Posted in Ordinarylife

2016 – Comrades

Comrades 2016 (spoiler alert – this is long, I got the medal)

IMG_8872I started last year’s Comrades (2015) without actually believing I would finish. It was a hell of a year and my life fell apart exactly 5 weeks before Comrades. Not good timing….  I did not run a single km from then until the start.  Actually I started last year’s Comrades believing I would not finish. The thought it in my mind was “I will regret not starting more than I will regret not finishing.”  I got halfway and I was happy. I made the cut-off at Drummond and pull off 2km later.

This year was different…. I was going to finish! There was no doubt in my mind!  They would have to drag me kicking and screaming from the course.

No matter what, I was going to finish!! It would prove to me, if nobody else, that I had made the right decisions. That now my life was on track and now I was fully justified in the year I had just lived. Wow – pressure on one run……

They say that the first 60km of Comrades is training and that the last 30km is mental. I believed that going in.  I was fully prepared and decided that I was “mental” enough for this run.  I had done the training.  60km.  I could do that.

What I have come to believe since, is that yes, it is 66.6% training and 33.3% mental but where the split happens is not related to distance.  Sometimes you need that “mental” early on.  Also training runs are not all about distance and running, they are about the people you speak to, the wisdom you gain from other’s failures or accomplishments and the knowledge that even though it may be tough you carried on (even if it was because your sister did not answer her damn phone when you wanted fetched on a long run.)  You can carried on. They carried on!  Even when odds were stacked against them, they (and you) carried on.

This year I needed to finish. I wanted that damn (small) medal.  Yes I am ridiculously motivated by medaIs.  I did not go to the expo as an exhibitor.  Comrades is one of my favourite shows as an exhibitor.  I love it.  SA Medal Hangers has been for the past 2 years.  This year however I wanted that damn medal.   It was a very tough decision for SA Medal Hangers not to have stand that the expo.

This year I wanted to give myself every opportunity to finish.  I flew to Durban on the Friday and on Saturday I rested.  Our spectacular hosts in Durban made this easy!  I went to the expo as a runner on Friday and I got out of there quickly.  I would have loved to stay and say to other exhibitors that I have met over the past few years, but this year NO!  This year I was on a mission.  I wanted that damn medal!!!!

So how did the race go?

I met a friend, Brett Glen at the start line… Making history….. He was running with Chaeli Mycroft and James Chevallier.   What inspiration to start this race with.  They would be one of the first two ever wheelchair runners and finishers.

A while later I caught up to my sister. 20, 000 and I found my sister.  I can’t even say when because I seriously don’t’ know.  I just know we ran together for quite a few km’s and that later I said that she must go at.  I am not sure how long we ran together, maybe about 10 – 25km but I told her to go at about 30km.   Pretty much the same distance as last year. The difference this year was she didn’t argue.  Ok, there were a few differences. This year she didn’t argue, but this year I also had no intension of pulling out.  I just did not feel as strong as she was (she is a faster runner than I am and had trained better).  Also I was feeling nauseous.  This feeling did not pass.

At about 35km I the feeling of nausea just increased and I thought maybe a food would help.   What I must say is the Comrades Marathon is wonderful in its support, and even if not the official food tables there is food all around.

Non-runners stop readying now.

Oh MY GLORY!!!!!  I stopped to grab a banana…. BAD IDEA!  Firstly – stopping I realised was not good.  Dizziness … then I put the banana in my mouth….. It lasted for all off about 5seconds…… As many runners know… all dignity goes out the window on a long run… cardboard rubbish container…

I did think as I puking my lungs out, that thank goodness it had a plastic liner.

A little dignity still prevailed and the bin was right on the road….. I moved over to the curb and carried on pucking my lungs out.  I do have to commend the girl from the water table…. Thank you!!  You offered to fill my water bottle and stayed with me till I stumbled off again.   I do really appreciate it… I had brief flash backs to varsity and my best friend holding my hair (too much info… ?)

But I was supposed to finish? This was supposed to be my year?…..So now?….. “WHY?”  Was this just not supposed to be my race? WHY NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I like running long distance (or so I thought)”  I was still throwing up and still feeling dizzy and about to pass out.  I was NOT happy.  Here are some thoughts that passed through my mind: (lots of swearing to follow)

  • Is this just not supposed to be my race….? Why the FUCK NOT!!!!!
  • Why the FREAKING FUCK!!!!!!?
  • No seriously?????
  • There is no fucking way this is the end
  • Well, Nandipa said she was sick and she carried on!!!!! She was basically carried off the course… I have only been sick one time (ok 6 times, but one session) ONE SESSION. I can FUCKING RUN.    This is where I have to thank Nandipa… Thank you. I thought about this a lot and this conversation is one of the main reasons I finished.
  • IF I DON’T STOP I WONT PASS OUT….. Keep freakin moving…..

