IM 70.3 Durban Race Report
For the experience…
Life is so full of opportunity to dream, to experience, to live. Often we have to sacrifice certain experiences to make other dreams real but I find it important to make the opportunities to occasionally forget the responsibilities of every day and just do things for no other reason than for the experience of living my best life.
About a year after I started running I discovered, whilst reading Modern Athlete, the most intimidation and exhilarating event I had ever heard of. I can remember reading the article paying careful attention to ever detail as the excitement of visualizing myself completing such a daunting challenge grew. It seemed like complete madness to swim over three 3km’s, bike 180km and then complete a marathon all in succession. The extremity of it, the idea of making what should be impossible real, drew me to it and I knew that one day I would dare to tri.
That “one day” has not yet arrived but a small stepping-stone in that direction was laid down when I decided to do the IM70.3 Durban event in June. The timing of the IM70.3 Durban was perfect as it fell within my down time after Comrades. Slightly scared and extremely excited I entered the race and added some of the most spectacular memories to my growing list of life experience.
My family remains my number one priority and I am so grateful to them for sharing my passions and making my life experiences a family occasion. We included one of my favourite people, Claudia Hazlewood, in the family for the weekend and began the road trip to Durban. The road tripping, the laughs, the selfies and the arrival in Durban to the buzz of energy as athletes swarmed into the Iron Man community – A community with such passion and such a love of living and training. I encountered some of the most incredible athletes but more importantly I encountered some of the most incredible people. Some I knew from my current training circles, some I knew from other interactions in life and some I now know because I met them in our shared passion to do something great. The IM community is one that I am proud to have become a part of.
But after arrival it was down to serious business. Leading up to race day I learnt some thoroughly important life skills, like getting into a wetsuit and how to navigate through a transition area. I learnt to swim in the ocean and how much “stuff” you need to carry when you are doing three sports in one day!
On race day we got up early and went to the transition area to pack our 32GI Endure drinks and 32GI gels and to make sure our bikes were ready. The buzz of excitement was suddenly turned into stunned silence when an announcement was made that the swim had been cancelled due to safety reasons.
Disappointment and shock was evident on every athletes face and I felt a void within myself at the idea of missing out on my first triathlon, which had now been downgraded to a duathlon or IM69.1. We sadly walked to the promenade to watch the elites swim before we could move to the transition area to begin our race with the 90km bike.
As we watched the ocean, despite the disappointment, it was clearly evident that the race organisers had made the correct decision. The sea was insanely rough and watching the elites, the best of the best, struggle in the riptide was frightening.
As we moved back to the transition area the disappointment was forgotten and the race was on. Excitement and positivity exuded from each participant as we began our journey.
Initially I felt a bit scared starting the bike as I hadn’t adequately prepared for the cycle and was unfamiliar with the bicycle I had borrowed from a friend of a friend a week earlier. But with the absence of drafting I found it easy to get comfortable and find a rhythm. It was amazing. The wind in my face, the ocean next to me, thousands of incredible athletes around me. What a feeling. The energy and the vibe consumed me and I could feel it translate into power with every pedal stroke. I have never enjoyed cycling as much as I did at that moment. I felt free and I was flying, soaring, living.
After the bike the most bizarre thing happened. I climbed off the bicycle before entering the transition area and my legs were not my legs. The most crazy feeling I have ever felt. I was telling them to run and they were jelly. I somehow got my bike onto the rack and headed to the transition tent. After changing into my running gear (apparently I took far too long to do this – the learning curve!), I still had jelly legs heading out onto the promenade for the run. My own legs returned to me after about 3km. The run was obviously far more natural to me than the cycling and I could really relax and just take in the vibe. Running in a loop with the other triathletes and the fantastic crowd support completed the experience for me and after I crossed the finish line I knew that triathlon had become a part of my life and I would be back to complete the full event (Both in terms the swim and the full IM 😉
What a fantastic experience. I am so grateful to my family and my friend Claudia for the great memories. A special thank you to Isuzu Trucks for including me in your team, Speedo for assisting me with my wetsuit and other swimming gear and the friend of my friend Candice Attree who lent me such an amazing bike for the cycle.
As I experience life my life becomes more complete and my desire to live each day grows. I cherish these moments and dream to experience more. I dream, I experience, I live.