The Road to South Africa

Early this morning while on the trainer it dawned on me – I’m going to South Africa! In three days. Ahh! Pinch. Me. It also dawned on me – in just over a week I’ll be on the same course, on the same day as World Champion, Daniela Ryf… Daniela. Ryf. Holy Moly!

So far, 2018 has been a blockbuster year.

To start, those who read this web series or who follow me on Insta will know I’ve been basically low-key obsessive-compulsive about all things #roadtosouthafrica and the #ironman703worldchampionships since getting a spot to worlds in December last year. For me, 2018 has literally been all swim, bike, run with work, food, sleep and maybe a tiny bit of a social life thrown in the middle.

The build towards worlds has been mostly smooth sailing, but there have definitely been some roadblocks thrown in for good measure. I’ve experienced a lot of fun things, and new adventures (mostly trips to the sun… I mean, Queensland) and I’ve had to overcome some big challenges and life changes along the way. But it has all been worth it.

The first challenge came at the end of 2017 when I moved back home; 4000km away from work, civilisation and life, as I had known it. I had to figure out how I was going to fit training in around a massive commute to/from work, along with work itself. But once I got into a groove that worked, things fell into place, and I have been more consistent with training then I’ve ever been. It’s incredible how much your mindset changes when something happens that can derail your plans potentially. But I’m not a glass half empty kinda gal. Once the self-pity party was over, I started action planning.

The next major challenge this year was my grandma passing. She had cancer and passed away just before Cairns 70.3. It was a rough time for my family and me – it’s still incredibly hard without her. She was my number one fan and was super excited when I told her about qualifying for worlds. Sadly, she won’t be here to hear all about my trip when I get back, but I’ll be racing for her, in her memory.

My goals for 2018 were to stay consistent, to try new things and to have fun – to enjoy the process and the training. Tick! Goals achieved. One thing that helped with staying consistent was racing. It’s amazing how driven you become when you know you have a race coming up. I’ve raced a lot this year – more than previous years. I’ve achieved some highs (massive PBs) and some lows when races didn’t go to plan (a lot of lessons learnt). But mostly I’ve had fun with it.

Some of the races I did this year include, but are not limited to:

  • The Mooloolaba 5km Twilight Run – the first time I ran in the 4’s for 5km.
  • A crit race where I think I was in Z grade or something ha-ha – I came first (mainly because I was racing against Primary Schoolers)… first time on the top step of a podium!
  • Challenge Melbourne – my breakthrough race, where it all came together.
  • Ironman 70.3 Cairns – oh man, that race! It didn’t go to plan, but a lot of lessons were learnt.
  • Gold Coast half marathon – achieved a massive PB here! The first time I ran in the 4’s for 21.1km.

And now, here we are. Three days to go until take off. Just over a week until race day. Where has the time gone? Yikes! Am I ready for this?

I’m not really sure what to expect for the race so, while I’m super excited, I’m not sure how to feel yet. I am a little nervous, but mostly nervous about swimming with sharks without a cage ha-ha *insert nervous laugh here* (um, hello, it’s South Africa!). I’m starting to regret watching reruns of ‘Jaws’ now.

In all honesty, it’s my first worlds (“first” worlds – ha! Saying that like I’m super sure I’ll qualify again) so I just want to get out there, make the most of the opportunity; to experience everything a World Championships has to offer – the Parade of the Nations, the spectators and atmosphere, the race. Oh and secretly, I’d love to nail that run – if I can do that, I’ll be a very happy little Vegemite.

So, where to from here?

Well, firstly I have to pack. Oh my gosh, packing is the worst! Especially packing a bike. Anyone want to do it for me? Lol

After worlds?

Well, there was this one night a few weeks ago when I couldn’t sleep. But instead of just shopping for clothes online or something like a normal person, I decided to sign up for the Melbourne Marathon in October (Yikes!). So there is that, as a start. I’m keen to focus on running for a bit. I’d like to see where I can take it and how fast over the half and full marathon distance I can get. But let’s be honest, once the weather warms up I’ll probably be all like: “Sign me up to another tri, baby! I’m in!” Ha-ha! Stay tuned…

For those interested in following the race, click here for details.

To everyone racing at worlds, especially to the ladies in 35-39 – let’s do this! See you all on the start line.

~ Margy Margs


Margaret Mielczarek

Margaret Mielczarek is the deputy editor at Australian Triathlete Magazine and writes the web series 'Shenanigans of a Deputy 2.0'. She is a passionate age-group triathlete and four-time Ironman finisher - currently in training for Ironman number five!

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