Hungary, The Almost Disaster – Candice Hepburn

candiceI am not sure where to begin as I’m not a great storyteller…

So I will start with the day we arrived in Hungary, 20th September 2015. It had been a long flight and I was tired. We (Paul and I) stumble into our hotel and start unpacking, all in auto-pilot. The phrase, ”It is all about the bike comes to mind” at this point. We start unpacking and assembling our bikes. At this stage, I had a nagging thought that something had gone terribly wrong. To my horror, I was right and my derailleur had been bent and two teeth on the crank with it. Emotions high and energy low, I started crying and thinking this is the end of my race that I have trained so hard for…Pacing up and down for an hour didn’t help matters and the decision to take action was a relief. Off to registration we sped, to see if someone could fix my bike. A very big thank you to the organiser’s and in particular the mechanics that assisted us! In no time at all – I was racing again!

The excitement and nerves hit me on Friday again. Like all athletes, I doubted my hard work and all that I had done and accomplished leading up to the race. Saturday dawned, “Race day had arrived”. I wake up and it is chilly, windy and overcast. My mind started playing games, “I have nothing warm to wear on the bike and run, what will I do… “. What are all women famous for? Shopping! I sped off to the expo, roughly 30 min before the start of my race, and buy arm warmers and leg warmers. Interestingly enough, I have never used either of these items before and decide this is the way to go.  Warm and happy, I am off to the swim start.

Wetsuit on and ready to race! Just before the gun goes off, I start playing with my watch. Panic, my Garmin isn’t picking up my GPS signal and I know if it doesn’t connect soon; it won’t pick up my bike or my run data. Still in my state of panic, the gun goes off…I push start and hope for the best. About 500m into the swim, I start cramping and realisation sets in, never try anything “new” on race day. The compression socks are possibly the cause. I keep swimming and try not to kick. I see the swim exit and glance at my watch.  I start doing an internal dance of joy, I achieved my target swim time!

I run into transition (like Paul is chasing me) and get ready for the next discipline. At this point, I know I will be fiddling with my watch to try and get out of triathlon mode into bike mode to record everything correctly. This done, I start my bike, it’s windy in all directions but I keep going. It starts getting hot and tough,  my legs are getting tired but the beautiful scenery and support keep me going. I finish the bike with an amazing time and a personal best, the cherry on top.

Next, the run! I had to dig deep as I had already decided this was my race and I was going to do a personal best time on this run course. Once again, I was playing with my watch to get the correct setting. This done, the hard work started! The first 5kms flew by and were the most enjoyable. In my mind, I will and can do this! I headed into the second lap and my blood sugar dropped. I thought I was going to pass out but I kept going. Shuffle, walk, shuffle, walk – you get the picture. I bump into my friends on the way in tears, my race in ruins. I have not done my sub 5.30 and I am feeling sorry for myself. My last lap approaches and I am nearly finished, relieve floods through my veins. My husband taps me on the shoulder at this stage and asks me how I am doing. I have a complete sense of humour failure, this needs to end! I just want it to be over! I decide this is it at the 19km mark and run my little heart out! All I hear in the last stretch is Terry, Natasha, Karen, Helen, Taryn and Sam shouting, “Go Candice, Go”. I picked myself up dusted off any bad thoughts, feelings and physical pain and ran. I crossed the finish line with the biggest smile ever!

I completed my race in 5 hours and 35mins. The best feeling in the world! All my hard work had paid off. I stressed the small stuff for nothing.

Thank you to Natalie for all the encouragement, support and belief you have in me. Last but by no means the least, “Thank you to my husband, friends and family for all the support and encouragement, I know I am not the easiest person to be around when it comes to race day!”


Author: Tissink_Admin

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