Rogeema Kenny...YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!

June 7, 2019
It's been a little while since I've crossed the finish line of the Ironman African Championship. The experience to get to that point, changed my life as much as it changed my title. Crossing under that arch at the end of the red carpet is a rite of passage, an experience that confers upon those who have traveled that road...the title of IRONMAN. A 3.8km swim, a 180km cycle, and a 42.2km run. And it all has to be completed within the space of 16 hours and 45 minutes.   

This post is about my race day. It was surreal.

Due to the weather forecasts I knew the wind was going to be bad on the day, but I tried not to stress about it. The organisers shortened the swim by 1.6km, and I had mixed feelings about that. But once in the water I realized it was a good decision. The swell was so heavy that I struggled to see the buoys in the distance half the time. Waves were klapping me all over the place. It was tough. I was just so happy when the swim was done.

Onto the bike course and it was going very well at first. I was going faster than my planned speed without pushing too hard (received good advice not to push too hard on the 1st loop) but by the end of the first loop the wind had started to come up a lot. The 2nd loop was incredibly tough, both physically and mentally. The winds were now gale force and a headwind for large sections. Being towards the back of the field also meant that I often went many kilometers without seeing any other riders. I’m usually afraid of downhills but I now had to face my fears and capitalize on downhills and any tailwinds that I got to make up some speed. The last 50km were the worst. The hills, the headwinds, and even on the downhills felt like uphills because I struggled to reach decent speeds into the headwind. Pulled out everything in my armour to get through it. I got into those tribars, and literally just put my head down and pedaled away.

If there was  leg that was the easiest to throw the towel in during, it was the cycle leg. It took calling upon every ounce of strength I had in me to keep going and continue to suffer instead of just stopping and getting a comfortable lift to the finish in a sweep vehicle in such harsh conditions. But I thought of all the sacrifices I’d made to be there, of all the early mornings, of the 15-hr training weeks, of the constant fatigue, of not having a social life for months, of the people who were behind me all the family and my friends and how I promised myself I would make them proud of me. I thought of Chanty whom I’d never met but in her death she inspired me to do Ironman because she had done it with cancer. I reminded myself that I had to do this for all hijabis who will come after me, because if I didn’t make it then people would always think that Muslim women have limits depending on the choices they make. I would be the first hijabi in the country to cross the full Ironman finish line. To me, being the first to achieve this was not about me being awesome or being cool, it was about being brave enough to pave the way for all those who would come after me. Because to follow a path that someone has paved before you is always easier than blazing that trail on your own, even if that path is fainter than we'd like.

I also thought of the team of Embarkies I trained with, absolute machines, and how I had to pull my weight for the team and make sure we all make it onto that red carpet. I made the bike cutoff with sufficient time to spare and my parents had by now flown in and arrived at the race village. It was great to see them cheering for me as I came into and out of transition.

The run was into the gale force headwind for 50% of the time which made it harder. But I tried to take advantage of the tailwind and the downhills. I had stomach cramps because of the cold water from the start of the run already, but tried to manage it as best I could. I really thought I would fade later in the marathon, but I actually didn’t. Felt pretty comfortable and even felt stronger later into it. The last lap was the best, I felt amazing and stopped to dance with the special needs volunteers for a minute as well (it made the highlights video and you can skip to 10:46 to see me). I think I was just so happy by then that I was almost done.

I took my time and walked most of the last kilometer, to make sure I have the carpet all to myself and to make sure I looked decent. Washed all the sweat and salt marks off my gear at the last aid station and made sure my gear was in place. Gotta look good for that finisher photo, that’s what it’s all about!!

And then the red carpet.’s just magical. When the announcer calls your name, and you finally hear the words "Rogeema, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN", it makes every shred of the entire journey worthwhile. 

It didn't take me 15 hours, 34 minutes, and 26 seconds to become an Ironman. It took 5 YEARS! 


Ironman 70.3 Race Report

September 8, 2018

It has become somewhat of the norm that my posts are super late, but I could not let another triathlon season start without getting my race report of the 2018 Ironman 70.3 Buffalo City out. The race was a life-changing moment for me, and my hope is that my experience can inspire others to go for their dreams and goals no matter what, because the Ironman slogan has been proven to be true over and over again… ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. 

