Durban’s 70.3 IronMan debut!
So I’ve done the half in East London (2014) and I’ve done full in PE (2015). For both of those events I was IN THE ZONE and feeling a bunch of pressure to get the job done. Much of the anxiety was around the fact that I just hadn’t done endurance events before.
This time I took my daughter and we spent time having a massive party with my brother and his wonderful family. We did the race on the Sunday but for all intents and purposes this was a holiday. And Durban is the perfect place for a holiday.
It’s mid-winter in KZN… so shorts and t-shirts.
On the Saturday we went for the practice swim, and thank the gods for that because it took me a few goes to figure out how best to tackle the waves to get out to the first bouy. The waves were big. My first decision was that I would wear a cap underneath my race cap to keep my goggles on my face. Also swimming back in with big waves rolling in behind you. Never miss the swim practice.
If I may be so bold I would suggest the organizers have a squizz at this process as there was a 45 minute queue of swimmers waiting to register for the swim. I understand we’re being safe but surely there’s a quicker way!?
Anyway, went off to the race briefing, which as usual was informative and helpful. I was keen to get clarity around the “10 athletes every 5 seconds” swim start and all my concerns were quickly covered. Sitting out there in the sun I also became aware of how hot the afternoon would be during the run leg.
Racking the bikes and dropping transition bags was effortless and the referees standing around showed me the flow of entry and exit points for each transition. But there were SO MANY BIKES!!! It was, if anything, the sight of a sport that truly has stepped into the mainstream.
We took the kids to Wakkaberry and got a pasta dinner and had an early night. My awesome sister in law did the babysitting while the dads raced.
I checked my bike, back tyre was flattish. Someone knicked my brother’s bottle overnight – whatever. I checked my transition bags (100%) and made my way to the beach. We sang the anthem and then stood there for an hour before setting off. That hour was cool, I watched the waves and spent proper time figuring out my approach for the first 300metres
Sometimes I breached like a whale as the ocean disappeared underneath me mid-stroke but I swam well and after around 32 minutes turned the last bouy. I couldn’t see where we were supposed to be swimming toward to exit the swim (Thinking “Dammit, why haven’t they marked it better?” but obviously it was the swells) so I followed the crowd. Before long I realised we were in the middle of a natural disaster and that peoples caps/goggles had been washed off, people were being pulled in by lifeguards, I waited out the set as best I could and got in around 41 minutes.
Enter the ride. The first 70km are just heaven from Suncoast Casino to Sibaya & back. Flat, beautifully tarred road. Really allows for getting into the bars and pushing hard. Then once you’re back you turn around into the wind and ride 10km uphill. Those 10km sucked testicles. Not in a good way. Having said that at 80km you turn around and finish with the wind at your back and mostly downhill. I think I rode in around 3:40.
In my mind I broke the run down into 3 X 7km sections. The sea breeze helps. The flatness doesn’t. Some hills, even small, help mix up the muscle groups being used – there was none of that. It’s nice having the crowd on the promenade but not nice dodging them and asking them to move and stopping for kids, running (for me) is really about rythme and I found this issue very disruptive. At around 11km i was feeling particularly “Can this please just end” when I saw my daughter! It was so special, this little kid jumping up and down in her little dress screaming “RUN DADDY RUN!!! RUN SO FAST!!!” That’s why she wears the medal now 🙂
I ran in and that red carpet is sexy! I got my casual transition bag, my finisher shirt and my egg and mayo sandwhich. I ate the sandwhich next to a woman who was puking like the kids on the breakdancer rollercoaster in Problem Child. I didn’t flinch. Straight face.
We walked to bike check out. 45 minute queue. Now this is where I take exception. We’ve just done an endurance race and now we had to stand in the pen and wait for athletes to be processed one at a time on a faulty Dell laptop. Teething issues for a debut city, no doubt they’ll fix this up for next year. Anyway, I was wearing my medal and ready to go home 🙂
Closing note: Register for Durban 70.3 & make a holiday of it 😉