In my post-race comment I said “words cannot describe how disappointed I am”. 3 weeks later I have finally found some words to express and show actually just how grateful I am getting to the Ironman World Champs in Kona and finishing the race this year.
It’s funny how life works sometimes, all you need is to look back just to see that things are not all bad. Thinking of what happened to Tim Don 2 days before the race in Kona this year, getting hit by a car and Matt Russel having had a head on collision whilst racing at the World Champs, being rushed to hospital and nearly losing his life. Just shows that you need to be grateful that you got to race and finish.
My whole build went absolutely amazing, I was pulling off numbers in my training that I’ve never done before and being so consistent in my training. Looking back at my year, and not judging it on one race I truly believe I had my best year as a pro to date. Starting off with 3rd at Ironman 70.3 South Africa, then coming 4th at Ironman African Champs with a 2:47 marathon and 2nd at Ironman South American champs with a blazing 2:45 marathon I think I made huge improvement and started finding my consistency in racing.
I went into Kona lying 8th in the world! Last year I was 44th going into Kona, so I’m really proud of myself at how well this year went compared to my previous years.
I had 3 weeks off after Ironman South American Champs in Brazil, which in previous years has never happened and I’ve gone into Kona pretty cooked! This year I had a whole 18 weeks to build, which was awesome. Lauren and I based ourselves in the scorching heat of Scottsdale, Arizona and we really fell in love with the place. Absolutely love the heat and the challenges it brings!
This year I also made a huge change to my diet and lifestyle, strictly following the ketogenic diet. I never thought it would be possible to make this switch but when I moved over I’ve never felt so good in my training and racing. I would train 6-7hrs a day just on water and a maximum of 50g of carbs including all my food for the entire day, which is an incredible feeling to go through.
Going into Kona way fitter than IM African Champs and IM South American Champs was really motivating and made me more positive than any year in Kona. Unfortunately due to a mechanical on the bike the entire 180km, I was forced to fade badly in the race. One thing I truly believe, never give up just because your day is not going to plan!
My swim didn’t go to plan either, but on the positive note I was with the main pack until half way (same as last year) but ended up losing the feet. This was extremely frustrating because in April at Ironman South Africa I was swimming with 5 guys that were in that pack. I thought my swimming was in great form, but obviously I have go back to the drawing board and figure out what I need to do to became more efficient swimming without a wetsuit. I ended up swimming by myself for 1.9km just ahead of the 2nd pack.
I started the bike alone, but within 5min the uber biker boys came passed me and I was left in the dust. In the first 15min I knew something was not right on my bike , because seeing guys pass me, which on any given day I would put 15min into them over this distance was truly demotivating to witness. It felt like I was pedaling through soft sand, due to a seized bearing in my bottom bracket! At one stage I got off my bike with tears and couldn’t believe what was happening. I was 5min from being chicked by Daniella going into T2.
I ran out of T2 in 44th position, and as you can imagine I had steam coming out my ears. I was so angry that I blazed out of T2 running 3:45’s a km for the first 2km’s. I was running really well, even up Palani I felt so good than in previous years in Kona. I went through 21km’s in 1:21hr and was on target for that sub 2:50 which was planned. But on the flip side the island put me in my place and I started to feel sluggish running along the Queen K. I was still running between 4:15’s and 4:20’s per Km even through the Natural Energy Lab, while also passing the point in the race where last year made me DNF and said “SEE YA LATER” (Literally I said that) I kept pushing through , making up a few positions and soldering to the finish line. I was extremely proud that I finished the race and on the positive side passed 18 male pro’s to finish 26th overall in a time of 8:44hr.
It wasn’t long before I was throwing up and into the medical tent, probably the closest I felt like to dying which I have no idea what that feels like. I literally said to the doctor that I think I’m going to die, that’s how extreme I was feeling!
The night after the race I started to feel a little cough coming on but didn’t think too much about it. It was until the next day that I realized I was getting really sick and coming down with something. On the Monday we flew back to Phoenix Arizona, which was the worst flight I have ever been on just because I had started with a severe fever. We got home on the Tuesday and I didn’t get out of the bed until the Friday. I was sleeping 20hrs a day and hardly eating, having a severe fever and bronchitis. It was our last few days in Arizona before flying back home to South Africa on the Monday and we could not even enjoy the last few days we had left. Flying 35hrs with 6 checked in bags, which 3 of them were bikes was quite the challenge! But we made it back to our beautiful country in one piece which we really missed. We were greeted by my mom and dad as well as 4 very good friends, which was extremely welcoming.
Since we arrived, I’ve don’t nothing but lie around feeling sorry for myself and thinking what I could have done to have a better race. My wife has been amazing through this time, sending me these notes that have picked me up again and looking forward in life and not backwards: Every single day is worth something and every single day is a piece of a big puzzle. Ever tried to put together a puzzle all at once? There is a reason why life happens one day at a time.
I’ve done a bit of surfing, which is my second love of sport and visiting my family out in Cape St Francis. This puts me in a better place and makes me re-energize again.
Motto of the story, Carry on in life one day at a time, always looking forward and surrounding yourself with loved ones.
Now it’s time for me to start my training again and focus on my first race of the season in 2018 at Ironman 70.3 South Africa on the 29th January.