Running through June

June truly was a month of highs and more highs! From the euphoria of Comrades, to making memories on overseas holidays and finally getting back into a routine with a new running programme, it feels as if I am ready to give the second half of 2017 a good go. It’s crazy just how quickly the months are flying by. We’ve even booked our accommodation for one of our favourite races in November, Kaapsehoop. It’ll be race day before we know it. See you there?

1. KK successfully finishes his 4th Comrades marathon! Two days later, we jet set off to Germany for a much needed break!  2. Depeche Mode “Global Spirit Tour” concert! It was amazing!  3. Falling in love with Munich.  4. The Berlin Wall.  5. Memorial to the Murder of Jews in Europe was heartbreaking to visit.  6. Running Parkrun with family.  7. Annie & Emma come home from staying at my parents. Annie has recovered from pancreatitis.  8. Finding a new running route from the office through the beautiful suburbs.  9. Back to lazy Sundays & feeding the birds.

What Munich taught me about life

Every runner needs to rest. And it’s exactly what KK and I did straight after Comrades. We flew out to Germany for two weeks of beer, pretzels and sun. For both of us it was a time of reflection.

KK analyzed his Comrades race, what went right, what went wrong and considered what steps he’d take for next year’s race. For me, the June break signified a pause in the year and an assessment of what was working in the areas of my life that I’d need to improve or release.

Munich proved to be the perfect place to view life from different eyes. This is what I saw and the lessons it taught me…

  • Drink beer! Anytime is a good time to drink beer. Drinking beer is a normal part of life for the bavarians like tea is to me. It seemed to put people in such a jovial mood. It meant that people stopped to say “prost” (cheers) to one another & take time to relax and drink this huge glass of beer. beer in munich
  • Eat carbs! My favourite was a pretzel filled with cream cheese and chives for breakfast. And forget about vegetables or salads. They don’t exist in Munich! Vegetarian options were the spatzle or dumpling. But then again, why would you choose anything other than the delicious pork roast or schnitzel?
  • Mind your own business! My friend Lisa made the comment that Munich is the city for introverts and she was right. Everyone keeps to themselves & no one interferes with one another, even though the place is bustling. Sticking to yourself and your own business is quite refreshing and definitely less stressful than carrying everyone else’s issues. 
  • Go big and make it count! Beer came in 500ml or 1 liter glasses. Nothing smaller! The pork roast was massive, the pretzels looked like they were on steroids! The bakeries were big, the bullet trains were fast and some of my favourite shops were x3 storey high buildings!
  • Riding your bicycle to a rock concert is cool! Their lives are so laid back & so relaxed. They don’t seem to care what other people think. They go with what makes sense. 

The biggest lesson I learnt was this…

  • Make time for me! Everything is closed on Sundays which means people make time to do other things. And I don’t mean be busy at the mall (because it’s also closed), but to lie around in the sun, to picnic in the park, to walk the dog and to relax. lying in the park in berlin

Thank you Munich! You’re just what I needed…

Strength from the ocean

The Comrades marathon was brutal. A mixture of heat and the relentless pulls of the infamous Up Run found many with unmet/reset goals or heartbreaking DNFs.

For KK, this years race was particularly tough. I caught him at x4 different spots along the route and each time I saw him, he seemed to struggle more and more. 

At one stage, he declared, “I’ve had enough. I’m walking to the finish.” 

I smiled. You see, KK is really strong mentally. He’s never been one to quit during a race. In those moments of darkness, he switches on to plan B. Walking to the finish. He knew he had to finish. Quitting was never an option. 

I was scanning through some old photos of previous Comrades races when I happened to notice something. 

The day before each race, we like to walk down to the beach and relax. KK always spends time dipping his feet in the water. But if you look closely at these pictures, there’s something else going on…

Comrades runner in the ocean

It’s as if he’s looking far away, into the ocean, deep in thought. I’m guessing this is where he has that final conversation with himself while staring at the waves building and crashing around him.

The nerves. The self-doubt. The fears. Taking on a race of this magnitude, only something as big and powerful as the ocean would understand and allow him to soak up as much energy as he needs. 

X4 medals later, the ritual must work. 

This is what I got up to…Selfies on the beach

Selfies on the beach. Notice the beach sand on my elbow. Fail. Yeah, I know. I’m working on it. 

Every race runs a different journey

It’s the Comrades marathon this weekend! Eeek! It feels like just the other day that I was waiting for KK at that finish line but I spotted this Facebook memory which reminded me just how quickly time flies! 

Yup, we’re headed back down for KK’s fourth race for which he has trained harder than any of the previous Big C races. Every year has been different with different goals and an entirely different journey to get to the finish line.

2014: The first Comrades race

KK was meant to run with his friend David but injury forced Dave to pull out after Two Oceans. With no coach and following a training programme pulled from a Modern Athlete magazine, KK set out with a goal of just finishing the race before cutoff. He ran a time of 10:37. He always says that with no previous experience and heading into the unknown was perhaps the best run of them all.

The before & after pic.

2015: Year of the pelvis Elvis!

During his training for Comrades, KK started to ache in his groin area. Hours of physio and being instructed to rest meant that he started Comrades with the least amount of training ever. Zero ultras, no long runs and very few kms under his feet, he managed to finish the race in a time of 11:18. The reason for the ache? A cracked pelvis. I know! But he got his back to back medals and that’s all that mattered to him.

Spot the medals.

2016: Training kicked up a notch

KK ran many long hours with Running Junkie Shaun this year. Following a training programme of track sessions combined with weekend long runs, he went in prepared and hoping to at least improve on his 2014 time. He finished strong! His time: 09:51. He was thrilled. It’s realising that he can improve that set his sights on 2017.

That smile! (after 89kms)

2017: Ultras and more ultras

This year has been quite different, training-wise (him) as well as emotionally (me). It’s been much more intense. After many months of training, waking up three times a week at 4am, long runs on weekends, KK is more determined than ever to improve his time and do well. He even took leave from work in order to avoid all the sick people in the building! He has listened to his coach and there’s nothing more he can do now other than rest and wait for Sunday morning to arrive.

I’m nervous, as always. I’m excited too! Supporting is a whole different ball game. Your heart sits outside of your chest for the entire day! But it’s an awesome experience!

It’s time. Let’s run!