Stepped lightly into a cold wind, clear sky for the first run after the big day 8 days after the race. Recovery, a warm bed, gurgling rain, a dash of glory kept me inside before then.
Felt good from the very first step. At even the lightest effort my pace was still faster than Comrades race-pace.
The joy of everything - life, running, beaming – welled up and burst through me. That rush highlighted the incredible and indelible experience.
Venus nodded, smiled when I showed her the medal … am thinking of having it pierced into my belly button or wherever kids would get it hung.
There is much to tell. Here starts some of it.
What the numbers show
The Comrades experience is always big. A starting point is the numbers of the run. This is how mine look as taken from the Comrades Marathon website at www.comrades.com :
|Gun Time:||05:30:35||Overall Pos:||9742|
|Finish Time:||11:43:54||Gender Pos:||7881|
|Net Time:||11:43:54||Category Pos:||1210|
|Split||Race Time||Overall Pos||Dist. Done||Dist. To Go||Speed|
What the numbers don’t show
- the hard work. 8 min/km is an easy pace. My regular easy pace had got down to 6min/km. Running that hard would get me to maybe 60 km. So I had to spread what I had over the last 27 km – walking up hills when my heart rate went too high, walking to ease the cramping, elbowing and jostling at the water tables, twice having a pee.
- how much concentration it took to keep moving forward at the best pace. Little time to relax and enjoy run.
- The jubilation that rushed through me when the noise of the finish became a cacophony – heralded by an announcer shouting “Just 600 meters to go.” Nothing could stop me having got that far. Not even a volcano. A friend had twice got within sight of the finish line when the final cut-off sounded. I used to joke with them that he should have taken off his shoe with the timing-chip and thrown it over the line. So I had thoughts, while deep in training runs, that when I got to the end I would stop at the finish line and through my shoe over it. No chance. I slipped over the timing-mats, didn’t stop until the medal, that focus of so many month, was hanging over my neck. Still more jubilation. The air crackled. Every pore opened and sang.
- My numbers don’t show the stories of all the other who completed the event, who tried, those who didn’t show up to run even though they wanted to.
The numbers also don’t show all the things that went on in my mind, that went on around me, that it took to make this great run possible. More on that to follow.