Thoughts: One Week Until Two Oceans

Just one week remains until I race the Two Oceans Marathon: A 56km ultra marathon around the Cape Peninsula. Nervous? A little. Mostly, I’m nervous that I haven’t quite trained as much as I had planned to, for the time I am hoping to finish in. I have a certain time in mind, a time that’s going to mean running above and beyond what I have run before. That said, anything over 42km becomes mind over matter and I’m confident it will be a really great morning of running.

The course starts relatively flat before heading down into Muizenberg and along the coast where we turn off at Fish Hoek. From there (provided there’s no rockfall) we will run along Chapman’s peak, which I believe to be one of the most beautiful drives in South Africa, finishing at UCT. I’ve cycled this part of the route so many times and yet on those long rides, it never crossed my mind that one day I would run it. It’s surely one of the most beautiful parts of the world I have seen and so instead of a ‘head down – get it done’ attitude, I think my strength will come from the mountains. Ah, that reminds me: Hills. This course has two great hills.

Map of Route

Two Oceans has been a dream of mine for a while now. Spending so much time in Cape Town and after doing the Cycle Tour a few years back, I’ve heard so much about this race and the ‘hype’ that surrounds it so, the time to race became now.

I suppose the question I get asked most is: Why? Why do you want to run such a long distance again? (and my favourite question of all) Can’t you do a Park Run or something? After Comrades (an 89km run to Durban) I told myself, “Let your body recovery. No more crazy runs for a while.”

There was a great sense of accomplishment and finality after Comrades last year because I had successfully completed what I set out to do and so I began to relax. I enjoyed a few months of ‘running for the sake of running’ and doing some shorter, faster runs; taking it all a little less seriously. I ventured back onto the trails, even got back on the bike… but then I went and registered for Two Oceans and that was it: there was a job to be done and challenge to face.

Overall, training has been quite relaxed, especially compared to Comrades training. I’ve rarely done more than 40 miles a week, usually running just 4 or 5 times a week. The longest run I’ve done this year is a marathon but other than that, I’ve been consistently running few miles but sticking to a plan as best I can. Besides the marathon training run, long runs have been around 2:30hr or somewhere between 25 and 30km which given the race in question, isn’t an awful lot. Training hasn’t been a massive priority for me and that’s okay, I’ve enjoyed the training that I’ve done.

The fact is, I love it! There’s something brilliant about having a goal to train towards and aim for. Training for a marathon gives you a sense of purpose. It gets me up in the morning. Running teaches me disciple and it gives my lifestyle a routine and structure that benefits every aspect of my life. Unlike an ‘athlete’, the races are almost a byproduct of my training as I don’t race for the competitive aspect. To begin with, they are a mere date in the diary and an excuse to see a beautiful part of the world and to be honest, the beauty of a race isn’t clear until I’m in the thick of it. Participating in a race like Two Oceans is about being part of something greater than yourself.

I’m excited! I’m really keen to just get out there and enjoy the run. Hopefully I’ll see some familiar faces along the way. Whatever happens, it’s a test of the body and even more so, the mind. One which I will cherish with every step.

See you at the start line.

Go Well.