So lets start at the beginning – Months of training, early mornings, long rides, intense pool sessions and generally just hectic training sessions day in and day out – But would this all pay off? Would I finish? How long would it take me? Would my foot injury hold out? All questions racing through my mind every single time I thought about the race. It did, it all paid off. Janine, yes, beginner Janine, here I am.. but as of the past weekend, as Luc would say, no longer a beginner. I took part in the Sun City ultra this past weekend – My very first one! And yes, I managed to somehow cross that finish line!
The weekend started with a bang, and life once again showed me to expect the unexpected. Friday night came with no sleep and a very sick child. Making that drive to Sun City on Saturday morning, exhausted, finishing the race seemed almost impossible. We checked in and started meeting up with our amazing group of TriFactri team mates and their families. A short pre-ride with Siann, Garth and Matt followed. To end the night, as we always seem to do, we sat around the braai listening to all the stories and experiences of other members and had a good laugh. I finally climbed into bed and as soon as my head hit that pillow I was out!
Sunday morning – 4:30 sharp, it was cold and dark but I was awake! No alarm clock – Just my body ready to rock and roll! Luc and Aubs still sleeping, I had the coffee going, breakfast, banana’s and shakes – All part of the nutrition that Luc preaches to us about! Once everyone was up and ready to go I just followed Luc and put my bike where hers was, put my bag where it belonged, jumped into my wet suit and took pictures! Watching the sprints go off all I could think was “OH SH*T I AM WITH THE BIG BOYS NOW!”
Into the water I went – My nerves were surprisingly gone – I swam and swam and swam – start stop start stop – swimmers bashing into me – looking up, off course – readjusting and swimming again! What always feels like hours in the water finally came to an end! I got out, neck burning and realised that I now needed to make the transition – ran from the dam to the tent – Hells bells what a run! – pulled my wetsuit off and went on. I proceeded to get my bike and there I saw Garth! I got his attention and said ‘LETS GO!’ The cycle went well – a little windy and quiet, all I wanted was a friend to chat to! Nonetheless, I was smiling and feeling strong – a few cramps here and there – but nothing too major.
Riding into Sun City I felt a sudden wave of exhaustion. Unsure of how I was going to still get through a 21km run, I decided it was now time for a mental shift. Positive thinking was what I kept telling myself! I promised my boys I would bring a medal home and that is what I was about to do! To my surprise I then saw Luc, gave her a quick shout “HEY COACH” and thought to myself “how on earth does she look like she has just started this race and she is on her second lap already? This woman is crazy and incredible.” The run wasn’t an easy one, hill after hill I just told myself to keep going. At this point it was getting really tough to carry on and to make matters worse I was bursting for the loo! BUT “waaaay too many golfers and if I stop now I probably won’t start again” I thought. My stomach was acing from all the “goo”, I had a sore knee and I was now REALLY exhausted! I was so close though and realising that sparked this excitement in me that pushed me to carry on. I would not stop for ANYTHING now.
Running across that finish was one of the best feelings I have EVER experienced, my heart sank and I could not believe that I had just finished my first ultra! I had the medal to prove it, I had friends cheering me on, taking pictures and making me feel like a total star! I felt unbelievable.
To an amazing coach, Luc, I would not be able to do this without your constant words of encouragement, your good humour and your amazing ability to push us all beyond our limits! You are incredible.
To the TriFactri team, you are all such an inspiration to me. It feels like I have known you all for years and you really have become my other family. I cannot wait to continue to grow and make memories with each and every one of you.
To my husband who has been a mom and dad for the past few months, babysitting my two very busy boys on weekends, I appreciate it all. And to my two boys who always tell me that one day they want to be “an ironman just like you mommy!” I love you.