12 days have past since I completed my second Comrades Marathon, a distance of 89.28kms.
I crossed the finish line in a time of 11:36:45 - Almost 7 minutes faster than last years 'Up' run which was 2kms further.
The most remarkable thing about my finish was that I ran a total of just less than 700kms in the 5 months leading up to the race. This included the longest run of 42,2 kms. The suggested/recommended training (by veteran Comrades runners who really know what they are talking about) is a minimum of 1000kms which includes 2 long runs of about 60kms and 3 marathons!
I had also broken the second metatarsal on my left foot in early March and had done no running until April 24.
Based on the above, I was told by many people that I shouldn't even go to the race, never mind actually line up!
But, I figured that I in the six weeks that I had available to me, from starting running again until race day, I could train to run a marathon and therefore could make it to half way at Comrades. I would be happy with this to still be part of the experience and not 'waste' the donations I had raised for PinkDrive. Someone then mentioned that if I make it to 60kms, the rest is dependent on my mind and not my body and it's previous training. So, I thought that I would re-assess when I got to halfway, and if I was ahead of the cut-off and feeling fine, I would run to 60kms and then see how I was feeling. 12 days before the start of the race I started believing that I could actually finish the whole race!
8 days before the race, tragedy struck. My mother, Merle Robb, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. She died in her peacefully in her sleep at home with her husband. Days melt into one another, but at some stage my dad and I decided we would still go down to Durban and run (my dad would be running his 39th consecutive Comrades). We held a beautiful memorial service for my mom on the Thursday and early Friday morning we flew to Durban for Sunday's race.
My dad and I started the race together - he had Elite seeding so could go into C seeding with me. We ran a couple of hundred meters past the start mat and then he left me in his dust.
He had a good run, finishing 8:34:08, perfectly within his target of 8:30!
I exceeded my own expectations and am thrilled to have got my second Vic Clapham medal and my Back-to-Back medal.
It was a bittersweet run for me and a clear demonstration of the power of my mind.
I couldn't have done it alone and I am truly grateful to all those that supported me in training, treatment and positive belief before the race, in love during the week of my moms passing and the encouraging support I had along the road by seconds and fellow runners. Thank you all!!
Congrats to Val and Chris who ran their first Comrades in true style!
I will write a detailed race report in the next couple of days.