How my Comrades dream began…My road to Comrades 2018
Having attempted to run Comrades on two previous occasions and not being successful, must beg the question so why try again? Granted, I never really got to run the Comrades although I had entered and trained for it, I never even got to the start line. On both occasions, each about 20 – 22 years ago and in the prime of my running career, some would argue, I got sick with the flu about a month out and decided at that point that because of me falling ill, I would not complete the race and possibly cause some serious harm to myself. At the time that seemed a good enough excuse but this time round I am going to be a little more scientific about my approach. Before I get there, let me give you some idea about how I previously trained for the Comrades marathon and how it is going to be different this time round.
I just ran…
I clocked incredible distances to prepare myself for Comrades. I ran almost every day for about three months prior to the race. On some days I ran twice a day. Once before work in the morning and then after work again. I entered races of all distances and raced to achieve my best time. I barely allowed myself to recover and on those days that my body was crying out for a break, I would push even harder and run even further. You see, once I got into my rhythm and ignored the pains in my joints, I could run forever. I had no training programme, no diet to follow, no nutritional plan or supplementation whatsoever. I hardly rested.
I hardly rested.
I just ran.
Persist Until Success Happens – unknown
I remember one incident particularly well, just before my first attempt at Comrades glory, during a marathon, I think it was the Johnson Crane, at the 10 km mark, I ran off the road to get past a group of slower runners and twisted my ankle so badly that it immediately became a purple ball of swollen ligaments, tendons and muscle. After rubbing it a little and assessing the damage, I decided that the only thing to do was to keep going, keep the joint warm and flexible by running through the pain. I know, crazy, right?
Still, I just ran
But I was fit, young and weighed just under 70 kilograms so nothing was going to stop me or stand in my way from this ‘training’ run. Besides I had driven up from the Free State where I was living and working at the time and there was no way I could quit and go back home without the mileage on my legs and a medal in my pocket. I finished that marathon in a respectable 4h45mins, hobbling home in the most excruciating pain that would leave me unable to walk properly for 6 months. Did that stop me from training? Hell no! I rubbed and rubbed and bandaged my ankle for those 6 months so that I could continue training…until I got sick and bailed.
And still, I just ran.
This time around I considers myself a lot wiser, 20-odd years wiser. Probably not as fast but hopefully as fit in 10 months time, definitely stronger mentally and not so hung up about chasing a gold medal or finishing in the top 10%.
What is going to be different about Comrades 2018 for me besides the obvious?
I turn 50 about a month after this first official Comrades attempt, so my attempt and my result have to be epic!
This is how I think I want to approach it and who knows, I might even attempt a back-to-back run the following year?