So… I did not stop! Not for the next 60km

I slowed down at the next medical tent and asked if they had anti-nausea (they did but probably also thought they should have some anti-psychotic as I would not stop jogging on the spot…km don’t stop..  JUST DON’T STOP

60km…. For the next 60km I did not stop, I slowed down. I grabbed as many salted oranges as I could possibly get my hands on, but I did not stop.

I had friends along the way and I did not stop.  The supporter’s oranges with salt on them saved my day…. I had heard that the supporters on Comrades were fantastic and I must admit I was not so sure.  OH MY FUCK (swearing in a new post) they are freak’n awesome!!!! I have never experienced the support that the Comrades Supporters give.

I managed to pull myself together and run/walk. I cramped badly but mostly in my feet. I figured you did not really need feet to run (I mean seriously – you just land on them) and ran.  There were times where my calf’s cramped but not too badly.  I just ran.  I slowed down to the physios and asked that they spray my legs with their anti cramp stuff…. I was not stopping……..

Besides where I was throwing up I was not worried about time.  I was conscious of it, but figured if I just ran at a constant pace I would get there with about 20 minutes to spare.  I finished with 19minutes and I must admit I loved the race…. I LOVED IT!!! I  I loved every freaking second of the race. I will be back next year. I am not sure how I will manage the expo and SA Medal Hangers and the race but I have a year to figure it out.

So… My summary:….

I am happy. I am very happy.  It is actually a feeling I can’t describe.  I want to but…. I don’t really know what to say.  I did it. I am proud of myself. But it is more than that.

I ran from before sun up to sun down.  I ran for nearly 12 hours…. Not only me, many other people did this. Many other people have done this.  We ran for nearly 90km…. Oh my fuck I am a super hero….

Ok, that is what I want to say.  I am a fucking super hero!!!!!!!!

I have done a few other ambitious things, I have travelled around the world by myself (no strain – purely airplane booking) , I have climbed Kilimanjaro, I have completed an Ironman (x 2) . I mean holy fuck I am a single mom.

But oh my shit!!!!  I ran from sun up to sun down.   SUN UP TO SUN DOWN…… It was dark when I we started and it was dark when we finished.  And we don’t live in one of the Nordic countries…And I don’t just mean I ambled my way along.  I had to seriously move my arse.

I think that is the thing with Comrades… you cannot just amble along, you really have to more.  For 12 hours (or less if you are quick – I’m not) you actually have to move. There is no sitting. There is no resting. There are no transitions. There is no coasting on the down hills.  I thought that the hard thing about Comrades would be the “same muscles for all that time” it isn’t…. It is the fucking same muscles for all that time!

You have to concentrate, you have to think, you have to convince yourself that this, all 90km, is a great idea. – constantly!!!!!

A friend of mine in posted a day or so before Comrades one of her favourite running songs. One of the lines is “One: there is nothing wrong with me.  Two: there is nothing wrong with me Three: there is nothing wrong with me  Four: There nothing wrong with me……..

I loved it!!!!! I figured yep, this could be my Comrades song (similar musical tastes)….. NOPE….  It was not a good song…

  1. There I nothing wrong with me…
  2. There I nothing wrong with me…
  3. There I nothing wrong with me…
  4. There I nothing wrong with me…

Then I kept thinking….. OH MY FUCK What is wrong with me.  …….?????????? I think there is something wrong…..  There is an ache in my knee, or my hip, or I crap……I feel shit……. I think that may be cramp? Oh my….. something wrong!…….Bad, bad, bad…….

So I had to change.  Same tune but

  1. I feel good
  2. I feel good
  3. I feel good
  4. I feel fucking good

So now… 2 weeks later and I still feel good.  I still feel fu%$% good.  I still feel like I am a freak’n super hero!  I know this is just one race.

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20 thoughts on “2016 – Comrades

    1. I am realised just how crazy you actually are 🙂 I had suspected….. I cant wait to run/chat in preparation for your 10th!!

      1. Hahahhaa! Crazy definitey helps 😛 Looking forward to all that chatting with a dash of running 🙂 🙂 🙂

  1. Wow, you are amazing. I’m not a runner and look at the people jogging around my neighbourhood and think they are crazy. So, I take my hat off to you and what you have achieved.

  2. You and all the “crazy” runners are just many degrees of awesome…. It is definitely a mental game. Well done because against al odds you proved why you are more than ordinary

    1. Thank you very much – yep, there were quite a few other crazy people out on the day. It is amazing how many people line up for that race.

  3. Well done Pam… Only u will know what inner strength it took to complete your golden run.. It’s about digging deep and that strength will take u through the hardest of days!!! Well blady done.. U can be so proud!!

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