Dear Two Oceans Half Marathon,
Like most runners, I fell in love with you right from the start. You were the dream race, the one everyone spoke about. When my running training started at the beginning of each year, it would be centred around you as the goal date, the goal race. All the reading I did was about you. All the training I did was for you. In terms of running, you were ‘my everything’.
But since 2010, things between us started to go wrong. You started to see more people and the entries just grew and grew. The problem is that with 16 000 runners, it makes it that much tougher for me to get over that starting mat without losing at least 10 minutes. I don’t exactly have 10 minutes to spare because, as you know, I run at 8 minutes per km and this cuts it fine with a 3 hour cut off time. It’s funny because ever since I started running, I’ve allowed your 3 hour cut off time to dictate my runs and my pace to the extent that I feel absolutely miserable when I don’t run my half marathons under 3 hours.
I guess that’s my point. How you make me feel. Like any woman in an abusive relationship, I forgave you because I ‘loved’ you. I even started this blog about ‘Keeping up’ because I was so desperate to please you. But if I have to be honest with myself, you make me feel like a failure, inadequate, pathetic. You stress me out and instead of enjoying the run, I keep thinking that I will fail. I keep wanting to quit every single day but fear that other runners will judge me.
I don’t feel like that when I run other races. In fact, since January, I’ve noticed a change within me. I started to like running half marathons and not be stressed about the time. I started to enjoy the distance. I’ve loved every kilometre and when I’ve crossed the finish line, I’ve been so damn proud of myself. Proud because I am able to run 21.1km. So far, I’ve run 3 half marathon races this year and each one has taken me over 3 hours, but you know what, it didn’t matter. I have fallen in love with my running again!
So, I think what I’m trying to say is … it’s not you, it’s me. It’s taken me 4 years to realize that running is supposed to be fun. It’s taken me so many races to finally acknowledge that I run at 8 minutes per km and I’m okay with that. I watch so many other runners crossing that finish line after me with smiles on their faces. I want to be one of those runners. I want to be content and at peace and not carry around this huge burden.
So it’s good bye. We can still be friends and I will see you for the 8km run on Good Friday. But as far as any long term commitment, you’ve taken up way too much of my time and energy (both mentally & physically) already. I’m moving on.