Nolu’s Ironman Journey

We are thrilled to bring you an exclusive Q&A with Nolu, one of Cemza engineered cement’s sponsored triathletes, as she shares her experience of participating in this prestigious event. The competition in Gqeberha, South Africa, includes a 3.8-kilometer swim, a 180.25-kilometer bike ride, and a 42.20-kilometer run, all within a strict time limit. Nolu provides valuable insights into the mental and physical preparation required to complete such a demanding event, as well as her personal journey leading up to the IRONMAN.

Can you tell us about your experience competing in the Ironman?

Lovely experience! The atmosphere, the people, the supporters and seeing other athletes getting ready…I am 100% I’ve never experienced anything like that before in terms of the vibe’s it was just amazing!

How did you feel going into the competition?

I felt great I stuck to my numbers and exactly how my coach said I should do…I held it together because I knew it was going to be a long day so I made sure I eat as much as I could on the bike, stick to the plan not over do it as I had a whole marathon after that 180km bike.

How did you stay motivated throughout the race?

I kept myself motivated by having confidence in myself and my training I did everything I could to to prepare and this was the fun part.

Were there any particularly challenging moments during the race?

I was too in my zone to notice anything that would have made me think of it as a “challenge” there was a point where we got head wind but all I did was put my head down and keep moving, the rain was pouring and that too was ok because there was nothing that could change it…I felt quite strong for most of the race because I prepared well for it…my coach did emphasise that even though I trained and prepared but there will come a point where my body will start to feel all sorts of things and that’s where the mental game starts for me that happened on the last 10km of the marathon.

Did you have any specific strategies or tactics for tackling the different legs of the competition?

The only thing that’s important for a race like Ironman is preparedness and nutrition on the course. You have to stick with what you’ve been eating or taking during training…time yourself properly and not wait until you feel fatigued or hungry before you eat or drink

Were there any surprises during the competition that you didn’t expect?

Luckily for me I am trained by an 8 time Ironman Champ! Anything that I could possibly expect I have been briefed about anything unexpected I was told to just keep moving no matter what. We had rain, thunder and humidity. Those are things we couldn’t control, but we kept it moving. The only thing that was different for me was the distance, I have never had to race that long before. Swimming in the rain was new too I guess, quite fun I must admit! The child in me who was told to stop playing in the rain had a field day!

What advice would you give to others who are interested in competing in an Ironman competition?

Find your WHY? This is not something one can just do because it’s “fun”. There will come a point where you are physically and mentally exhausted from all the training. You will have only yourself…look inward and remind yourself why you started. Surround yourself with positive, like minded people and team mates. It will go a long way! As humans we are not always motivated, therefore discipline needs to be at the forefront. You will have to keep showing up even on days you don’t feel like it. Stick to the plan!

What did it mean to you to represent Cemza at the Ironman Championship?

Ironman being an international event meant that I was given a chance to represent what Cemza believes in and that’s to build a nation’s dream! It took all the strength and courage for me to finish that race! Which proved that I am backed by the best people who know what it takes to commit, inspire and excel.


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