That’s it. I’m out!

I’ve sprained my ankle. I wish I had a more elaborate story as to how I managed to sprain it. I wasn’t saving a kitten up a tree. I didn’t fall off my bike. I wasn’t even participating in a trail run. I simply stepped off the patio onto the grass on my way to pick up dog pooh. Yeah, that’s it.

The timing is actually perfect. It’s year-end and the race calendar has run out. Spraining my ankle has forced me to go into a phase of forced rest without having serious FOMO about any races I’m missing.

Come to think about it, I have missed quite a few races this year. Not entirely out of choice, but because they’ve sold out so quickly. I blame Discovery and their ridiculous point system. Since they entered the game with their Vitality Series, things have been quite chaotic at races.

The entries have sold out fast. The fields have become bigger and bigger resulting in gridlocked traffic on the road as well as huge congestion in the race. I’m seeing an increase in litter at all the water stops from mainly inexperienced runners.

Running a race in Jo’burg has become quite painful. And the last time I checked, old favourites such as Om Die Dam and Oceans were already sold out. We used to have a few months to plan and think about the races we’d like to enter. Not anymore.

Don’t get me wrong. The increase in the number of people running and getting fit is wonderful. It’s positive. I mean, WTH! Sell out races is great. But the vibe has changed. I’ve started to choose an afternoon run around my neighborhood and the occasional run with Graham Block’s group over the stress of an actual running race.

I might feel different about the whole situation next year. Things might have changed. Maybe I’m just tired and winding down. Maybe I’m just really miserable and yes, maybe it is FOMO. With my ankle injury, I’m going nowhere fast and putting my feet foot up has left me with lots of time to think. 

I’m doing a lot of that lately.

 

Seeing the medal from 87.7kms away

As I write this, there are just three days to go before the Comrades marathon. KK will be running his second one and going for what is known as a ‘back to back’ medal. His training compared to last year has been entirely different mared by a horrible groin injury since March and less mileage on his legs. 

Him and I approach our running in very different ways. I like to over analyze and talk about the run to death. I read books, articles, blogs and ensure I’m engaging with other runners on social media. KK zones out. 

There’s one advantage to this. Along with the frustration of an injury not healing fast enough and less and less time to do that one last long run, I noticed KK becoming more and more determined. As if as if because he couldn’t train his legs, he put that energy into training his mind.  

 

Not once has he mentioned bailing. He never talks about quitting. He doesn’t even have a plan B. In his mind, he intends to run the best race he can and come home with his medal. Some might call it arrogance or even ignorance but I think when you take on a race of this magnitude, you need to have your head screwed on right and not have a single doubt in your head or hints of failure. He talks about that medal all the time as if he imagines it in his hand. His eyes are set firmly on the goal and the challenge ahead.

 

They say that even though you’ve done the training, Comrades is a mental race. Once you pass around the 60km mark, your head takes over and you’d better have that mental strength to push on when your body begs you to give up. If I know KK, this is his strength. Failure is not an option. 

 

Good luck Karl! I’ll be there with you, in your heart, every step of the way. I love you…