coveted Urban Decay ‘Naked’ eye shadow palette from Sephora, of course) we left and explored the city.

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Shopping at 'The Pavillion' Kuala Lampur
Shopping at ‘The Pavillion’ Kuala Lampur

The comparison between that side of the mall and a few kilometers away is incredible. Not far from the skywalks and air-conditioned malls lies the place we had been dreaming of leading up to the trip. Malaysia’s version of China Town is a heaving, sweating, steaming, foodgasmic mess of people, sights, sounds, cars and energy. Street food markets and massage parlors litter the streets and even though its frenetic and overwhelming, its also incredible to watch as each and every person, shop and stand has its place.

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Visiting Kuala Lampur
Visiting Kuala Lampur

The well known street food market only opens up after 6 pm, so we grabbed lunch and explored some more before heading back to the Pavillion to get ready for our 7 pm Petronas Towers Tour.

A definite tourist trap but a must see – The Petrona Towers are an iconic landmark in Kuala Lampur and the price was semi-worth it to get to the top and get a birds eye vie of this vibrant city.

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Petronas Towers
Petronas Towers

We made our way back to China Town – now having established that we had walked at least 15-20 kilometers that day – and wandered around. I found a luggage store to buy a backpack in and I’m so glad we popped in – there in his dog crate was the sweetest bulldog we had ever seen. His name was Tiger, and Barry and I spent 20 minutes playing with him in the back room much to the shop owners surprised delight.

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"Tiger"
“Tiger”

Dinner in China Town is still one of our favourite meals from the trip. I based everything I ate from there on out on the Tom Yum soup I had and Barry’s word of the holiday became ‘Nasi Goreng meaning ‘mixed fried rice’. We also grew very fond (read fat) of the local beer ‘Tiger’. Alcohol in Malaysia is eye wateringly expensive (as we would soon discover at our next stop) and even a beer at a street market worked out to be R60.

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China Town at night, Kuala Lampur
China Town at night, Kuala Lampur

Feet aching and bellys bursting we returned back to our hotels satiated, sweaty and sleep deprived.

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Could this be the happiest wedding in the world?

“If I ever got married, I would have a spit braai on the lawn.” This is what our friend Khali said to me several years ago during a lunch with friends.

You see, Khali is a wedding planner/creator/memory maker extraordinaire. Her work is well known throughout the industry and as founder of the South African School of Weddings and The Wedding Specialist, the pressure to perform when her big day came, must have been immense.

Well her time did come, and the wedding was everything and nothing we expected.

The entire event from start to finish was a surprise. Not even the bridesmaids or groomsmen knew where it was or what it would entail, and try as we did we couldn’t even get Khali to disclose on the secret location.

The guests were all instructed to arrive at her offices at 11 am. There we were greeted by traditional drummers, packets of padkos and an entire team of SA School of Wedding staff on standby. A while later all the guests boarded traditional taxis, complete with tin can runners, and set off to our mystery destination. We heard rumblings of ‘Soweto’ and ‘Rooftop’ but not even Khalis assistant would let any clue slip.

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I’m sure the line of 20 minibus taxis filled with formally dressed wedding guests must have been a helluva sight!

We eventually arrived at the destination. A school field in the middle of Westcliff. Interesting, I thought. And interesting it was. The field had been transformed into a colorful wonderland, complete with white marquee, a reception area overlooking the city of Jozi, a coffee bar, gelato bar, sweetie bar, cocktail bar and the world largest cheesecake. The use of every single color was so refreshing as was the chic french style music and the multiple surprises throughout the day (picture ‘waiters breaking out into operatic song and a cake the size of a small car).

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This may have just been the happiest wedding I have ever seen. If the start of their life together was this bright, I can only imagine what’s to come.

And in case you’re wondering – they served lamb on the spit. On the lawn. But in true Khali 6 star style.

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The top 12, of 2012, on 12.12.12

Just in case you’ve been hiding under a rock – today is 12/12/12 and the next time we have such a matchy-matchy date we will all be dead.

This date also means we are 12 days away from Christmas and 19 days away from 2013. So, I thought this was as good a time as any to recap on the year that was, and summarise 12 big things (some good, some bad) that happened in my year.

