The training was consistent and I was as ready as I could be, but an athlete’s worst nightmare before a big race is either getting sick or getting injured. On the Tuesday before the race I did my EASY indoor, you know how tapering is ;) and as I started my EASY run my hamstring did something funny. Needless to say the next few days it was a continuous repetition of ice, heat, ice, heat, panic message to Lucie, ice, heat, ice, heat, transact patch, pray, ice, heat, ice, heat… well you get the picture!
Arriving in Durban is always very exciting, you start seeing all your training buddies at registration, nerves are flying sky high, the above questions are being thrown around, the wallets are shaking in the expo, the bike mechanics are fixing bikes (athlete’s worst nightmare), athletes are walking around wishing they had someone else’s bike and THEN, the Trifactri dinner arrives J
Always a fun night out with food getting mixed up, Trifactri shirts getting thrown around, peeps being all gangsta with their flat caps; THIS is definitely a great evening. Laughter was heard throughout the restaurant and amazing memories were being made.
We do our usual warm up on the Saturday, this time trying to muster up the courage to plunge into the Durban surf because, we all know what happened last year ;) but this is all done to get us race ready for Sunday! We all make our way, in our own time, to the transitions to rack our bikes and hang up our bags. I finished doing everything I needed to do and then I saw coach!
This was a lecture I needed and I think it had been lingering for a while and Lucie finally gave that lecture to me (in a nice way of course). Too many races had passed where I had raced too comfortably, where I would only push the last 2/3km of the run, where I would ‘race’ and stay away from the hurt locker, but basically the summary of Lucie’s lecture was, “enough is enough.” I have trained too hard to just sit in the comfort zone, I have trained hard to sit in the ‘hurt locker.’
Race day arrived and I did something that was a bit unusual, I didn’t hang out with the Trifactri peeps before the race, which is what I usually do. I went onto the beach, had my music in my ears and zoned out. I did a 20 minute warm up run with drills and I was sweating before I even hit the start line. My mom said a prayer for me and it was time to push through the crowd to get to the front, where I started with Jade, Mark, Des, Guy and Chris. We saw Lucie on the side where she took a lekker photo of our big nervous smiles and then we were off!
Looking back on the race, the support was beyond this world. Sorry guys that I showed no facial expression what so ever, but I promise you it helps like you can’t believe, knowing that your team mates, family and friends are cheering you and everyone else on is something we look forward to. You guys are incredible!! Watching all the Trifactri athletes race is amazing, seeing Audrey have the most fun ever, watching Robsie getting a sub 2 hour half marathon, seeing all my athletes push through the pain with smiles on their faces and watching every single Trifactri athlete support each other out there! Everyone has their own goal and is pushing their own limits. I couldn’t walk to save my life for the next 2/3 days, but man, it was worth every second! A massive thank you to Lucie for the amazing support and the tough love before the race to get my head in the game.
Yes hard work does pay off, but you have to believe that you are stronger than you are and that you can push your body a lot further than what you think! It took me a few years to figure this out, but it finally clicked and in the end, for me, it was all a mental game!