Durban 70.3 Ironman, the last chance to qualify in South Africa for 70.3 World Champs in September. Arriving at the start line fitter than the previous race of the year and more experienced. The lead up to race went as well as it could’ve gone with a few curve balls thrown in as usual. The race plan was written and all that was left to do was to perform on the day.
Race day arrived and bike check was completed and bags all racked. Heading down to the swim start we were greeted with an amazing sunrise from the beach setting the tone for the rest of the day.
The swim start did not go as planned as the sub 30 pen had been closed early so we ended up having to work our way through the other pens and get as close to the front as possible. This meant swimming 1.9km on my own around all the swimmers who don’t know how to seed themselves properly. Once in the water it was time to put my head down and get down to the task at hand. Navigating my way around the course through the swimmers and back to the beach.
Time to wake up the legs and run to the start of the second longest T1 to fetch the bike and get onto the promenade. Now it was time for a fast and flat 90km’s on the bike, having the first 3km’s as a neutral zone made it easy to get comfortable and ready to put the hammer down on the highway. Feeling fresh and ready to go I started to get into a rhythm and make up some time.
Soon I realised I was maybe pushing just a little bit too hard too early on in the bike and dropped back a little to save the legs for the headwind that we were going to have to deal with on the way back into town. Coming from the Cape this route was very flat although it had a few ups it was nothing we weren’t used to riding back home. The way out to the far turnaround provided us with a slight tailwind and a light headwind on the way back to town, once again nothing we weren’t used to riding in back home. As the day progressed the wind picked up on the bike course. Coming back into town it was time to start thinking about the run coming up and executing the plan.
The first few steps off the bike are generally a good indicator as to how the legs are feeling. As I headed to fetch my run bag I saw Dylan Pivo leaving T2, becoming my target for the run. I had the pacing and off I went to close the gap to Dylan, making sure to keep to my race plan and not start too fast. Shortly thereafter I developed a stitch, this meant I had to slow down and get my breathing under control. Eventually I was able to get back into my stride but the legs were not there and it became a complete ‘sufferfest’ for the remaining Km’s.
In the end not a terrible day out on the course but also not my best. Plenty of positives to take from the race. Will take the result and use the winter months to hopefully come back even stronger and fitter for the next one. Thank you to all those that have been so supportive and Claire for getting me to the start line in the best possible shape to give the race a proper go. Onwards and Upwards!!