​Walking onto the beach on race morning, you can just spot the swimmers. They’re an elite bunch. It’s like they smoothly and confidently stride towards the sub 30min self-seeding board with their wide shoulders, narrow waists, unusually webbed feet and mirrored goggles firmly secured by a second swimming cap. *Shivers up my spine*. 
I envy them so much because the rest of us are standing there (and I speak for myself here) looking at our feet, scared of making eye contact just in case someone spots the utter fear in our eyes as we gather at the back of the first wave (brave), worried that someone is going to point and shout “Fraud!! You can’t swim…you can’t even tumble turn properly!”

Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration but it’s very close to the drama playing out in my head as I stand waiting for the start with the man behind me seriously, uncomfortably close…Dude, I know you’re excited to race…

I don’t usually write blogs giving a blow by blow account of my race but here goes…
I felt like I swam like Kim Dovey but as I exited the water and looked at my watch I was disappointed with my 35min+ swim. Bleg! But I put that behind me and confidently hit the run…and by run I mean Transition 1. A long 800m run just to find my precious bicycle. One of the biggest challenges in a longer race is to keep your head and not lose it on the bike. I always remind myself that the race is far from over and that it’s always make or break on the run. So I stayed steady (my favourite word besides steady) and found that I got stronger as the ride progressed. I was 13th out of the water in my age group but managed to work my way to 2nd place by transition 2.

And this is where the fun began. I hadn’t raced since October 2016 and I’d done a LOT of slow, aerobic training with Helen for both Ironman 70.3 Buffalo City as well as Ironman Nelson Mandela Bay. The weeks after Ironman were spent working on power and speed and I had worked particularly hard on my run speed. So, going into the race I was really looking forward to testing my run. I did the loop out to Ushaka and back and saw Kim and Lucie for the first time. That’s when they told me that I had started the run 3 minutes behind the first place lady and that according to the race predictor and the speeds that we were both running, I would lose by 30 seconds! I have not raced like that in a long time. Marisa Ferraris (in 1st place) came out of nowhere like an Italian sports car. I was like the Jack Russel chasing the car down the road! At 18km the predictor said I would lose by 10secs…Lucie ran next to me and said, “Now you’ve got to run.” And I did, passing Marisa just before the red carpet. She had such a good race in all 3 disciplines and it was an awesome tussle between the two of us…much respect.

I know I always go “deep” in my blogs but seriously people, I can’t explain in words what triathlon has brought to my life. (But I’ll say it again anyway  ) Not all of us compete to win, but I am lucky enough that I stand on the start line as a contender for a podium. If it wasn’t for triathlon and the way the competition is structured where we (and let’s not kid ourselves) compete in 5 year age groups, I wouldn’t get to be so competitive. (I’d only come 7th lol!!) I will be fifty next year and how many of us get to participate in a sport and experience the thrill of competing and racing and sometimes winning after the age of 40. I continue to be so grateful for this. I am inspired by the incredible young talented ladies out there; Jade, Gabriella, Lauren to name a few. I am inspired by Kelly, in her forties coming 3rd, I am inspired by my teammates, I am inspired by one of my athletes that finished in 7hrs59, I am inspired by each athlete that achieved a personal goal. Let’s keep on doing what we’re doing…!

My athlete Jeanne and I enjoying qualifying for Worlds next year – just a little reward for our efforts

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