I’m still in a state of shock.
I crossed the finish line and my first though was ‘WTF just happened?’. If you read yesterday’s post you’ll see that I ran 83km in training this week and I was hoping (but doubted I would) slip in under 50 minutes which I knew was a big ask on tired legs.
So I usually know when I’m going for something big because I can feel if I’m ready, I check my previous times so I know exactly what pace to set, I tell friends what I’m going for (because that helps to push me because I don’t want to tell them I missed the objective by 2 seconds), I think about the course, I visualise the finish line, I think about the time I’m going to see on the clock when I pass it and I push myself to the point of tears to get it. NONE OF THAT HAPPENED THIS MORNING.
So there I am last night with no food in the house. Hmm, I think, better eat some carbs (I’m avoiding this and sugar at the moment) so I’ve got some energy for the race. I jump in the car, stop at Texies on the Grand Parade and go and buy myself fish and chips (god I love fish and chips, but I never let myself eat it). Doesn’t matter, I think, its just a training race, it’s on 10km and you’ll be lucky to break 50 mins so have a treat. WHO KNEW FISH AND CHIPS IS THE FUEL OF CHAMPIONS? I munch along to the Sochi Winter Olympic opening ceremony and go to bed.
Get up at 4:45am, bimble around for an hour (as is usual with me), get in the car and show up 30 minutes before the race starts. I bimble around some more looking for anyone I know, bump into Janet and Rob Lanning who are quite frankly an inspiration (race every weekend and are in their 70s), have a joke about the Comrades Marathon which always goes something like this: Running Friend: ‘What race are you going for this year?’. Me: ‘Comrades’. Running Friend: ‘Ooooo, ha ha ha’. Me: ‘Yes, ha ha ha ha ha’. Why is it that things that aren’t appropriate laughing material are actually hilarious? ‘Ha ha ha ha, yes, I’m doing the Comrades Marathon this year! 89km, ha ha ha ha ha!’.
Gun fires, we’re off, it’s misty, cool with a light breeze, the absolute perfect running temperature. I clock 5 minutes exactly on the first km which is good to see that my pacing is spot on despite dodging the walkers (or should I say the ‘Walking Dead’ complete with the throaty rasping noises, god they are annoying, but at least they are getting out there). The next 4km go well and I’m taking off 10-15 seconds a km, go through 5km at 23:42 which is awesome as I’ve struggled to get under 24 on my time trials and I know I’m on for a sub 50 minute even if I f*** up the last couple of kms.
6, 7 and 8km go past and I’m feeling okay, managing the pace, breathing is regular, posture is good, picking up the speed a little and I start to think that maybe I can do a little better than 49:59. 9km and I’m breathing harder, hanging on but I’m not dying. Now even with 500m to go I’m still not seeing a PB because I’m not feeling like I’m running with the horrendous effort necessary to get one. I see the sports field, I see the blimp looming out of the mist and I check my watch. OMFG, I round the corner and cross the line at 46:43.
How the hell did I do that and I didn’t even try that hard? I ATE FISH AND CHIPS FOR DINNER for god’s sake. I even forgot the Gu that was in my pocket. WTF? I’ll put this into perspective, my previous best was 48:50 last year on a flat course which I thought was pretty good. I crossed the line this morning and didn’t know how well I’d done because I hadn’t checked last night, I hadn’t done my homework. I knew I’d never been under 47 minutes, but I’d never been under 48 either.
As with most miracles, after 5 minutes has passed, you are never quite sure that they actually happened. I seriously hope the time on the clock wasn’t a trick of the light because I’m beginning to doubt myself.
Route: Turfhall Sports Centre – out around the houses – Lansdowne – Athlone – Turfhall Sports Centre