Healthy Lifestyle

    My Old Mutual Two Oceans Half Marathon Experience: The Build Up

    April 24, 2017

    It’s been a little over a week since the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon so an update is in order. I needed the time to mentally go over everything and get some work off my plate before sitting down to write this post. I was really hoping to fit everything into one post, but it is already long and I haven’t even gotten to the race itself. This race is the result of months of preparation, so a sparse post just stating the facts won’t do.

    Let’s begin

    On Friday morning I jetted into Cape Town, my stomach a mixture of nerves and excitement. My first agenda for the day was to get my race pack at the ICC asap! My aunt had advised that I go early to the ICC to get my race pack, as the queues would be long. Fortunately the queues weren’t that bad (by Cape Town standards, if it were PE it would be declared ridiculous). I managed to get my pack and navigate to the exit  in about 30 minutes.

    My best friend picked me up from the airport, so once we were done with at ICC, he took me to nearly every chocolate shop in Cape Town. I’m not kidding.

    I’m not normally one to say no to chocolate. I mean, the chocolate industry in South Africa would collapse if I had to give it up. Okay that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I do eat a lot of chocolate. As the saying goes, “A chocolate a day keeps the nerves away,” or something along those lines.

    But on that Friday, I was so anxious that I said no to multiple offers of chocolate, cakes and ice cream. I missed my only chance to taste Crumbs and Cream (we don’t have one in PE) because I was so anxious that I experienced intense nausea from the store’s aroma and had to step outside to get fresh air.

    That evening we went out for pasta (cause carb-loading) and I got home just after 8PM, which was later than what I would have liked. Nevertheless I packed my bags and prepared my kit for the morning.

    It was such a struggle to fall asleep and probably took me about an hour. Around 12 I woke up and struggled nearly for an hour to get back to sleep.

    My nerves were shot.

    02:50AM

    My alarm was set for 03:00AM but my brother woke me up at 02:50AM. Actually the entire household woke up then, even though he and I were the only ones participating in the race.

    As mentioned in my previous post, I’d been struggling to get short tights. I eventually found a pair that met my length requirements, but hadn’t worn it before race day. After putting them on, I realised my mistake. They needed to be worn in! I was so uncomfortable that I put on a pair of long tights that I had brought along. The fact that I forgot my watch in PE, didn’t help either.

    We all got done and neither of us could finish our light breakfast. By 04:00AM we were on our way to Newlands. Would you believe that once we got close to the parking areas, we hit traffic? Our parking spot was roughly 1km from the race starting line. The walk to the starting line felt so quick. It took about ten minutes, but it felt like ten seconds.

    After well wishes and hugs, my brother and I went into the runners only section and waited by a tree to shield ourselves from the breeze. Fortunately I decided to take some money with me (just in case), and I was able to get a cup of coffee at a cafe.

    The buildup

    When you’re standing under a tree in the middle of Autumn in Cape Town at 04:30AM, clothed in only a thin shirt and tights, you really get to reflect on your life choices. Like what was I thinking entering this race?

    Being in Group E, our start time was only at 06:20AM, so we had a lot of time to kill. The starting line quickly began filling up, there was literally thousands of people. Nervous excitement began to fill the air, as people paced up and down, doing stretches and other things to warm up. Before we knew it, the countdown for the elite athletes began. The loudspeakers, blasted a nervous heartbeat as they got closer to the start. Who of the organisers thought that this was a good idea? As if people *aka me* weren’t nervous enough.

    The first gun went off. Suddenly the energy in the starting line amplified. I was too deep in the line, to dash to the toilets to have one last nervous pee. Fortunately the 20 minutes between Group A and Group E literally flew past. In no time, we were walking to the starting line to wait for our gun to go off.

    The last bang for the half marathon went off. There was no turning back. I was in too deep.

    All images of Cape Town via Pixabay.

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