Months of Miles

Lessons from the Road: Two Oceans Marathon

posted by Dan Carter April 19, 2017 4 Comments

[Images by Jetline Action Photo]

I can’t quite believe it; it still hasn’t sunk in. I feel like it never really happened. Looking back, memories of race day are still a blur to me… and it’s not until I sit here, one week after that I start to remember what it was really like to race the Two Oceans Marathon.

When running there are times when it seems you’re on top of the world. More than that, you enter a zone which can only be described as feeling incredibly comfortable in your own skin. It is a state of pure calm and focus. You run and run as the miles fly by, one by one, your pace constant.

There are other days when for whatever reason, you don’t feel so great. It’s just a little more effort and that’s okay because that’s running’s great mystery. Saturday was one of those days; one of those days where each mile hurt that bit more than it should. Each hour that passed came with it’s own challenges.

Saturday was a tough day, I won’t lie. I raced out my batch at 4:40/kms to try and catch the sub 5 bus after squeezing my way through the stampede of trainers and the aroma of deep heat combined with port-a-loo. The climbs were absolutely brutal, both Chappies and Constantia Nek as gruelling as each other but the stretch between Hout Bay and the start of the next hill hurt the most. Spells of cramp, dizziness and fatigue. All the usual tests that push your limits.

Two Oceans was without question, the most beautiful route I have ever run. I think back to an email of support I had received from a good friend a few days before. “May the wind, if any, always be behind you.” That it was.

There were times in this race where I didn’t think I would continue. There were times when I didn’t think it was possible to finish. There were moments I felt like I was on my own and there was no coming back. There were times I questioned why I was doing it, whether it would matter if I quit. But I didn’t. You don’t.

Sometimes, you manage to block those thoughts from your mind but often you can’t. They force their way into your mind and no positive attitude can compete. There are times when your body burns with pain, legs seizing up and all you can do is carry on. That’s just it: You carry on and I suppose, that’s life really. You keep going; you keep pushing and when you do, you realise just how much more you are capable of.

It’s only now that I begin to question whether any of us really ever reach our true limits. I wonder how much more we have inside that we never get the chance to unleash. It’s now that I ask, “Perhaps we have another tank just waiting to be found?”

That’s the real beauty of these races for me: the realisation that with enough faith, hard work, determination and persistence, there’s no climb too great to conquer. 

Lessons learnt:
  • Don’t eat three portions the night before or be prepared to leave one of them in a garden half way up Constantia Nek…
  • Save gels for as late as possible in the race
  • Get a good batch to prevent wasting energy too early on
  • Keep a consistent pace through both good and bad patches
  • Don’t struggle alone: encourage others and you’ll encourage yourself
  • Don’t stop
  • It’s supposed to hurt

 

Massive thanks to Dustin for being an absolute legend and making the last 5km of this race as great as they were. I really appreciate the company on those last few miles. What an incredible experience. How lucky are we to experience such an incredible event in such a beautiful country? Pretty damn lucky, I say.

[Youtube ‘vlog’ coming soon…]

 

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