The best way to describe my 2013 SA National Long Distance Duathlon Championships in two words is that it was a complete disaster!!!  Leading up to the race there were a lot of things that were not in my favour, but most notably a chest infection of sorts which I simply could not shrug off, no matter how many Corenza C’s and Airmunes that I consumed in the week running up to the race.

After about 10m into the race I was already at the back of the small field, and after about 50m into the race I already knew that I was going to have ‘a very long day in the office’.  As I was finishing my second of eight 2.5km laps I was already being lapped by someone that sped past me much like Usain Bolt.  My running time actually turned out to be OK because my time of sub 01:50 was good for my skill level, but at the same time my strength was diminishing rapidly.  My bike was extremely easy to find for reasons obvious to any experienced ‘back marker’ triathlete, but by the time I got onto my bike I was already ‘finished’.  I did the bike route in not much faster than a meager 26km/hr.  By the time I got to the second running leg I was near death and could barely muster anything much more than a walk, let alone a slow shuffle.
They say that golf is the best leveler of man because as soon as you think you have mastered the game it brings you back onto your knees… well, the long distance duathlon did just that to me.  Picture a 20km and 10km running course set out entirely on and around a sports field and in front of a stadium where all of the rest of the victors and supporters are enjoying prize giving… and watching painfully as I am desperately dragging my near death body meter by meter on the sidelines just trying to survive the ordeal!!!
I finished the race with the prize giving ceremony already handled and the timing system already packed up.  Got an encouraging hand shake from a friendly lady that I was later told is the ‘chief’ of TSA, slumped onto a grandstand seat until I had the strength to make my way to the back seat of my car which my good wife, Rose, had brought as close as possible.  She packed up everything for me and drove me home.  I lay on the back seat from Potchefstroom to Pretoria not able to move.  Got home, had a bath and then slumped into bed.  I didn’t have the strength to move, let alone sms anyone interested in my race experience.  I picked up a flaming hot fever in excess of 38°C – it felt like I was on fire – which Rose and my daughter, Claudia, fought down by wrapping a wet towel and cloth around me.  It was sheer hell!!!
Eventually my fever seemed to break a bit and I was down to 37.5°C.  I was able to fall asleep and have a reasonably good night’s rest, although sweating a lot.  The next day I felt a lot stronger again, albeit still with the chest infection.  Rest (from exercise) for the next few days was now a given.
In the final analysis, though, I finished the race.  Perhaps irresponsible of me, but stopping was not going to be an option for my motto is:  “Never give up… never, never, never…!!!”
Norbert Hannweg