It’s almost been a week since I ran the ‘tough one’, I remember waking up at 04:00AM (what a cold morning that was)…My mind was still trying to process everything… I am pretty sure i had jumped three steps ahead to denial, even before the race had started, as my mind tried to convince me that i didn’t need that type of negativity in my life and that I should go back to sleep, LOL. And at some point I had convinced myself that I was going to sit this one out.
Anyways after going back and forth, i finally decided that i would go and run the race (this was about 04:45). So i gathered my stuff, and obviously something had to go wrong as i couldn’t seem to find my licence number. After what had seemed like a lifetime, with me frantically searching for the licence, i found it. So then i drove off to Randburg and before you know it, after all the admin was done I saw myself at the starting line.
What i remember was that by stomach felt like it was in knots. The reason being that this was my first race post my ITB injury and comrades and everyone was constantly telling me how tough it was. Anyways i didn’t really pay much attention to others, i had decided that i was going to give it my all in any case. Because i feel that all marathons are usually difficult.
The race held up to it’s name. I know everyone will try and describe how difficult and tough it is. I think that you have to experience it for yourself to truly understand why the race holds up to its name . I wasn’t even prepared for the shock that came along with it.
So here is my experience during the race. I remember the first 10KM’s not being as bad as I had thought it would be. I remember pushing myself during the first ten km’s, even though the route mostly was hills. The reason why, in my opinion, that the race is difficult is because of the hills. It is those silent killer type hills that are never ending. But because the Adrenalin was pumping I didn’t really feel them during the first leg of the race.
I only realized how bad it was during the 15th even 16th Km. As this is when i realized that the hills were not going to end anytime soon. Each time you conquered one, you saw another one that the faster runners were treading through. I think that is what was very discouraging, and as you progressed with each kilometer, you could see how the guys around you would run even slower then they did before and one by one our ‘hope’, ‘motivation’, ‘drive’… kept dwindling. So most would slow down, and pace themselves as they knew that even after running through a particular hill, you were bound to meet another one.
As I got to the 24th km, I developed a certain technique that I felt really helped me through the rest of the marathon. Each time that I saw that we were approaching another hill, i would put my head down and tell myself that once i get there I will deal with that situation. When i finally got to that particular hill i would then push and tell myself that it will probably get better. A little lie never hurt nobody, right?! then repeat, until the end of the race.
Finally the last 6 kms of the race I felt really energetic for some reason, It was at that point, I felt that I could finish the race strong. I remember loosing so much hope that I even decided to stop tracking my time and was pretty sure that I was going to be one of those runners that would finish in about 6 hours. And i’m pretty sure that I had hit ‘the wall’ many a times during the race, at least three or four times and emphasis on the ‘at least part’.
So, after gaining my confidence back I saw that the sub bus 3:30 was behind me. So it was then that I decided to push and try see if I can get a good time. At that point I had had so much ‘coke’ during the race and i am pretty sure that is what kept me going during my last 3 kms of the race, in terms of my energy levels. However what I found that the last few Km’s of the race were the most difficult. Even leading up to the last KM, and I distinctly remember as I turned up by the traffic lights(robot), of how difficult mentally it was for me. Although it was the last leg of the race the Hills were taking everything that i had. So what i did is i joined the bus, and i think that that really helped me so much. I don’t usually use the ‘buses’, but in this case it really helped me push till the end, even though I was so worn out.
In the end my time was 3:20:16, and as this was the first post my injury I felt quite amazing. The pain in my knee didn’t present itself during the race, so this has motivated me in terms of my workout routine. It has showed me that what i have done up to this point has helped improve on some of the weaknesses in my muscles and it can only get better from here.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post, but what I want to find out is how was your experience. If this wasn’t your first one, what did you do to improve your time. I think if we have a good forum of sharing our experiences we can maybe learn and improve in our next race