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And just like that January is gone!

I hope your New Year goals and resolutions are still intact.

IM70.3 East London is still in the legs for most – super well done to all who took part.

Here are a few pics:

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Marlize Laurie did her very first 70.3 race and she shares her experience with us:

As a runner, I always had a lot of respect for Triathletes. I liked being a supporter. Taking photos was my thing. I still don't see myself as a tri-athlete and I still have the greatest respect for every person who is one.

That all changed last year while training for Two Oceans & Comrades when I developed ITB in both my knees! I made the decision to run both. I managed to complete both of them but with great discomfort and pain. My husband, Morne, ran the Comrades with me to support me and even though I felt I wasted his time and wanted to stop, he still encouraged me to finish.

That's where everything started with triathlons in my life. I rested after Comrades for about 4 months until I was encouraged to do IRONMAN 70.3 Buffalo City East London. Of course, again, it was my husband who believed in me more than I believed in myself. The day the payment was made, I knew there was no turning back. I wasn’t ready to train with a coach because I felt very insecure.  My husband started to be my 'private coach'. I was very blessed to have him as part of my new journey. Believe me, he made sure that my daily program was followed and that I did not skip any training days.

My training program mostly consisted of 6 days a week with two exercises per day. One day cycling and swimming, and the next day, cycling and running with long bikes on Saturdays and long runs on Sundays. My first open water swim did not go as planned. For the first 2 weeks, I panicked and I thought to myself that I was wasting my husband’s time.  I could barely swim 600m. Swimming in a pool wasn't a problem. I had a fear of open water! Gradually, things came together and I started attending Clifton's 1SOMS. It was an awesome feeling and I can honestly say I really started enjoying swimming.

And so the 27th of January 2019 arrived! Ready or not, here I go! Luckily the weather played along, but unfortunately the wind wanted to show who was boss!

To stand among all the other swimmers and see that they were just as nervous as I was, I realised that it was normal. The sea was rough but I was not too stressed about it. I changed my technique a few times while watching the other swimmers. "Jog to the water, walk a few meters and then start to swim", I told myself. I also decided to have a relaxed swim. It was with a restful heart that I could enjoy swimming. I was still scared of some waves but I just kept swimming. I was grateful for the waves that helped me move forward but also realized that you still have to swim and sight in the right direction. One can go off course quite quickly. The end was in sight and I could swim out of the sea with a smile.

The bike was a challenge for me. I heard all the time to remember that after each hill was a nice long downhill. Don't stress too much because if you get halfway it's all downhill from there. Yes, right!! When I got to 10km I thought to myself, “Are you serious now!” It felt like 20km. Three bikes crashed in front of me and I could only pray that it would not happen to me. The further I cycled, the better I started feeling and I could start enjoying it for the first time. The support along the way was quiet but every time you passed people the spirit was fantastic! The climbs were hard. It was an absolute treat if you had a flat road or a downhill. At the 45km mark I was worried about my time and I thought to myself that I would have to step up my game the 2nd half. Unfortunately, I met my best friend, the wind. I held on to my bike and just hoped that I would not be blown off the bike. At the water points, the spirit was an absolute boost.  Everything that was given to us, water, energy drinks, etc. was cold and it was definitely something to look forward to. When I got to the 70 km mark, I realized that this adventure was almost over. The last 10km was like a dream. I enjoyed the last kilometres as I realized that it was almost over and that I just needed to finish the 21km run.

My legs were tired after the bike when I started with the 21km run. I could just pray that I would be able to finish the run. I also watched other people on how they planned their run out of the transition area. Some of them started running immediately, but there were people who walked.

The first part of the run was fairly flat and you could plan your run. My legs felt like jelly. While running around the beacon on the pier you were passing the ‘red carpet’ where people were finishing and all that went through your mind was that you still needed to run another loop.  Not fair!!  Lol!!

The first few kilometres of the run were a learning phase. Don't run too fast. Be comfortable with your speed. Until you realize that Bunkers Hill is still ahead of you. You get a technique to run and you try to stick to the plan. The support from total strangers was amazing and those shouting out your name definitely motivated you to keep going.  Reaching the Wimpy building was amazing.  No, I wasn't hungry. Lol! It meant the end was in sight. I realized I had finished the IRONMAN 70.3. Something I never thought I'd do. All the training was worth it.

What an amazing experience it was. This is all thanks to my husband who believed in me. A lesson I learned was that despite suffering from ITB, I do not have to sit down and feel sorry for myself. There is always a new challenge out there to keep you motivated.

Does this make me an IRONMAN?  Only halfway! I will have to dig deep to become a full Ironman athlete. I now have even more respect for those who can call themselves an IRONMAN.  A lot of hours & sweat goes into their training. Who knows, if everything goes well it will be my challenge next year. For now, I'm just blessed to tick Buffalo City off on my bucket list!

Awesome Marlize!

ITU is on Sunday, 9 Feb – Good Luck to all racing!

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Please have a look at the calendar and see where you can get involved – we need hosts for weekend sessions as well as gazebo hosts at events.  We alternate swim times over weekends to try and accommodate different training programs.  Running and cycling groups usually train early mornings.

Peeps who swim at the dam love it.  The water is NOT cold, promise. Confident swimmers swim without wetsuit, especially with races like Cape Mile and Xterra coming up soon. If you would like to join, but still a bit unsure, don’t let it hold you back – we have had many “First Time Open Water” celebrations!

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New Tri-tops and Tri-suits coming soon! Contact me for fitting, cost, etc.

Robben Island Crossing News – If you have not done a qualifier swim yet, please plan to do one! The next swims to do so:

  • 21 March – Human Rights Day Swim
  • 24 March – Shipwrecked Swim

Happy Training Everyone!

Elmaree Stapelberg

Triathlon Captain


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By Estelle / Administrator on Feb 04, 2019

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