Posted in Hobie Beach, Ironman, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, Shark Rock Pier, South Africa, Swimming, Training, Triathlon, weather, Wetsuit

Race Day – The swim

I woke up and everything was fine!  For about 10 minutes, then I seized up again. CRAP, CRAP, CRAP!  But as I had woken up fine I decided that it was NOT an injury, I must just be stressed and as soon as I stood on the start it would go away.  However, just incase, I stretched LOTS, I took a couple of anti-inflammatories, and I said LOTS of prayers to just about anybody who I thought might be listening.  Luckily it was not nearly as bad as the day before and I figured the swim would probably loosen it up if nothing else helped.


After waking up at 4:00am, I made myself breakfast of Instant ACE porridge (my favourite prerace meal), a banana and a meal replacement shake.  One good thing about having to check your bike and transition bags in the day before is that you have less to worry about in the morning.  Basically the only things you need to take with you are your swimming stuff and your nutrition.  I had heard the weather was going to be HOT, so I was hoping that I had enough liquids.


I met my mom and sister down at the start.  My sister and I went to check on our bikes and put our food in the relevant bags.  It was still dark but the atmosphere was awesome.  There was not a breath of wind… and it was already HOT!  The sea was FLAT and it looked perfect!  After soaking up the atmosphere for a bit we put on our wetsuits.  We met up with another of my friends and the 3 of us headed down to the beach.  On the beach at the start they have signs for where you should stand, depending on how fast you are expecting to swim.  My friend and I decided to stand in front of the sub 1 hour 20 sign.  My sister decided to stand near the 1 hour 40 sign, so I said good bye and good luck to her. 


Standing on the beach at the start is amazing.  The African drummers are playing and it almost feels like your heart beats to their beat.  Then the helicopters arrive.  This time there were 3 of them, just hovering out over the ocean, just past the breakers.  There were also boats in the water.  It really makes you realise that this is a big race and you are part of it.  And what do you know, standing there on the start my neck was fine……….


Just before the start, Me, my sister and Terri
Just before the start, Me, my sister and Terri


My plan for the swim was to stay far right, so I did not get tangled up in the mass of swimmers.  Go wide round the buoys and keep a consistent pace.  I was not really sure of what time to expect.  On my pre race target I had said 1 hour 30, but was really hoping for 1 hour 20 or less.  I knew that is what I could do easily in the pool for that distance and was sure I would not be that far off in the sea.  The swim is two loops, each loop is 1.9km.  Between loops there is a short run out the water, along the beach and back into the sea.  I checked my time at that split and I did the first loop in 37 minutes.  My over all time was 1hour 14, which means I did an equal time for both loops.  At least I knew then that I was swimming consistently and had not slowed for my second loop. 


It was interesting swimming amongst all those people and even though I kept to my plan of staying out of the fray I did catch some of it.  Although I think I accidently gave more than I got.  I think somewhere along the way I really walloped somebody – if it was you, sorry.  Somebody else did get me back though.  Someone bit my foot (or I kicked them in the mouth but I am opting to believe that they bit me) my thought at the time was; “hmmm, that was teeth, but seeing as my foot is still there I am going to assume it was not a shark”.  Odd the things you think about when you are swimming. 


So I was off to a good start!  My swim time was 1 hour 14 minutes 47 seconds.  Better than I was hoping for.  Woo Hoo, but not a time to get excited.  It was just the start to a very hot and long day.


Me - finishing the swim
Me - finishing the swim


In transition I stripped out my wetsuit and costume and put on my tri shorts and top.  I also made sure that one of the volunteers COVERED me from head to toe in sunscreen.  Even the places that you think you would not burn.  I learnt the hard way last time and still have the scars two years later.  Then I head out to get my bike.  1 leg down, 2 to go……

Posted in Cycling, Hiking Trails, Hobie Beach, Ironman, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, Running, Shark Rock Pier, South Africa, Swimming, Training, Triathlon, Tsitsikamma Hiking Trail, weather, Wetsuit

Finally – some info on Ironman

The problem with being away from the internet for so long, especially when so much is going on that I want to write down everything but can’t. Also it would make for rather boring and confusing reading.


So, the summary is:


My sister arrived safe and sound.

I completed Ironman

I went hiking


Yes, this has been a busy week.



I will start with Ironman! 


WOOOO HOOOO, I think I am still grinning from ear to ear.  Although on the day before the race I was anything but grinning. Infact I was feeling rather panicked and nearly burst into tears! 


Everything was going fine; I did not think I was nervous at all.  I knew I had prepared well, my transition bags were almost packed and I had ticked most of the things of my to-do list and my sister and I decided to go and watch the MTN Corporate Ironman Triathlon which is held the day before the main event.  It is 10% of the Ironman distance and can be a team event.  It is quite fun to watch and we had quite a few friends that were taking part.  We figured we had better go and cheer them on because we knew that they would be cheering for us the following day.


Well, just as I picked up my bag and walked out the house my entire neck, left shoulder, arm and back seized up.  I had done NOTHING and here I suddenly could not move.  I got to my mom and sister in the car and I was in PAIN!  I did not know what to do, but figured it might just go back to normal.  I mean I had not done anything so it could not be an injury…… Could it?????  So we went down to the beach front and it was not getting any better.  I was beginning to get rather stressed.  I had prepared so well for this race and now….  What the HELL was going on.  I was just felt nauseous with worry and did not know what to do.  All I wanted to do was go home crawl into my bed and cry but I knew that was not going to do any good.  I also remembered that at the Ironman Expo there were Physiotherapists giving massages.  Maybe that would help.  I had also been training with a girl who is a chiropractor and knew that if I really was in trouble she would help me out.  I phoned her and asked if she thought I should go for a massage and what advice she could give me.  She said massage, stretch, ice and if it did not get better then I would see her at the race briefing in a couple of hours and we could see then. 


Unfortunately the massages were fully booked – more panic.  Luckily my sister’s friend is a sports therapist and lived just around the corner from the beach.  She called him and he said to come round and he would see if he could help.  Thank you, thank you thank you!!!!!  He massaged my neck and shoulder and it loosened up quite a bit.  I put ice and heat on it when I got home and figured it was a lot better.  Hopefully a good night’s sleep would help.  I was VERY worried though.  Also I felt very guilty bugging these people as they also all had to prepare for the race.


When I woke up in the morning it was fine…. for a whole 10 minutes and then I seized up again.  CRAP!!!  Not good.  But I figured it must just be stress, or at least that was what I was convincing myself it was.  I mean if it was a real injury then it would not have been fine when I would up???  It would be FINE as soon as I was on the start line.  It just had to be.