It has been a couple weeks since completing my second 70.3 in Durban on the 2nd of August. I have taken some time to reflect. Again it was an unbelievable journey to get to the start line, this time round I did things slightly differently to the first one.
After the high of my first Ironman 70.3 in January I decided to join a triathlon training squad led by the ever smiling Vicky van der Merwe. I was very hesitant at first to join, but was made to feel welcome from the get go by her and the other squad members who I can now proudly call friends.
Doing the first one on my own taught me a lot about discipline, commitment and focus which I needed at that time in my life. However training in a group has made the tough days that little bit easier. A lot of people have asked me which route to go down and my advice is to give both a try and find what works best for you. I know that the inspiration I get from the likeminded individuals who I am privileged to train with is priceless and on the other side I still do some of my training on my own. It is the balance I need and works for me.
The second change for me this time around was training during winter. Apart from it being a little bit cooler, wetter and lot less lighter, it was the same set of rules just in different circumstances. A life lesson in itself; focus on what you can control and do not worry about what you cannot. I know exactly why I do what I do, it is my why reason and because of it, it does make getting up in the morning that much easier to live the life I love.
What I love about Ironman is the weekend; the emotions and feelings that you go through are electrifying. One moment you are cool, calm and collected and then you are nervous, anxious and the butterflies kick in. Ironman is not a race; it is a journey to the start line. The time, dedication, hard work and sacrifices to get to the start is what it is all about. Anything can happen on the day, that’s life and it is what it is. For example my swim was good but not the best, I turned too early and then struggled to get out of the water because I was caught in a rip. The bike was amazing, I pushed hard and went beyond myself, but did manage to get a glimpse of the dolphins on the way back in. Pushing too hard on the bike caused me to cramp early on the run. I am actually thankful for this because it taught me so much about myself and what I am capable of achieving, even when the cards are not in my favour.
A picture tells a thousand stories and you can see from this one that I was in some serious discomfort and pain. However all that was going through my head at the time were the words of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” No matter what happens in life, we are so strong that if we keep moving forward we are able to achieve anything that put our minds and bodies too.
On the second of August 2015, the finish line at Ironman 70.3 was filled with great emotions; mixed emotions. Finishing brought elation and celebration with a mild sense of relief, but it also brought about a sprinkle of disappointment in that I know I could have done better. The beauty of it all is that it left me hungry for more, to grow and keep on pushing my boundaries.
Looking back over the past 6 months, I have definitely grown as an individual. But the real victory of crossing the finish line is not a time or medal but being privileged enough to share the road with complete strangers, family and friends.
As always, thank you to everyone who has been a passenger on my journey without you this ride would not be as amazing as it is.