WOW, i am not even sure where to begin this race report as i am still going through the emotions of a such a big event and such a big day.
Firstly due to the TV Show, The Bar-one Manhunt i spent a lot of time away from home on weekends and even more time away traveling which meant i hardly got time to do longer stuff. I lined up at the Comrades this year having only run around 340km, of which i ran a 42.2km to qualify and 2 x 35km. That was it, so i was expecting a lot of pain.
The race starts off at 5.30am and its dark and its cold, i had a few goals for this race which i had mainly kept to myself, they were:
So off i went in the dark, about to run to Durban from Pietermaritzburg. I took just under 5min to cross the line after the gun went which i was very happy about and settled into a shuffle which was my plan, this way once i got to 50km i could stop shuffling and open up and start to run.
The first few km’s went by quite quickly and at 15km in Darren Nash caught up with me and it was great to have some company and have a laugh and chat. We got split up about 40min later and that was going to be how i ran the rest of the 70km odd left to go, SOLO.
At 22km i saw David Hadenham, the Uncle and Melissa and they had a nice Ham, mayo, Butter sandwich which was great to get in as well as a Woolworths Nut, Health bar, i walked and jogged the next 2km getting it all in and allowing my stomach time to digest a bit. I also took my first Cataflam ( Anti Imflammotory ) i made it easily to 42km point in a time of around 4.30hr which was what i was aiming for, took my 2nd Cataflam and was smiling and happy. The one thing you not short of in this race are spectators and they come out in their thousands to line the street and make you feel special and for that i am very grateful.
The other thing you learn pretty quick is that size, colour, age or weight have nothing to do with how fast people go because i got passed by everybody, with 18 000 odd people all going the same way the view up front was always just a sea of bodies, i got to half way in just over 5hrs and was felling great and i actually wanted to stop shuffling and open up. Through Hillcrest out of the valley i opened up and started running with full strides and it felt good and the pain was manageable and i also began to use my Ipod as i was now going to have to start running on sore, tired legs.
My choice to use the kit i did was the right one and not for one moment in the whole day did what i was wearing annoy me. Then going down fields hill, which is about 4km downhill my right ITB started sending sharp shooting pains down my leg and i had to stop to walk a lot, it had also swollen up and was even too sore to walk. I had to have a good talking to myself and keep pushing through. I expected this to happen as i had hardly done any running for this, Most people put in over 1000km from January for the race.
I was on pace at this stage for a Sub 10hr which would f been amazing, but i had to put that idea in a bubble and let it go, i knew chasing it would either injure me or i wouldn’t really break and wouldn’t finish.
I decided to take 1 Myprodol ( pain killer ) just to take the edge off, the pain was shooting straight through though and i was starting to battle to hold the pain a bay. I must thanks God that every time i whispered a prayer or had a very bad patch i would see somebody i knew next to the road and they would run up to me and give me a hug which really lifts your spirit.
I got some deep heat rubbed onto my legs and was off again, the problem i know faced was that most of the last 20km to Durban are downhill and i couldn’t run downhill anymore, running flats and uphill was ok, but i had to walk down. I needed a goal to focus on and decided to make it the Sub 11hr mark as i wanted from the start.
I had another very dark moment around the 18km to go mark, where i actually had a few tears in my eyes and got quite choked up thinking of my dad and all of my family members who had run this great race before me and how i really wanted to finish to make them proud, i willed myself on and tried to find little things to break the pain. I made deals with myself, like if you run to that sign you can walk for 30sec, it was working and i was managing to keep moving forward.
Suddenly Jay Z, Empire state of mine came on in my ears and i did shed a tear, this song has a lot of special memories for me and at that moment i decided to pick myself up again and start heading home as hard and as fast as i can, by now every step i took hurt. I was very blessed though that my nutrition was working very well and my energy levels were up.
Every time the song ended i pushed repeat, i have been trying to work out how many times i repeated the song and i cant but i promise you it was around 35 times, because i heard it constantly for about 2 hours and before i knew it i was crossing the last bridge into town and i had 2km left to go.
