I’ve never been scared or nervous before any one of my previous five Two Oceans half marathon runs. Nothing but excitement runs through me leading up to race day. It’s probably because I’ve always been prepared after months of solidly clocking up 30 to 50 kilometres a week in training.
Today though, I’m filled with the fear of failure. I’m so nervous about tomorrow’s race – my first long run after my hip operation. Will I finish? For the first time – I’m not sure about the answer.
Two weeks ago, I went for a 15km run. I finished it, but was in a sorry state at the end. My hips were hurting more than what they should have been. Fitness-wise, I was OK. I had no cramp and wasn’t really out of breath. The days following that run were pathetic. I couldn’t walk properly, couldn’t put my socks on, couldn’t bend down to pick something up… it was ridiculous. At the start of last week, I attempted a 9km run around the neighbourhood – I walked about four of the nine kilometres. My hips were having none of it.
Then last weekend, I did the 15km route again, with a different strategy. The plan was to run super slowly, and just make sure I put the mileage in. I completed the run and felt OK. The next day I woke up and felt 100% and I still haven’t felt pain from that run. The problem is that if I run tomorrow’s race at the pace I ran last weekend, I’ll finish in 2h50min, only 10 minutes before the cut-off. It’s a super slow time, yes – but at this point, I’m only looking to finish. 2h50min is cutting it super fine, but I’ll take it.
I’ve received a few messages from friends and family this week wishing me luck. The two stand-out comments are, “You don’t need to finish” and “Just walk if you’re sore or tired”. But I’m a highly competitive sportsman – it is about finishing and if I had my way I’d be going for a sub two hour time. If I don’t finish tomorrow, I’ll be really bummed. Secondly, when I feel pain it’s because my hips are stuffed – walking doesn’t help at all. The fact is, if my hips have a nightmare tomorrow then I’m out. There’s no resting, walking or jogging more slowly. So I’m really hoping they’re in a happy mood tomorrow and can see me through the 21kms.
I’ll be running with my mate, my dad and my girlfriend – so a part of me feels that not much can really go wrong. I will finish this race within the allocated time. These three have helped my through the past 18 months, so it only seems appropriate that we all cross the finish line together.
Because we’re taking it slow, we’ll be posting pictures and updates live during our race tomorrow on @Leftbacks. So follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and don’t be afraid to tweet a message of encouragement or two during the race. Start time is 06:10, so I’m hoping to finish by 9am.
Here goes nothing!