The Regensburg story begins when 5 athletes were invited to take part in Challenge Regensburg, which consists of all the full Ironman distances 3.8km swim, 180.4km cycle and a 42.2km run in a rural town in Germany. During our planning phase, we made the decision to race for charity, and the Smile Foundation was the obvious choice. Smile Foundation assists with surgeries for minors who are affected with facial deformities.
Circumstances became even more challenging when my work moved me to Volksrust in Mpumalanga, where the community swimming pool is shared with local cows. I could not make use of the outdoor swimming pool in Volksrust as I arrived home quite late, and also because Volksrust is one of the coldest places in the country. I had to settle for swimming once a week when I was back in Johannesburg for the weekend.
The morning of the race was cold and wet, and my nerves were shot from being overweight and undertrained, and not having had time to send my bike for a service before departure, this was exasperated by our bikes having spent the night outside before race day in pouring rains. However, I was still determined to give it my best.
The swim was in a lake, and it had an Australian exit loop at halfway. Due to my poor training, I had my worst swim, and was keen to do better on the bike to make up the time. The cycle consisted of 3 loops of 60kms each. It was easy to get caught up in starting fast but I was able to pace myself correctly and had a good bike time in my standards.
I am still shocked that I was able to beat my PB by 23 minutes although I had trained so much less. However, this was made possible by a fairly flat ride as compared Ironman SA. I was also a lot wiser on my run, a lesson I learnt in PE, and ended running a 4hr18min marathon. The aim was make sure I do not run faster than 6:00 mins/km. I finished in a time of 12hrs 16min at the end. And due to the sun setting so late in Germany, I was able to finish in daylight for the first time. We were given what seemed like the heaviest medal I have ever held.
Two things I have learnt leading up to Challenge Regensburg, winter training is very lonely, your body will not lose weight because you are putting in the hours (I almost did not fit into the new trisuits that had been arranged specially for the race, I had gained over 5kgs since April).
One of the highlights from the trip is meeting our host, a German doctor who took all five of us into his home. He had arranged with his family to give them a vacation, while we occupied his home. He would become our soigneur for the duration of our stay, even assisting one of our team members when he had to pull out of the race due to respiratory problems 10kms into his run.
I would like to thank all my sponsors who made the trip possible.
· Nutritech – for all the sports nutrition needed for my training and race day requirements
· Club100 and Isuzu Trucks – for assisting me with my race trisuit
I would also like to extend my Thanks to David Wright who, without having met me, borrowed me his bike case.