On the 29 January 2017 I completed the Ironman 70.3 East London in a total time of 08:20:57. This, after only four months of gruelling and committed training, a knee cap that kept dislocating, many visits to my physiotherapist, and a lot of encouragement from friends, family and my fiancé.
Prior to the race I had participated in only a few cycle races, attempted to run no further than five kms and done one or two short open water swims. I was anything but an Ironman athlete, and in reality I had only taken up sports of any kind a mere three years ago - before that I considered scrap booking a sport.
On race day we were up before 4 am, had breakfast, checked the last few things and headed down to the start line. My best friend and I completed the ocean swim together - we free-styled the full 1.9kms, chatted occasionally and were pretty much having the best swim of our lives. I loved every minute of it.
Next came the cycling event and the notorious East London winds were out in full force and it was baking hot. I came in from the cycling event 56 seconds before the cut-off, badly sunburnt, tired, and hating every second of my life.
As I headed out to start the 21.1km run I came to the conclusion that I was over all of it. About three kms in my fiancé and dad appeared and their encouragement convinced me to try a little harder. The next 16 kms were an emotional roller-coaster - I cried, I laughed, I sang, I screamed and somewhere along the way started enjoying the race again. My bum knee kept me from running, but an old granny style speed walk was doing the trick.
As I got closer to the red carpet many of the other athletes, supporters and my friends and family started clapping and screaming my name. It is hard to describe the moment that I crossed the time line, turned around and saw my time on the board - I had made it!! I had finished the East London Ironman 70.3 with only a few minutes to spare!