I will be racing at the Ironman African Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay on 5 March 2023. A 3.8km swim, 180km bike, and 42km run.
I haven’t really been screaming it from the rooftops. I haven’t said it explicitly on the socials, until now. However, if you’ve been following me on Strava then you most likely have figured it out, or at least suspected it. If you’ve spoken to me in person over the past 4 months and you’re someone that I trust then I probably would have told you already. And maybe if you’re really observant, you would have suspected it from what I’ve been posting to my stories in Instagram.
I’ve been on a set training plan for it since the end of October 2022. However, before I really committed to it and entered the race, I wanted to see if I would be able to handle the training load. I suffered from severe corporate burnout last year, and that affected my health and my training for events in a big way. In fact, it didn’t just affect it, it brought it to a screeching halt on more than one occasion. Even after I left that life behind, I was still suffering the consequences of it for months later. I was forced to do so much resting that it felt odd (I’m not used to doing diddly-squat), and at some point I felt the need to refocus my energies on a big race. Ironman has this way of bringing focus to my life at times when my attention is too scattered or going in directions that are unhealthy. I gave myself until halfway through my 18-week plan to see how I’m coping and then to fully commit in every way. So on 5 January 2023, I entered the race.
I’ve also been battling some mental blocks with regards to Ironman. I’m grateful to have received the best of help in that regard. In fact, right now I’ve had to resist the urge to go back and tone down the first line of this blog post and make it sound less hardcore. But I have come to the realisation that there is really is no other way to do something this big, no other way than to step into it with boldness and to leave it all on the line. There are enough people trying to diminish you in this world, you really do not need to do it to yourself too.
Training for an Ironman in secret is also doing a disservice to those around me that might be more distant from me. I’ve had people tell me lately (I’m glad they reminded me) that it’s because they saw me doing triathlon that they had the courage to start. It was because they saw me doing a 70.3 that they believed that maybe they could do it too. And it’s because they saw me doing an Ironman that they believed that anything is possible.
I’m certain there’s a hijabi girl out there who has been told throughout her life that these things are for boys and her place is on the sidelines if she wants to stay true to her beliefs. I call BS on that and it’s time to show it on the red carpet again!
So, how could I do this quietly just because of my own fears of failure and the doubts I have within myself? Admittedly, many of the doubts are lifting. The truth is, finishing this race is never guaranteed, even if you are prepared. There are just so many variables that can affect the outcome. But I plan to klap it, so will just go out there and slay.
Thank you for the constant support in every way. Your support, words of encouragement, and energies sent my way carried me through my first Ironman and I will use it again to carry me through on 5 March 2023. Thank you for believing in me during my darkest of times, and for reminding me who I really am when the picture in my head started to fade. Thank you to everyone who has shared a training session with me; those long runs and rides, and those shorter little rides, and of course those open water swims! Your company most definitely levelled up the enjoyment of the sessions and made the suffering a little less.
Ok well now that it’s out, be prepared to get sick of seeing everything Ironman and training in my Instastories. Luckily for you there is less than 3 weeks left until race day! The biggest weeks are done. I have one week left of the Peak phase and then taper baby! Let’s do this thaaannnggg!!