I’ve written previously about 1 of my goals for 2014; to start and finish the 89.9km Comrades Marathon, taking place on Sunday the 1st of June 2014. It has been a goal of mine for about 8 years now, so when entries opened on the 1st of September 2013, I entered within days, securing my spot. Of course you can’t just enter and run Comrades; you must first qualify with a minimum of 42.2km, completed in 5hrs or less.
A few weeks ago, a day after I completed the PDAC 25km road race, my right knee was swollen and very sore. So off to the GP I went, who then referred me to an Orthopedic Surgeon, who in turn told me that he wanted to do a scope. Unfortunately my medical aid plan does not cover scopes, and as it would cost in the region of about 60k if I paid for it myself, I obviously decided against it! I then lost my running mojo for about 2 weeks, only to then FINALLY find a running companion who lives in my area, and for the last 2 weeks we’ve been training 3-4 days a week. We run 5-7km on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and then longer distances on Sundays. We ran 15km this last Sunday, and will be running 21km this Sunday, gradually increasing our Sunday mileage each week. Whilst out on our run on Sunday, I mentioned that my feet were getting sore, as my takkies do give me blisters, and they’re also a bit tight over the front of my foot. L then casually mentioned that my takkies are too small for me. I was flabbergasted. They are not even 6 months old, have about 80-100km mileage on them, and they are too small for my feet. Being a novice runner, I just went out and bought road running takkies. I didn’t ask, I didn’t seek professional advice, resulting in me now having takkies that hurt me anytime I run over 10km. I am a size 5, and so purchased size 5 takkies. I have now found out that I actually need size 6.5 takkies. These takkies will cost me in the region of about 1.4-1.6k. I do not have 1.4-1.6k just lying around. I was prepared to run Comrades with my injury, as I can strap my knee, take anti-inflammatories, but I cannot run 89.9km with my takkies that hurt me as soon as I run more than 10km. I do generally wrap my feet and put plasters around my toes for races, but it still hurts. And my feet swell so much during a race and now it makes sense why the swelling take so long to come down; my takkies are seriously constricting my feet!
This Sunday is the PMB City Marathon (42.2km) that I entered last year, as I wanted it to be my qualifier for Comrades. I am not going to be running it. Not only is my knee still a little sore after Sunday’s 15km, I am not physically ready for it. I have left my Comrades training too late; I only started seriously training mid January, which is honestly too late. I think I’ve accepted that. I’ve decided to train towards the Dolphin Coast Marathon (42.2km) taking place on the 1st of May 2014, as it’s the final Comrades qualifier for the 2014 race, however I don’t think that I’ll be running Comrades this year, even if I do somehow miraculously qualify. My running companion L, who has run 6 Comrades told me on Sunday that she doesn’t believe that I’m ready for this year’s race, advising me to rather train for next year’s race. My mom and husband have also told me the same thing. I’m just unfortunately like a dog with a bone; I cannot leave well enough alone. So I have kinda accepted the fact that there’s a very strong possibility that I won’t be partaking in this years Comrades, however there is still a part of me that is clinging onto my dream. It’s not a total loss if I don’t run this year, as I can sell my entry to someone else in April so at least I won’t be out of pocket, but that’s not really the point. It’s never been about the money. It’s about my dream, that is to complete the ultimate human race.
So maybe 2014 isn’t my year for Comrades. But the fact that I have L who is supporting me, training with me, giving me advice and has agreed to train with me and for the Dolphin Coast Marathon is keeping me going. She pushes me; she’s so much fitter than me as she’s been running for so much longer than me, but she has the patience that is required to get me to the level that I need to be on. Often she runs ahead and stops at the top of the hill, and calls down to me, motivating me, pushing me. When we’re running and she can hear my breathing labour a bit, she says “ok just to that light pole” and then just before the light pole “ok just to that gate” and before I know it we’ve made it up the hill and I haven’t walked once.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to curl up into my bed and cry. But that won’t fix anything. I now need to take my disappointment and turn it into motivation for next year’s Comrades.
Because even though I’ll never win a Comrades Marathon, I sure as hell will start and finish 1.