Cameron makes his comeback at Jailbreak

My Training Day had some great results at Jailbreak in December. We had 5 men in the top 10 overall finishers for the Minimum, which included 1st place by Kent and 2nd place by Cameron Schafer. Lorran Paxton came second lady overall for the Maximum. Kate Munnik finished second in her age group for the minimum as well as Riaan Shaw in his age group. Everyone did so well and did us all proud, despite the panic of a 'no wetsuit' swim!

Cameron gives us a quick run down of his comeback to triathlon the past few months which led him to that second place overall podium spot.

Its been 6 long years since I've been at the top of my game in the sport, not that I'm anywhere close yet. At the time I "retired" I was 19 years old - fit, lean, and fast. A win at Jailbreak in 2009 was my last race before the student life at Stellenbosch quickly took over. All real forms of training stopped and I quickly became the typical student. I got fat, started sleeping in late, and only felt like going to gym to train Chest & Bi's.

Fast-foward 6 years, and I found myself half way through studying my 2nd degree, and really really unfit. After seeing a mate race the triathlon at the Westcoast Warm Water Weekend in Langebaan, I soon realised that I missed the whole triathlon vibe. I wanted to be super fit and to feel that high of winning races again.

So in July I entered the Clanwilliam triathlon, and I started training slowly again. I could only manage a short 1hr workout each day (much the same as what's happening right now. Medicine is as intense as you'd think!). So I made sure it was a quality one.

I would swim twice a week, doing about 2km (either 15 x 100, or 20 x 75, or 30 x 50). I was also running twice a week. I would do 1 session of 8 x 400m and the other session would be a fast 10km. And then I would cycle 1-2x / wk as well. Doing a session of 4-5 x 2-8min intervals on the Watt bike, and then a 70km "long" ride on the weekend.

It didn't seem like much, but it did get me to a reasonable level of fitness, and I managed a 5th place at Clanwilliam.

After that, the triathlon bug had bit me again. I entered Jailbreak around the same time I was back in the southern suburbs whilst studying for Nov exams. I also spoke to Claire, and started joining the MTD group sessions again. What a difference that made! I basically doubled my training load, and I got super fit within a month of training (it really is so much easier to train in a group, especially when you have a group of people as cool as MTD).

On the day of Jailbreak I knew I would be up against the same guys who beat me at Clanwilliam, as well as this other guy...Kent Horner...When I arrived on race morning, the conditions were perfect! This saw the race turn into a non-wetsuit swim, so I knew it was going to be a tough one.

My race went really really well. I had a decent swim, 5th out the water and about 2mins back. My bike was always my strength back in the day and although I'm not quite the same strength yet, I still had a great cycle, riding into 3rd place off the bike, just 1min behind 2nd (and now 3min behind this Kent oke...).

After a solid transition and fast first 1km off the bike I quickly had 2nd place in my distant sights. This is the point where I started contemplating the rest of my race. After not having raced an Olympic distance race for 6yrs, I was feeling the hurt pretty bad. I was very happy with jogging out the rest of the run and settling for a 3rd place podium for my first real race back. But as I ran on, I saw I was gaining 5sec per km on 2nd place. The hunger grew, and my competitive drive kicked in. This guy had beaten me at Clanwilliam, and I couldn't let that happen again. So I pushed on and eventually caught him at the half way mark.

After that, there was so much support from all the other MTD guys on the course and I held on to come in 2nd overall. Kent, in an absolute class of his own, cruised the race to beat me by a good 3-4min. I was really happy with my result and super impressed by the whole MTD squad, having 5 of us in the top 10.

As for now, it's back to varsity, where I try to juggle becoming a doctor and my race plans up to June which include: WP & SA champs, 2 Oceans 21k, and Durban 70.3

Let's see how it goes!


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