At almost this time last year, I wrote a post after not having finished Comrades, and I remember tears dropping onto my keyboard as I typed. It was difficult bailing last year, and I spent a few days wiping my tears, and repairing my self esteem, as dramatic as this sounds.
This year, once again, I didn’t finish (I stopped at around 64km) – a combination, I’m guessing, of going in with a slight cold and a bit of a knee injury, and getting really nauseous on the route, not being able to eat or drink anything but water without being ill. I suspect that all the cold-fighting pills, and the painkillers I took, could have played a role too.
But you know what? It’s okay. I haven’t shed a tear over my result, and the most tears I cried was when I watched the last finishers come through the stadium, and seeing runners not make it within cut-off (anything who has ever watched this on TV, or seen it live, will probably have had the same feelings).
I had an incredible day until I started feeling nauseous. My sense of humour was in tact, and I was noticing the beauty all around me – in the runners, in the supporters, and in the surrounds. Once again, the Twitter vibe was exceptional, and I felt carried and consoled by the brilliant online support.
One thing I did realise, seriously this time, was that once upon a time I could have gotten through nausea, or stomach issues, simply because I had enough time to get over it, or start feeling better. These days, I’m so close to cut-offs that I can’t really afford a bathroom break, let alone a quick stop at a first-aid station, and this is one thing I need to work on before I embark on Comrades again.
Even nine months after having you via C-section, I ran a safe and comfortable bronze medal, with around the same amount of training as this year. Yes, I’m a bit older and have shuffled priorities and life commitments, but I cannot rule out that my extra weight has slowed me down, and that some of my best running years were when I was around 12kg lighter (that’s 12 potato sacks!!!!)
So I’ve figured out that if I can’t run a comfortable’ish 4.30 marathon, or a comfortable’ish 6.15 Two Oceans, then maybe Comrades isn’t the best choice that year. To do this, I think I’m going to have to follow through on my dietitian’s recommendations and guidance. I’ve lost a few kilograms already, but there’s a journey to go still, which will hopefully see me to another Comrades finish soon.
As hard as it is, I love this race, and I’d love to see it through again.
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