1) I ran and finished my first Two Oceans Half marathon

2) Two of my best friends got married

3) My blog made a profit! (Yay)

4) My brother got engaged

5) I got engaged

6) We lost a vibrant friend

7) I took part in, and finished, my first 94.7 cycle challenge

8) I took part in, and finished my first Triathlon

9) We got Bella AKA ‘Pig’ our second addition to the furmily. (Who subsequently got bitten by a puffadder, put us through weeks of stress and sadness and has pulled through like a champ!)

10) I lost a dear, kind, wonderful Uncle

11) My Fiance ran and completed his first Comrades (in under 9 hours let me tell you!)

12) I made some fabulous new friends, and removed some not so fabulous ones from my life

What were the highlights, and lowlights of your 2012?

Welcoming Bella!
Welcoming Bella!
Amy's Wedding Day
Amy’s Wedding Day
Lauren Packett
Lauren Packett
Brother and Future Sister-In-Law
Brother and Future Sister-In-Law
The crazy, wonderful people in my life
The crazy, wonderful people in my life
Two Oceans Marathon
Two Oceans Marathon
Bella in Hospital with a snake bite
Bella in Hospital with a snake bite
Barry @ Comrades Marathon
Barry @ Comrades Marathon

 

 

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The countdown to 70.3 – an inspirational letter

This week has been a horrible one – I’m battling to keep up with a lot of work and get the right amount of training in for Half Iron Man in January. It’s tough trying to balance friends, work, family, wedding planning and training in a 24 hour day. To be honest, Ive been feeling a little despondent about it all – particularly the fact that the race is in just over a months time and I dont quite think my training has been enough. Then, my fiance sent me and my training buddies (we are all IM virgins) a story he has written on his Iron Man experience in the past.

I took a few minutes to read this, and had tears rolling down my face. It’s beautiful, and inspirational and is making me (finally) just a little bit excited for my first 70.3. 

If you are a first time participant, or a fully qualified Iron Man, take the time to read this too – I can guarantee it will touch you in some way or the other.

Ironman 70.3 and what to expect:

 This is going to be one of those days, it is going to be the longest quickest day of your life.

You are going to be waking up, then crossing the finish line and then drinking tequila – well that is what it is going to feel like when you wake up the following morning.
What it will feel like on the day is completely different, it will feel like time is playing a joke on you and standing still or even going backwards, it will feel like you are going nowhere and yet the truth of the matter is that time is always ticking and it actually ticks pretty fast when you are racing.

The Build Up

The build up to the race is fun and nerve wracking, you will arrive in East London on the Friday morning to a city that has come to a stand still for 1 race – this is for you.
You will check into the hotel and all you will want to do is get out there and register, run, swim and check your bike because that is what everyone else is doing – or at least it looks that way, you will want to hit the beach and be busy with some activity – NO NO NO – DON’T DO ANY OF THIS!!!

What you should really do is take a 20min lie down and a little freshen up. Get into relax mode as quick as possible. Lie on the bed and do nothing – read a magazine or your book but just try to relax as quickly as possible.

Grab your wetsuit and your swim kit and head down to the swim venue, put on your wetsuit and go for a short swim, the water will be cold, walk in and out until you are confident to just run in and lose your breath, once in just play in the water and get used to the feeling of the sea, swim to the 1st Buoy and back and that is it. Play in the waves and have fun – splash water at your friend and act like a kid.
Get out and have a good look at what you just did, high 5 everyone and then head back to the hotel and have a shower, relax and do nothing. Find something to keep your mind busy with your legs up, a lap top with a series is perfect.

Around lunch time go to the expo, register and have a quick look around then go for lunch, again feet up and weight on the bum. Enjoy lunch and chill out – out of the sun. Watch everyone around you. Some of them will be 120kg’s and others will be 72kg ripped with every little muscle showing – WHO CARES! Do not panic that someone is in better shape, round is also a shape and it can roll down a hill faster than Mr. Ripped.
Head back to the room and once again relax. Do nothing but keep your mind busy, watch series on a lap top again (actually make sure you have a lot to watch)

Later that day go for a short run of 10 – 15minutes and go to bunkers hill if you want to see what this hill is all about. It will feel horrible but it will be good for you, you are getting blood back into the legs after the long drive. Don’t let it affect your head at all – Sunday will feel better!
Have a shower, get ready in comfortable clothes and go find an early dinner – East Londo is no fashion show at all!
Make sure you eat healthy and what you want and get to bed early – sleep for as long as possible.

