Our July newsletter is dedicated to our athletes who took on the challenge of Ironman Durban 70.3. Here are some of their stories and tips which I hope will inspire you to take the plunge and enter your next big race. After all, what are you waiting for!
ALMARI DE MILANDER
I've been doing triathlons for a couple of years now but have until very recently not aspired to do a longer distance such as 70.3. I enjoy the speed of the olympic distances and as a mom of 5 I do not often have time to train for longer than 2 hours at a time.
At the beginning of this year I started wondering what all the hype was about. Having had a reasonably good season so far I started reading up on the 70.3 race and started seriously considering it. Durban seemed a natural choice as it would give me a little more time to prepare. I downloaded a training program from the internet to see what the training involved. From that I learned that I only needed to add a few longer rides/runs over weekends to my existing training.
So I entered, and started putting in the extra hours to get race ready. I learnt some new skills, such as stretching during a ride to prevent stiffness and cramps. And I spoke to everyone who knew anything about endurance racing.
Finally it was time to go to Durban. I was excited and tense. I tapered and became more so. After having put in all the hours of hard work I was worried that something would go wrong to spoil it all. I wanted to aim for sub 6 hours but knew that there were quite a lot of factors out of my control that could affect that. I prepared for everything. Even practiced changing my tyres in under 5 minutes so that a flat tyre wouldn't spoil my race.
The registration, expo and race briefing was bigger than anything I had experienced before. Bike racking the day before the race was also new and daunting. Everything had to be planned and ready.
Then finally race day dawned. The weather was perfect. I arrived at T1 in the dusk and checked my bike for the last time. Ready, steady.... Put on my wetsuit and dropped off my streetwear bag.
The self-seeded swim start was new to me and I loved it! No stampede, and swimming with people that swim the same pace as you definitely made life easier.
Go! The swim was awesome. Warm water, great conditions, everything just came together and as I ran out the water I was so happy to see my swim time. It is a long first transition as there are thousands of bikes and it is a long run on cycling shoes. But soon we were on our bikes and out of the control zone.
The beautiful scenery and rolling hills made the ride a great one. I had made a plan with regards to nutrition, heart rate and pace and just stuck to it. By the time I had to leave my bike in T2 I was feeling very excited. My dream of a sub 6 hour race was becoming a reality.
All that was left for me to do was to run the 21kms in under 2 hours. So I chose a pace that I knew I could maintain for 2 hours. Not my fastest race pace, but a good comfortable one. Time seemed to pass slowly but I kept my mind busy looking at athletes around me and enjoying the atmosphere. While I enjoyed the swim and the bike, I had to dig deep and just do the run. Finally it was time to run my last two kms. I was so happy to be almost done that I sprinted the last bit!
It was an awesome feeling to cross the finish line. Months of hard work were rewarded when I looked down to stop my watch at 5:44! It was a surreal feeling to finally be able to allow myself the luxury of standing still.
To those aiming for their first 70.3 race:
Make sure you can ride the distance on your own and not only in someone else's slip. Practice running on tired legs. Take in enough proteins and liquids on the ride so that you don't cramp on the run. This race is a mind game. Make sure that you know yourself and what you want to achieve. Because you are on your own you will have to be able to motivate and pace yourself.
And finally, enjoy it!! That is what it is all about.
2017 My biggest sporting year ever!! What an amazing sport, triathlon is. I always thought, if I get the change to do this, I would love it. The multi disciplines is what does it for me. This sport learns you so much about commitment, discipline, your inner and physical strength. It’s not about finding you limits. It’s about finding out what lies just beyond them.
Doing 3 IM races in my first IM year, was probably a bit of an eager beaver decision. But, feeling so blessed by the dear Lord to be able to say I finished all 3! I DID IT!!! I’ve learned! Never ever think you cannot do it. Your’re much stronger and braver than you think! No matter if you’ve never done sport in your life or cannot swim. Persistence gives “perfection”. Doesn’t matter if it your first or last! It’s a race against yourself. Look in the mirror and you will see your competition. Be strong!!! You never know who you might inspire.
