Soaring achievements are built on unrelenting step-by-step progress. Having recently completed my first Ironman triathlon, I thought I would share with you a few of my learnings and memories.
Like anything in life there’s nothing more satisfying than either fulfilling a dream or completing a near impossible task and graduating with “distinction”. I recently had the privilege to compete in the Durban Ironman 70.3, an event that I always considered to be out of my league. In order to finish the event, I needed to build my future success around a few key cornerstones.
Firstly, I decided to rope in the top Triathlon coaches in South Africa, Ray and Natalie Tissink from 3-T. I saw this as one of my shortcuts to heaven. Secondly, I committed my heart and soul and every ounce of energy I had into training for 16 weeks. I did cheat a bit but hey, a man must have some fun too.
This included a training camp over a long weekend, normally reserved for family time. I gave myself every chance of finishing by also having the right tools and equipment to enable me to cross the finish line on race day. The only thing lacking when I started was the confidence that I could actually achieve my goal and to tick off one of my bucket list items.
One can never predict the environmental factors on race day. I had to prepare myself as best I could to overcome unforeseen circumstances. This was done via numerous coffee meetings with the race director, my coaches, fellow competitors, former endurance athletes and friends. Knowledge was key to my success. I was like a hungry child, I devoured everything in front of me. By the time I got to race day, I was very well prepared, a little nervous, but quietly confident that if I stuck to the basics and broke the race time into bite size chunks, my journey would be a successful one.
On race day, there was few suprises, barring an extremely sore right foot during the run. From the moment I emerged from a rough Indian Ocean, I was 24 minutes ahead of the clock. My cycle leg finished with me an hour to the good. This was even after I had camped in transition for what seemed and really was an eternity. I put this down to my laid back nature and this made my challenge less of a race and more of a journey. During the run I was able to compensate for my sore leg by walk-running the 21 km route, which thankfully was flat. I’ve never ever been happier in my life to approach a Standard Bank sign. After seven hours and 52 minutes into my challenge, a wonderful moment brief in stature, down the red carpet, and the cherry on top the presentation of my medal by Ray and cheers from my 3-T team mates.
It was amazing to hear at the finish line…You are a Half Ironman from one of my presenters, Gordon Graham.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my wonderful team mates for all your ongoing encouragement and of course friendship. Finally, Natalie and Ray, you guys are simply the best. In fact world class. Take a bow for taking a lazy old fart and turning me into a half lean racing machine.