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

Two Oceans. Are you ready Freddy?

KK always takes me out for supper for my birthday. Last year it was ribs and onion rings with my family, and the year before that, the degustation menu at DW Eleven-13.

Confession: We don’t eat a lot of carbs so it’s the one time of year that I really pig out. This year, I’ve asked that we wait until after Two Oceans.

Birthday supper 2018. Before I put my bib on for ribs, ribs, ribs and more ribs at The Grillhouse.

It’s a week before the Two Oceans road race. I’m ready and I don’t want to jinx it.

I have done more longer mileage than in previous years. I feel fitter. Stronger.

The race is usually run in my head long before the start gun is fired and it’s often a mental struggle to get my thoughts in the right space. But not this year. Things have just fallen into place.

Mentally, I am thrilled to be pegged in batch E starting at 06:10 and giving me 3 hours and 20 minutes to finish the race. I’m slow and the majority of my half marathon races are run just over that 3-hour mark but never 3 hours 20. (The Ultra winner will be in around 20 minutes behind me, eeek!)

Mentally, I know that there is another batch of runners behind me so I can’t come last. And before you say, you will never come last, someone always must come last. I’ve been close to that last position before. It sucks.

Mentally, I see myself finishing. It’s part of my yoga and headspace exercises that I’ve been trying. My homework has been to close my eyes and visualize myself finishing. To see myself running onto the UCT rugby field with a smile on my face. (I’ve stopped the yoga until after Oceans. I was so stiff the morning after my yoga, my running took a knock. But more of that in my next blog).

Physically, I have run more LSDs than in previous years. I have my Sunday running partner Tamryn to thank for that. She’s been instrumental in my training program and I can’t thank her enough. Motivating me to get out of bed on Sundays, pushing me to run two street lights up every hill instead of one, and ensuring I run more than I walk at every opportunity.

Physically, my knee niggle from a few weeks back has disappeared. Yay!

Physically, I have been running with the Catch Me If You Can (CMIYC) bunch of gals and pushing myself to keep up with them. This has secretly been my weekly interval session because they are quite speedy.

Physically, I’m feeling light and fresh and pretty good. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t want to jinx it and overeat or get a stomach bug or too drunk or overloaded with carbs right now if that makes any sense at all?

I’m ready. I’m positive.

KK and I at this year’s Harrier’s Valentine’s Day Night race.

Good luck to everyone who will be running next weekend – trail, fun run, half or ultra. The love part of my love-hate relationship with this race is knowing that feeling of absolute joy when crossing the finish line and I know you will experience it too.

Oh and back to my birthday supper… It’ll either be a curry or Italian restaurant down in Cape Town on Saturday night with our medals hanging around our necks. Carbs, wine, dessert… you name it! It’ll be a celebration and a reward!

If you have any restaurant recommendations, let me know.

What the Physio said…

It’s not everyday that you get a free consult from a physiotherapist that provides answers you just didn’t realize you needed.

Last week, I visited old Running Junkie friend, Francis, at her practice, Francis and Terry Rogan Physiotherapists, for something non-injury related.

I replied to her “How are you?” opening line with a casual, “Agh, my knee is niggling me.” I went on to explain my dilemma:

  • I was registered to run the Edenvale half marathon on Sunday.
  • I really wanted to run a 21km before Two Oceans. More for mental prep than physical to be honest.
  • I had been trying to increase my weekend long run mileage and had planned to up it to 15kms for the month of March.
  • I worried that my knee wouldn’t make 21.1kms. It’s been uncomfortable and weak with bursts of pain under the knee cap whenever I walked down stairs of drove my car.
  • So I’ve been Googling ways to strengthen my knee so that I would ready on Sunday.
  • I’ve listened to some of a couple of Coach Parry podcasts Brad Brown sent me.
  • I’ve started doing yoga which has been amazing & worth it’s own blog post!
  • Oh and yes, I’m taking cataflams. Should I continue with these? (Snort, you should’ve seen the look she gave me!)

In a nutshell, I’m desperately trying a bit of everything (as runners do).

Francis asked 3 simple questions that for some bizarre reason, I had failed to ask myself:

  • Is it your goal race? No.
  • If it’s about mileage, why not run the 10km and add in a 2-3 km cool down if your knee feels okay. I could do that.
  • Have you checked out the race calendar? Um, no. Why not enter Jackie Gibson later in March to run a half. It’s also not too close to Oceans.

I wondered why it was so difficult to reason it out for myself. Duh!

I went ahead and ran the Edenvale 10km road race on Sunday. My knee was fine. *phew*! I also managed to add on an extra 3kms for a cool down jog which gave me a total of 13kms mileage for the day.

My knee has felt ‘okayish’ this week. Let me put it this way, I’ve managed to continue training. With 5 weeks until Two Oceans, this is what counts, right?

You can Google what you like and convince yourself that you’ve made the right decision. But some times you do need someone to sense check you and make sure you’re asking the right questions, especially when it comes to injuries.

Runners cannot self-diagnose. Fact!

I know that if I had run the 21kms on Sunday, I would’ve been hobbling around this whole week, unable to run, with my knee in pain rolled up in an ice pack. Not ideal. Thanks Francis!

Shit! Did you read what I just said?

5 weeks to Two Oceans! How’s your training going?

Catch me if you can!

With Two Oceans just around the corner, I’ve woken up to the fact that sooner or later, I need to up my mileage. Weekends are fine. I’m currently running a Parkrun (5km) on Saturday and 10km on Saturday with Tamryn, with plans to up this distance to 15kms soon. But somehow, I’m just not getting to running during the weekdays.

My training program I printed off Runner’s World

My training program is stuck behind me in my office and haunts me daily! It’s not a difficult program either. Run 30 mins one day, do some hill training the next.

I have no excuse. I work from home, I don’t deal with traffic, my time is my own. It’s a combination of a lack of commitment and zero motivation. I talk myself out of it almost every single time. I thought to myself that if running with others on the weekends was the magic trick, maybe I should look for running groups in the week too?

I’d seen the Catch me if you can (CMIYC) running updates shared on various social media platforms and even more updates since my friend Tanya signed up as a CMIYC Leader in her neighborhood. I was still skeptical so I messaged her and asked what the deal was.

Knowing my pace (and all my insecurities), I felt I would be left behind and then run on my own. I might as well then run at home then, right? I also felt bad that I would be holding other runners up if they had to wait for me. Her answer: Just go! Go try it, and then decide.

So off I went. I was so nervous. But excited too. We weren’t a big group and when the leader, Naomi, said we’d all stick together, I blurted out that I was slow, very slow. But she didn’t seem to take much notice and off we went with me sprinting that first kilometer! After a while, I realized that I didn’t need to.

We ran. We walked. We stopped to take photos. Those that needed to run off ahead did so but also ran back to fetch the slower runners at the back. Naomi divided her run equally between the faster runners in front, as well as scooping up those of us at the back. Effortlessly too!

Posing along the way

Obligatory running shoe pose

It was relaxed and fun and embodied everything CMIYC promises to be. Not once did I feel awkward or conscious of my pace. In fact, in between the running, the walking, the talking, the laughing and getting to know one another, (and all the stops for photographs of course), 5kms flew by so quickly. It’s also safer which is a huge plus.

Will I go again? For sure!