Few Lessons that I've learnt so far. Never buy new apparal before an event. Expo's very tempting! Trying to put on compression sleeves after your swim. Tied arms, wet legs, doesn’t work. Put them on before swim. Do not use nutrition that you did not train with. Get enough sleep during race week. (don’t worry no one sleeps good pre-race night.)
Rest those legs, on day prior to race day.
Don’t forget to thank the dear Lord for being able to do what you do and have FUN!!!
Special thanks to my awesome Coach Camm van Rensburg, Embark training group, to all my loving family, awesome friends and training buddies. You were/are my inspiration and support structure
"She turned her cant’s into cans and dreams into plans"
We all have one thing in common - we enter a race and want to finish it, but what happens between entering and crossing the finish line is a very personal journey with sometimes very different goals.
I don't like giving advice, because our goals can be so different, but I can share what made me smile and reach my personal goals...
* Get a coach!!!
*Trust your coach!!!
*Do as many open water and sea swims as possible
*Train with people stronger than you
*Sometimes train alone
*Visualize your race
*Go to the After party!!!!!!
At the beginning of the year, my goal was to complete the African Tour Series of Ironman events, namely Buffalo City 70.3 (EL) in January 2017, Ironman South African championship PE in April 2017 and the last one Durban 70.3 in June 2017. A full programme of events in between the main goal, the year started pretty well, completing the first 2 Ironman events, with experience built and lessons learned.
The last event to reach this goal was Durban 70.3 on 18 June 2017, but on Saturday 6 May 2017, all this almost came crashing down. I was out training on my TT-bicycle and just over 2 hours into my ride outside Stellenbosch a car stopped inside the yellow line and I went into the back of it, taking out his back window with my head and chin. In an instant everything that I have worked for flashed past me with thoughts that I won’t be able to complete the goal.
Comrades marathon was 4 weeks away and Durban 70.3 was 6 weeks out. And in that previous week I also received confirmation that I made the Western Province team for SA Long Distance Duathlon Champs on 2nd July 2017. So to say that I was devastated about what just happened with the car incident is an understatement. BUT by the Grace of God I managed to walk away from it without broken bones. Only a badly cut chin, which still has a piece of glass in it, concussion and badly bruised knees and thigh. Unfortunately the bicycle wasn’t so lucky and was a write-off. (L)
The next 2 – 3 weeks was all about taking care of my knees and getting them better without putting too much strain on them. An absolute blessing was that I could finish the Comrades marathon on 4 June 2017, 4 weeks after the incident.
Final hurdle in completing the African series was before me, just 2 weeks after the Comrades marathon I headed to Durban to face the moment of truth and take on Durban 70.3. Preparation wasn’t ideal and I was going to tackle it on my road bicycle, which made the challenge even more interesting. With so much that had happened, a lot of excuses could be made, but I decided to have none of it and NO excuses.
Blessed to be alive and competing, the day started with a beautiful swim in a warm Durban ocean and amazing conditions. The swim is by far my weakest discipline, but on the day I had one of my better swims at just over 34min for the 1.9k swim.
Heading out on the bike leg I knew that this is where I would want to push it the hardest, as I wasn’t sure how my legs and knees will hold up on the 21km run that follows. When it comes to bike, I stand by the I AM TRUE initiative of Ironman SA, with no drafting allowed. Being on my road bike was a new challenge that I welcomed and did the best I could, fading on the last 10km on the bike I managed to ride a time of 2hrs 39min.
I started the run with one thing on my mind, to start conservative and if nothing else, at least try and keep the pace constant. NOT my best run by far, but one which I am the most proud of, as I managed to drag myself with a constant pace per km to finish with a run of 1hr 45min. The best I could do on the day, considering everything that had happened in the weeks leading up to this moment. The goal of completing the African Tour Series was a reality and emotions were high at the finish and when I received my Tour medal.
Hoping my story will not only encourage fellow athletes, but people from all walks of life, that no matter what life throws at you, you are capable of so much more and never give up on your dreams!
My personal strength and perseverance comes from knowing where my strength comes from, and that is from God.
Without Him I won’t be able to do what I love! PHIL4:13 - I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me!
