Last week saw an absence of my feet on the tar, pretty much due to my shoulder and hip having seen too much of it in my well executed fall the week before! I had planned to do an easy week anyway due to the full marathon I was planning on the weekend, so I didn't 'mind' not running!
Saturday early morning, (or was it Friday night?) we get up at 3am to confuse the dogs and give them their breakfast and we set off to our meeting point to travel down to the Freestate for our run around Sasolburg. Hubby and sister planned to run the half marathon, so the car was packed with chairs, brollies and breakfast for their very long wait for us two bravehearts who were facing the full distance. The trip down went quicker than we thought as it turns out Sasolburg is only 73km away from our house, in a few months time we can run there :)
A long convoy of car lights seemed to follow us all the way down, and when we turned into the town we saw that we were not the early birds after all. The car park was filling up quickly and it seems that the word is out about this race, as people from different towns all head here for the well organised race. Once again, it didn't disappoint, even with the larger than I remember, field.
The sunrise seemed very sudden, but there was a nice crispness to the air, so we were all hoping that the coolness would last for the first few hours. Meeting up with old school friends meant that the chatter carried us all the way to the 6am start and that was the last I saw of them all, as they are much faster than myself at this stage. The great thing about this race is that the whole town doesn't seem to mind being inundated with a few thousand runners. Traffic circles had long lines of patient drivers watching the early morning spectacle go by. Traffic officers and marshalls greeted us cheerfully as they held back the early morning workers, who I think were a little bit pleased to be late for work on a Saturday morning. The Sasol staff seem to have in-house competitions for the best water tables, and this year there were super heroes, green smurfs, and other imaginary friends all cheering us on, with cold water, coke and creme soda, snacks and lotions as all part of the small town hospitality.
I had given myself of a target of 9km's in an hour, and I managed to only walk at the water points. This was turning out to be easier than I had anticipated, and at the end of the second hour, I was very surprised to see that I had done exactly the same time as the first one. By now the cool breeze was giving way to some classic Freestate heat, and I could feel my head get grumpy. My shoulder started to squeak where I had landed on it, and my back began to feel stiff. I also know this route pretty well, and the images of running past the finish on my way for a second round, started to wreak havoc with my plans. By this stage nobody around me was talking and I was running out of distractions. At around 20 km the road split for the two different races, and I chose to change my plans. The first runner home for the full 42,2km was coming home, and it felt like the 'olden days' when I was lapped by the leaders. They still looked remarkably fresh as they breezed past me, and that sealed my deal. I started taking off my marathon race number, as I didn't want people to think that I was the first 'lady' home, haha! I spotted my sister at the gate of the stadium, and with a surprised look on her face, I told her, I had had enough. She was going back out on the route to stretch her distance for the day, and I had this mad notion of joining her, but I had to go take nature's call first. I spotted hubby at the car, and told him, I was finished with the race.
I set back out on the route in the opposite direction from the runners and cheered them on to their finish, as I waited for my sister to catch me again so we could run out some more. She had given the 'marathoning' friend some words of encouragement and then ran back to me and we went back to the green smurfs for some more refreshments. I think we may have confused some people, but it was a lot nicer and shorter than 42km! I headed back on my own, as by now the novelty was wearing off, and wanted to rest my weary body! We cheered all our friends home, and some good results were to be had.
My pains had miraculously disappeared by this stage, and we drove home to Jozi with a good morning of running behind us!