May 13, 2014 I ran my first ever … and I mean EVER 5km run. I finished in just over 30 minutes. I crossed the line and could not believe it had happened. Little did I know that this was actually the start of my running adventure.
I recall getting to work the following Monday and informing my colleagues that I had run the 5km but that would be it. From then on I entered a few more 5km runs, and decided that I wanted to finally venture into the world of triathlon. See the Sprint version of the triathlon, you don’t run more than 5km at any one time. My theory was as long as I can run and finish the 5km within time I’d be good to go.
Leading up to August last year there was plenty of noise about the Soweto Marathon, part of the race was a 10km run. Hubby suggested that it was time for me to increase my distance. I accepted the challenge and surprised not only myself but hubby and friends by actually completing it .. 72 minutes later!
It wasn’t long before I was entering 10km runs almost every weekend, amidst all this I also decided I wanted to run the Two Oceans Half Marathon in 2015 out in the beautiful Cape. I found out when it was that I needed to register for the race, and hubby began training me for it.
Well that race finally happened over the Easter weekend this year. The three of us boarded a flight the weekend before the race and headed on to Cape Town. This was also the first time our young man got to fly all the way in his very own seat.
He loved every 2 hours of the flight. Jumping from middle seat to the window seat. Loving watching the clouds but mostly that he was allowed to sit on his own just like his dads.
We got our rental and made our way to Fish Hoek, this was going to be our home for the next 10 days.
Our two bedroom and two bathroom apartment was the best accommodation we’ve booked ourselves in a very long time. It has the most beautiful views, every morning waking up to an amazing sunrise.
Every evening we would have our dinner watching the lights of the evening traffic making their way home through the winding narrow streets of the fish towns, while listening out for the whistling of the last few trains taking those that worked in the city back home for the night. Truly awesome and highly recommended. You should try it out some time…
Now we travelled down to Cape Town early so that I could put in a run or two and get used to running in the city. Previous attempts the year before did not go too well. We entered the Spar Ladies Race, the first in the series hosted across the country, Cape Town’s race being the first.
All dolled up in a tutu and wig, hubby and I got to the start and ran. Everyone mentioned that running in the Western Cape is easier because you’re at sea level etc. Hmm … I don’t know. The race itself was extremely well organised, but I have now confirmed running on pavements and/or trail running isn’t for me. My legs hate it! It was a beautiful route on the promenade with just views of the ocean to our right, but I wasn’t enjoying it. Legs just felt like they were taking a hiding!
This scared me as I really wanted to enjoy and finish the Two Oceans 21.1km race the next weekend!
I didn’t mention it to hubby(coach), but on our run to Simon’s Town in the week leading to the Two Oceans, it happened again as the run was on paving. My legs just ached and begged for me to stop punishing them. Why is this happening to me! Reading articles on the run about runners that started the race and did not finish wasn’t helping either. At one point I read something about of the 16k participants that enter the race 3k don’t manage to complete it! I didn’t want to be one of them! No way! If I have to run through the pain and never run again, I told myself I would! This race is all I’d been working towards since August 2014. I desperately wanted to finish it and have proof too!
All this is happening in my head on the week leading to Saturday 4th April 2015, race day!
We collected our numbers, our young man’s fun run number and mine on the first day the collection started. It was a total breeze. First race I’d entered where this was the case. Normally there are queues to contend with and disgruntled individuals in a rush etc. #OMTOM numbers collection was superbly well organised, congratulations to the organizing committee!
Day before the main marathon is Fun Race day. Hubby, SIL and our young man all had their races to run. Hubby ran the 5.6km race and got himself a new PB – sub 30 minutes and then still ran 56m with our young man. Our son just wasn’t having any of it though when he reached the starting line. After having yelled at the top of his voice that daddy should get to the start so he could run, he was overwhelmed by all the other tiny tots at the starting line. Still he ran it on his dadD’s shoulders .. like many others and crossed the finish line getting himself a medal and goodie bag in the process. We will try again next year I am sure.
Race day arrived early. We were up at 3am on Saturday morning, breakfast and dressed before making our way to the starting line by 430am. The drive was quick and the streets quiet.. until we got close to the starting line. We’re part of the Team Vitality Cycling and Running club so hubby registered us for parking on race day. This was an awesome gesture! We didn’t have to worry about parking our rental somewhere unfamiliar or having to walk too far to the start line. The parking area was literally 400m from the starting line and after a nervous inflicted toilet call, we said our goodbyes and I entered my batch pen.
Our mate Max Cluer was one of the announcers that morning, and probably 20 minutes after entering the pen he was alerting that the National Anthem was about to be played. Wow! What a moment! The duration of the anthem I was filled with goosebumps and tears. For that moment we were all united at the start.
The first 3 batches started and 10 minutes later so were we. Unlike many other races there wasn’t a long period of shuffling before we were actually running. We ran .. and ran .. and steadily climbed our way into the M3 highway! I was loving it! Legs were not aching or begging that I stop. I was running the race I’d wanted to run all along. I was having the best time too and so was everyone else around me.
Hubby had suggested I start slow .. for the first 10km and then increase my pace for the last 11kms so that I was still fresh. I tried! Although it didn’t happen. I was pacing 7/6 per km for the first 3km, when I saw the 2h30 bus come past me.
I recalled my last 21km run just two weeks earlier, where I had been ahead of the bus for the bulk of the run and they pipped to the finish line with 2kms to go. It wasn’t happening again, regardless of what hubby(coach) had recommended. He wasn’t there. I was on my own and I was a man on a mission. My last 21km I’d completed in 2h26:32 .. I just had to somehow beat that time! I jumped on the bus and held on.
Their pace was fast 6:20/km .. fast in comparison to my standards that is. I held on. I wasn’t going to let them pass me again. Fortunately this bus also walked, but briskly! It was like this that we made our way to the top and overcame too the infamous Southern Cross Hill .. I even managed to laugh when I saw one of the race posters along the road, it read .. “It’s just a hill, get over it …!” Loved it!
We reached the 16km point of the run, and that’s when I thought .. OMG! The damn cramps decided that they were joining me on this run too. DAMNIT! WHY! Had me some water and race food and that got me through the next 3kms … before they came on back again. I was focused and still had me some race food. I am going to finish this run .. I will run through this pain .. my words to get me through the cramps. At the 20km point with only 1.1kms to go I’d run out of race food and could feel the cramps creeping back into my legs. I was feeling cramps in places I’d never cramped before. Fortunately at the last water station I’d collected extra water satches. I finished the last one, thanked my bus conductor for the support and dashed to the finish line with 100m to go. I could feel the cramp abate some .. but not complete go away.
I crossed the finish line! Sub 2h30! What an emotional finish for me.
I received my medal .. my coke and water satches and walked into hubby’s and our young man’s arms. I’d done it! I’d completed the Two Oceans within the allocated 3h20 for the half marathon. I didn’t break any world records, but I’d finished what I’d set out to and in new PB too.
Hubby and Son, THANK YOU! Thank you for your patience, support and guidance through the journey to this finish line. Getting me to run when I least felt like it. Making us hit the road during the festive season and run two 21.1km prior to this one so that I wouldn’t be surprised when I ran the OMTOM.
For the rest of the year we will be running, but the main focus now will be getting my cycling up to scratch and completing a few more Sprint triathlon when the season starts again in October out here.
The surprise though is that hubby and I have now committed to running the OMTOM next year .. together .. but not the half marathon .. the ultra! 56kms of it!
Let’s watch this space for progress…