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

Reflecting on this year’s Two Oceans race

It’s long overdue and regular readers of my blog might have noticed that I haven’t yet published my annual account of my Two Oceans half marathon race.

In previous blog posts, I’ve mostly bitched about the race and vowed (every time) never to return. It’s been a love hate relationship. However this year, everything fitted together like a puzzle and it turned out that I ran the race with very different eyes.

The race was a few days after a friend had let us know about the cancer moving to two parts of her brain. Her regular WhatsApp messages popped in and out of my thoughts sporadically & my mind flashed through what she was going through.

The night before the race, I had said to myself, how can I moan when I know how much Susan loves triathlons and swimming & would love to just get out there and run? So I didn’t moan and woke up on race morning looking forward to the race.

I started in race category D which kinda felt like I had golden circle tickets at a rock concert. It also meant less time waiting compared to category E and loads more room to stand in.

10 minutes before the race started, my mind flipped into panic mode. But instead, I thought, scared? Bron you don’t know what scared is. Susan is scared.

When it hurt near the 17kms mark and my legs were tired, I thought you don’t know what tired is. This is not pain. Not like what Susan is going through.

And when I wanted to quit, I remembered that quitting was not an option for her.
Finally, when I crossed that finish line, I said “this is for you Susan”. But somehow, the message was really for me. I had come through 21.1kms having learnt something quite humbling about myself.

two oceans half marathon medal and photoI moan about my running way to often. I criticize my pace and point out all my weaknesses. I blame the race, the race organizers and my training. It’s the backbone to my blog. But I need to stop. I am a runner and incredibly grateful to be able to cross those finishing lines at road races.

I am good enough. My body is good enough! There are so many people out there who don’t have the opportunities or the health that I have to be able to run. So from now on, every time I don’t feel like running, I’ll think of those that wish they could. I’ll think of Susan. Because what she made me realize, that every time I put my running shoes on, I need to be grateful that I am able to run. It doesn’t matter how slow or fast or even how far. We seem to forget that.

Okay Two Oceans, clean slate, here I come!

If you’ve been following my blog for a few years now, you may recall that the Two Oceans half marathon is not one of my favourite running races (understatement). I find the anxiety of the congested start, the hype around the race, and making the race cut-off all contributing to it being a very stressful run. I’ve even documented my feelings in various blog posts throughout the years:

Yowzer! I’ve realized I’m clearly obsessed with the race and focus on pretty much all the negative things about it. So I decided to look at the positive side this year. Instead of analyzing all the negative things that stress me out about the race, I’m going down to Cape Town focusing on the positives.

  • I am one of the lucky ones who managed to get an entry.
  • An Easter holiday down in the fairest, most beautiful Cape. I can’t wait.
  • I am blessed to report that I am fit and healthy while there are others, such as KK, injured and having had to pull out of the race. Sorry KK.
  • My Dad will be running the race too! This might be the most special thing about that day and I’m going to try and run at least some of the way with him.
  • There are so many of my friends and Running Junkie training friends who will be competing. It’s been an honor training with them and I can’t wait to see them reach their goals.
  • I have trained hard. I have covered the distances and done the work I need to do.
  • My Championchip times show that I am able to run a 21.1km race in under 3:00 2:50 minutes. I no longer need to stress about that 3 hour axe cut-off over my head.
  • I am able to run a distance that majority of people have never even tried to run. I am a runner. I can run 21.1kms! Me!OM2015

The Two Oceans countdowns posted on social media still take my breath away and give me serious *goosies*! It’s going to be fab! It’s going to be epic! Two Oceans, here I come!

Are you also running? How are you feeling about the race?