Six years ago, I was living in Mozambique. I am missionary and I was making a project to suport 300 poor kids with food, medicine, school and sports.
I’m still on cloud 9 after winning the Standard Bank Durban 70.3 Half Ironman, my first big win as an athlete. It’s been an incredibly journey so far this year, where the long hours of training and the extra effort put into working on my weaker areas are now finally paying off. Its never easy to be on top form all year round, so selecting key races and wanting to be at my best for that specific goal is the way I like to do it. When I look back to what I put down at the beginning of this, and what I wanted to achieve, I can tell you I am on my way to achieving the goals I have set out for myself
Leading up to Durban wasn’t so smooth. I had a few niggles that decided to play up a week before the race, which had me doubt my abilities. I wasn’t in a good headspace at all and this made me extremely nervous just knowing that I’m not going to be able to give this race my everything, but the mind is a powerful thing and said no more negativity, just stay focused and rest up.
The Sun Coast promenade run is very deceiving and you think flat means easy, but once your out there, you realize that the legs get no time for recovery and you jarring that course all the way to the finishing line. I could the see the girls Gabi and Natia as we passed each other on the 2-lap course, which kept fighting all the way. I held onto the lead and finished my race in a time of 4hours50min.
I was very unsure how I was going to embrace/enjoy/experience/take in the sights/be around 40,000 runners AND still run 42 km – my word that’s a HUGE ask. Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about races and people. Lucie kept telling me I was going to be fine, my team members kept telling me I was going to be fine, so this time I really thought I would try my best to just enjoy the event!
The morning arrived, we met the group downstairs and Bruce Fordyce (#namedropping) took one look at Chris (my husband) and I and said we had too many clothes on and we were going to overheat on the run. It was rather cold outside and expecting to reach a high of 12 degrees, but we decided to listen to our new friend Bruce (I mean he must know these things!!) We race upstairs, stripped off and got ready once again (somewhat chilly).
My word I don’t think I have laughed so much going for a wee. At the entrance you get handed a fold up cardboard thing, called a P-Mate, to aid the use of a urinal like a boy.
The levels of laughter erupting out of this square in the middle of the field were hysterical. Some ladies got stage fright, some missed the P-Mate entirely and some just couldn’t even attempt it. I am happy to report I was successful, although I did laugh the whole way through.
It was way, way more than I ever dreamed it would be. I enjoyed every single one of the 26 miles. I loved seeing the red and white balloon mile markers. Wearing a South African running top I got a lot of support and encouragement. It was difficult to actually run in the beginning, as the three start areas all merge at a point, but with all the excitement around, it was difficult to be grumpy.
A few miles in, I hear people shouting HUMP, HUMP, HUMP – I was rather confused as I didn’t know this running term. But once I ran over the speed humps in the road I realised they had marshals indicating where the speed humps were – giggling once more I skipped along.
Every mile there are St John’s medics standing with their hands out – once again I was confused, but with so many people I couldn’t really see what was happening. A lot of children along the way count the number of times runners touch their hands and there is much excitement amongst the children. I did plenty of high fives to add to their numbers. So you can imagine I was a little confused with the Medics. I decided to get closer and see what was happening as people kept stopping there. To my amazement, all the medics had big clomps of vaseline on their hands for the runners in case you missed a spot. I thought this was such a brilliant idea. Clearly I had not done any long distance running as all of this was new to me.
Could I have run faster – YES
Would it have been as memorable - NO
Experience - PRICELESS
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