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T-10 hours

Okay so I’ve had my dinner of mashed sweet potato and wild brown rice, I’ll let that sink in a moment whilst you imagine just how horrid that is (though the hotel chef made it look nice with a sprig of something leafy)… I’ve packed my supporter bag, I’ve had a shower, I’ve checked my kit over a hundred times, and then I took it all out and checked it again, I don’t need to pin my numbers on because I already did that last night, twice. So yes, we’re ready. Now all I need to do is sleep.

I’ll type up the post race report tomorrow if I’m not too stiff to tap out the words. See you on the other side.

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T-12 hours

I’m staying at the Macaranga in Kloof. We take a slow walk round the gardens and now I’m out of breath climbing the hill back to reception. I hope that is because I’ve been eating consistantly since breakfast and not because I’m knackered. I’m now paranoid because I’m feeling a niggle in my right knee, and I’m scared of tripping over a stone or something small and stupid. I know, I’ll eat another energy bar to calm myself down.

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T-16 hours

George phones to make arrangements for the morning pick up, he’s run it 5 times and tells me he’s nervous, and now he is scaring the %£@* out of me. Monique, my sister and I recce the route. The scenery in the Valley of 1000 Hills is stunning, I stare blankly out of the side window – the topography is making my legs twitch.

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T-18 hours

I actually caught myself ‘wringing’ my hands at breakfast this morning. I only thought characters in Charles Dickens novels did that, but no, it actually happens in real life. I couldn’t even sit down throughout, had to get up, pace a round a bit and breathe out slowly once or twice. I even caught myself muttering ‘ I will finish, I will finish, I will finish’. I’ve decided I am ‘agitated’, which is closer to how I am feeling right now than ‘nervous’ or ‘excited’, which everybody enjoys asking me. The other thing they tell me is to ‘have fun’, which isn’t a word you’ll ever hear a Comrades pro uttering. OMG.

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T-41 hours

Back at the airport at lunch to pick up my sister who arrived from London to support me just for the weekend! Great, bang goes my relaxing afternoon. Rush, rush, rush. Nice pasta dinner at Pizza Pasta, had a cute message on my doggy bag – ‘Enjoy lunch and good luck for Sunday’.

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T-43 hours

‘It comes in waves’ I say to Monique as she asks me how I’m feeling. I’m referring to alternate moments of excitement and sheer panic. She’s just picked me up from the expo where I’ve registered, collected my numbers, had a browse, and generally started to feel sick. Its finally here. I’m really going to do this. Getting  up this morning at 3:45 was a bit of a shocker, saw a couple of familiar faces at Cape Town Airport, and the plane was packed with tracksuits and running shoes.

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Seven days to go

So I’ve started and finished my training with the same run. I only realised this significance as I pounded up the hill. I’ve just got in and re-read the post from 142 days ago. I’m glad to see I’ve sliced 15 minutes off that time, though it should be pointed out I am neither hungover nor is it hot. I think I could have done it in 35 minutes if I’d decided to race it at the bottom of the hill not at the turn around point.

So running Signal Hill on a Sunday is my favourite, and I was a touch depressed up there today knowing I won’t be able to run it for a long time after the race next week. Comrades professionals have told me I won’t be able to run on tar for at least 4 weeks after the race and I’ll be so broken anything more than 3km is out of the question for a while after that. I know I’m going to hit a downer after the glory of finishing the race wears off. I am really not looking forward to that.

So on a more positive note, I’ve got a week to focus, rest my body and stuff myself. This afternoon I’m going to start packing – no I’m serious, all my kit is coming out of the cupboard and getting laid out, and here comes my anal streak, absolutely nothing is getting left to the last minute. My new and old running shoes are coming with me in case I change my mind about what I’m going to wear, and all my kit is going in the hand luggage in case my bags get lost.

I’ve glanced at my watch, this time next week I’ll have run for 6 hours and 20 minutes, and I’ll be facing at least another 4 before I hit the grass at the cricket stadium in Durban.

Running notes
Route: Kloof Nek car park to the end of Signal Hill and back
Height climbed: 130m
Time started: 10:23
Total time: 36:50
Total distance: 7km ish
Weather conditions: Weather on the turn
Temperature: 17˚
Runner’s condition: Fine

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Club run and send off

Nice short 10km from Camps Bay polished off with a club breakfast at Cafe Sophia and a glass of champagne. Felt myself getting agitated towards the end – this could have been because I was late for my sports massage, or more likely I’m beginning to *%$£ myself.

Running notes
Route: Pick n Pay in Camps Bay to just past the Twelve Apostles and back.
Height climbed: ?
Time started: 07:30
Total time: 55 minutes
Total distance: 10km
Temperature: 20˚
Runner’s condition: Gah!

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Goodbye Wembley Square

So today I ran an hour slowly – the evil plan said 1:20. Pah! I laugh in the face of the evil plan! Last session at the gym this morning.

Running notes
Route: Gym
Height climbed: Flat
Time started: 05:52
Total time: 1:00
Total distance: 9.5km
Temperature: 18˚
Runner’s condition: Fine

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Nice and easy

No hills, no time trial, just a nice slow leg stretch and some lunges.

Running notes
Route: Gym
Height climbed: Flat
Time started: 06:01
Total time: 1:20
Total distance: 12.5km
Temperature: 17˚
Runner’s condition: Fine

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Monday night

Yep, that was a cold. Just hope its gone soon. Ran on the mountain, was dark by halfway so got a lift to the lower car park from the cable station. Can’t afford to fall now.

Running notes
Route: Kloof Nek car park to the Lower Cable Station turn at the end of the tarmac on Tafelberg Road and fiinsh at the Lower Cable Station
Height climbed: 180m
Time started: 17:35
Total time: 1:10
Total distance: 11.5km
Weather conditions: Dark
Temperature: 18˚
Runner’s condition: Bit sickly

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I heart Signal Hill!

Sun again! Woke up with a dry throat – is that a cold coming?

Running notes
Route: My flat to Kloof Nek, Signal Hill and back to Kloof Nek, up to the cable station, back to the flat
Height climbed: 350m
Time started: 10:52
Total time: 1:40ish
Total distance: 16km
Temperature: 17˚
Runner’s condition: Blearghh

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Sun and horror stories

With at least ten days of solid rain, my legs were itching to get outside. The talk was mostly of the race in two weeks, good fun for those that aren’t running, not so hilarious for those that are. Being mostly terrified of the prospect, I didn’t say much.

Running notes
Route: Sand Bar in Camps Bay over the top of Suikerbossie and back
Height climbed: ?
Time started: 07:00
Total time: 1:45
Total distance: 18km
Temperature: 18˚
Runner’s condition: Frightened

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Hills in the gym again

Yes, its still raining.

Running notes
Route: Gym
Height climbed: 9 x 2 minute hill repeats (one less this week due to the tapering, hardly worth it really – 4 at 6 incline, 5 at 5.5)
Time started: 17:52
Total time: 1:05 ish
Total distance: 11.5km ish
Temperature: Outside 16˚
Runner’s condition: Fine

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