My run down of the Kaapsehoop half marathon

Kaapsehoop Half Marathon 2017

This photo was taken two years ago when I had the privilege of running the Kaapsehoop half marathon with my Dad.

The excruciating pain is visible on our faces. As we rounded the corner on that final 500m, I thought my legs were going to rip off they were so sore.

This year was no different.

I don’t have any photographic evidence but I’ll tell you one thing. It’s been a couple of days since I finished my race, and the DOMS has hit hard. I’m sore. I can’t walk properly and I’m struggling to move like a human.

Runners claim that Kaapsehoop is an “easy run” because it’s all downhill. Some friends have achieved incredible personal bests (PBs) on this course. But it can also bring you to your knees! Ask Brenda

This is one of my favourite World Cup stadiums!

It was our 5th trip down to Kaapsehoop. I’ve run 2 Kaapsehoop half marathons before and two of the 10km races, although after I ran the 10km last year, I vowed that if we were going all the way down to Nelspruit, I would only run the half marathon.

I didn’t have a race strategy on Saturday, which often confuses your running head. 

I was running to kill time while KK was out on the 42km, gunning for a respectable Comrades qualifier. (Which he ran in 3:40!)

I had not trained properly for a 21km race. At some points I ran hard, other times I walked and chewed on sweets (which had melted in my pocket making my hands all sticky which was a great distraction) and then there were bursts of running from tree to tree (although this didn’t last long). My goal was to finish.

I wiggled at the cars driving along side us playing Bok support tunes thinking, gosh, the pressure in that Springbok changeroom must be enormous! And I giggled at the Celtic Harriers runner in the tutu whose quirky commentary had everyone running close to her in stitches. She’s a familiar face from Two Oceans.

When you get to this point of the race, there is no better and worse feeling. You’re so close, but in so much pain and still so far!

I even stopped to play with Ann Ashworth’s dog at one point (I was avoiding that final 3km uphill trek that lay ahead).

The Ups:

  • Well organized and fun vibe. No queues. Enough busses. Loads of water stops with bananas and potatoes.
  • I loved each and very kilometer (okay maybe not that last stretch) and I’m glad I did it. Mentally, I won that race.
  • Parking was a breeze, if you arrived early like we did.

The Downs:

  • There were not enough toilets at the start. I counted 15 portaloos for over 2000 runners. So many runners darted into the forest to do their business.
  • There was too much traffic on the first few kilometers due to runners not taking the busses and being dropped off at the start. Driving next to all that exhaust fume wasn’t lekker.
  • The camber in the road has left me eina.

It’s a race we enjoy and love and will be heading down next year on the 7th November to tackle it again. My fears that it had gotten too big were misplaced. Watching the Soweto & NYC marathon on TV the next day, I was gasping at those numbers!

Over 52 000 runners at the New York City Marathon!

Congrats to everyone who ran this weekend and achieved goals – physical and/or mental. It’s a downhill finish to end off the year … (for now).

Race rating: 8/10

Congrats on your Two Oceans and Comrades qualifier KK!

I ran 03:07. I didn’t even bother walking back to the car to fetch the tog bag because this guy sprinted into the stadium 33 minutes later in 03:40, having run double my distance! WOW!

Looking ahead, 10kms away

I’m excited for this Sunday’s road running race at Old Eds. The crowds. The vibe. The stench of Voltaren gel. The queues outside the loos. All of it!

It’s just a 10km race but I’m looking forward to the adrenaline and satisfaction one gets from crossing a finish line.

I’m one of “those people” that (over) analyses the course before the race so that I know what I’m in for. To be prepared, I tell myself. But it’s usually a mental mind fuck because almost every race in Jo’burg is hilly.

KK and I have run the streets of Jo’burg for so many years that I have the routes logged in my Strava history. The Old Eds route is daunting! Yowzer, check out these hills!

It’s a crazy downhill fall followed by a staggered 8km uphill climb to the dry, grassy finish at the club.

I realised looking back at my Strava history that there was a time when KK and I ran a race almost every weekend. A time when I desperately wanted to run a 21km in 2:30 minutes and was absolutely gutted after each and every race when that goal seemed completely unobtainable.

Old Eds road race 2014.

So much as happened in the last couple of years which has changed my views on what really matters with running and in life. People and things come and go…Running coaches, running friends, running partners, running races, running injuries.

Weight loss, weight gain. Pffft….

Shorter distances have led to achievable goals. The runs around my neighbourhood have been so good for my soul. There’s a time and season for everything and those days of chasing 21km PBs have been shelved (for now).

CMIYC (Catch me if you can) photo stop

Runners don’t always give themselves credit for their running ability and so one of the other things I’m changing about my running is the narrative.

So yeah, I’m really looking forward to Sunday. It’s not “just” a 10km road race. It’s a 10 kilometre road race with 6 000 other amazing, strong runners through the beautiful tree-lined streets of Houghton on a fresh pre-Spring Sunday morning!

See you there!

5 lessons from the Two Oceans half marathon for new business owners (aka me)

Let me dive right in. This year was tough. Not only for me but for KK running the Ultra with a last minute route diversions through Ou Kaapse Weg. Here’s what 21.1kms taught me about running my own business.

Lesson 1: You can’t predict what’s coming.

Route changes, rain, water stations running out of water, niggly ankles. Nothing prepares you for hard times. And there’s nothing you can do about them either. They will be there. Deal it and move on. You will get through whatever it is!

Lesson 2: Training is important.

