Two Oceans Marathon 2013 – after the run

Two Oceans 2013 – the experience

As always being part of a great event is enriching. Two Oceans has the great South African ultra razzmatazz: big field of runners, screeching loudspeakers,  anticipation, seeing old friends – always a treat at the start, during the run and after; the count down, squash up of bodies in the starting pen, boom of the start gun and nothing happens. Two minutes to the first shuffling.

It all squiggles and wriggles into my curly corners and I like it.

With that comes the 56 km of tar road, supportive people cheering along the way, a bit of moon light and a good sunrise. and this year a gusting, gale-ing wind that didn’t bother me too much. My plop-plop is strong and anyway for the last part of the long flats towards and past the halfway, it was behind and chilling.

You get the views of Long Beach, up Chapman’s Peak and over Hout Bay. My  family, Robyn, Michael and Emily met me this year there, maybe 39 km into the run. Great for me, wind-chilled and uncomfortable for them.

Still not convinced that bigger is better. 56 km is always 56 km

Still not convinced that bigger is better. 56 km is always 56 km

Run right, the effort part of this ultra comes after Hout Bay village – pushing through still another 18 km, past the 42.2 k marathon mark, sometimes relentlessly hot, but this time breezy-cool. My ~4:40 marathon time is worth noting because less the stops along the way, its roughly the same time as my 4:34 training standard marathons earlier this year.

So this year’s long-run running pace is set in my legs – hills, flats, pic-taking, falling, pee-breaks and all. It’s what I’ll do in Comrades with extra walking … if the hills get too big.

Finishing through a channel on a crowded, loud field, banners, balloons, helicopters, tents and occasionally being cheered has to be good.

Two Oceans does it well. You feel the buzz and strain, the anticipation of family waiting for their special one at the end of the ultra-long finish chute, the grins and strains of the runners, simmering and bubbling on that field of dreams.  

Doing 56 km is an achievement for me and for most I suppose. Because of all the effort  after-finishing is a good as the running; finally being able to sit down and relax, ease on home to a just-right shower and meal; feel life swirl through me for a while, then slip into a just right snooze. 

Other tastes

There are bits about the event that aren’t to my taste – the endless re-numeration of “overseas” runners before the start – as if the out-of-south-africas are a trophy for us poor stay at homes, as if its a particular thrill to be running with those numbers; the old fish horn designed not to be musical but to chase away cockroaches and bigger urban game, the endless hype about being the most beautiful marathon in the world which of course it can’t be – even just one route like the Big Sur marathon, which is like Chapman’s Peak the whole way, must compare; combining the ultra with much shorter runs, and now this spirit thing.

Oh and of course, the giant medal. I mean they should have told us to bring a supermarket trolley to push it to the car to get it back home.

But, hey, its not my event so I can take what I want, including the medal, leave the rest and everyone’s happy.

So, Two Oceans 2013, thanks

I’m especially happy with what I took. Especially because its a big part of dealing with what’s coming.

Now the next phase: Recover. Run for a bigger one – not the medal, the run. Recovering. Then more.