Once again I was only part of the way into my 21K running program when D-day arrived. Remind me to stop doing that to myself!
My objectives for the race were two fold;
to follow a run/walk strategy (read more about the theory behind that here)
to try to run equal splits in the first and second half of the race so I felt like I was finishing strong and not fading in the final kays.
The start was delayed by half an hour so by the time we started my back was aching after standing around so long and my feet felt like lead- geez I’m getting old! About a kay in I’d warmed up and the tar was an awesome change from the district roads back home.
I started the race with a fit and fabulous mate. The legs were feeling good and I was tempted to just keep running and skip the first few walk stretches but had to remind myself of the end goal. It took great discipline to start walking only 3 kays into the race. Watching the above-mentioned mate run away from me at 5 kays sucked but also allowed me to just get into my own head and find a rhythm. Luckily for me, I’m great company!
For my Mandela Day run I walked 1 minute for every 10 minutes I ran. For this race I decided to walk a short stretch every 2 kilometers. I didn’t look at my pace at all and just ran at what felt like a comfortable effort. The strategy served me well and around the 8 kay mark I started to pass the odd runner as I ran up hills that others walked.
At around 15 kays I heard the 2.15 bus coming up behind me and thought I might catch a lift. You may be disappointed (as I was) to discover that a “bus” is actually just a group of runners- who apparently had bigger engines than the vehicle I was driving! After hanging on for a measly few hundred meters I hopped off the bus again and continued my trot alone. (If my maths was better I may have worked out at this point that I was running much faster than what I’d anticipated.)
A big gulp of water on top of a short but steep descent at the 17 kay mark left me stitching quite badly but I managed to focus on my breathing and run through it. We had to endure a nasty climb with about 3 kays to go but got rewarded with a lovely downhill into the finish. I was determined not to waste any energy trying to slow myself down on this decent so I leaned into it so hard that I ran the risk of my face hitting the tarmac before my feet- but it felt so good! Running my 21st kay in 5 mins 38 is an achievement I’m really proud of.
All in all it was a great day on the road. I was pain free through the run and managed to achieve both of the goals I set out to achieve at the start. While the route profile made it hard to run equal splits, I certainly feel like I managed an equal effort and never hit a wall. I finished in a time of 2 hrs 21 mins, averaging 6.35 minutes per kay.
As an aside I should mention that while I write this I am icing my knees and am fairly confident I will lose my big toenails to this race. I am also casually perusing the race calendar to find a full marathon to enter next year. Eek! As much as I loved this run I still feel like I’m nowhere near being able to do double the distance I did today. I guess time will tell.
Wish me Luck!
Mama on the run.
Ps I’d love to hear recommendations from those of you who have already run some marathons around KZN so drop me a line with your “Must-Do”s and “Worth-a-skip”s.