Written by Hendrik van der Hoven
On the 1st of June 2018 at about 12h30 I got off the airplane of my Kulula flight at the King Shaka airport. Travelling from a cold Gauteng and being greeted by Durban with summer weather was very welcoming. After I got rid of my sweater I was suddenly in a great mood for the Durban 70.3 Ironman race weekend. I have completed two 70.3 Ironman events in the past, both in East London and one full Ironman distance in Port Elizabeth during 2015, so after such a long and lazy break, I was greatly exited to line up on Durban’s beach on the 3rd of June 2018.
After booking into our hotel, we had a quick lunch and a beer to celebrate the start of the Ironman weekend. Luckily our hotel was very close to the Casino, where registration and the race briefing would take place. About an hour before race briefing we started heading that way. On our arrival at registration it was awesome experiencing the vibe and excitement of all the athletes registering and getting ready for race day. The atmosphere was just great.
After registering, it was time for a few highlights of the day - being my fellow Trivium club members arriving to attend race briefing. I joined Trivium five months ago and Coach Magda Nieuwoudt and all the members of the Trivium family could not have made me feel more welcome from day one. In no time I was literally invited into their homes eating “potjiekos”, enjoying home cooked dinners, enjoying 2nd and 3rd rounds of cappuccinos after bike training on Saturdays, sitting together around camp fires during training camps in the bush, facing the swimming pool at Affies together, enduring the athletics track at LC de Villiers sports grounds, enjoying muffins and cupcakes brought to training and even being privileged enough to celebrate the birth of the youngest Trivium member and his parents’ first born, Liam. I was therefore very excited to experience the weekend with these guys who became great friends!
We attended race briefing, I was much too excited to be able to concentrate so I had to find out all the important stuff from friends afterwards. Coach Magda scheduled a warm up swim together with a warm up run for the next morning. At 10h00 on Saturday morning we met each other on the beach and as always there were no shortages of smiles, jokes, excitement and support. The ocean was calm, the water nice and warm and accept for a little wind the weather was great. We felt ready and very excited for the next day.
The night before race day I went to bed early, after reading through Coach Magda’s race email, which she prepared for all of us personally the week before, and reading a couple of inspiring messages from fellow Trivium members, I had a feeling that the next day was going to be great, I was confident and ready!
Before long, it was the next morning and I was standing on the beach with only twenty seconds before my turn of the rolling start to run into the ocean to start my Ironman event. It was my first rolling start and it worked very well. Due to a lesser number of athletes starting the swim around me I managed to settle into a rhythm almost as soon as I started swimming. The ocean was calm and the water nice and warm. After swimming around the third buoy I felt like I still had plenty of gas in the tank and I started working much harder. I was aiming to swim just under 40 minutes and was very happy and surprised to be able to complete the swim leg in 37 minutes.
The bike leg is always the most difficult part of the race for me, but due to the fact that I heard that the road surface on the route would be really smooth and much easier than the route in East London, I was looking forward to see what I can do. During the first lap I felt good and I saw that the climbs were very manageable. When I finished the first lap I decided to try and cycle much harder during the second one. Unfortunately, the wind was picking up and during the last 20 kilometres we had to deal with an uncomfortable head wind. I was planning to cycle the 90 kilometres as close to 3 hours and 15 minutes as I could and again I was pleasantly surprised to finish the cycle in 3 hour 5 minutes.
When I started with my favourite part of the event, the run, I felt so good I had to force myself to slow down. I believe the reason why I felt so good was due to the nutrition I used. The PVM nutrition that Coach Magda introduced me to, and the nutrition training I got worked perfectly. It felt as if I had never-ending energy throughout the race. Further, I almost felt like I found my running legs within the first 1000 meters, the proper brick training we had done was therefore having impressive results. The two-lap run on Durban’s promenade was awesome, I enjoyed the supporters immensely and seeing all my fellow Trivium members and hearing them shouting words of motivation made it hard for me not to start running too fast and paying the price at a later stage. Although my legs were completely done and felt like lead weights during the last two kilometres, I truly felt great until my feet reached the red carpet. I ran my second fastest half marathon in a time of 1 hour 43 minutes, finishing in a total time of 5 hours 34 minutes improving my previous best time with over an hour.
Thank you Magda, for all your effort and enthusiasm towards my training, your knowledge, advice and motivation is unparalleled and appreciated so much. This was by far my best endurance race to date, but only until the next one!! My fellow Trivium members, thank you for becoming great friends and making training for this event so enjoyable. I already had to enter for the 70.3 in East London next year. To my fellow Trivium members who took part in the 2018 Ironman70.3 Durban, congratulations! You all had great results, it has been a great privilege being part of your team!!!
I can’t wait for the future adventures with Trivium!!! Go Trivium!!!
Written by Magda Nieuwoudt
There is something about the feeling of triathlon that keeps me hooked.I love what I do and love to challenge my body every day and realise that I haven’t even started to show a bit of what I can do, but despite all of this, there is a feeling in triathlon that keeps me hooked. The feeling I am talking about is that constant uncomfortable feeling, the unknown and the smell of satisfaction.
