Hello, revolucion family!
A huge “thank you” for all the love and support over the past seven months as I trained for the Iron Man. It was an epic race!
Swim (2.4 miles)
The race-morning energy was electric. 1,890 Iron Man competitors from 61 countries were abuzz in the transition area doing last minute checks on bikes and double checking bike and swim transition bags. (I think I checked my bike transition bag ten times, to make sure I had socks for my ride.) One by one we made our way to the start, lining up according to our predicted swim time. I was shooting for a 1:10-minute swim, putting me in the top 1/3 of the pack.
As the sun began to rise over the Indian Ocean, the South African national anthem filled the air. Did you know South Africa’s national anthem includes five different languages? At 6:45 a.m. the first canon was fired, and the elite men were on their way. Five minutes later the second canon was fired, and the elite women sprinted into the sea. Finally, the remaining athletes were sent off every 10 seconds to fulfill their IRONAMN dreams.
Ten by ten we charged into the sea. I’ll never forget the moment of stepping up to the start line, the sun’s soft glow sparkling across the Indian Ocean, calling to me, and then I was off.
The water was much warmer than the Pacific Ocean I’d trained in. Within the first moments of my swim I was smiling and knew I was going have an amazing race.
One hour and 11 minutes later, I emerged from the ocean, tried to catch my breath and jogged into the bike transition. The wetsuit strippers were awesome. I was able to unzip and get my wetsuit halfway off while jogging into the transition. As I got to the top of the stairs (yes, stairs – not fair!), I slid onto a mat butt first and the wetsuit strippers had their way with me! In all seriousness, they were awesome. Within seconds my wetsuit was off (don’t worry I had my tri suit underneath) and I was off to the bike transition.
(Trying to catch my breath)
Bike (112 miles)
Socks, check. Shoes, check. Sunglasses, check. Helmet, check. Gloves, check. The volunteers were so helpful – stuffing my wetsuit, cap and goggles into my transition bag. Quick stop with the sun screen latherers (volunteers covered my legs, arms and face in sunscreen as I made my way to my bike) and I was off on my 112-mile journey of two 56-mile loops.
Dialing in my nutrition for this part of the race was key. I had two water bottles, one was filled with water and electrolytes. The second bottle was filled with an 800-calorie Hammer Nutrition shake that I sipped every 20 minutes (my watch alarm was set to go off every 20 minutes, reminding me to fuel up). After my first loop, I quickly made another shake and set out to conquer the remaining 56 miles.
The journey from the city center, up the coast line and through the bucolic countryside was stunning. With the help of tailwinds, I soared through the first 28 miles. Coming back, fighting the headwinds was a different story. The first loop back to Port Elizabeth wasn’t too bad, but the second loop back was a struggle. It felt like I was exerting twice the energy and going half the distance. Around mile 80, my right leg started to cramp. I immediately popped and electrolyte tab and tried to use my left leg more to pedal as I briefly unclipped and stretched my right leg. After a few uncomfortable minutes working through the cramp, it was gone. I felt strong pulling into the run transition and it was time to rock the marathon.
(In the zone)
Run (26.2 miles)
The final stretch of the IRONMAN was running four 6.5-mile loops on Marine Drive. The entire route was lined with enthusiastic IRONFANS (especially Steve Dobbins and Robynn Swan). Not going to lie, this part of the race started to get monotonous. After the first loop, I had an “Oh Shit” moment when I realized I still had 20-miles to go. My strategy for the run was to walk through the water stops. When I started to hit the wall, I just focused on the next water stop and the 20-or-so-step respite that came with it.
Each loop I was given a different color wristband. 3-miles (blue band), 10.5-miles (green band), 17-miles (pink band) – the sun set and I kept running. Finally, at 23.5-miles I got the prized orange band. I’ll never forget the feeling of getting that beautiful band — only a few more miles to go!
With my sights on the finish line, a surge of energy fueled the last few miles of my run. As I closed in on the finish, I started running faster. Rounding the corner, 0.2 miles to go and I could hear the announcer calling out the names finishers. I sprinted down the final stretch, leapt over the finish line and heard five words – JASON YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!
I will never forget that moment. It was the culmination of more than seven months training, always fueled by a bigger vision for a better world for all, and always surrounded by the love of my friends, family and the revolucion tribe.
(One step at a time)
Together, anything is possible. I ended the race more inspired, stronger than ever and ready to take revolucion to the next level!
I have exciting news about a new revolucion project that we will be launching in the next few weeks. It will bring together three of my greatest passions: fitness, travel and social entrepreneurship. Can’t wait to share the big news with you!
Thank you again for joining me on this journey.
Keep spreading the love.