The day had finally come, where the People of Port Elizabeth could show off their talent and perform on their home turf. The People’s Triathlon happened on the 1st of September 2019, a very interesting day, a ‘not-so-much’ Spring day.
As most people may agree, this was one of the toughest days out, a true Port Elizabeth wind. There was going to be a call by 5 am whether the swim would be on, but the conditions were still decent. As time passed by, so the waters became a little choppier and it was looking rather rough. By then, everyone seemed a little more nervous and a little less talkative. The swim felt a lot longer than it should have due to the chop; I swallowed copious amount of water and struggled to sight the buoys with the swell. I was relieved when my feet touched the beach coming out of the swim.
On to the bike, everyone knew that it would be quite a bit of work, which was highly underestimated. A head wind and a side gust which only got stronger each loop around. There was a time on the bike where I wanted to quit; it was emotionally and physically tough thinking how this is even possible when there was wind from everywhere, it felt like I was going backwards. A person came past me on the bike and her words were “This is actually really ridiculous”, a sweet reminder that I was not the only one suffering and that I was not the only one who felt they were going nowhere slowly. However, I knew that on return, I would see my people and I would be one step closer. To be honest, I have never wanted to get off my bike more than yesterday and just RUN (not my favorite thing to do).
As some may know, I took on Ironman Durban 70.3 with an injury where I was out of running for three months before the event. This time around, I had legs off the bike, I felt great but lap four and five became a lot tougher, faster than I had wanted it to as my body was very tired but again, I kept on keeping on. One foot in front of the other and performed the best I could.
I think I speak for a lot of the triathletes when I say that there was a lot that went through our minds in every leg of the race. I felt like I wasn't going to make it in some parts, I felt like I would disappoint my people and myself, but this was another reason I pushed myself even harder when I thought I was ready to quit. This all seems like a negative day, but it was not. It was challenging and very tough, but that is why we love what we do, we love the challenge and we love to push ourselves to the limit.
Here are all some positives, I am healthy among many others, I am strong among many others, actually stronger than I thought I am among many others, I pushed through among many others, I persevered among many others, I had the most amazing support system among many others and I finished among many others.
All in all, the day was a success. All the hard work and hours of training was very evident in each of the magnificent MTD squad members. Everyone looked strong, everyone persevered, and we all took on the day like champs. Well done to each and every one of you. I am so proud and honored to be a part of this team. I honestly could not have done it without the amazing support system, my coach, Jeandre Marais, and my awesome squad. I'll say it again, you all played a huge part in every step of the way and I cannot thank you enough.
by Astin Sampson