Race Report: Chrissie Viljoen – Ironman 70.3

Being race ready and fit on the start line of the 70.3 Ironman South Africa, was always going to be a challenge.  Last year the focus was more on studies and with hardly any training done after July’s Big5 challenge to our move in Sedgefield in December, the six remaining weeks of training was focused on doing base mileage to build up fitness for the 2018 season.

It was our first 70.3 in East London and my husband, Jacques and I, were pleasantly surprised by the great organisation, route and support of spectators along the way.

My race strategy from the beginning was to keep a steady consistent pace for my fitness level and in hindsight, I can only be happy with the result.                                                                                              The sea swim was all but calm and initially the cold water literally ‘took my breath away’, but I settled into a good rhythm and my pace for the swim portion came to 1:51/100m, better than most of my previous swims.

My transitions certainly need some work as 7+ minutes between swim and bike seems pedestrian compared to the pro’s transition times. 

After review of the bike course, I opted to ride my road bike with a time trial bar instead of the heavier time trial bike. With the amount of climbing in the first half of the race, it was the better choice for me on the day. For more than half of the race, Yolande Maclean (the eventual winner of 40-44 category) and I could not seem to shake the other, riding much the same pace.
My bike split came to just over 3 hours for the 90km’s.

With the run, the lack of fitness caught up with me spectacularly and it also started heating up significantly. I literally paced myself from one aid station to the next. The climb up Bunkers hill TWICE was no fun at all.

Yolande Maclean came past like a rocket about a kilometre into the run, never to be seen again. I did feel slightly better when I heard afterwards that she has 10 Comrades gold medals to her credit! 🙂

With 5km’s to go I could feel my right calf tightening up and prayed that it would hold out to the end, but at 1km to go I accelerated and it went completely. The pace went from very slow to snail’s pace as I couldn’t put weight on it and hobbled towards the finish line. In twenty years of competing I officially only visited the Paramedic tent twice but had to make it a third. They suspect a level one tear and recommended some rest and an ultrasound to confirm the extent of the damage.  

So no qualification spot for 70.3 Worlds champs as of yet, but there is one last chance at the 70.3 Durban race in June.  Fingers crossed and let the hard work begin!!

Maclean, Yolande ZAF 1 17 199 00:35:52 03:03:28 01:28:09 05:15:25 3500
Waterworth, Sally ZAF 2 18 207 00:31:48 02:51:58 01:44:52 05:17:00 3471
Close, Jenny GBR 3 19 210 00:35:27 02:53:37 01:41:50 05:17:31 3462
Van Der Toorn, Kelly GBR 4 31 297 00:29:56 03:00:50 01:50:46 05:28:38 3262
Clarke, Annchen ZAF 5 39 334 00:35:44 03:02:36 01:46:01 05:33:31 3174
Mee, Hayley ZAF 6 41 341 00:28:15 03:08:31 01:50:26 05:34:21 3159
Read, Michele ZAF 7 49 360 00:30:09 02:59:43 01:58:07 05:35:32 3137
Penney, Terri -Lynn ZAF 8 66 444 00:36:19 03:06:49 01:51:42 05:44:08 2983
Viljoen, Chrissie ZAF 9 69 454 00:38:51 03:02:45 01:54:33 05:44:57 2968
Hampsink, Janneke NLD 10 73 470 00:39:02 03:02:34 01:55:01 05:46:02 2948