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Two out of three at IM SA « Caroline Koll's Blog

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Two out of three at IM SA

This year a number of changes affected my attitude going into IM SA, most of which were the direct result of Brett’s coaching and the wonderful athletes on the team. No longer was I afraid of getting my head kicked in by all the foreign pros who have loads more experience than I have, but rather welcomed them to try their best because I was going to do my best…

I have to thank the people who baled me out, and helped me financially to get to the race when I had not a cent left to get to the race – Frikkie Smit (eternal supporter of my efforts) who contributed towards my accomodation expenses; my Mom, the pensioner who gave me the accumulated e-bucks on her credit card to trade for an airticket and the Italian stallion Giovanni Del Castello (who raced his own PB by one hour!) who drove me around and made me laugh the whole weekend, and treated me to two decent dinners that I wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise. This little success is dedicated to you, and my friend Cordulla Moller who is still semi-comatose in an Australian hospital and unable to challenge me…

Race day lived up to the promise of being a hot one (the first time ever!), I knew this would work in my favour as 30deg after training in the even hotter and more humid Philippines was rather mild. Often, in such cases, it is the athlete who is better acclimitised rather than the one who is stronger that does the best. There were some big names on the starter plate, but I knew that if I just concentrated on my own game that some of them would be up for the taking by the time we got to the run!

    Swim

: Went pretty crap actually, despite having a good start and not being thumped around too much! The water was rather choppy for a non sea swimmer like me, I am much more used to the brown murky waters of Homestead lake in Benoni where the scary Barbel fish lurks. Very quickly I was gagging from sea sickness and just the salty taste was making it worse. I ended up feeling very green from the movement and petrol fumes eminating from the boats, and so ended up exiting the water a good 3 minutes slower than the previous year even though I had been feeling stronger in the pool…

    Bike

I started off the bike feeling pretty good and rode the whole first lap with Jaqui Gordon from the US, and was rather pleased. I then had to make the decision of stopping to get my bottles in special needs or going on and trying to stay with the “pack”. I decided to stop, thinking that on a warm day like this I needed to get the right fluids in, but I think that in hindsight it was a slight error, I am sure that I could have survived on water and the nutrition that I had, and in so doing, get a better bike split. I went through a bit of a bad patch on lap 2, but luckily by lap 3 I was feeling strong again, but, unfortunately, I was stuck on my own….

    Run:

The run started off well, and for the whole first lap I was feeling very strong, making up ground and catching up some places. It was very motivating having the “Leading SA Woman” mountain bike with me, although sometimes people did confuse me with Lucie (same kit, blonde hair etc…) and think that I was actually leading the whole race!!!! Well, at least it gave me a sense of what it will feel like one day!!!! Unfortunately, I started to suffer a bit with fluid intake, I was thirsty but my body refused to absorb any more, and although I managed to keep running consistantly, my gut felt as though it would explode and I was getting annoying side stitches. Eventually, at the 34km mark, without warning, I had to vomit, right there in the middle of the road (how embarrassing!!!). After that, and two km’s down the road, I felt much better! I do, however, regret that on my finishers picture I resemble a whiter shade of pale…

So, I achieved two out of the three goals that I had set myself – 1st South African and top five position. The Sub-10hrs did not happen, but I was at least satisfied knowing that I had done the best I could on the day! Thanks to all who encouraged me and trained with me, the podium is coming!!!

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