Ironman 70.3 South Africa has come and gone and I can say that I am happy with the race. I finished 6th in a time of 4h15:54. I was a little frustrated as I improved my time from last year by almost 10mins, but finished in the same position! But you can only control your own performance, not those of your competition (which was a lot stronger this year!).
The Pro's started in our own wave, which meant only about 35 of us starting together. The conditions were good for the swim with flat seas, although the wind seemed to pick up by the minute as we stood on the beach before the start. I started well and found some feet to the first bouy. The feet were a littler too quick for me though and so I lost contact sooner than I had hoped. One or two more pro's passed me before the second bouy (about halfway) but I couldn't stay on their feet for very long and by halfway there was just clear water in front of me and behind me... A lonely swim...
I exited the water about 2min30 down on the leaders and started working on the bike. Pretty soon (for everyone I think) we found that we were not racing eachother as much as we were fighting the course and conditions. The wind had picked up more and up the hills it was directly into your face making for slow progress. I pulled back a number of places early on the bike and got off the bike in 8th or 9th I think.
In transition I met up with Tim Don, and exited shortly before him. Sure he would catch me I had a decision to make - run with him, or run my own race and let him go. Sure enough, he caught me within 1km (!) and I decided that I would try to run with him for as long as possible. His pace was fast, but I felt good and the advantage of running shoulder-to-shoulder was certainly worth it. We ran together and passed a few competitors until about halfway through the run when he started to open a bit of a gap on me. He tried to get me to come with him, saying something like, 'Come on, James. Find your rhythm and come with me!' I had my rhthym Tim... it just wasn't as fast as yours! I kept him in my sights for as long as possible, but soon the string was broken...
I ran myself up to 6th position with a 1h18:03 run split, which I am happy with, although there is room for improvement.
All in all a good first race in the teamTBB colours. A big thanks to Alex, Mischelle, Wayne and all the other supporters on the course for your enthusiastic cheering!
Two weeks and I'll be in Subic... bring it on!