Our local SAPS Ironman

We take this opportunity to congratulate Shane for his endeavours in the recent Ironman event. Shane is very close to us all in that many people; especially the volunteer neighbourhood watch patrollers and security company response officers will recognise and know him – as a volunteer SAPS Reservist Constable at SAPS Diepriver. We asked Shane to write an article giving readers his perspective of the event and what leads up to it. Well done Shane, we are proud of you, and appreciate your enthusiasm and commitment to your/our local community in the valley. Article follows below.

Most people only see the end product of an Ironman on race day. Seeing athletes achieve the mammoth distances of a 3.8km swim, 180.2km bike and a 42.2km marathon all within a 17 hour cut off. After watching a race like that crossing the finish line on a red carpet with the words “You are an Ironman!” with the incredible support, unbelievable atmosphere and live TV broadcast it’s easy for anyone to say they would love to do the race.

What most people don’t know is the commitment and sacrifice that comes almost a year before the race. Working your way up to 20 to 25 hour training weeks. This entails waking up at 4am, completing 2 training sessions a day, 1 before and 1 after work.

Weekends are your long sessions consisting of between a 5 to 7 hour bike and a 3 to 3.5 hour run.  There are no such things as rest days; you generally receive 1 recovery week for every 3 weeks of training. A recovery week still consists of the same training just at a much less intensity.

Routine is the key as well as having a very understanding and loving fiancé, place of work and reservist co-ordinator. The main goal is to stay healthy, injury free and vasbyt.

Training up to the race was going well until around 3 weeks before the race where a strained calf stopped all my running training. After hours of physio and rehabilitation things weren’t looking promising for race day.

It was decided to stay off the feet until race day and when the day came hopefully enough was done to carry me through. With this being my 3rd Ironman a personal best time was on the cards before the injury, but now this was out the window and more survival on the cards.

Race day arrived and started on Hobie Beach in Port Elizabeth, with helicopters hovering over, the national anthem and Zulu dancers. No matter how many times you do this race that start is always an emotional one where you reflect back on what you and others around you have sacrificed to be there on the day.

The canons went off and the pro’s hit the water. 15 min later the amateurs were set off 7 athletes every 7 seconds. The swim was a bit choppier than expected and getting out of the water I was slower than I anticipated, but made my way to transition and hopped on the bike.

The bike went well, fast and flat trying to keep a good pace, but not go too hard and blow the legs before the run. A very fine line. The key is to get off the bike and feel relatively fresh to tackle the marathon.

In both the swim and bike I hadn’t thought of my calf which was a good thing as it I wasn’t in any pain. As I arrived back from the bike into transition I dismounted I felt my calf greet me with a very rude shooting pain down the side.

I slowed into transition grabbed my running kit and put on my shoes. Due to injury I had changed my marathon strategy to run – walk water aid stations. This saved my calf and race. I managed to finish the race relatively pain free and only 18 minutes slower than my personal best.

Now that the race is over I can start putting in the extra hours I owe to Diep River SAPS and the community as well as continue with preparation for Comrades.