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!

I took a gamble on Om Die Dam & it paid off

My foot is still not better. Even though I’ve been quite obsessive with all the treatments, socks, granny shoes, massaging and exercises, it still aches. I was about to surrender my Two Oceans half marathon entry but then spotted on KK’s training program that he was running the Om Die Dam (ODD) 50km race. It got me scheming…

  • I had not run a 21km race since last year’s Two Oceans half marathon
  • I need to run a 21km race for this year’s Two Oceans half marathon
  • If I get halfway and struggle with my foot, I can walk to the end. Time on feet, right?
  • The race has a 4-hour cutoff for the half. Ample time!

So off we drove to Harties early Saturday morning. We haven’t run ODD for a couple of years. The congested traffic, the crowds, KK wasn’t running many ultras. It was a race we rather avoided. This year was different. Parking 100ms from the start, well-organised and 24/hr manned spotless port-a-loos in every corner. Always a good sign.

KK and I split up before the start. He wanted to slip into his starting pen early, I wanted to take my time lubing up and getting into ‘the zone’. I had not set a goal time. I was hoping to run under 3:10 but had no idea how under-trained I was. Perhaps 3:20 was more realistic?

My half marathon time ranges between 2:44 and 3:15. But this was the first time I had taken such a long break, focusing instead on 10km distances. Would it come back to bite me? I was also unsure if I would undo months of resting & care of my foot. Only one way to find out. *stupid thinking*

Mentally I had done my homework. In the days leading up to the race, I had envisioned running the distance. I wrote down a few positive statements on my pacing chart that I planned to whip out & read when I hit the dark patches en route. I was ready.

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The fish eagle crowed (the start gun!) and off we ran. I had bumped into friends, Billy & Christa, at the start of the race & when she mentioned that she wanted to run 3 hours, I thought, “Okay Bron, stick with them.” But soon found this to be impossible.

In the first few km’s their pace was too fast. I was struggling. I desperately wanted to keep up with them thinking that if Comrades race veteran Billy was pacing, I’d be fine. But they slipped further and further away. Getting to that finish line was all in my hands now.

I slowed down to a more comfortable pace and looked around, trying to take my mind off the run. I had completed 7kms in 1 hour. Was this too fast? Typically, if I can run 7kms every hour, I make the 3-hour cutoff gun. I was on track. I was confident. Was I overly confident? Perhaps. Definitely. I was over-thinking.

Just as I was about to pull out my pacing chart, a friendly face popped up alongside me. My ex-colleague and friend, Thiren. We started chatting away and it was just what I need to take my mind off the run as we neared the 14km mark. 2 hours had passed.

It’s quite amazing what the body can achieve if the mind believes and I declared to Thiren that we would make 3 hours if we pushed ourselves. I started to see that finish line! He was struggling with calf pain and managed to run to the 18km mark together before he trailed off.

I wasn’t done yet. I felt fantastic. I was strong. Hurting, but still strong. As I reached the 19km mark, I spotted Billy’s familiar white Comrades cap. I had caught them! What joy! I was thrilled that we had both achieved the goals we had set out at the start. It was 3 hours.

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I crossed the finish line, elated! My foot had survived. It wasn’t sore (YET! The afternoon was hell). But my mind had achieved what I needed it to do – believe that I could manage the distance. The body explodes with feel-good hormones when you finish a race. The best part is that this feeling lingers for quite some time afterwards…and boy was I happy!

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Two Oceans, here we come!

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Pirates – difficulty rating of 5 but accomplishment level of 10/10!

The Pirates half marathon road race pretty much mirrored the kind of week I had last week. A Runner’s Guide difficulty rating of 5 (the worst you get!) it’s an extremely hard route that features a run over Northcliff Hill. It is tough going up and jarring coming down. The race is characterized by three epic hills with names such as ‘Kakhuis Een’ and ‘Kakhuis Twee’, and the road is spray painted with the words ‘Oh Sh1t!’ to make you humorously acknowledge that perhaps crawling on your knees would be faster than trying to run.

Ironically, the race did not scare me as much as I thought it would. With my two running buddies (Running Junkies) alongside me, there was never a doubt that I wouldn’t finish the race. My week had been challenging in a similar way with lots of moments where I was thrown out of my comfort zone, forced to take on challenges that my mind immediately conned me into thinking I wouldn’t succeed. But I did. I really did. Pirates

Pirates 21.1km. Just saying…

Smelling the roses on the run

I’ve always had such a complex about my running pace. (I mean, just look at the name of my blog!). So as I stood at the starting line of Sunday’s race, I was terrified. A running friend asked if I’d like to run a race with her and I jumped at the opportunity. No one had ever asked me to run with them before! I was overcome with my usual insecurities; would I be able to keep up? Would I cramp? Would I slow her down?

At about the 4km mark, we slowed down quite a bit as she started to take strain. She had been struggling with a nasty flu bug from the week before and had misjudged how weak she still was. It had knocked her hard and she was not herself on the day. It happens and so we ended up just taking it easy.

Unbeknownst to her, I was tackling a lot of my own demons. It was only the second race that I was running since starting my running training with Coach Dave so I had no idea what my pace would be. But I felt super strong and confident. This is new.

This is what really mattered on the day:

  • I’m able to run without having to stop and walk every 500m.
  • I am definitely getting stronger.
  • I don’t have to be terrified anymore.
  • A day came when I was the strong one for a change.
  • I don’t care what the finishing time was. To me, what mattered was running with my friend.
  • Runners are a different breed. Why was I worried that she would leave me out on the course? Because I would never have done that to her.

PartnerLong road

 

 

 

 

 

 

My running priorities have definitely changed over the weeks since I’ve been attending track training. I signed up to run faster but as the weeks go by, things that I never thought of before make sense to me now. Such as managing to run and not walk as much as I used to. Such as finishing a race feeling strong. And knowing that some days it’s not about the time on my watch that defines what a great race is all about. Sometimes, it’s all about the company and facing those demons head on. Thanks Denise!