In everything we do, whether it be sport or business, we all try our best to make our mark. We all try to be the best that we can be, but also to be better than anyone else who is doing the same thing. In my case, this is Ironman 70.3.
It could be argued many different directions, but this is possibly one of the toughest jobs in the world. Early mornings, long hours, rain or wind, grinding through the pain. And repeat. That said – when the hard work pays off – it is the most rewarding job.
Over the past 2 years my focus was on Xterra, but this year sees me turn my focus to a sport which I believe to be suited to my strengths. However, there there is literally no room for error. If you have a weakness, others will find it and make you pay for it.
My first race as a pro in Ironman 70.3, would be in East London, and I was determined to make my mark in one of the world’s fastest growing sports.
Having a look at the line-up in the weeks prior to raceday, I knew that things were going to be tough and that they could get very ugly. But if you want to be the best, you have to race the best…
I prepared well and tapped into the knowledge of a couple of guys who had walked this road before me. I found out where the course was tough, worked out a strategy and did my best to steer clear of the hype in the 3 days leading up to the race.
Having a new addition to my family, Luke (1), meant we would break the long trip down to Slummies in 3 days. On the Friday night, Luke got very sick and instead of having my feet up and visualizing for the race – I was chasing through to PE hospital in the wee hours of the morning. It is amazing how insignificant the big things become when it comes to my little one.
I did my best to get my act together and to make my mark on raceday.
The morning that greeted me on race day was perfect; the sea was calm and not a breeze in sight. I was kinda nervous lining up on the beach, not knowing exactly what to expect and how this will play out. Nothing ever goes according to plan in a race. It’s all about adjusting to the circumstances and being tougher than anyone else. When I am suffering, rest assured, they are suffering too. I dug deep and kept calm through all scenarios.
The swim was surprisingly comfortable and I was happy to keep up with Kyle and James. Onto our TT machines, we were a group of guys that were riding a few metres apart. I knew that I should not let the gap get too big, when they surged I followed. It hurt and I could not believe that the speed was no different to an olympic distance triathlon.
Exiting the bike in 7th, having some stellar athletes about 3-4min up the road – I had my work cut out for me. Trying hard to find a rhythm; I paced myself well and soon was in striking distance to the front of the race. I kept digging, but seemed to be losing time in a discipline I consider everything, but a weakness!
I suppose it wasn’t my day for the win, so settling for 4th meant plenty of sleepless nights and reflection on what might have been….
At a breakfast the following day a good friend said: “4th is like taking your sister to your matric dance!” That is pretty much how it felt – bitter sweet. Reflecting now on the race, I am excited about the start of my 70.3 career, taking all the small victories away with me.
The year ahead will be filled with lots of traveling as I aim to qualify for Ironman 70.3 World Championships in September.
Proud to finally be part of the Ironman family and blessed to be doing what I love.