Updated: Apr 2, 2021
Yes, I am…By Robyn Louw 5/22/2018 0 Comments So it’s been a few weeks since Ironman South Africa 2018. Yes, I am an Ironman. I must say that I have been so de-motivated to get back into the swing of things and back to training that I almost can’t even remember doing the race!
So in an effort to get some mojo back, here’s a little about my race journey: April 15th 2018 marked my second Full Ironman race. What a fabulous day it was indeed! My race weekend started out like every other event: We got to PE on the Friday; went straight to registration and strolled through the expo (trying not to buy unnecessary crap). We then checked into our B&B, unpacked our bags and washed the bikes. We do always make an effort to stay a block or so away from the race venue as things get very loud and there’s too much excitement.
Saturday mornings are always reserved for our legendary team warm-up. This is my favourite part of the weekend! I got to, once again, dust off my camera and shot some awesome pics of the team. Everyone was buzzing and the excitement was tangible. The nerves started to kick in once the practice swim was over and
everyone headed their separate ways to prepare in their own head spaces. Time to put up the legs; have a good meal and an early night. Sunday…the alarm was set for 4am. The time between that alarm going off and the starting canon is my absolute worst! I hate that feeling of anticipation. As always on race day I had to force down my breakfast. The loo visits were regular until we left at 5am to get to transition. Everything was organised and ready (thanks to my obsessive compulsive disorder) and I exited transition in search of my teammates. I bid my hubby good luck and he went off to find his spot on the start-line right behind the pros. Thank goodness I found Lucie and the team. I always have a little cry before we head down to the beach, a big day of racing lay ahead and I can just never seem to keep it in. Now let me put this into perspective for you guys: NO, I am not a swimmer; NO, I am not a cyclist and HELL NO, I am not a runner. I was never an athlete but I was always an active person. I played netball throughout my school career and danced from the age of 3. I started triathlon at the age of 27 having never (EVER) done any swimming in my life! I literally started in the pool doing 25mtrs and stopping for 5 minutes to catch my breath. I walked onto the beach with a few of my teammates, I dread standing there alone so I always ensure my friends are nearby! Having someone next to you just helps with the nerves… When we finally hit the water every butterfly that was wreaking havoc in my stomach flew away and I was instantly in a comfortable place. The water was magical that day and I loved every single stroke through the waves. I am so happy with my 1hr09 swim (even though I ended up swimming 4,4km instead of 3,8)! This was an improvement of over 10 minutes from the previous years race.
Transition one was smooth and I finally got onto my favourite part of the race: the 180km cycle. This must be one of the most beautiful bike courses in the world! You are constantly surrounded by the beauty of the sea and crashing waves! I loved every second of the bike even though the wind picked up remarkably about half way through. My bike time was 5hr47 and again, I was very happy considering the conditions. Anything under 6 hours is good for me! Transition two again was smooth and I knew my work was cut out for me going into the next leg of the race.
The part of the race I struggle with the most is the run. 42.2kms is not an easy feat when you are 7 hours into your race. I started happily at 5:30m/km for the first 10kms and then the pawpaw hit the fan. No matter how much you tell yourself that you are going to push through and ignore the pain in your legs… when you’re out there on the day everything falls apart and the agony just sets in. I dropped my pace to about 6m/km and tried to hold that – walking the aid stations- but this too didn’t last. I ended up finishing my marathon in a time of 4hr30 at an average pace of 6:30m/km.
Crossing that finish-line is euphoric and it instantly makes you forget about the almost 12hrs of racing you just did! I love the red carpet! The crowd and the announcer make you feel like a hero. And then of course I get to fall into my husband’s arms, moan about how tired I am and get a hug from my coach. My official race time was 11:45. I am ecstatic at my improvement of 23mins but would’ve loved to be able to push that run a little harder (says everyone always)!
I end off my little write-up with a huge gratitude going out to my loving husband who understands and supports my every effort of self-improvement. He is an athlete on another level and I appreciate that he tolerates the “not so very fast” version of me. Thanks to my most amazing family who always make an effort to come to the events and support, not only me, but every Trifactri member! To my teammates and training buddies, obviously this would be a very lonely and boring journey without every single one of you! Coach, you continue to inspire me every time I see you. Your constant faith in me is unmeasurable and I am forever grateful to you for your support and guidance!
YES, I AM… A TRIATHLETE AND HELL YES, I AM… AN IRONMAN!