On the Saturday morning wake up, have a coffee and something to eat (what you will eat for breakfast the day of the race) grab that wetsuit (haha ‘wet’ suit coz it will still be wet)  and head out for another swim, same again – practice walking into the sea and getting going, then practice swimming out and do it again. Float in the sea and remember you are floating and this is easy – POSITIVE thoughts only!!!

Head back to the room and take your bike for a 10min spin just to check the gears and that everything is working then head back, shower and yes you guessed it – relax.
Today you do nothing but stay off those feet for as long as possible.
Pack your race packs (while sitting) and then relax, maybe even have a 20min snooze.
An early lunch is always good, eat what you want and enjoy it – I usually do pizza.
The time will come where you have to rack your bike and your bags. Go do this and remember this is no time to panic, they will tell you where to put your bike and where to put your bags, all you have to do is put them where they have told you and have a quick walk around transition, from where you run in from the sea to where you run out with your bike, then do the walk from when you run in with your bike to when you run out for the run. It is quick and easy and very smooth sailing. You do this at a BSG so do it again- make sure you know where you bags and bike are.

Head back to the room and relax, read a book, watch a series and get ready for an early dinner. Again eat what you want but try keeping it to what works for you but also healthy and balanced then back to the room and feet up for the rest of the night. Everything is done, don’t sit on your phone to much as people will make you nervous. You do not need nerves right now!
Get comfy and chill.
 If you can’t sleep rather turn a light on and read or watch TV. Your good night for sleeping was last night – tonight is just there coz it has to be – don’t panic if you can’t sleep – another 3000 people are also awake.

RACE DAY!
Wake up and think positive – if the wind is blowing tell yourself it is blowing at your back, if it is raining say at least  I will not over heat and if it is the perfect day just smile and know it is a perfect day. No matter what the conditions are – everyone else is out there with you in the same conditions.

Have breakfast straight away and then get dressed, grab what you need and head to the start, fill your lunch box with your food and put your bottles on the bike. Make sure your bags are still 100% and untie the knots in them or take the tape off of them. Head out and get the wetsuit on, relax and just enjoy the vibe.
3000 other people are also racing with you some faster and some slower, everyone is nervous and everyone is excited.
Kiss your loved ones good bye and tell them you will see them when you are a 70.3 IRONMAN finisher.

Find your start pen, stand at the back with a friend and talk about positive rides and runs, remember that day we ran a PB, or the day we had so much fun on the bike or trhe day we kept swimming we felt like Forest Gump for Water and when the gun goes off  for your race, high 5 and walk into the sea just like you did the day before.

The SWIM

You have done the distance; it will not be an issue. Start at the back and walk in, get going slowly and stay calm. No one is there to drown you and no one is there to injure you. Everyone has the same goal – get out of the water in 1 piece. Have your goals set as buoy to buoy and remember there are only 4 of them and then you will be done.
Put your head down and swim. If you want to do breaststroke then do it but what you need to do in the water is make sure you are always going forwards, every stroke you take is a stroke closer to the finish of the swim. Don’t tell yourself that you still have to bike and run, that is a problem for later – FOCUS on swimming and staying calm! Pretend you are Nemo and just keep swimming, just keep swimming (see what I did there?)

When you hit the last buoy know that you are almost done, swim for shore and get excited coz there are  40 000 spectators waiting for you.
Stand up when you can and take your goggles off, keep your swim cap on and smile for the cameras and the spectators.
Walk out of the sea, find your legs and clap if you want – you have now completed the swim – remember to start taking your wetsuit off but also remain CALM.

 T1

Get your bag and head through to the tent, take out your shoes and your helmet and anything else you will need, someone will help you with your wetsuit and put sun block on you, pack all your stuff in the bag and relax. Do not rush transition, make sure you have everything but also keep in mind how long you have been there, everything can be done in 5 minutes or 15minutes, one way you get out quicker and the other you waste 10minutes. Walk out the tent, hand your bag in and get your bike, same rule applies – walk with your bike to the mount line, get on and smile (cameras) and the spectators. In fact smile all the time, those cameras are ninjas and they just pop out and take pictures.

BIKE

DO NOT RIDE IN THE GUTTER – RIDE OUTSIDE OF THE YELLOW LINE!!!

