Ironman 70.3 Durban
Members Race Review
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Reviewer:  Brendan Germishuys
Race Name: Ironman 70.3 Durban
Age Group: 40-44
Location: South Africa
Date: June 2nd, 2019
Website link:  https://www.ironman.com/im703-durban
Triathlon Experience:  5 Races under the belt, but still feel like a beginner

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Highlights 

In the beautiful coastal City of Durban, situated on the east coast of South Africa, Mediterranean climate, slightly warm waters. The cycle route is along the beautiful coastal road, turning onto the highway and going through the undulating hills, the run is along the beautiful beach promenade and past the amazing sporting stadiums. Crowds lining the running route and amazing atmospheres outside of the Sun Casino. 

Rationale for Race

Durban is in my home country of South Africa, I had never been there before, so what better way for a visit than to do an Ironman Race there while on my annual visit home to South Africa. 

Travel to the Race:

Flew home to the Mother City of Cape Town, spent a few days there, before flying 2 hours to Durban. Luckily for me, my hired car had built in GPS, as my International Roaming wasn’t working and I had absolutely no idea where I was going. Arriving at the hotel, I discovered that my Booking.com booking wasn’t booked, even though they had taken all the payment. Managed to get it all sorted after waiting around for 4 hours, having a haircut in the hotel (was the new hairdressers first ever fade cut, and long on the top, waaay shorter than I wanted on the sides). Once all settled and my fellow Triclub member Jacques Lombard arrived, off for a great Steak dinner it was. 

Pre-Race 

Stayed just down the road from registration, and right across the road from the run and swim course, cycled down to race registration and race village. Met some of the pros during the walk about at race village, as well as the South African Olympic Athlete Henri Schoeman. Upon signing the athlete board, we discovered the massage/physio tent, this was needed by both of us, so we decided to come back later with the car. After receiving dry needling and a deep massage on my strain calf, we both limped back to the car and hotel. The Saturday before the race was spent doing bike check-in and relaxing by the pool, eating some good pasta, and having some compex electrodes on my calf, and strapping. 

Race Gear

Race Gear consisted of my Canyon Endurace Road Bike (no TT bike yet at this stage) 

Trisuit: Burrda Sport Triclub Doha Trisuit, with the flying Oryx 

Shoes: Adidas Energy Boost Black, one of the most comfortable versatile shoes I have run in, really good for endurance runs. 

High5 Nutrition Gels and Bars; High5 electrolytes in the bottle 

RACE DAY 

Getting to the start line 

Waking up at 4am for a 4.30am breakfast call. I’m an early riser, so seeing all the upset, sleepwalkers was a fun start to my morning. Good coffee, Oats, and pancakes, and we were off. 

The shuttle service, was the worst ever, waited for 20mins before we started walking the 2kms down the road. But all wasn’t lost, our hotel buddies had a car and they stopped and gave us a lift to the start. Was way more fun than walking the 2kms. 

Transition was a buzz in the morning with people scrambling to pump bicycle tires, sorting out bike nutrition, checking run bags, dropping off street-wear bags, wetsuits on, getting ready, all rather nervously. 

The playing of the National Anthem was emotional, after being home for over a year, the wait to swim was long, a few moments passed with self warming of the wetsuit, before it was all systems go. 

Swim Leg 

The sea was great, somewhat cold, with rolling breakers, duck diving my way to behind the breakers, making the first left turn, down the back straight, next left turn (climbing over some back markers) then another left turn, down the finish straight and the right turn to the finish. Wetsuit strippers are the best, wetsuit off in seconds (took me longer to stand up again) 

T1 

T1 was long, about 800m to be exact. Running all the way to the bike, felt like I had done the run course first. Quick tip, don’t change anything for race day that you have never done in training, huge debacle with my shoes, cost me minutes at the end of T1. Lesson learned. 

Bike Leg 

Bike course was 2 loops of the 45km course, up on the way out along the coastal road, turning onto the highway and then making a U-turn of the highway and heading somewhat downhill back to T2, and looping back for the 2nd loop. Going past the beautiful beaches, the Moses Mabhida Stadium, heading out onto the rolling hills of the N2 Highway. Managed to make up for lost time in transition, making up places as I went, road bikes have a disadvantage to TT bikes in this form of racing unless it’s a very short sprint race or massive amounts of steep climbing, which we didn’t have this race. 

Headed back to T2, which was in a different location to T1. 

T2 

Jumping off the bike, letting it take itself to the bike catcher, I headed off to grab my run bag. Quick change of shoes, gels and bars in my suit front, Triclub visor on and off I wen’t, and then…. 

Run Leg 

Legs started cramping straight out of T2, turning the corner to start the run, the quads started seizing. Had to have a few choice words with them to play along and not cause issues (calf didn’t hurt the entire run). The cramping in the quads, continued the whole run, but managed to work a rhythm with them. 

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The run as 2 loops along the promenade, running along the beach was comforting and I got to do some sightseeing, first time ever in Durban so I had to look around. First loop was going well, managing the cramps, running the whole loop doing a acceptable 53mins for the loop, running past the finish line and red carpet, sort of sucks energy out of you. But the crowd all along the run route are encouraging and I was soon back in my stride. Legs hurting more and more, made the decision to walk through all aid stations. Was battling with rhythm, and pace on the 2nd leg, trying to push the pace the hamstring decided to pull. Stopped to give it a rub and a stern talking to, that it wasn’t invited to the party. This agreed it started off again to finish the last part of the run. 

My goal was to finish sub 6, so this was playing on me the whole run, calculating all my times from the race, and transitions, and finish time of the run, calculating the run. There was also a cash incentive from my Uncle to make sub 6, so this all factored in my persistence on the run. 

Finish Line / Finisher Area 
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Finish line is always a party atmosphere, however this race was very emotional for me in many different ways and many different reasons, seeing the clock saying I made it under the 6 hours, allowed all the emotions to come and I could feel the tears coming, till the lady at the finish line ruined it, asking if I needed medical attention (no lady, I just needed to have a little emotional release in the form of a quick little cry). From there I had to climb 1000 stairs to cross over the run course, down another 1000 steps to get my massage, food and street-wear. The party atmosphere was really good, till we remembered we had to climb the steps of pain again. 

Evaluation of my race 

Achieved my goal of breaking the 6 hour mark, but was hoping to have taken a further 20mins off my overall time, wasn’t happy with the swim, and the run was a lot slower due to cramp. Lessons learned and changes made. 

Evaluation of Race Organisation 

Race organization was good, from the registration, expo, to the entire race course. All was well done and can’t be faulted. 

Apres-Race 

Pizza and beer with fellow Triclub member Jacques Lombaard and family, watching cricket in the bar, and having a great evening. 

Recommendations/Lessons Learned 

Definitely recommend this race for other members, it’s a great race, challenging but also gives you the opportunity to put in a very good time. 

Leasons learned, don’t change anything about your routine or don’t try new things, it will cost you time, no matter how small.