My training for the Comrades have started and things are going very well. I am however very worried about my left foot. I am officially 32 but have the left foot of a 87-year-old woman. So I went ahead and cut a hole where my bunion is. The girl at the running shop actually laughed at me and looked at me as if I was crazy when I suggested this plan but I went ahead any way. It was a bit difficult to cut a hole in a perfectly new shoe that cost over R1 000.00 but it had to be done! I will report back regarding the success of this shoe mutilation.
The Rudemans Kaapsehoop 3 in 1 Race started at the new Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. What a venue.
I don’t think you can ever know how hard a marathon will be untill you’ve completed one! I never knew that I would be reduced to a sad puddle of tears, snot and sweat by a simple thing like a marathon. Surely I’m tougher than the hairy, round apple shaped people that make it look so easy. Well, I was not. Being my first marathon I thought choosing the downhill course at the Rudemans Kaapsehoop 3 in 1 would count be easy, but it wasn’t. I would have been better off had a lion mauled me.
Anybody that knows me, knows I have a serious problem with pacing myself and struggle to not get swept up in the excitement at the start of a race. I thought I had my personality under controll at the start but yet again I was wrong. I ignored all the advice before the race of “If you run too fast the first 21, you will not make the second 21!” I thought, “How bad could it be”. It turned out it could be pretty fucking bad! Polishing the first half of the race in 1h53 minutes, I was well on track to hit my goal time of sub 4 hours. I was however slightly worried about the way my legs were feeling, I tried not to think about the fact that I still had 20km to run and my legs allready felt like jelly. The other mistake I made was that I never walked in the first 21km and also didn’t really eat much. After being caught by a friend and trying to keep up with them I realised I was going to have to run my own pace if I didn’t want to end up lying next to the road waiting for a ambulance to pick me up. I said adios to my two friends and decided to walk a bit. It was the end of my race…
Ten angels of doom decended on me and my body decided “Screw you woman! If you’re gonna run downhill like a hell bent rabit, I will pay you back.” My feet and legs took such a hammering on the downhills in the first half of the race that I could no longer just run along, never mind walk. Nothing helped, no matter what I did, I was suffering. I was however surrounded by people who seemed to be in the same position as me. A girl running just ahead of me pulled off the road and started throwing up in the bushes, she would catch me, pass me and then soon throw up again. I was at least lucky not to run pucking into the bushes. When I made the turn up to the finish I could all of a sudden run again as my body didn’t have such a big problem with the uphills. I had 4km and 40 minutes to make the cut off time. I put my head down and made up a bit of time. It was however in the last 400m that I got a bit of pride back, a lycra clad fat woman was just ahead of me and I decided, “Like hell, this lycra clad person was going to beat me”. I killed myself to pass her and for once understood that the poor people that get carried over the finish line at the comrades are actually not faking. It is that hard… I really hope getting carried over the line is not in my future!
At the end of 2010 I foolishly entered the Comrades marathon. I was full of bravado about how I was going to run it in nine hours or under. This was obviously the plans of a ignorant person who has obviously not run much, because just finishing the Comrades is a truly big accomplishment. I think a lot of people are fooled by the look of the people stumbling into the stadium in the dying moments of the race, and I have said more than a few times: “If that person can do it, so can I”. How wrong I was. Don’t be fooled by big beer guts and legs resembling tree stumps shuffling along. The owners of the beer guts and tree stumps will almost always outrun me and for the life of me I cannot understand where the power comes from, surely a ex springbok athlete should be able to run a bit. Well, I didn’t do Comrades in 2011 but have now planned to do it in 2012. I only just qualified this past weekend at the Rudemans Kaapse Hoop Marathon (More about that later) in Nelspruit and not even one hour after uttering the words “Never again” as I crossed the finish line I started planning my road to Comrades. I am definitely a sucker for punishment, cruel and unusual punishment. I am a runner.