The alarm was set for 4:00 am but I woke at 2:22am for the loo! I battled to get back to sleep. I am not sure whether it was excitement or the realization that there was absolutely nothing left I could do, it was “race day” girlie! Time to make sure that your big girl panties are pulled up proper like and the smile was firmly plastered all over my face!
So when the alarm did go off, I jumped out of bed and hit the shower, got dressed and my fabulous husband made me a gorgeous smoothie. That, and a mug of coffee was thrown down my throat and then it was time to hit the road. Tess (my H1 Bus, yes, I have named all my vehicles!!) picked up a bunch of runners, it was filled with nervous chatter and banter and we got to Main Road Newlands far too quickly!
After going to the loo a couple more times (blaming nerves!! Not age…. Ha) we found our way to the “E” pen. More nervous chatter …. Looking around I was amazed to see so many novice runners, in all shapes and sizes! Just amazing!!!
Then our National Anthem. Goosebumps…
Then we were off!
S-L-O-W-L-Y! But that suited me… I like to start off with a good walk and there were so many people, the black plastic bags and “cats eyes” which are all silly things that I would stumble over. The Wynberg Hill was the first challenge. The 1 minute walk/run worked well but my calves starting feeling tight.
The conversations in my head went a little like this “if you talk about it and put it out there, you give this issue life”. So I tried to ignore it… We kept looking out for the 3 hour bus, I desperately wanted to keep ahead of it, but couldn’t find it at all in the sea of people!
Coming down Wynberg Hill heading towards Kendal Road was something quite spectacular. It was a throbbing mass of runners. John, Georgia and Connor were waiting along with my friend Tracy as we got off the M3! The fabulous Goslett family stood standing on the bridge with a banner no less!… Oh guys! My heart just swelled.. and my eyes leaked! So glad I sweat like I do, just this once! As we were about to hit the Ladies Mile extention we saw the 3 hour bus! The relief! And then I saw my little brothers! Yay! I got them out of bed early and seeing their faces made my heart glad! Hit Southern Cross Drive and saw Caroline’s fab fam jumping up and down!
Then the beast that is Southern Cross Drive….
It all started according to plan, but the calves where not playing along and I started to feel a twinge in my groin by the time we hit the row of trees! (If you have run this road you know the TREES!!!) Self doubt is a cruel thing… and the conversations in my head became bloody difficult to say the least! Jeremy put his hand on my back and practically pushed me up this nasty bitch!
Rhodes Drive should just be blown up!
(not really… ok really)
The camber on this road is only suitable for mountain goats!
Going past Kirstenbosh the conversations to me, myself and I started to sound a little lighter… “I got this! We have got this!” Caroline was “whooping” and chatting to everyone around her (have I said that I think she is amazing?) … a part of me just wanted to tap into her energy source and I started to wonder if this 50 something year old wonder woman, who is a mum of 3 all under the age of 11, was actually human!
Then we hit the M3 again… and the last climb to the finish…. I actually heard my legs sieze! I still can not actually verbalise the agony. Caroline was running to the water stations, plying me with water and Powerade… I had to keep moving! We must have been just shy of the UCT entrance when 2 girls we know were standing on the side of the road, screaming words of encouragement. I am so sorry Theresa and Mandy!!! I actually think I might have growled at you!
Jeremy and Caroline grabbed my hands and it felt like a sprint to the finish once we hit the grass of UCT!
I can honestly say…
That race, on Saturday 15th April 2017, was one of the most difficult, emotional, physical activities I have ever done!
The spirit on the side of the road is fantastic.
The fact that I had friends and family come out to see me – I have no words.
Caroline and Jeremy – You guys are my hero’s!
I know for a fact, that I would not have finished that race without you!
Oh!! The smile I plastered on my face and the beginning of the run? Returned as soon as I crossed that finish line, hand in hand with Caroline and Jeremy!
I need to say a very special thanks for the lady that kinda got this ball rolling, Mel, you are a gem! Thanks for setting up the blog and my very stylish shirts! We can now safely go for some celebratory Gins!
And John, who is the “calm” to my “storm”. Your quite support through all this is so appreciated, even though you were going through some serious “withdrawals”, while your “people” were out running the Ultra!
I was asked on Sunday if I would ever run the Two Oceans Half Marathon again! And without a doubt in my mind… NO!
Unless I weigh a good 20-30kgs less!
It is grueling. My poor body has taken a beating. And I feel I have not done it any justice! I didn’t stick to my eating plan! That’s because I was stupid! My own fault, absolutely!
Am I going to continue running?
This beaten body got me over the finish line! (albeit dragged kicking and screaming…Ha) I am not about to quit now! How can I!?
There are other races!
There are more morning runs with my crew!
There are other challenges.
Next up… a more sensible 12km FNB One Run in May!!
Who is with me?