Saturday morning, in Edinburgh, I stood looking up to a mountain called Arthur's Table - this is where we will be doing the run leg and I don’t have a clue what awaits me. Races in the UK mostly have split transition areas - they are not 2km apart but more like two counties apart 😀. So the swim start will be about 15km from T2 and finish area (in Staffordshire we actually had a different T1, T2 and finish areas). This makes the logistical planning particularly demanding. I had to rack my blue bag and bike and run bag in different transition areas and couldn't access my bags the next morning, only my bike.
So the Saturday morning goes like most pre-race mornings. I get up, do my training run, and run until the feeling is absolutely perfect. This is the only time I feel in total control. Then I eat a good breakfast, pack my bags for racking, check them once then walk around and check the bags one more time ☺. Before leaving the house, I check the bags again. I am always so afraid to forget something because I tend to forget easily. Everything is, however, always there. After racking my bike I start having thoughts of: “Should I maybe just change that inner tube, because a few days a go it felt a bit flat, maybe there is a slow puncture, or should I just make sure the lube on the chain is good…”
WOW!! Stop. Stand still. Take a deep breath in... and pray. Pray about all my worries - even the smallest little worry and leave it just there. After this I get the most amazing peace in my heart. I can’t describe it.
Phill 4: 6 – In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Now all that needs to be done is to eat and eat and attend race briefing! At the end of the day I am so tired of all the thinking that I normally pass out by 21:00. I only sleep until midnight, after which I am awake every 15 minutes. I don’t know why... because It's not that I am scared, maybe I'm just too excited. I am perfectly prepared and have done my bit in training and trust God to give me peace. So I can never understand why I lay awake. By 3 am I just get up and start doing ballistic ball work and stretches and get the body moving.
I normally get to T1 really early. Why not? I am awake after all. In T1 I check everything and get nutrition on the bike. This is my favourite part, getting to T1. The atmosphere is magnificent, I love the noise of the pumps inflating the wheels, and the 'pop' noise it makes as you take it off the valve. The sound of wheels spinning and checking brakes with some gears jumping up and down. And then off course the long cue to the porta-loos (this I actually dislike).
Here comes the uncomfortable feeling. I am about to jump into an ocean not knowing what to expect. They announced the water temperature was about 14 degrees and I thought: “O my, I hate cold water”. Then again, I am not here to have a hot comfy swim, am I? So get it done.
The swim felt great and I found my rhythm really early. I found myself swimming alone the whole way. There where two ahead of me and the rest of the pack behind me. Luckily I didn’t even notice the cold water. During warm up my cheeks felt like they were falling off, but nothing like this during the race. It is amazing how adrenaline just takes over. The better fit Xterra wetsuit made a huge difference (I will write another blog about that soon).
Out of the swim and onto the bike. I had instructions to stick to a certain heart rate plan. This was difficult sometimes but I stuck to it because I trust coach Niel with everything. There was a section on the course where the road surface felt so sticky and actually made it sound like both my tyres where flat. It must have had something to do with the hot summer Scotland is experiencing. They had recorded temperature of 33 degrees, which is apparently the hottest day Edinburgh ever experienced. I don’t know if the surface was melting, but it slowed us down for sure. The route was up and down, with steep declines and sharp turns which made lying down in the tribars difficult. On the bike I felt good all the way and was focusing so much on taking in enough nutrition. I used 3 PVM Octane gels and ate 1 PVM Energy bar with 750ml Octane and actually grabbed a bottle of isotonic drink on course as well. I could feel that I was ‘under-biking’... but that was the plan. Last climb up Arthur’s Table and down into T2. I felt great and still fresh for the run.
In T2 I pulled on my lovely Saucony shoes and off I went. The first lap was just to get rhythm and 'feel the run'. On this run I, yet again, realised how important it is to be in-touch with how your body feels and what the effort feels like, instead of looking at pace and heart rate. Since the course went 3km up and then back down I had to run on feeling. I kept running on feeling for the full 21km, which felt great! I was able to get paces and rhythm back quickly after the uphill and got my legs turning fast again.
All in all I am very happy and had a consistent swim, bike and run. Now to let the guns out for my next race – Ironman 70.3 World Champs SA!
As I was standing there Saturday morning praying for my worries, I also thanked God. I thanked Him for giving me the talent to do what I do; for the people He uses to create a ripple effect in my life; for giving coach Niel the knowledge and the will to never give up on me and always researching and planning my sessions on the dot and to perfection.
Also thanks for my great support team, my family, who no matter what, always get excited and whenever I need anything they are there for me. Thanks to my amazing Trivium team who keeps me on my toes and stand behind me like an army. To my close friends who is seen as part of the team - thanks.
This is our (coach and I) journey to creating the best me and being the best I can be. To be continued…
#Journeystarting #projourney #success
This blog is written by the coach and athletes associated with Trivium.