Last year, Nick got to run the Two Oceans half marathon as part of a work thing and I had such FOMO – even though I hadn’t yet actually run a half marathon!
I was really keen to experience the race for myself so when entries for the 2016 event opened up we decided to see if I could get an entry for the half. Nick said that that if I managed to get a half marathon entry, then he would enter the ultra marathon!
As luck would have it, I did get one of the elusive half marathon entries and so the planning began. We decided to plan a holiday around the event with our running friends Lance and Jenty and their boys.
I will admit my race training was a little sketchy. I tried to focus on speed and hill training, but was pretty lazy about doing the long runs and relied heavily on the fact that I’ve done a couple of half marathons now and knew that I could run the distance but I was terrified of not being able to make the cut off time! The rainy weather in Jozi in the weeks preceding the race made tapering very easy – some afternoons running was just impossible!
After much guessing about what the weather might do on the day, we decided to take along black garbage bags as makeshift raincoats and thank goodness we did, because it was a rainy wait to start to our race. We left home at the ungodly hour 3:45 am and as we drove into UCT, the heavens started spitting. I’m ever so glad we left early though. A couple of friends got caught in the crazy traffic and one of them didn’t even get to run the race. It is a helluva long way to come to all the way to Capetown for a race and not actually get to run!
The pre-race build up was just awesome! I loved the singing of the anthem and the canon signifying the start of the race. Real goosebumpy stuff. I was nervous, but not nearly as nervous as I had been for Knysna, so I really just tried to soak up the energy and try to commit the experience to memory.
I managed to somehow to get seeded in the Group D starting pen, which I was grateful for because it meant I had an extra 10 minutes to run the race. I felt better knowing that there was an extra few minutes on my side. I’m still not sure how the seedings actually work because a whole lot of runners I know, who are faster and more experienced than me, started in the E group.
And so the race… I started off with a good run for the first two kilometres. I was too scared not to run at that point because there were just so many people all around me running and I didn’t want to stop. The third kilometre was a tough one and I had to walk a bit to conserve my energy for later in the race. I was feeling nervous at that point. It was before I had warmed up enough and my the muscles in my legs were not fully cooperative. I gave myself a bit of a talking to about giving this my all and managed to pick up my pace for the next while. All was going pretty well until I hit the notorious Southern Cross Drive. My pace slowed right down there. I felt like I had no choice but to walk those hills. The runners around me were mostly walking and I just didn’t have the strength to try run around them. I drew on my walking training from my early days at RWFL, put my head down, swung my arms and trudged up!
The rest of the race felt fairly easy by comparison. I managed to run a good chunk of the last few kilometres. I finished with a time of 3:05:50. I had hoped to finish sub 3 hours, but considering how difficult and full the race is, I’m not unhappy with my time.
The wait for Nick’s finish was a bit chilly but he ran in strong with a time of 6:30 – such an amazing achievement to complete an ultra marathon after having only recently entered the world of long distance running! I was super proud!
Would I do it again? For sure… Now that I have one under my belt, I’d love to run another. I would like to be stronger for my next race. Running a 21km highlights all my weak spots – so it’s time for me to focus. My feet, my glutes (ITB) and my core strength need to improve. And it’s time to shift those last 15 or so kilograms!
Maybe I will see you next year OMTOM???
I will be back in a few days with a post about our holiday! I’ve got some awesome pictures to share!