“Courage, strength and power” and repeat…500 million times over a tough and testing 6h48 of the 70.3 half ironman. That’s what I kept focusing on and praying for. And now I sit with my medal securely tucked in my bag and can safely say I am a (half) ironman!
I have never had to dig so deep mentally and emotionally. Yes, I was FINISHED physically, but as someone told me before the race “the body is a slave to the mind”. So when you’ve committed 5 months to training for this one day, your mind is king and your body a mere puppet. Okay okay, it’s more than that but you get my drift.
To talk you through the day, we woke up at 4am, after a restless 4hour nap. Smothered ourselves in anti-chaff, double checked our kit and hit the buffet. All I could stomach was a bowl of future life and tea, but that’ll do. In transition area everyone was checking their equipment and getting ready. I kinda squeezed my tyres and checked my brakes, not really knowing what I was looking for. I was more just saying a little prayer…please don’t puncture. Please!
So we scuttle down to the beach and watch as the pros assemble at the waters edge. Then the first of many emotional events brings a tear to the eye- the national anthem sounds and covers our chaff-cream bodies in goosebumps. Helicopters overhead. And the nerves are tangible. The gun sounds and the pros are off.
My “team” do a little warm up dip and make our way to the start. Deep breath. This is real. This is happening. All I can feel is excitement. And I can’t help but smile, the biggest widest, toothiest grin. The smile continues through the swim which was a dream in lake-like water, however it develops into a grimace on the cycle 20km in when we hit the first tough hill. But it’s short lived and transformed back into a grin when I see my biggest fan at the half way point jumping and shouting for me…mom I love you 🙂 Then we’re back to a grimace…hit headwind and more hills on the way back. I’ve swallowed my 5th gu and trying hard to stick to my nutrition plan, but I’m feeling it now…fatigue! When I peddle into East London I’m absolutely elated that I’ve finished the cycle. My dad cheers me in which gives me such a boost and the run begins. Now this is where my mental state has to come alive. My legs are tired, my mind is all over the show taking it all in. We hit bunkers hill and I have to walk it. It’s not too steep just a long bitch of an incline 4/5km in. After having to really focus on keeping the legs moving it’s all over. I hear the commentator say my name! I’m one of those overboard dramatic people, throwing up my arms. You’d swear I’d won. But I’m beyond caring. I’ve done it, I’ve conquered and I am an IRONMAN (half) 😉