On the road again – facing another 89km at Comrades Marathon

May 27, 2014

Dear Max

During the last week of every May, I always have a blog post topic – one about Comrades.

Either I’m predictable or a bit boring (I’ve written posts here, here and here, among others), but mostly Comrades is on my mind as it’s so few days away, and because I have spent so much of the last 13 years running it, being shaped by it, and being shifted by it.

This year, I find myself feeling like this…



Terrified. It’s snuck up on me, and I’m feeling unprepared in every way. Honestly, I’m more worried about my head than my legs. This year my races have been slow, I’ve been distracted, and it feels like I’ve lost my head, ie my concentration and the strength when it matters to push on. And on.

It’s weird that I feel the strongest in life that I’ve ever been, yet on the running front, the weakest. I have battled to focus, I’ve gotten bored, and I’ve been on my phone a whole lot more than I’ve been present on the road.

And being present is critical. Much like life, I guess. Looking at what’s behind you isn’t always productive, and looking ahead at what’s coming is often terrifying.

Among the best running advice I ever got was from your dad, who told me to concentrate on each kilometre, without getting bogged down about what’s ahead. Just keep in the moment, step by step, kilometre by kilometre. It’s exceptionally difficult to be in the now – you worry about the hills coming up, you fear the pain ahead, and you wonder how or if you will get to the finish.

I’ve had my best runs in the moment, and heck, I’ve had my best life moments in the moment. The ones where I’m not looking behind me and getting sad or angry with what was, and the ones where I wasn’t worried or beat down about what was coming.

It’s not to say that a good life or race is not about looking behind or forward, I guess it’s about knowing when, and for how long. I hope I get it right on Sunday. I think my medal might depend on it (assuming everything else goes okay).

Thank you for all your support Max – for the last few months you have wished me well on my runs (“Take care”, “Be careful not to fall”, “Have a good wun”), and welcomed me home with gentle hugs around my sore and sweaty body.

Yours in many miles,


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1 Comment

  • VeronicaClare

    I completely understand what you are feeling and have been there so many times. One of the best articles I have ever read is about finding zen through running and quieting your monkey mind http://www.runnersworld.com/sports-psychology/find-zen-through-running Good luck for Sunday, will be thinking of you

    May 27, 2014 at 9:13 am Reply
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