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Home >> Blog >> Guest Blogger >> A race between panic and vasbyt

A race between panic and vasbyt

  • Half Marathon
  • Training

KLIK HIER VIR AFRIKAANS

We’ve all particpated in a race we would rather forget. The one when trouble sneaked up on you from your blind spot without warning. My first Olympic-distance triathlon was one of those. It was my very first triathlon, and I had no idea what to expect.

It was a freezing 8 degrees C when my training partner and I arrived at Germiston Lake very early one morning. It was unseasonably cold for September in Johannesburg.

Because we were so new to the sport, we decided not to invest in an expensive wetsuit and swimming in open water events for years, cold water didn’t scare us. That was until we saw that amongst the 60-odd female participants gathered for the pre-race briefing, we were two of the only four ladies without wetsuits.

Initially the wind chill factor combined with the water temperature made it a “wetsuit compulsory” swim, but by the time we gathered at the start, the wind had subsided and it was just warm enough to allow us to brave the icy water without wetsuits.

I know Lewis Pugh swims in near freezing water, but I can’t. The big problem with cold is that it takes your breath away and causes you to lose your rhythm. It transforms an elegant freestyle into a desperate thrashing more reminiscent of a drowning locust than Le Clos. Suddenly the 1,5km seemed like 15km.

I have to admit; it was the closest I ever came to giving up in a race. Already, the lifesavers were circling me like vultures, but then I decided that every stroke would get me closer to the finish – and that, no matter how slowly I proceeded, I would get there.

It was very humbling to feel the paralysing panic rising and to feel so close to failure. Especially because I thought the swim would be my asset. What it did teach me was that every stroke or step will get you closer to your target, as long as you carry on. And if you focus on that, everything else will fall into place.

Yes, I finished the race, and easily. But I won’t forget how close I came to giving up. 


As jy moet aanhou en aanhou en aanhou...

Ons almal onthou ‘n wedren wat ons eerder wil vergeet. Die een waar moeilikheid vanuit jou blindekol toeslaan sonder enige waarskuwing. My eerste Olimpiese driekamp was so een. Dit was my heel eerste driekamp en ek het glad nie geweet wat om te verwag nie.

Toe ek en my oefenmaat die oggend douvoordag by die Germiston-dam stop, was dit ‘n skrale 8 grade C – baie  ongewoon vir September in Johannesburg. Omdat ons so nuut in die sport was, het ons besluit dat ons beslis nie die uitgawe van ‘n duikpak wil aangaan nie. Na jare se damswemme het ons nie maklik geskrik vir koue water nie. Dit was tot ons met die “pre-race briefing” sien dat daar tussen die groep van ongeveer 60 vroulike deelnemers net twee ander swemmers sonder duikpakke was.  

Aanvanklik was die kombinasie van koue water, lug en wind so ernstig dat die organiseerders dit as ‘n “duikpak-verpligtende” wedren verklaar het. Maar teen die tyd dat ons moes wegspring, het die wind bedaar en was dit net-net warm genoeg om ons sonder duikpakke te laat swem.

Ek weet Lewis Pugh swem in water wat naby vriespunt is, maar ek kan nie. Die probleem van koue is dat jy na jou asem snak en later so jou ritme verloor dat ‘n elegante vryslag in ‘n aardige gespartel verander wat jou eerder na ‘n kewer as ‘n Le Clos laat lyk.

Skielik het die 1,5 km soos 15 km gevoel. Ek moet erken dit was die naaste wat ek nog ooit aan opgee in ‘n wedren was. In ‘n stadium het die lewensredders soos aasvoëls in die agtergrond gedraai, maar dís toe ek besluit dat elke haal my nader aan die kant gaan bring en dat ek daar sál aankom, maak hie saak hóé lank dit vat nie.

Dit was ‘n baie nederige ervaring om die verlammende paniek te voel opstoot en so na aan opgee te voel. Veral omdat ek gereken het die swem gaan my sterk punt wees. Tog het dit my geleer dat elke haal, net soos elke tree, jou wel nader aan die eindstreep gaan bring as jy bloot aanhou.

En as jy daarop fokus, vervaag die ander elemente. Ek het ten spyte van die stadige swem gemaklik klaar gemaak, maar ek sal nooit vergeet hoe na aan opgee ek was nie. 

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