Nothing is a rush here, the bike route is tough but you will be fine, 94.7 was further. Start slowly and get going, don’t get out of breath just yet. Drink water and eat a potato straight away enjoy the beach road – it is flat and there are spectators.
The highway is boring, try see who you are riding with and make up names for them all (big bum, nice bum and skid mark bum) , keep your head busy all the way out, you will see the road climbing in front of you and on the other side of the road you will see guys on their way back in, don’t let it bug you, when you are riding in you will still see guys riding out.
You have ridden further, you have ridden steeper hills and you have ridden in worse wind (if there is any) #youhaveriddenitallbefore – just keep going forwards and stick to your nutrition plan, eat and drink and stay calm.
My advice is when you are on the bike and you don’t know what to do – eat and drink!
If you get off the bike empty your run is going to be like running up Mt Everest pulling a whale behind you – even on the downhill!
There are water points, throw your old bottle away and get a new cold one.
At the turn around think what you have just done and remember that home is quicker. The route coming in is nice and fast, do not kill yourself as there is 1 big hill coming into the city, it is not long and it is not that steep but after 80km + of riding it feels big.
NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO – KEEP GOING FORWARDS.
Enjoy the beach road again and increase you cadence, even if you slow down a bit that is fine, get ready for the spectators and the cameras – you will also see guys already running – WHO CARES, you are almost on the run.
Get off your bike, straighten up, give it to a marshal in the transition area – they will rack it for you and head to T2.

T2

Take your cycling shoes off straight away and walk in barefoot, walk to your bag, grab it and hit the tent – as soon as you go in look for someone / ask someone to help you – they will be more than willing.
Sit down on a chair and change your shoes (new socks will feel amazing if you are going to use socks) and try not to sit for too long though, someone will put sun block on your back and neck for you. Make sure you have everything and then drop your bag off and head out for the run.

 RUN

NOW you have nothing or everything to lose – start too quickly and you will die, YES YOU WILL, take the 1st few KM’s easy, relax and realise you are in the crowds so do not think you need to show off. As you run away from the finish the crowds will get less and less, that is fine, it will be a good time to have a reality check. Ask yourself “am I tired’ the truth is yes you are but you are not shattered – tell yourself you are fine – on this run, all 21km of it you may and must lie to yourself, you are not tired and you are not sore, the person next to you is sore but you are NOT!!!  
Soon enough you will hit bunkers hill, this is still your 1st lap, run and walk it do not let it beat you this time, there are crowds again so feed off of their energy, get to the top and be happy coz now you can run down it. Run back along that lonely stretch and make a friend with another athlete – everyone is doing the same thing and everyone is feeling the same. Just keep going forwards, you must try having a good 1st lap which does not mean a PB for 10km but an enjoyable 10km.
Run back into the crowds listen out for your name and love it. Get ready to turn around and do the last lap of your 1st 70.3 race ever. Run away from the crowds, the key word being run. When you get to that lonely spot look around for your friend, if they are still with you awesome, if not then make a new one!
Now bunkers hill – if it wants to beat you this time – let it, try running and walking but if you can’t just keep walking, when you get to the top you can run down it and have the last laugh – you beat it!!!
Look for a new friend and run through the lonely bit, at the last water point grab water wash your face, try freshen up and get ready for the crowds.

2km to go

You know you have done it and this is where the pain will set in, for some reason your head will tell your body it is done, that you are now finished but you are not. Keep going forwards and remember every step forwards is a step closer and by now you will hear the finish, you will hear the spectators and you will know you only have 12 minutes of your race left.

FINISH

If possible try to let the gap between you and the person in front of you 100m big, you want to be on the carpet alone and you want amazing pictures – start smiling (crying is also allowed but not ugly crying only happy crying), clap and wave and just be happy. If you want to walk the carpet then do so, it will last longer and you can enjoy it more.  That carpet is yours and all yours, the announcer will now tell you that “YOU ARE A 70.3 IRONMAN” cross the line, look back down the carpet and just smile.
You did it.
You are part of a new family – the IRONMAN 70.3 family. (bragging rights achieved)

After Party

You will feel shattered and you will feel tired – DO NOT GIVE IN!
Have a drink and have a tequila then have more and enjoy the time with everyone there, swop war stories and have another tequila, this is your new family – tomorrow it is all over so make sure you have fun.

You only do your 1st once – ENJOY IT AND CELEBRATE IT!

My Iron Man

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