Reading back my last post it seems I was quite upbeat after my Cambridge Half performance, quite rightly so since I think my T4 levels were pretty low, so just to get round was a bonus. Things did not go well after that though, I struggled to do any sort of training and my one long run before the Manchester Marathon was horrible – 16 miles and 4 and a half hours of pain and effort that only my lovely friend S and a surprise visit from my husband to run the last few miles with made possible. I remember sitting on my front wall at the end of that run thinking that there was no way I would make Comrades, and that was that. I accepted my fate, moved on, and looked forward to a trip to South Africa cheering on my friends.
I had still agreed to run Manchester though, so thought I might as well give it a go since I had offered to drive everyone and didn’t want to hang around waiting and being bored. I did alright up until about halfway round, but then the wheels fell off. I was desperate to quit and would like to say that it was dogged determination that got me round but it was more that I was 13 miles away from the finish with no money and no way to make it back other than just walk round, which I did – mile after painful mile. I finally dragged my sorry ass back in about 5hr 50 – not quite what I had planned for Marathon #2 but I did at least get round and, more importantly, under the 6hr goody bag cut-off time.
The following week was the Southampton half – again I probably shouldn’t have run it but I’d gone all that way and it was home turf, so I figured what the heck, and pootled round in a rather poor 2hr 39, with slightly more running than the previous week. It’s a really nice race actually, back in Southampton after several years hiatus and it is definitely one I will try and do again, especially as the route goes about 50m from my parent’s house so they could wander up and wave without too much effort.
After that I really gave up the ghost, and apart from parkruns and the odd pilates session I did pretty much nothing. It’s a bit poor really since the new thyroid drug regime should have sorted me out and so I had no real thyroid excuse for being lazy, I just was. With nothing immediate to train for and motivation at an all time low I lost the plot a bit (ok, a lot) and it was no real surprise (but not a nice shock) to find out how much weight I had gained through eating like it was going out of fashion and doing no exercise for the last year. Just as well I didn’t qualify for Comrades I thought to myself…
It was during one pilates session in mid-May that I received a text message from an unknown number saying “A special Comrades Marathon dispensation now allows you to complete your entry by 4.30pm, 21st May 2015, please check your emails for details.” I thought it was a spoof but checking my emails and the facebook page showed that it wasn’t a joke, and that for the first time in Comrades history they were allowing people to start the race without having done the required sub 5hr marathon. This was highly controversial for many reasons – some felt that the race was being devalued by allowing non-qualified people to start, others misunderstood and thought it was just for people who were late entering their qualification times – I fell into the latter camp (I don’t really care who starts, it makes no difference to me as a competitor) but dutifully completed the email instructions and had confirmation I was registered. My family, husband and quite a few friends told me I was bonkers and that they worried it would kill me, but the plan was never to complete it. Well, that’s a bit of a lie – lets just say the plan was never to go any further than my limits. Another friend, K, was in the same situation so we agreed to run together and then quit when we’d had enough.
This all happened about a week before we flew out so I had gone from trying to organise banners and a support car to thinking about what the hell I was going to run in as I was now too fat for my usual running tights alongside what do I do about fuel/trainers/ohmygodI’mgoingtorunanultra
It was such an amazing opportunity though, I could have (and would have) supported happily but it was so much more fun doing the race prep and knowing we were all going to be starting. The trip over was in one of the new A380s and was my best flight experience by far. Durban was hot and interesting, the expo (despite a rude woman on reception and no goody bag) was fascinating and I stocked up on a whole host of Comrades goodies.
The few days pre-race passed uneventfully, we lounged by the pool, went to several pasta parties, slept late, rested our legs, bought 4000 different types of chocolate that you can’t get in the UK (Cashew & Coconut Dairy Milk anyone?) and I had a nice massage, peddling of homeopathic remedies aside. It would have been idyllic had it not been for 56 miles looming large on the horizon. But more on that in my next post…