CPC: You didn’t get the chance to finish what you started at Ironman Busselton in December 2017, what made you decide you wanted to have another crack at an Ironman?
Nekite: It was the worse feeling ever to have worked so hard to get to the start at Busso, physically and mentally I put in the hours I did the training, I was ready to take this IM on. 3 days before race day I got bronchitis, not ideal, but I was still determined to do this. Race day came and I was nervous as hell but calmed the nerves, did my warm up then saw the 70.3 athletes get out of the water. My heart sunk. The swim was cancelled… the first swim that I actually looked forward to. Damn sharks! The disappointment was written all over my face. I was still determined to do this, even though it wasn’t going to be a true Ironman. But it was like the day was set and nothing went to plan. I got too excited and went out waaay to hard. I lost my nutrition 10min into the ride. Bronchitis combined with the 37C heat and smoke from the bush fires made it so difficult to breath which brought on anxiety and panic attacks. I then also started to get immense pain in my feet through the ride. It was the first bike that I thought there is no way I am finishing this. I finally got to bike dismount a bit delirious and stumbled to the change tent where the medic checked me and called off my run. The disappointment was indescribable. I felt like a failure, like I gave up. The feeling of defeat didn’t sit well with me. I needed to hear those words in the finishing chute!
I had unfinished business!
The disappointment took a while to digest, but I still knew deep down I needed to hear those words called out to me. Eventually I decided Cairns is going to be my come back race! I struggled to get back into training. I needed help! In searching for a training group or coach a friend told me about Complete Per4mance Coaching. 10 weeks out from race day I finally made the call, fingers crossed that Sarah had space for one more challenge. 😉 I knew the lead up to race day was very tight and wasn’t quite sure how it was going to be possible to get myself ready to tackle that 3.8km swim 180km bike and holy moly then a bloody marathon. Sarah reassured me that is tight but definitely possible. So 10 weeks out and it was on…
CPC: Your prep was short and you had quite a few challenges thrown at you, were there times that you didn’t think you could do this?
There were definitely moments during the build to IM Cairns that I had serious doubts. I thought there is just not enough time, I kept comparing my prep against the build for IM Busselton. I had 8 weeks more to train for Busso than Cairns! And to throw another challenge into the mix, my sister’s wedding was in South Africa 3 weeks before the race, and my dear mother was diagnosed with stage 3 aggressive breast cancer just weeks before the race. I went back home for my sister’s wedding and to be with my family through this challenging time. After an extremely emotional two weeks I arrived back in Melbourne. I struggled with jet lag and missed my family. I felt guilty for not being home with my mother, I felt guilty for missing training sessions, when I trained I felt guilty for spending so much time training. My emotions were all over the place! At times it was tough to keep going, there were days that I just wanted to sleep, I was so exhausted emotionally and physically. I considered changing from IM to the 70.3, but that felt like me giving up. I thought of the battle that my mother is fighting so bravely, without complaining and with such a positive attitude. I then decided that I am finishing this for her, I am going to fight and win this battle like she is fighting and going to win her battle. I will cross that finish line for her! I knew I had to work on my mental game, work on my patience and with words of wisdom from coach Sarah, realised that I will have to realign my goals. The aim was just to move forward slow and steady and cross the finish line with a smile! And I did! Oh what a feeling!
CPC: Given your short prep, and the challenges, other than sheer determination, what helped you get you not only to the start line, but ultimately to the finish line?
It is so important to trust in and have confidence in your coach and the program/process! You trust someone to guide you trough this massive journey and rollercoaster ride. It made a massive difference to have coach Sarah in my corner, constantly updating my program and adjusting my training to my schedule, travel, head space etc. Sarah provided words of encouragement and motivation, always being reassurance that I can do this that we trained enough to finish this. She was patient and encouraging and provided a great program that was tailored to me, my situation, my abilities and the goal at hand. It was very important to trust in Sarah, to trust in the program and the approach. It was very different to the way I trained prior to joining CPC. What really helped my trust in Sarah and the program was all the information Sarah provided. Not just telling me to do something, but explaining why, providing articles to explain why. It made more sense. We had a plan and structure / framework but the weekly program changed to adapt to my schedule. Sarah understands that life happens and that training needs to fit in around life. There are times that training takes priority, but ultimately we as amateurs need to fit training in around work and life in general. Sarah was there every step of the way and ultimately guided me across the finish-line.
CPC: So tell us how did your day to ‘finish business’ pan out?
The 3.8km swim – oh how we love to hate that swim! It was a tough swim, very choppy and I think I swallowed my body weight in very dirty water. I was so relieved to get it out of the way and hop on my bike!
The 180km bike – bloody LOVED it!! Few climbs and the last 30km was brutal, but I was in my element! It was such a fun and beautiful bike coarse all along the coast and through the tropical rainforest. How lucky am I! The plan was to keep it breezy on the bike, keep the pressure, but not over work the legs and spare them for that marathon. I enjoyed every moment of the ride!
The 42.2km run – OMG I knew it was going to be a veery long slow run and the aim was just to move forward, slowly making my way to that Finish line, but there where times where the finish line seemed soooooo far away! It was brutal, with gut a bit upset, my back in a spasm and muscles aching, I tried to keep smiling and use the amazing energy of the crowd and support to just move forward. 1km out, the end was in sight! Running down that finish shoot supporters cheering, music pumping the energy was amazing! Then that Finish line and those 5 words I have been waiting for fighting for … Nekite YOU ARE AN IRONMAN! I did it! I bloody did it! What a feeling!
What a journey it has been, but I finally crossed that Finish line…I AM AN IRONMAN!💪🏻
That moment would not have been possible without the love and support along the way and on race day!
Big thanks to my training buddy Megan, I am so lucky to have shared this experience with you! You have made the journey so much more enjoyable and have kept me going when I really questioned WTF we are doing! Congratulations with your smashing time!!! 11:49:35!! You ran your heart out! WOW what an accomplishment!
My coach through this journey, Coach Sarah thank you for your patience, motivation, words of wisdom and for guiding me to the Finish line! Loved training with you!
To my amazing support crew Marinda Meyer and Andries Meyer I have no words! Thank you so much for all your support! Thank you for sharing this moment with me! You calmed my nerves, lifted my spirits and carried me through to the finish line! I love you so much! I am the luckiest to have you as my friends!
Family and friends thank you so much for all your love and support through this! 💗😘💗
Thank you for all the support and good luck and congratulations messages and calls, I truly appreciate each and every one of you.
Now for some much needed R&R! Bring it on! ☀🏝🥂