JANINE (AKA JANN) BROWN
I completed my first Ironman 70.3 in Durban on Sunday with the total experience of 1 completed Xterra Lite triathlon and a DNF in the Woolies Tri due to a panic attack in the water. It was an over-whelming experience especially since I only learnt to swim in October 2016, at an age of 61 and with panic attacks, even in the swimming pool. The Durban practice swim on the Saturday felt really rough although my team members thought conditions were "not too bad".
Sunday conditions though were absolutely perfect, only one wave to dive through and then beautiful, warm flat water. The swim transition was a 'bun-fight'- very crowded and frantic. The bikes were spread out over a 700m distance so there was a very long run in wet, sandy socks to the start of the bike leg. A very different experience from what I was expecting. The bike route turned out to be a little harder than expected as the road was undulating and there was a headwind on the return. The run transition was much better - actually got to sit on a chair and change. The run route was flat but very busy with dogs, kids and spectators for the S A Surfing Champs which was on the route too. The water points were great, the spectators very encouraging and the weather perfect.
It is hard not getting emotional when your foot hits the red carpet, wanting the experience to go on forever but longing to just kick the shoes off. I had so much support from the Embark team and was really surprised to hear that I had won my age category and was entitled to a World Champs entry in both USA for 2017 and PE in 2018. The slots were awarded at 5pm in an atmosphere which resembled a lottery draw with lots of cheers and excitement.
So after a week rest, the training and planning will have to start. An amazing opportunity to compete in World Champs in September 2018. I have so much to learn, a lot of saving to do but an exciting 15 months ahead. None of this would have happened if it had not been for Camm's and Petro's help with the swimming and the support of my Embark team.
Appeal: In order to take up a slot for World Champs, the entry cost must be paid immediately. With such short notice to find the funds, the Embark group helped Jan to cover the cost of the slot in order that she would have time to work it back into her budget. The entry fee alone for World Champs is R6100. The Embark group have called on all Embarkers to contribute to “Tannie” Jann’s World Champ journey. This includes financial support for her flight, accommodation, training gear for the next year (running shoes etc.).
If any CMC athletes would like to make a contribution to support one of our club member’s World Champs dream, no contribution is too small, you are welcome to contact Camm van Rensburg on +27 (0) 83 630 3869 or email email@example.com.
I had so much fun from the swim to bike (extremely long transition) to run never knowing I will feel this way crossing the finish line with all this emotions and pain.
My tip to everyone is prep your gear you don't want to be frustrated in the swim leg with leaking googles from the start.
Test everything and yes stick with that and in the end trust your body you trained hard and long and your body can handle it.
Big thanks to Sailfish and Elliptigo for your support.
You can order your club apparel from Estelle Kock. Kit available includes triathlon top, buff, arm warmers, cycling top, running top and gilets.
Upcoming Events -July
|1 July||Timber City Spookhill 15km Challenge|
|1 July||Groot Vadersbosch Trail Run (2 days)|
|2 July||PPA Cyclo Sportif #2 (road cycling)|
|2 July||Dirtopia All Mountain Enduro- Welvanpas Trails|
|8 July||Eersterivier 15km Run/Walk|
|8 July||Knysna Cycle Tour MTB 80km/50km/30km/15km|
|9 July||Knysna Cycle Tour Road Bike event 115km/50km|
|9 July||Knysna Forest Dam MTB Ride|
|9 July||Wine Adventure Trail Run - Warwick|
|9 July||Lourensford Market Trail Run|
|11 July||Salomon Featherbed Trail Run|
|15 July||Easterns 15km Run|
|15 July||Knysna Forest Marathon/Half Marathon|
|15 July||Salomon Bastille Day Trail Run|
|16 July||Houtkapper Trail Run|
|22 July||Cape Town Festival of Running Ultras and team relays|
|23 July||Spur Cape Winter Trail Series #1|
|23 July||Cape Town Festival of Running Half Marathon|
|23 July||Gluhwein Trail Run - Delheim|
|29 July||Merrell Whale of a Trail – De Hoop Collection|
|30 July||Spur Cape Winter Trail Series #2|
|30 July||McKenna Scott Pinelands 10km|
Yours in fitness
Julia le Roux