Runners FOMO

Both KK and I pulled out of the Two Oceans road race this year. KK’s fractured femur is still healing & I had not trained enough to be sure that my ankle would make 3 hours out on the road after my December injury.

In the two days running up to the race, our social media feeds were flooded with angry and frustrated runners who had been sorely let down at race registration. Delays in number collection, queues of over 2 hours at the race expo. Definitely not what runners need a day before a long race!

As we woke up at 5:25am on Saturday morning to catch the start of the half marathon broadcast on TV, snuggled under the duvet and hearing the wind howling outside, I did think for a minute “thank goodness I’m not running this year!”

The runners started to make their way over the finish line. One by one, the tracking app showed their results, their Facebook updates showed photos of medals and joyful celebrations. The FOMO began to creep in.

Later that morning, we drove through to Cavendish to do some shopping and weaved our way through some of the back markers on the race route with just an hour to go before final cut-off. It stung! That’s usually me!

Seeing the runners making their way up University Drive, remembering first hand how their tired bodies would be screaming with exhaustion to stop, but knowing that the finish line was so very close! From that last uphill stretch, you can hear the crowds, you hear the loud speakers, you can smell victory!

My heart had climbed out of my chest and was racing with them on that hot tar! I wished it was me! I wished that I was 1km away from my Two Oceans medal. Damn!

Another year will pass and I’m still trying to find my feet and map out where my running journey will take me this year. Shorter distances? More half marathons?

Whatever I decide, that Two Oceans ballot will open in November and I won’t hesitate. My love hate relationship with Two Oceans is bipolar. Some years I hate the race, other times I fall in love. This year I missed it and feel I need to come back and experience it all again.

Runners FOMO is the worst!

The final (leg) stretch 

After months of intense training, KK is finally tapering for the Comrades marathon.

I wish I could sigh a breath of final relief but no, he’s still got a few more weeks to go. One month actually. 4 weeks. 30 days. 

Until then, we’re still avoiding sick people (ie.: all people), being in a state of hunger 24/7, sleeping as much as we can and being incredibly grumpy! I say ‘we’ because as the wife of a Comrades runner, you have no choice. You’re in it for the long run!

Race qualifying started last year November already. Then it was the UTCT trail run in December, a few marathons in the beginning of the year, followed by x4 (!!) ultra marathons, Two Oceans being one of them. In between that he’s been clocking over 100kms per week. And heading into taper, it doesn’t stop. Now KK starts with fartleks and short (that’s short?) 30km long runs. 

I’m tired. I’m not the one training but I’m tired both mentally & physically. I said to KK earlier tonight that a runner cannot run Comrades marathon every year. It takes so much out of you!
Not only for the runner but also family & friends along side you all the way. 

But for now, it’s taper time. Let’s do this! *cheers*

Tired legs resting

Improvements often happen behind the scenes

When I talk to people about my running, I always slip in the fact that I ‘walk run’. It’s as if I don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking that I’m actually capable of running non-stop for kilometers on end. My pace is slow so telling people I walk means I don’t have to explain myself. 

But I noticed something today about my running pace during the Alan Robb road race that I wasn’t even concentrated on training for. I managed to run almost the entire way for 15kms at a steady consistent pace! I hardly walked!

Pacing road race running

I stopped at one or two water stations and walked on the very big uphill (on a very flat route). Other than that, I ran! 

Late last year, I remembered trying to run 20 minutes non-stop. It took me over three weeks to get it right. But since then, I’ve forgotten about it. 

Something must’ve worked. Was it the exercises from bio Mari? The stretching homework? The weekly runs? Hell, whatever it is, I’m thrilled! 

Quite ironic, I’m happy about something I didn’t even realize I was working on! 

So true of life, we’re often so focused on things that we think matter and don’t realize all the positive progress were making in other areas of our lives. 

Go me! ^5

Here’s what I’m starting to realize about quality over distance

I ran a total of 17 races in 2015 and in between that, over 200 runs, either track sessions or runs from home. This is according to my Strava activity log. It was the year I ran 2:44 (my PB’s) for Pick ‘n Pay, Sarens as well as Kaapsehoop half marathons. By the end of the year I was exhausted. I was tired of running and when I started 2016, I couldn’t find that running mojo again. Hey, it happens and I did consciously decide that I would rest a bit and focus more on improving my form, as I’ve shared in my blog post about sessions with my bio, Mari.

One of the insights that came out of a session with Mari is that I should focus on shorter distances for now, while I strengthen my legs and core. As she put it, “There’s no point running half marathons every weekend, hating the run and not being able to walk for days afterwards.” She suggested that I rather run shorter, manageable distances, but use the run to focus on key elements of improvement. She was right.

I’ve realized that, for me, it’s not about the distances, but the quality of the run. While I don’t have any big distance running goals like KK to run Comrades, my running is currently for enjoyment and improvement. It’s taken a few weeks but when I was analyzing my Strava results, this slowly started to sink in. Here’s what I started to notice:

  • I am able to get home from work and run 3kms easily and still get  back sweating and bursting with those amazing feel-good hormoneseasy-run-3km
  • Running the shorter races requires less intensive road trainingkaapsehoop-10km-race
  • I am starting to see real improvements in the races I’ve runrac-5km-race

Seeing these results has made me feel excited and motivated and has also helped set proper goals for 2017, knowing what I need to do this year. 

Sometimes, we are too focused on the wrong things and before we look, we’re disappointed that we didn’t see the results we wanted to obtain. 

It only takes a bit of slowing down and self-assessment to get back on track. I’m also running more km’s under 8mins/km. Did you see that? *grinning*