A few week’s ago, after taking a break from running for nearly two months because of an injury, I decided to sign up for the Old Mutual Soweto Marathon. Even though I knew there wasn’t much time to train, I was confident I could do it. I’m much stronger and much fitter than I was this time last year, when I ran ran the Soweto Marathon back in 2014. I’m also a much more experienced runner now and have a few more half marathons under my belt but I really wanted to run Soweto this year. This marathon will always be special for me, it was the first half marathon I’d ever run.
I entered last year, pretty much after a twitter chat with a bunch of mom’s who’d decided to run. I was completely under trained and unprepared for just how hard running 21km’s could be. I was also a very new runner and completely inexperienced in how to train for such an event. But I finished it and the half marathon bug bit. And so this year, in celebration of where my half marathon running all started and what a long way I’ve come, I had my heart set on doing it again.
I got one long run in before the event, so I was confident I could do the mileage. I trained during the weeks, focusing on fitness and strength because I already knew I had the endurance in the bag.
But you know what they say about the best laid plans right?
I had a really tough week last week. And I was feeling extremely tired on Thursday. Friday rolled around and I just felt off. But I put it down to the extreme stress of the week, even when I had to get T-shirts from our marketing department to use as pillows for my elbows that were so painful I couldn’t work at my desk. My neck was in spasm, my back hurt, my legs pained and I was beyond exhausted but I thought it was just the stress and pressure of the week.
It still didn’t twig that something wasn’t right until Friday night. I dragged my ass through the day, operating in pain but on adrenaline but when I got home, I noticed that even in the extreme heat Jozi has been experiencing, I was freezing cold and put on my winter gown. I had goose bumps on my arms and my face was flushed and boiling hot…..
And it just got worse…
By Saturday morning, my fever was worse, my head was pounding and I had a mild rash on my back. I resigned myself to not running the race on Sunday. I knew it would not only be dangerous but just plain stupid when my body was clearly fighting an infection, to strain it even further by trying to run 21km in that condition. Never mind that, I could also barely walk on Saturday, I was in so much pain and lacking in energy, so there was no way I could do it.
I won’t lie. I am devastated. And while yes I know there will be other races, this one is a special one to me and this one marks the anniversary of something big for me.
I sat on Sunday and watched social media as all my fellow runners updated their profiles with the starting line up selfies, amazing race scenes from around Soweto and finish line selfies with medals and I wanted to cry.
I’m so disappointed and pissed off that I had to miss out on this amazing race!
Ironically, I also couldn’t help thinking about how far I’ve come in a year. A year ago, if you’d told me I’d be THIS upset about missing out on running 21km’s, I would have laughed at you…. about being upset and about running 21km.
Oh well….. I guess it’s time to start focusing on my next half marathon attempt then…. The Dischem 21…