Yes, in week 8 of my journey I made it to the Old Mutual Two Oceans startline, and finished the race!
I woke up at 4am on what might've been just a normal Saturday morning, set out to run 21.1km – and made it!
I was surprised by how effortless the first few kilometres were. I ran at a comfortable pace of between 6.5 and 7 minutes per kilometre for the first 9 – 10 km of the race. This made me realise that I had been through a spectacular training programme, as I noticed quite a few runners struggling at this point.
The Sports Science Institute of South Africa's running programme, OptiFit, took us out on long runs from the very first week. In an 8 week programme they miraculously put my body into long distance running mode.
I don't remember exactly what happened after the 10 kilometre mark. I know I was trying to get up Southern Cross Drive – a terrifying 3 kilometre slog along the steep winding road between the mansions of Constantia. I must've ignored the terrifying part, because it didn't feel too exhausting at the time. I think I was having too much fun chatting to the friendly bunch of runners!
In a way, the race was quite a party – with the thousands of people, and pit stops with music and drinks.
For the most part, the race was thrilling, but I came across a challenge at some point between kilometres 15 and 17. This is when I felt the niggle on my ankle that my physiotherapist warned me about (read more about this is my previous blog). I understand now why he said the race wouldn't be easy. But, the crowd was amazing!
I met a few "buddies" along the way. Some were complete strangers, but they all helped me in some way. Pierre Antonels, a fellow runner who also did the Two Oceans for the first time, literally acted as my coach for a number of kilometres, telling me to either drop or increase the pace and offered me energy boosting treats at crucial points. The camaraderie along the way was incredible.
The cheers of the spectators were also extremely powerful. It got me through some difficult patches and eventually I almost didn't feel the pain anymore.
And then, 2 hours and 44 minutes later, I made it to the end.
Crossing the finish line was such emotional experience for me. I actually shed a few tears when I got my medal. I made it! I ran for 21.1kilometres – an unbelievable achievement for me.
I said this on the OMTOM Inspiration theatre stage and I say it again:
"For me, when I run a strong mind is better than a strong body."
A special thanks to The Sports Science Institute of South Africa, Old Mutual Two Oceans, Health24, and Adidas for helping me make my dream a reality. Also, to everyone that followed my journey and sent me messages of encouragement via social media - thank you all very much. At some point of the race I recalled all of your quotes and words of encouragement, and I didn't want to let you guys down - you kept me going!
Watch this week's episode:
Here are the rest of my blogs, in case you missed one:
My 8 week journey to the 21km Two Oceans Marathon - week 7
My 8 week journey to the 21km Two Oceans Marathon – week 6
My 8 week journey to the 21km Oceans Marathon – week 5
My 8 week journey to the 21km Two Oceans Marathon – week 4
My 8 week journey to the 21km Two Oceans Marathon – week 3
My 8 week journey to the 21km Two Oceans Marathon – Week 2
My 8 week journey to the 21km Two Oceans Marathon – Week 1
My 8 week journey to the 21k Two Oceans Marathon – Week 0
Be inspired during the 2015 Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon.
#OMTOMInspiration is a joint venture between the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon, the Sports Science Institute of SA (SSISA), Runner's World and Health24.com.
On Twitter @Health24com, @2OceansMarathon, Runners World and @Sportscience sa