Sunday started with my nerves waking me up rather early… After lying awake for some time trying to prepare myself for the long day ahead, I got out of bed and went about my pre-marathon prep which involves checking and re-checking my race pack to make sure I have everything I need. I left my friend Amanda’s house in a bit of a frenzy because with all the checking I’d forgotten to keep my eye on the time…
I took my place in the starting group just as the ‘gun’ went off and basically resigned myself to the fact that the race was going to be difficult given the fact that the longest run I’d done since November was 18km… Taking it slow for the first 17km’s, I searched for someone I knew which I could run with but alas, besides some familiar faces I ended up just putting my iPod in and blasting any negative thoughts away.
My trusty seconds were waiting for me at the foot of Red Hill ready with sweet potatoes to fortify me on this notoriously steep and windy road. As I was about to head off I spotted Christopher, my last Red Hill running partner starting up the hill so I fell into pace with him and the person running with him Julie. Now Julie is from North Carolina so we immediately hit it off chatting about the States (I lived there for 2 years) and all the other interesting topics you manage to cover on a race that takes over 4 hours, if you are not sure what these topics include here is a short list:
- Ben & Jerries Ice-cream
- Running shoes
- Other Races
- The Comrades
- Cancer (Julie has survived stage 4 breast cancer)
- Jelly Bellies
- French Vanilla Coffee Creamer
That is just a short list 🙂
The trusty seconds were waiting 4km’s from the end with more potatoes and it is only then that I realised we were almost done, Julie and I had been chatting so animatedly and consistantly since Red Hill that it felt like the rest of the marathon had just flown by. We both realised we weren’t going to make it under 4:30 so we decided to pick up the pace and give it our best shot to the end which we made in 4:34 – I am almost positive we did those last 4km’s at 4 minutes a K…
Now, I meet many people on these races all of which make some impact on me – there is Katie from Pinelands who encouraged me to go on alone at the half-way mark of my first comrades, then Anne who fell very badly at the Two Oceans but still managed to help drag me over the finish line – but Julie is going to stick in my mind for a long time I think. She danced for the camera’s just outside Cape Point Nature Reserve and copped a feel from the guy wearing a bra about 5km to the end. She fought and beat cancer, running between Chemo sessions and bragging about the fact she didn’t need to shave when she lost all her hair – her strength of spirit is tangible and I consider myself privaledged to have spent 3 hours together running with her. Thanks for running with me Julie, they make them tough in the States too 🙂
Special thanks also to Nicolene and Ines for sacraficing their Sunday morning and seconding for me, also to Amanda for letting me stay over – I might have to make this an annual thing!!
If you ran let me know how it went, the gale-force winds we were putting up with didn’t make this the easiest race I’ve done…