It is with mixed feelings that I write this race report. One the one hand I am very grateful and happy to have finished the race and set a new PB by 12 minutes but on the other hand I am disappointed in not achieving the goal I set for myself.
With every Ironman I learn something to do differently or things I will do the same than the year before. One thing I won't do next time is set a big target for myself. I wanted to qualify for Kona as my main goal and finish in the top three in my age group. At the end I was so tensed about it that it affected my whole race.
The whole week I was restless and not sleeping well including the night before, not good.
Well this is how the day went, sorry for the long post but the race report is one post and not like Kona in three parts.
On race morning everything went according to plan with no mishaps or hick ups. It was very chilly and getting in the water was actually nice and warm.
When the race director announced before the race start that the sea is very rough and choppy and the life savers will on their discretion take people out of the water when they see that you are struggling and are in danger I pissed myself.
This made me so scared as you know I am not the best swimmer there is. The director was right the sea was very rough and getting through the surf was hectic. The whole swim was just hard work and it felt as if I was in a washing machine getting tossed around and I swallowed sea water with every second breath.
When I finished my first lap I saw 34 odd minutes and was so happy, that just gave me that lift to push hard on the second lap. Swim time was 1h09:38 a PB on the swim by 6 minutes and that in less than perfect conditions.
Getting into T1 was quick but could have been faster as I struggled to get my wet suit off. Eventually I got going and was out in 2:40.
As soon as I was on the bike I felt so Nassea's. I pulled a Norman Stadler ( as shown in Kona braodcast where he puked on bike) on myself during the first 5 kilometers of the bike. I was puking sea water all the way, no food or drinks just pure sea water. First time this happened to me. It was terrible and as soon as I wanted to get into a rhythm I just started to puke. I puked close to 2 liters of sea water and that's an understatement..
When this eventually settled my throat was so sore and felt tight. I was scared to drink something never mind eating. At about the 10km mark I started taking in fluids. I think this would be my down fall during the run as I cramped a lot on the run and I think not hydrating from the start and enough on bike was the problem.
The bike was hard and my worse night mare came true with a NE wind blowing. It was not strong but it made cycling hard. The last 20km of each lap which is suppose to be the part where you can fly was now the part where I needed to work hard to get to the end of the loop.
My bike splits was constant with my first lap 1h41:41, second lap 1h42:33 but i faded on the last lap finishing it in 1h47:42. Total time for bike 5h11:24. My bike was 9 minutes slower than last year but considering the conditions I am happy.
T2 was good in a time of 1:52.
My run started good and I followed the run/walk technique again. It went super until the 18km mark and I could maintain a 4:45min/km pace. From 18km to 23km I was still maintaining the pace but could feel cramps coming and that it will be coming big time.
From 23km to 32km I could still manage 5min/km but was cramping a lot. As soon as I wanted to up the pace I cramped and had to slow down. With 10km to go I wanted to quit and was so close on more than one occasion. The last 10km was the toughest run I EVER experienced.
I was now cramping everywhere and was running(shuffeling) just to keep the motion, no pace setting. From 23km onwards I changed my run/walk strategy to 10minutes run with 45 seconds walk instead of 30 seconds walk.
Picture above is when the wheels came off including the spare wheel (o' wait the wheels were never on).
From 32 kilometers I was still running(shuffling) 10 minutes but was now walking 1 minute with every walk interval. With 5 kilometers to go I passed two athletes in my age group and this inspired me from walking the last 5km and just forced myself to keep running.
At the end of the day I am most disappointed in my run. I worked really hard during traning to run a 3h30 marathon and up to 23km it was possible.
I finished in a time of 10h10:13 and was so disappointed in not finishing Sub 10, something I want so bad, maybe next time.
When I entered the finish line I saw no one close behind me and started to walk and savour the moment. I saw the family next to the finish and High Five them as I finished. After the finish I went for a massage and was still fine. As soon as I walked away from the massage tent I got the shivers and was shaking all over.
I met the family in the family area but was so cold. A medical staff member saw me and took me to the medical tent. They took my temperature and it was 34c. They covered me with space blankets and other blankets and gave me hot food and Coffee. They took my blood pressure a few times and was monitoring my temperature. It took a long time before it was starting to climb.
Eventually it was getting better and they released me after my temperature was back at 36.5c.
This was the worst ever I felt after an IM and will take a long time to recover.
My finish time of 10h10:13 placed me 8th in my age group( 1 position better than last year), and the 4th South African in my group. There was a lot of strong international athletes and if I want to qualify for Kona I need to choose a race abroad with more slots.
With only 26 age group slots at IMSA and now with all these international athlets IMSA will be one of the more difficult races in future to get a slot to Kona.
Thank you to everybody who were following my progress online and for all the messages. I appreciate it so much. Just thinking of all the people waiting for me to finish kept me from quiting at 32km on the run.