Durban ultra is renowned for its hot and humid conditions that test the theory of “survival of the most hydrated”.
And this year was no different...
After a night of what felt like no sleep, due to a bad case of ‘pre-race nerves’ ,we woke up to a downpour of tropical rain...
But the show must go on..So it was the usual process of: Force down breakfast, pack the last few things and head down to the start.
The water was so warm that it was a non-wetsuit (compulsory) swim, which was a bit of a curve ball as I quite enjoy some extra buoyancy, not being a natural Phelps and all.
The swim was made even more interesting by the fact that there were only 3 buoys out on the 1.9km swim course- ie if you didn’t have binoculars on you, you were in for the ultimate test of sighting.- and I think I failed quite badly!
Coming out the water 4/5minutes behind the leading lady was not what I had planned so on I went, scrambling on helmet, glasses etc.
On to the bike leg... time to push wooden pedal as coach would say! But... it happened to be one of those days where my legs had other plans and 3km into the bike I had some real demons creeping into my mind, making me question how I will complete this race?!
But luckily I managed to claw myself out of that head space and just focus on getting on with it- noticing that I was closing the gap on the ladies definitely helped with that and at the last turn point, with only 2km to go to T2 I realized I was very close behind Jade- the leading lady at that stage. “ Oh boy. It’s down to a running race!”
My adrenaline sparked instantly followed by a surge of excitement as I’d always wondered what a shoulder to shoulder race feels like and here I was about to experience it!
Richard had given me some tough paces to stick to on the run and I just remember him telling me to back myself.
So that’s what I did, running into T2 and sitting down with just us 2 in the tent, both of us scrambling to get our shoes on.
I ran out first but within seconds I had her right on my shoulder, which, to be honest, was quite an intimidating feeling. I contemplated cracking a joke but then I thought: let’s be real- we’re not here for a hair cut and between the gun going and crossing the finish line we are competitors. But that’s what makes racing so exciting!!!
“Don’t get carried away, stick to the plan!”- is what I kept telling myself, while at the same time praying that she’ll fall back.
Luckily after 3km, I all of a sudden didn’t hear steps behind me anymore, but I was too scared to turn back and look what had happened...
at the next turn I realized that I had gained some good real estate so I just focused on staying strong and finishing that way and ended up coming home with the win in 4.31. A PB!!!
The crowd support was absolutely unreal and the fellow competitors gave me such goosebumps and I am so grateful to be a part of this wonderful MTD triathlon family and having a coach like Richard that gets me into shape to pull off these races!
On to the next one!