It’s that time of the year again where all roads lead to the Soweto Marathon. Runners from all walks of life entered the race for different reasons; from wanting to obtain Comrades Marathon qualifiers, to those who have already qualified and use this process to train and those want to push their personal best. I’m in between getting a personal best and getting a qualifier.
So far, the road to Soweto Marathon preparation has been a grueling but fun process. Grueling because of how the weather has no mercy, hot or cold. But fun because of the company I run with. I woke up to the urgency of training for the race after my birthday and even then, I had to promise myself I would have fun because once this process is taken too seriously, you miss the point.
Confession; at some point, the qualifier (for the Comrades Marathon) was stressful. I no longer had the urge to run. Not even a 5km jog. We very often make jokes about top runners and being perceived a “top runner” got to me. The pressure was too much because I honestly just want to run. Comrades Marathon qualifier or not. I learned from last years 21km Soweto Marathon race that the more light-hearted you are about these things, the better the race.
After my little temper tantrum on wanting to quit; I decided I’m doing this thing again. For fun and to exceed my personal best, anything and everything else beyond that would be a bonus. At the moment, I’m surprisingly chilled for someone who’s about to run the first marathon. I’ve left the stressing to a dear friend of mine who reminds me every chance he gets how horrific this marathon is. I’ve been warned about the scorching hot sun, the cramps, aches and pains and and and… I actually need a friend like that, so that he can do all the stressing for me while I prepare which ever way I can; physically and mentally.
Supplements and Things Like That
I must admit, this preparation process is new to me. I usually just run and do a lot of cardio. This year I’ve been introduced to supplements, new ways of hydrating and the best meals to eat before and after a race. I usually run on an empty stomach and I’m known to have a large can of an energy drink after a long run. The energy drink gave me a high and a dreaded low afterwards, which is not ideal. I’ve had to stop that and learn a new way of recovering from a long run. I have a FarBar before the race, take energy gels in between the run and take a Slow Mag afterwards. Rather the Slow Mag than a fuzzy, sugar loaded drink which is taken often at races.
My eating habits have changed and I’m back to taking multivitamins frequently. Let’s not even talk about carb-loading though, I dislike that part but it’s helped me to maintain my weight.
My friends and family are divided. I have an equal number of people who believe I can do this and those who don’t. I’ve invested an incredible amount of time, money and energy in the past month. Did I mention time. Lots and lots of time. My weekends literally rotate around this preparation; I wake up early on Saturday to run, go back home to recover and prepare for Sunday. Preparing means resting and consuming less of everything. Some have understood the process and some have blown their horns in frustration because I’ve chosen to sleep rather than go out. I’ve lost friends along the way and that’s okay. This journey has taught me the importance of choosing myself, a new concept to me. This race is personal for me, it’s my personal best race.
On Some Other News
In between all of that, life goes on. There’s work and gigs, that also revolved around this process. I was also meant to run this qualifier race with my late cousin, Melo. He wanted to run the Comrades Marathon before he turned 30. This was meant to be his testing ground, this is actually part reason why I’ve been so resistant to this process I guess. I miss him, we were meant to do this together and if anything it reminds me of how he’s not here anymore (in the physical).
With a week to go, I’m looking forward to this race. I’m excited and nervous, more excited than nervous. There’s still a 21km race this weekend and a Soweto BTG (Bridging The Gap) event on the weekend of the Soweto Marathon. Although I’ve experienced resistance towards this process, I’m very proud of how far I’ve come and how much my body has pushed limits.
I’m also grateful to my run cru, the East Run Cru for the love and support. Running as a cru has made it that much more easier and more fulfilling. Those who are not running have promised to be there to cheer. I’ve experienced what cheer vibes do and I’m grateful already.
I’m recruiting family and friends to come cheer on the day, come through if you can.
Road to Soweto Marathon, 3 November 2019. Here we go.