It is now 3 weeks since the big event and I am sure you are all wondering what happened to the Phobians team that took on the might Ironman 2011. Well it went like this…….
The last few months were the really hectic months and we had to fit in as many long cycles and runs as possible as well as keeping up the swimming sessions which had increased in intensity. I was away overseas a number of weeks but the rest of the group did marathons, 32km, 21km and 120-150km cycles every weekend. I managed to do a lot of running whilst away and this really helped me on the day. Needless to say we were really gatvol by the time the end of March came and had a much deserved Ironman potjie en n paar drankies at Anton and Margas to celebrate the journey and to toast the big day.
All the team had arrived in PE by the 8 April and as you can imagine all the talk was about the weather. I have never herd of as many weather and wind prediction sites as I did this year and the funny thing is that you can do nothing about it even if you know about it!!! I had the customary prerace swim on the Friday and the sea was terrible – choppy and big swells but at least the temperature was warmer than last year. Steve, Anton and Marga swam on Saturday in absolutely idyllic conditions which does a lot to calm the nerves!!. We all ate out on the Friday night and also thanked our families and friends in advance for the long day they were going to spend on the road on the 10th.
We met again on Saturday afternoon to check in our bikes and kit and to have the last nervous photos and make the plans to meet the next morning. This is where the nerves really kick in when you see the thousands of bikes and bags lined up for the big day
Sunday dawned calm and clear with just a hint of a breeze which always feels like a tornado when you are on the beach waiting to start. The playing of the national anthem always brings tears to my eyes as you realize how enormous the day is and then we were off!! The sea conditions were great so everyone had a good swim with Marga leading us out of the water and myself bringing up the rear. As we were finishing the first lap the leaders were coming out of the water!!! The positions stayed much the same on the cycle – there was a slight headwind on the way out but you had it behind you on the turn so that did help. It is not to difficult a course except that the road in the last 20km is really rough and you feel this on the last lap. When the normal people like ourselves finish the second lap the leaders (and many others) are already running and then it becomes a mind game. It does help that this is along the ocean and a lovely place to ride. My last lap felt as if it would never end and I was sure the wind was from the front the entire way round.
As so to the run ….. When I managed to get off my bike I felt as if I would never be able to run another step as long as I lived. My legs had completely stiffened up and I literally had to walk the fist 1km or so. I then remembered a friend saying he was only going to walk at waterpoints so I took on this philosophy and after 2km I could run!!! In fact I could run quite well and this trend continued and I just seemed to get stronger. This also happened last year where I had a superb run after a moderate cycle. I caught Steve, who was not feeling great and once I was sure he was OK and directed him to stop at my sister who had Rehidrat I carried on. I then passed Walter and finally caught Marga, Anton and Deon with 14 km to go. Marga looked great but she had decided to stay with Anton who did not look that happy. The good news is we all finished and well within the time and we all felt that enormous pride when we stepped onto the red carpet to the word:
YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!
I would like to thank this fantastic group of friends for the training, for the laughs, for taming the fear with me and for making this year the one I will always remember. I also want to thank my sister who sat along the road for the full 14 hours and motivated me all along. She is an inspiration.
Whether you are a man or a woman you will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.
I am now in Dublin preparing for my first marathon and some of my team have successfully completed Two Oceans and all the best for those who are continuing the journey to Comrades. You all ROCK!!!
Phobians Steve Bloemink and Sue Brewin