At this point i cried again, just a few tears of joy as the pain would soon be over and i would cross that line victorious and join the family of runners before me who have taken on this huge challenge. Coming into the Stadium was amazing, there was about 15 000 people all screaming and shouting for you and just typing it gives me goose bumps.
I had made it in 10hrs 53min as my official time with my run time being about 5min faster, if we started from when i actually crossed the line.
I am humbled and very grateful and blessed to have been given this opportunity to complete something which has been on my to do list for ages. I will not recommend to anybody to do it like i did with not much training, but it proves that if you put your mind to it, you can do it. This race is spic but its not out of anybody reach, i got beaten by people that you would stare at or maybe even point and laugh at if you had to see them at a shopping mall. But nobody is laughing when they go running past you and you waking for dear life.
My message is simple, LIVE YOUR LIFE, go out and there and Just Do It, don’t let fear or your friends or society tell you that it cant be done, don’t be afraid to Fail either. Just take baby steps and with time you too can be crossing a finish line and be ticking off another box in your lives.
A very special thank you for my sponsors which i am so blessed to have in my life and which make doing the things i do easier and help me too look good doing them :
Orca , Puma, Suunto, Under Armour
See you on the road, for now i am walking like i have been gang rapped by a group of Russian bears but smiling like a fat kid looking at a chocolate cake.
This past weekend we raced in Durban, it was the African Tri Champs and we had a very bad turn out, only about 50 age groupers turned up for the race and only about 8 elites and a handful of juniors.
On Sunday morning at 7am the race got away, the sea was warm so didn’t get to use my Orca secret weapon, my alpha wetsuit but ran into the water anyway, i haven’t swum in about 5 weeks so didn’t know what to expect, i exited the choppy sea having a great swim using my sea swimming experience and coming out just outside the top 10.
Onto the bike and the 25km/h winds were having fun with us, blowing us from side to side, you tell yourself not to bike too hard as i have only biked around 300km in the last 5 weeks, but i was biking strong, moving up into the top 10 overall and also lying 2nd in my age group.
I got off the bike 9th and as i started my run in my new bright orange Puma racers both my legs started to cramp up badly, i just kept moving forward and managed, with some pain to keep going, i was passed by 2 people on the run including Clinton who took over 2nd place in my age group, i finished up in 12th overall and got a 3rd in my age group.
But it wasn’t pretty, on hardly any training over the last 5 weeks, my life is just too hectic at the moment and am battling to fit much else into it and sport doesn’t pay the bills.
Next challenge is comrades on around 350km of running since January, so should be very interesting.
Thanks to everybody who is involved in my life and helps me cope with everyday thing, even if it is just walking around looking and feeling cool.
I was very happy to pick up my Bar-One manhunt Nissan X-Trail and pack my bags and head off to East London for the weekend to race the 70.3, which is a Half Ironman, a 1.9km swim, a 90km bike ride and a 21.1km run after that.
We got a bit lost going there and drove about 2hrs extras, if you ever doing the trip remember to take the split just after bloem and don’t keep driving towards cape town as its the wrong way.
Leading up to the race i felt ok, but not great, i have done quite a bit of biking and so knew i was strong but hadn’t done much swimming or running due to the show and then being on holiday so i knew i was going to be in for a long day. I was very excited though to race my new bike for the first time in the race. A Argon 18 E-114
The swim was a huge field of around 1400 men and i did well to exit rather unharmed and without spending too many calories. I was quickly on the bike and felt strong and so started to race my game plan. But soon disaster struck as i vomited up my first gel…i turned the half way point in around 97th place overall and was looking forward at riding hard back to town.
At 70km my race day ended as my body gave up, i hadn’t been able to get calories in and then the rest of the day became survival…the only thing that stayed down all day was a bit of coke on the run. So ended up with a 5hrs 36min race which isn’t too bad considering i only took in about 500 calories all day.
Well done to all of you who were out there surviving the day as the weather and course were all hard.
Thanks again to the wonderful guys who sponsor the cool gear i use, Orca Wetsuits and Apparel, Puma Racing and Training Gear, Argon 18 Bikes, Suunto Heart Rate Monitors, Troi Sport and Under Armour Compression Gear
You guys rock