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04 August 2017

Anybody who knows will tell you: training for one event such as Ironman is grueling, to put it politely. It takes a huge amount of commitment and dedication. Now imagine adding to the list the Comrades Marathon, several swims at Midmar, another two 70.3 Ironman events, and not to mention a whole lot of ‘smaller’ races in-between. The timeframe? All in the first six months of the year. You have to be Supergirl right? No, you just have to be Jayde Fouche. Here Jayde shares her experience firsthand with Run24.

Your body drives you to the line, but your mind makes you cross it. (Sebastian Kienle)
This quote has been the driving force which pushed me to venture out of my comfort zone and achieve what many, including myself, believed to be impossible. The year that is 2017 has been somewhat of a bucket list year so far, although my family would probably call it, and me, insane.

Eight years ago I was sporty in the sense that I participated in events, but never really pushed myself too hard, you know, in case I vomit…or die! I swore I would NEVER enter endurance races like Comrades and Ironman as these were far too crazy for me. Well, fast forward to 2017 and you will find me reciting my war stories with the utmost excitement and pride. In the past 6 months I have found myself taking part in not one, not two, but rather 3 or 4 of these 'crazy' events. A few of these events included, but are not limited to, the following:

1. The Ironman African Tour Series, which consisted of Ironman 70.3 Buffalo City in January, Ironman African Championships Port Elizabeth in April and Ironman 70.3 Durban in June.
2. Midmar Mile Events 1,2,3 and 5 in February
3. Loskop Ultra Marathon in April
4. Comrades Marathon Up Run, on my birthday in June, because who wouldn't want to run for 10hours and 35minutes on their birthday, right?

70.3 Buffalo City (29 January)
I started the year with Ironman 70.3 Buffalo City, and although this is rated as the second hardest 70.3 in the world, it is one of my favourites. I think what made the race this year even more special to me was my support team. Firstly my Aunt and Uncle who every year, without fail, are there supporting. This year my Aunt had just finished her second round of chemo; she stood out all day cheering me on after everything she'd been through. Secondly my sister from London was here on holiday, after years of supporting from afar I finally got to share my passion with her. She was nothing short of amazing and I will never forget her cheering and going mental as I came into the finish. Lastly, my mum, my number one fan. This lady doesn't miss a single event that I take part in. Vera maintains it’s because she's worried I'll kill myself on the bike, secretly I think she's eyeing out all the talent. The entire race was phenomenal, I managed to knock 30 minutes off my 2016 time, which saw me finish in 6hours and 47 minutes.

Midmar Mile (11/12 February)
Next on the list was Midmar Mile, which for me is always a fun weekend away where I get some quality swim training in. I started swimming Midmar when I was just over 5 years old and haven’t missed a year since. This is the race that helped me establish that I am in fact more of a cruise liner than a speedboat in the water. I competed in 4 out of the 8 events this year, I can’t justify travelling all the way there for a 1.6km swim. On Saturday I swam events 1-3, which included the Pope Ellis Biathlon. This race combines your previous years Comrades time and your Midmar time with the added bonus of a second medal and T-shirt; this is why we race after all, isn't it? I had really great swims all round, some were under 30 minutes, some were just over that, but all in all I had a great weekend and quality Ironman training.

Ironman African Championships (2 April)
Next stop: Ironman African Championships in Port Elizabeth. This was the BIG one for me. In 2016 I took part in the 'couch potato' version of Ironman which meant I ate junk and tracked my friends for 16 hours. Needless to say their amazing performances inspired me to enter and on April 2nd 2017, there I was, standing on the beach, ready to rumble. I won't lie, training for Ironman is nothing short of hell, but I loved it. It takes a huge amount of dedication. I missed many family lunches, late night parties and champagne Sundays. But I don't regret it for a second. That moment when your feet hit that red carpet, after 13 hours and 3 minutes of being in the water, on the bike and pounding the tar, after all the sweat and tears as you ‘sprint’ up to the finish, nothing sounds sweeter than hearing: "JAYDE... you are and IRONMAN!" Ironman was, by far, the best day of my life. I loved every second and will definitely be returning in 2018.

Loskop Ultra (22 April)
Three weeks later I found myself cold and tired in Middleburg getting ready to attempt Loskop Ultra. This was my ultra to prepare me for Comrades 2017 and I had a really, and I mean really horrible run, not because I had burnt out like everyone had expected, but because unbeknown to me, I had developed pubic symphisitis. I had a very painful race but persevered nonetheless, and managed to finish in 5 hours and 5 minutes. Luckily, under great guidance, supervision and rest, which is a swear word to me, I managed to get to the start of Comrades in fairly good shape.

Comrades Marathon (4 June)
Comrades was another big one on the bucket list. It was my third attempt at the Up Run, my arch nemesis race. Not only did I have unfinished business with the Up Run, but it was also my birthday. I waited at the start with my sister, tears streaming down my face, butterflies in my stomach and the determination that under no uncertain circumstances would I get pulled off again. 10hours 35minutes later I found myself at the finish line feeling fantastic and doing the ugly cry again. I had one of the best Comrades races of my life, I had knocked 30 minutes off my 2016 Down Run time and I felt strong the entire way. Funny how the correct training will do that, thanks Jeppe! Even though I vowed 2017 would be the last time I lined up for Comrades, I'm 99% certain you'll find me back there in 2018. Sorry Mom.

Ironman 70.3 Durban (18 June)
Last but not least in my bucket list year of events was Ironman 70.3 Durban. This was 2 weeks after Comrades and everyone thought I was mental, most people by now knew I was. I joked that the only reason I was doing Durban was for the African tour medal, but deep down I was having FOMO as it's such an amazing race. Once again I had an absolutely fantastic day out on the course, I went there to have fun and that's exactly what I did. I improved my 2015 Durban time by 33 minutes and got my Sub 6 hour Ironman 70.3 that I had been working so hard towards. I finished in 5 hours 58 minutes and received my enormous African tour series medal. Seriously, it's the size of my face!

So what’s next?
Throughout it all, I may have been a little (very) insane taking it all on, but honestly I loved every single step of every single race. I have met the most phenomenal people on my journey this year and I have had endless love and support from all who know me.

Now it's time to start looking to 2018 and the challenges it may bring. I guess it's going to have to be bigger and better than 2017 right, after all a comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there. 

Article Keywordsironman inspiration

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