My immune system has been my biggest challenge these past few weeks. I’ve been on the brink for a while now and on Friday I became properly sick 😢 I was registered for a triathlon weekend in Langebaan and was looking forward to a really epic weekend of racing and training with my Embark team.
I did canal swim on Friday and the plan for the group was to ride from canal swim to Langebaan, a 120km ride. I opted beforehand already not to do the ride because I felt it was too much just before a full weekend of solid training. Instead I went to work for half a day and drove to Langebaan at lunch time. But after canal swim I started feeling very cold. I thought it was just the cold water and the fact that I didn’t get out of my wet swim clothes yet. But by mid-morning it was clear I was getting sick. I travelled to Langebaan anyway because since I had already booked and paid for accommodation, I might as well go and support, even if I wouldn’t race.
So what was supposed to an epic weekend of #swimbikerun in Langebaan was an epic weekend of staying in my room and tieping (that’s sleeping if you don’t know the slang 😅). At least the view from the balcony was pretty.
I felt better on the Sunday so went to support at the swim. All my friends were doing the 3.8km swim (which I was also meant to do) so I went to the finish.
Also at the finish were Scott and Bianca Tait, an incredible Ironcouple, friends of mine who had already finished their swim. Scott actually would have won the swim but swam the wrong way around one of the buoys so had to go back after he had finished and lost the win. I had a lovely catch-up chat with them. Scott and Bianca were both Ironman-finishers and they were in fact part of my inspiration to be interested in triathlon at the very start. I watched Bianca’s journey from runner to Ironman on Twitter, and I always admired their incredible support for each other when the other was racing. They gave me some very useful tips to heed between then and race day. They could see I was feeling really down about the physical state I was in, but their advice really did give me hope.
After chatting to the Taits I went to the swim finish to wait for Alriza and Esther to finish. Alriza had an anxiety attack on finishing the swim, and Denise and I stayed with her until she was calmed down and ok. She panicked during the swim as it was her longest swim thus far, but she finished…which should be a win in anyone’s book.
We heard the announcer announce Esther coming in to the finish, so I ran to the arch to get a finisher pic of her and to give her massive hugs.
Driving back I had given a lift to Denise and Alriza, 2 ladies from my Ironman group. At one point on the N7, a bakkie came straight towards us in the oncoming lane and I had to swerve off the road to miss him. Thankfully there was no impact, nobody was hurt, and all the bikes on the car were still fine. But it was a very stressful moment for me, and afterwards thinking about what could have happened made my stomach churn. I was down and out again on the Monday. The stress of the near-miss clearly interfered with my healing and my body took a down-turn again.
It’s now 3 weeks to go. So so close. I guess it’s also far enough for me to fix myself before race day, and the massive sessions are behind me. I have done the longest ride we need to… 160km to Wellington and back. I know I can complete the swim distance, so not worried there. Running will suffer a bit because I am undercooked there, but pushing mileage now is not going to help.
I see very little training in my life from now until race day, and I have decided that I will start tapering right away (after I am done fully resting).
Usually when one thinks of racing, the race itself is tough and getting to the finish line is the hardest part. But for Ironman, even though on race day it will take every ounce of strength and willpower that I have to get to that finish line, getting to the START has proven to be harder!