How it all began
I took part in the Ironman 70.3 (half) in Durban in August last year and was so broken after the event that I said I’d never do anything like that again. Well… ‘never say never’! Now for the full 140.6 Ironman – 3.8km swim, 180.2km cycle and a 42.2km run.
I do not have the discipline to train by myself so I joined an amazing team called “Team Just-In”. A group of driven, crazy people who all shared the same goal.
January was extremely frustrating as I tore a ligament in my left knee which left me only swimming for most of the month with gradual cycling and slow running.
My training routine was intense (to put it mildly) which meant I had to stop surfing, gave up drinking and eating junk food. It was tough but it was a sacrifice I needed to make.
Friday: I flew down to PE on Friday afternoon, registered and had race briefing (they are so strict that littering will get you disqualified), as if our nerves were not shattered enough. After that they provided a great spread for dinner and we all pigged out!
Saturday: We had a team swim and run, checked out the course and talked race day strategy. In the afternoon we had to rack our bikes and hand in our transition bags with all bike and run goods needed for race day… nerves were shattered! In the evening we had a group dinner and loaded up on carbs and protein.
Sunday: 4am wake up – 1st toilet trip. Eat breakfast, change and make sure we have all nutrition for the day. Walk down to the start, pump tires, check bike and suit up in wetsuits – toilet trip no 2. Back to the start and gathered with the team – last photos as a team and then it’s every man/lady for themselves.
06.30 The National Anthem was sung, sadly a bit of a joke as they only sang the first third of it which was a huge downer… I think I may have bust a tear!
We line up, cannon goes off for the pro’s, we then get let off 10 at a time – eventually it’s go time!!!
Swim went well, water was not too cold. Got out the water in 1hr 13min – on target. Ran through showers and stripped off wetsuit, sun creamed up, ate a bit, grabbed my bike and was off. Sun was starting to warm up.
Cycle was long, hot and painful. 6hrs in the foetal position is not great – Neck and legs were burning. I went too hot on the first lap, so tried to slow down on second lap, the last 25km was flat so had to just pedal – no help from hills to rest. Eventually I got to the run, the worst part of my day. I had previously only run 23km because of injury, so the 42.2km marathon was going to hurt! First 6km was fine then all hell broke loose – cramps, blisters, stomach cramps and mind was in a very dark place – I had made the call to walk. I had 8hrs left so completing was possible. A few of my teammates passed and gave words of encouragement and whilst wondering ‘why I am doing this?’ The water station played an inspiring tune, it was like a switch was turned on. I thought of all my supporters who I couldn’t let down… I had to keep moving forward.
I got some rhythm and started to run. The crowd was amazing! Comments like “you are a hero,” “you are amazing Wade,” “you got this you Ironman,” “100% Iron” helped motivate me hugely – I needed to do this.
So eventually I got to the end… I had an emotional wobble when I saw that red carpet and managed to contain it till the finish tower. Crossing the finish line was the most amazing feeling of satisfaction ever – I felt invincible! I was officially an Ironman!