Thursday, August 20, 2015

If at first you don't succeed...

I can’t believe it has been less than 3 weeks since my race.  Really?  Life has been a huge rollercoaster ride with so many ups and downs since.  But this post is not about the post race ride, it is about the race ride.

As you know when I went to do my Ironman 70.3 in East London and I didn’t make it and I was SO gutted.  I just couldn’t believe that after 6 months of training and so much sacrifice, so much faith, I was a DNF.  Did.NOT.Finish.  WTF?   DNF?   At the time I compared it to being a jilted bride.  Another athlete also blogged about her traumatic experience and used the same analogy.  When I look back at my race, I am now able to give myself kudos.  At the time I was awful to myself, full of criticism and doubt. Me=LOSER!  Later I took a step back and I saw someone who got severe hypothermia, who spent 30 vital minutes in medical with a thermometer up her butt and who got on the bike last of 3000 athletes at just 35 degrees which is still not optimum.  I saw that person cycle her heart out past all those who had already quit knowing they would not make the cut off.  90km in the wind up and down the hills never quitting and completing the cycle on her own terms.  Me?  I did that?  So God didn’t desert me after all.

Then I decided to enter again.  I took the risk of being that crushed with the added pressure of so many willing me to finish.  Training in the winter was damn hard.  6 weeks before my race I changed coaches and I worked my arse off.  And then we were off, so excited and expectant.  Durban was divine, great weather and great vibe.  Last time I bought nothing at the expo.  This time I was so positive so I did.  I prayed a lot less desperately, I did not presume I would definitely finish but I did know God and I would do this race together.  Race day, 4.30am wake up.  5.00am trying to eat but so nervous I could barely swallow.   Last minute check of bike and time to get in my wetsuit.  On the beach with Gary waiting our turn.  And then it’s us and we run into big surf and try and get out to the backline.  I have no idea where he is and we each race our own race.  When I faced the beach to come back in I got so badly dumped I thought that wave would never spit me back out again.  Cap off, clutching my R400 goggles I make it.  I am not freezing!  I see my friend grinning on the side-lines, as excited as I am that I can get on my bike.  I stand in my trisuit in transition and wee like a pro before getting ready for the bike.  And I cycle and I love it and I smile for over 3 hours.  I keep looking at my speedometer thingy.  26.9 average?  Me, that fast?  No forking way!  Its undulating hills but nothing hectic.  I hold nothing back and I just pedal my butt off using everything I have.  I see Gary on the course on the other side of the road and we are both thrilled we made the swim.  I finish the bike in 3:23 and I am so damn stoked I sit in the transition area just grinning as I psyche myself up to run 21km.   And then I run out knowing I have got this.  I have more than 4 hours to complete a 21km run.  My goal time is 2 hours but my legs are not thanking me for that bike.   My watch beeps at every K and it takes forever.  Eventually I get to 4km and I feel wasted.  I have 17km to go!  Do NOT walk, do NOT walk I tell you.  You keep on running!   I have the hugest blister on the ball of my foot from the bike.   The pain becomes hectic.   You have Dystonia 24-7, it is unlikely to ever end.  This is 2 hours, suck it up you big baby and RUN.  So I do, I run but I get slower and slower and I know I will not make the 2 hour goal time.  I see Gary, he is faltering.  If I had anything left I would try and beat him but I have nothing.  At 18km I want to collapse but I don’t and I keep on getting slower and slower.  At 20km I only have 1 to go but I start to think I might be that desperate undignified crawling finisher.  I run that last km in so much pain and then I do it, I cross that damn finish line with a 2:11 run.  Melanie Novitzkas 6:34.  Bam!   My legs give way and the medics and Gary pick me up till I can stumble off to get my medal.  It is done.  I have done an Ironman 70.3. He holds me when I cry like he held me the last race when I did not finish.  I am over whelmed.  I have swum 1.9km, I have biked 90km and I have run 21km.  Me?   I am so very happy and so grateful and so tired.  

The cool bit is now I enjoy that post race oh my word I really did that feeling.  I know very well I only get this once as next time it will be about trying to better my time or evaluate the race and my performance.  My very 1st triathlon was 2 years ago and I had the same feeling.  The swim was only 800m, the bike 20 and the run 5km but I lay in bed high fiving myself that someone non athletic like me could do a TRIATHLON.  Every race post that has been about times and performances and how I did compared to others until this race.  Except for now!  Now when people say that’s frikkin awesome I am like….I know!  How awesome was I?   I am so darn chuffed with myself I am allowing myself to feel it and be it and not worry if I sound braggy or arrogant or not humble.   Me, Miss C team hockey not very sporty did sweet f-all for decades did an ironman 70.3 in a very respectable time of 6:34.  AND, I am now an average biker and not a totally shite biker.  Average never sounded so sweet.   

But let me do a quick acceptance speech before I walk off the stage:
God 1st of course…for strengthening me and for giving me a healthy body and extra thanks for the no puncture on the bike!
My Gary who was initially so  reluctant about me entering but who came around and supported me
My girls who sacrificed endless hours while Mom trained
My friends and family who rooted for me and willed me on.  I felt the pressure but with that came the support.  When I hit the run my friend Jacob jumped straight into the start area and gave me the happiest hug to know I was on the run and going to finish.  My fellow athletes so stoked for me.
And my coach of course.  Mr Glen Gore from Trilab who is a phenomenal athlete himself and so patient with my endless questions and doubts and insecurities.
Thank you, thank you.  Bows, queue music, walks off stage.   


  1. I cried reading this! Go you !! How amazing and wonderful. Am so happy for you, that it all went so well. You did it!

  2. I've been hoping you would tell the story! So happy for you!

  3. I also cried while reading it! So chuffed for you! Well done!

  4. nice article great post comment information thanks for sharing.