On 12 November 2011, I will run a sub 2h15 half marathon.
There…I said it.
Who is Brony and why is her name in the heading? I will get to that soon enough. Right now I will first give the background to the plan for 12 November.
I am a runner. Although not too long ago I could literally not run 2km, the bug bit me when I went to spectate and second for a friend at the 2010 Two Oceans ultra-marathon. I will not rehash that story now, but you can read about it here.
Right now I would like to introduce one of the biggest influences in my running career (although he doesn’t even realise it), and that is my friend Morné. When I started running (and by that I mean building up very nervously to being able to finish a 5km fun run), I really didn’t enjoy it much. After me and my sister, Fadeelah, did both our first and second 5km fun runs, I told her that running is not for me and I don’t think I will continue. It was just so, SO hard. I really could not believe how people could run 10km, never mind anything more than that! So in a way, I (kind of) gave up.
However, this was the same time that I found Morné on Twitter. We know each other from when we were both studying Electrical Engineering at Peninsula Technikon way back in 1999, although most of our contact was in the computer labs back in the days of mIRC and Webmail (yes it was THAT long ago). Having said that, we both spent an awful lot of time in the computer lab. *cough* mIRC *cough* If Morné wasn’t in the lab, chances are he was either out playing squash, out on the balcony smoking, or somewhere out in Cape Town out meeting girls he’d met online (on mIRC of course). Hehee. Sorry to give your game away buddy, I’ll stop now. LOL
We hadn’t had any contact since then, until somehow he found me and sent me a tweet and we started following each other. The person I found was somewhat different to the one I’d known 10 years ago. At this time, he was busy training for the 2010 Two Oceans 56km and 2010 Comrades Marathon, and he tweeted about it A LOT. I was so inspired by his training tweets that, unbeknowest to him, it woke something in me. I remember one specific day he tweeted that he’d done a 20km training run before work. I just thought OMG if he can do a 20km run before work, and solo, then why am I complaining about training distances that are way shorter?
He made the early mornings, long training sessions and relenting races sound like fun, and I wanted some of that too! So started my journey to becoming a serious runner. Today he is an Ironman (he completed the 2011 *Ironman South Africa race in April), so most of the time I just refer to him as Ironman.
My next few major milestones were also inspired by him. I will go further into detail about this in another post, but just to list them, they are:
My first half marathon – suggested I do 2010 Milkwood half marathon, even though according to me I would not be ready to make it within cutoff. I was wrong, and I did make cutoff.
My first sub 2h30 half marathon – suggested I attempt this at Two Oceans. I had been struggling to break this time & I didn’t think Oceans would be the race I would achieve it. Again, I was wrong.
My first successful, planned 9:1– 2011 Gun Run. Planned a run/walk strategy for me that got me in at a PB of 2:19:36
Next, we are planning by far the hardest project yet. Morné will run the Realtors International 21km race in Big Bay with me on 12 November and we will aim to finish in under 135 minutes. *EEEEKKK*
As anyone reading this will know, I am terrible at doing regular blog updates. I have been meaning to announce my plan to run the sub 2h15 half marathon with the Ironman for the sole reason that I want everyone who knows me to hold me accountable to that commitment. Somehow, I couldn’t find the words to formulate this plan into a blog post.
After I read a blog post by my dear friend Bronwynne, I was so happy that I didn’t announce my plan yet. Bronwynne’s post can be found by clicking HERE. Please do take a moment to read that, and then come back here.
Brony, you are a light in my Twitter timeline every single day. And on the few times that I have met you in person, I have enjoyed your company tremendously. It doesn’t even feel like we see each other so seldom, because through the openness of your tweets you let us all into your life. I am truly blessed to have someone like you in my life, and I want you to know that I appreciate you.
I want to dedicate my sub 2h15… my 135 minutes of running… my biggest running achievement thus far… to YOU.
Morné and I will not be wearing a ribbon, we will not be raising funds for Ulcerative Colitis or Enteropathis Athritis. But we will carry you in our hearts for every step of the gruelling 21.1km, that I promise you!
I know now that the reason I couldn’t bring myself to write a blog post before about my plan was because in a way it felt a little selfish. I don’t know why, but it did. Now, doing it for something bigger, for something more than just myself, I feel a strength and conviction in my success far greater than I did before. It just makes sense to do it for this cause. I have to do it, there is no room for failure, I am doing it for Brony.
Brony, you have lived with this crippling disease for 12 years… It is 12 days until we take to the road on 12 November for our 135 minutes… I DEDICATE EACH DAY FROM NOW UNTIL THEN TO A YEAR OF YOUR PAIN.
You are beyond amazing, to have achieved the success you have in life, your career, your running and your personal life despite this, and to do it in silence, not even telling your friends who love you and who want to support you. Please know that you are not alone, that we are here for you. I cannot even come to give you a hug or to wipe your tears when you are in pain and when you need help because I live almost 2,000km away from you. But this I can do, and this I will do.
During the race when the pain sets in (and it will), when my legs and feet become heavy (and it will), when it feels like my lungs are not big enough to gasp all the oxygen that I need to fuel my body (and it will), when my heart beats so fast that it feels like it wants to jump out of my chest (and it will), when my body says ‘Enough!‘ (and it will)… when any and all of this happens I will think of you, of your strength, of your courage, your unwavering spirit and your positive attitude, and I will depend on that to fuel me. I will also depend on Ironman to kick my freakin’ ass if I slack, and I will trust that he ignores any profanities that may emanate from my lips during this ass-kicking operation.
Physically, I am not where I wanted to be in terms of training right now. I was on track and doing great and working like crazy for the past few months, up to the point that 2 weeks ago I almost felt over-confident that I would be ready. Karma struck and I was brought right down to earth again. I lost a solid week and a half of training due to illness and I also missed a 10km race on Wednesday that was part of my training program. This weekend past was to be my last long run before I shorten it next week for the taper. On the bright side, I felt really good on yesterday’s (Sunday) long run. This coming week will be my final week of build and speedwork before the race. I sincerely hope that I am prepared for the task so that I don’t let those who support me down. Although cutting 5 minutes off your 21.1km personal best does not sound like a lot, any runner will know that it is indeed a mammoth task. Mental toughness will play a much bigger part than normal this time. But Brony is strong and brave…so I must be strong and brave.
Another person that has been amazingly instrumental throughout my training since Two Oceans is Daryl. I’m quite sure that if he was in Cape Town, he would be running alongside myself and Ironman on the race as well. Somewhat of a speed demon on 2 legs, Daryl is also an excellent coach. Although we have never had a single coaching session together in person, technology has come to the rescue and he has been invaluable in terms of guidance and advice on my speed training, and the results are definitely visible in my recent race times. Okay now don’t all run to Daryl for coaching now hey…he has 3 hyperactive kids to look after that takes up his time!!
Lastly, I want to invite anyone else who wants to join us for the half marathon for Brony to do so as well. You are welcome to join in, and you don’t have to do it in 135 minutes if you are not at that level. Faster or slower will be perfectly okay, and there are lots of seats available on our 135 minute bus. Even better… I would really appreciate some roadside support near the end and at the finish too. The cheers of a crowd and screaming supporters have a way of injecting renewed energy and zest into the legs of a weary runner.
Ooh ooh ooh…a little birdie mentioned that he might even do a #tweetmyrun 🙂 *side-eyes my second*
So there you have it…
PS. I just found out that the Realtors International event has a 6km Fun Run as well. Walkers are welcome too. So…who’s coming?
*Ironman – an ultra endurance event consisting of a 3.8km open water sea swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run