My Ironman 70.3 journey started on race day in 2012. I got through the swim and halfway through the cycle when I had to stop due to stomach cramps and dehydration. The only good thing was that on the day I got to see my husband Johan cross the finishing line. Getting over the disappointment of not finishing was tough and I often thought I wasn’t going to go back in 2013, but in the end, this year I went back to complete what I’d started in 2012.
The weekend of 70.3 had arrived. Johan and I landed in East London on Friday morning, in time for us to get our first sea swim in. I was a bit nauseous after the swim, which had me slightly worried. During lunch on Friday afternoon, we met up with the rest of the Modern Athlete Dare to Tri Academy members. It was my birthday and they all made it very special. Thanks guys! The off we went to the expo where a lot of shopping happened. We attended the race briefing on Friday and this is when I realised that this is it – the months of training, the crazy early morning runs and rides, the time away from family – and it all boils down to this one day.
Saturday morning it was back to the sea for our swim, which went better than Friday and I didn’t feel nauseous at all. It was time to get transition bags packed, bikes numbered and get ready for bike check-in. Having Johan by my side helped calm all my butterflies. We had an early dinner and needless to say, I couldn’t fall asleep. But instead of stressing, I went through the race in my mind until I eventually fell asleep.
THE BIG DAY
Sunday morning arrived a lot faster than it should have. We had an early breakfast and did all our last-minute checks, then made our way down to the beach. The national anthem was sung and before I knew it my swim had started. I got out of the swim, into transition and was on my bike. The bike was a lot harder than I remembered from the previous year and when I reached the halfway mark I felt a bit emotional, because I knew last year this was how far I made it. The way back was easier but we still had to deal with a headwind. I used every bit of power I had to make sure that I made the bike cut-off. There was no way that I wasn’t going to make it this year!
Once I was back at transition I sat in the tent for a minute and thought: I’ve got this in the bag! On the run I saw Johan and shouted: “I did it, I finished the bike!” Running on tired legs was hard, but I got through it one kilometre at a time. Getting to see Johan every time I ran past the finish line was amazing. When I saw the finishing line I knew that there was no way I wasn’t going to shed a tear. I crossed the finishing line with Johan right there waiting for me. I was an Ironman 70.3 finisher. I cried a lot!
This was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and I’m glad I did it. Without Johan, my kids and my family I don’t think I would have done it, but I had a great support system and that makes all the difference. Will I go back? If you asked straight after the race, I would have said that I am not sure. But now, two days later, I will have to say yes!