Those long Sunday runs with Tamryn made the difference to my race. When I got to the 16km mark and knew I had 5kms to go, I didn’t stress. I had enough fuel in my body and energy in my legs to keep going and even ran the last few kilometers where I could.

Preparation, learning, up-skilling is everything! And you owe it to your clients so that you both win.

Lesson 3: Sometimes it hurts. But don’t stop.

The argument in my head about quitting when it rained, crying because my ankle hurt, the fear of missing cutoff was intense. Was I really cut out for running?

The imposter syndrome of claiming to be this great half marathon runner is quite similar to the feelings I’ve experienced as a newbie entrepreneur. You have to push through those feelings of doubt and negativity! You are and will be successful, believe it!

Lesson 4: The rewards are phenomenal.

I found my run was a mix of ups and downs. When I felt like quitting, I’d rise above it and get to the next kilometer and rejoice. The victory of getting over Southern Cross Drive, the success of making the 3:20 cutoff, the medal I could finally hang around my neck.

If you take the time to look, you will find that there are many successes along the way. Owning your own business is incredibly rewarding.

And finally,

Lesson 5: There are supporters along the way.

The support and belief in me from my family has been incredible. The work that has come through friends via word-of-mouth has totally surprised me. It’s been touching and has meant the absolute world to me.

When you’re running (or crawling) up Southern Cross Drive and someone shouts out, “Go Bronwynne, you’ve got this…” it’s just the best feeling in the world.

I realized that after 5 months of being a new business owner, nothing will ever prepare me. It’s a journey. A moving target. A hard one. A fun one. Ups and downs. Highs and lows.

But the reward at the end is priceless! And this is only the beginning. Many races still to come…

Celebratory drinks

One Panado pill and 4 other race highlights from Two Oceans

In my previous blog post, I declared that I was ready to take on the Two Oceans half marathon. I was fit, trained and my head was in the right space.

But life has a funny way of teaching you that you’re never quite in control and so, a day before the race, things started to fall apart…

On Friday morning, just as we were about to call the Uber to taxi us to the airport, I “accidentally” deleted my entire work mailbox. All emails were just gone! I managed to recover them all while boarding the plane emailing the support guy at Host King, but by that stage, I was a wreck.

Two hours later, arriving at Cape Town International airport, First Car Rental declined my rental car booking because it was booked with a cancelled credit card – the one Uber defrauded me with a few weeks ago. FFS man. That took forever to sort out.

Arriving at the apartment we booked via Airbnb, it dawned on us that the owner had taken shall we say “some really great professional pics” of the place and added a beautiful filter on each image. We were disappointed.

My stress levels were peaking… I was weepy and exhausted.

Nothing an early night couldn’t sort out, right?

Arriving at the start of the race, I was semi-confident. I was astonished that a runner standing right in front of me suddenly recognized my name from my blog! OMW! What are the chances with 16 000 other runners in the street? I was close to tears at this point! Highlight number 1.

start of the two oceans marathon 2019

Then the rain came down. It’s okay, I thought. Nice and cool! (Keep it together Bron.)

At the 7km mark, the wheels (or the Wiehl…LOL) came off. My right ankle started to twinge. I slowly edged forward a few 100 meters and zing, there it was again. I panicked.

Pulling off the road, I rubbed my ankle gently and tightened my laces. The rain clouds were still lingering above me.

The voices inside my head started nattering:

  • I’ve never felt this before. Why now? Was it still from the 2017 injury?
  • Oh wait, I know why. I’m old now. Yup, turned 44 last week and it’s downhill from here on. Am I a veteran or a grandmaster in running labels?
  • What if I can’t finish the race? I’ll die! I’m not mentally strong enough to go through that failure again!

I carried on until out of the blue, a woman stopped to ask if I was okay. No, I’m not okay, my ankle is sore, I cried.

She suggested I stop off at the upcoming Caltex point for strapping but I explained to her quite frantically that if I stopped I’d miss the cut-off. I had to forge ahead. There was no way I was missing cut-off again.

I made my way towards Southern Cross Drive and suddenly I heard her behind me. “Here, I found you a Panado!”

It was music to my ears. What an angel! Now normally I don’t take pain killers during a race but I was desperate. She waved me goodbye and ran on her way. Julie. Or Julia. A lifesaver, so thoughtful and kind. Thank you. Highlight number 2.

The rain started to pour down and I was getting soaked. Oddly enough, my ankle was worse when I walked so I kept running jogging.

We turned into Rhodes Drive. This is normally the worse part of the race for me. It’s where I usually have zero energy and struggle to carry on. But not this time. I still felt strong. I kept running. I thought wow, Tamryn my Sunday running partner would be so proud of me! Look at me go! Pole to pole! Highlight number 3.

My ankle would twinge every few steps but I knew I had to keep going. My lower grade matric maths had calculated that I had plus minus 10 minutes to cut-off. And so I ran and ran and ran…

3:16. I had made it! I beat the gun! Highlight number 4.

It’s the first time my ankle has given me any hassles since I injured it in 2017. Oddly, a few days after the race, it stopped hurting. Was it race stress? Nerves? In my head? I’ll see how it goes when I run in the next few days.

I’ve now run 7 Two Ocean half marathons. I swore never again. But now, that Blue Number is close. I can see it! And it looks like we run on my birthday next year, the second time that’s happened. A sign, right?

Thanks to all the angels that supported me along the way. Tami Madikoe. Panado Julie. And my sister who ran Gillooly’s Parkrun back home in support of me. XXX