After all the formalities of registration and racking was do...

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My biggest Ironfan

September 7, 2018

She deserves a special post. To the best sister ever, the most awesome #IronFan that I could’ve asked for, THANK YOU for everything you did ❤️

She was initially going to fly up with me on Friday, but then after race dates came out she realized Redhill Marathon was the Saturday. She then booked another ticket to fly up to EL on Saturday immediately after running Redhill 42km, but then collapsed in the last km of the marathon and ended up in the medical tent. Being sick and not in a condit...

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Modern Athlete magazine feature - March 2018

May 19, 2018
While I haven't written a post-race report of my Ironman 70.3 race day experience yet (and I haven't forgotten about it), I was featured in the Modern Athlete March 2018 issue. Modern Athlete is the biggest running and multi-sport publication in the country, so I am truly humbled to have had the opportunity to share my story in the magazine. 

You can read the article online HERE, or download the pdf version of the article by clicking on the image below. 

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Happy Birthday Mozilla - A tribute

March 30, 2018

31 March 2018 marks the day... Happy 20th birthday Mozilla.

The reason I love Mozilla is not only because:
  • Their San Francisco offices made me (and others) feel more at home than anywhere else in Silicon Valley 
  • The programs we had at their offices were always fantastic and impactful 
  • There was always a supply of amazing free snacks from their snack counter (basically a tuck shop where you don’t pay, so can’t be called a shop really) 
  • The views of the Oakland bridge across the bay from the ba...

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Why Mentoring = MAGIC

March 19, 2018

Yesterday morning, a young gentleman took me for breakfast. And while I was blessed to have a great weekend with many amazing moments, this was undoubtedly the highlight.

No, it wasn’t a date. (apologies if you were expecting juicy details. LOL)

The young gentleman is a student that I’ve been mentoring for around 2 years now. He had found me on LinkedIn, and I didn't accept his invitation immediately, because it was a total stranger. But after thinking about it (those annoying LinkedIn remi...

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It's time to tame the Buffalo

January 27, 2018

So race weekend is finally here! After all those years of dreaming and months of training, I am now looking out onto the beach that we will swim at, and the road we will ride and run in.

It has been an incredible journey.

Done with registration and expo, and as I retreat to the silence of my own company...relaxing on the bed and looking through my window at the esplanade, I glance over at the backpack on the dressing table counter that says “IRONMAN”. Contemplating the magnitude of what it...

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Two weeks until we tame the Buffalo

January 12, 2018

So it's the start of 2018 and it's been 3.5 years since I did my first triathlon. It’s also 2 weeks away from my biggest sporting challenge yet. On 28 January 2018, I will line up at Orient Beach in East London for the start of the Ironman 70.3 triathlon, otherwise also known as the Half Ironman. It involves a 1.9km swim, a 90km cycle, and a 21km run

I’ve always said that endurance sport changes one. The person that starts their first marathon is not the same person that finishes it for ...

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Cut Yourself Some Slack

August 23, 2017

Last week was a tough week for me. In fact, it was probably the hardest week since I’ve started working this job 7 months ago. In between client meetings, stakeholder engagements, prep work, travelling, making system changes emanating from the day’s decisions in the evening to be ready for the next morning, I was working 15-18hr days almost daily. By Thursday, I had already accumulated hours equating to a week and a half of work, and the week wasn’t even over yet. I don’t drink coffee...

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MohennysDoTurkiye - Cappadocia

November 17, 2016

After a week and a half in Istanbul, and after the serious business of completing a marathon was over, #MohennysDoTurkiye headed to the magical land of Cappadocia. It is easy to see why this place really feels like magic. With its natural fairy chimney rock formations, cave hotels, underground cities, hot air balloons dotting the skyline at every daybreak, and the most generous and hospitable people we have come across on the trip, the tourist can escape and slip into a wonder filled existenc...

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About Me

Rogeema Kenny My blog aims to inspire. Be the best YOU that you can possibly be.


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