So You Ran a Marathon, Now What?

The last four weeks of marathon training were hard…one might say non-existent 😂 My knee was behaving like a juvenile delinquent, the kind that needs to be locked up and never let out. I could barely walk without feeling pain in each step. I went to a few physio sessions, 1 week out mind you and had my physio recommend that I skip the race. To be honest I had every intention of not running, but I had a whole week of my handsome man gassing me up to the point where I started to believe that I could at least hobble to the finish line 😂 then I picked up my race pack and there is something about the adrenaline of the race that erased any doubts I had, and before I knew it, on Sunday I was getting up to run.

I told myself that the only way I’d get through the marathon was by loving it and keeping my pace slow and easy. Running is a mental game more than anything, I had to be present in every stride and not allow negativity to settle. The race kicks off on Granger Bay Boulevard alongside the beach which was absolutely stunning and nostalgic as my man proposed to me on the beach. It was mesmerising having the sea air fill your lungs up on a route that thankfully was flat with minimal elevation. I loved every second of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon. At no point did I hit a slump and I plan to carry this feeling of elation in every marathon I do. Mentally I had the following phrase on repeat: ‘head up, eyes up, one foot in front of the other. Just keep moving.’ I had a stretch where I sped up a little bit to get away from a lady who was complaining about why she was running the marathon. My knee injury meant that I had to re-adjust my goals, at the start of my programme my estimation was a sub 5 hour marathon, I finished with a time of 5:59:15. For my debut marathon I could not be prouder, knowing how much I had to fight to get to the starting line made me appreciate the fact that I could run. The funniest part was that my knee didn’t act up, and even now it’s more muscle soreness that I feel and not the type of pain usually associated with an injury. It was an amazing race!!!!

My fuelling strategy that I had only tested twice on my longest run being a 22.5k, did not fail me and I am proud to say I escaped the wall. I ate at pretty regular intervals, spacing my re-fuels out every hour. Water is great BUT nothing tastes as good as ice cold Coca Cola and Powerade. I am pretty sure I guzzled a litre of that good stuff. This race was just what I needed as September through to the end of the year is usually tough for my family. October is the hardest as it’s a reminder of the glimmer of hope we had when my sister moved back home but also a reminder of the pain that still hasn’t gone away from her sudden death. On the 4th of November we laid her to rest, and a month later (3rd of December), her birthday reminds us that she is no longer here. This race was never about how fast I could go, but about running in honour of the most badass, resilient and beautiful person I had the privilege of calling my sister. I miss you so much baby girl.

Special thank you to all the kind humans who have donated. My fundraising page is still up. Thinking about the people who have supported me is what kept me going. It is how I knew I would be running this marathon as I thought of my sister and the wonderful people at Hillcrest AIDS Centre who provide hope to all those infected with HIV. I’ve heard people say that once you’ve done one marathon, the bug bites you and you start planning your next one and I think it’s true. I’m probably going to (properly) do this again…

3 Things I’m Loving About CrossFit

After having been sick for what feels like a century, I finally got better enough to resume training. The first workout back, a modified yet still very spicy 8 on the CrossFit Richter scale, of an ascending triplet of snatches, box handstand push-ups, and ball slams was an assault to my still recovering lungs. The time after I have been ill always leaves me with a greater sense of gratitude about the fact that I have a body that is not limited in terms of movements that it can perform. My time spent in a seemingly endless cycle of sleep, waking up to take medicine, and sleeping again made me miss physical activity more than I thought I would. On a particularly grumpy day, I recall my boyfriend telling me that he wished I were better so that I could train because he could tell that I was not enjoying the lazy life. Now that I’m back at training, these are the three things that I’m loving.

  1. Seeing muscle mass return to my arms again. I felt like they were starting to look SUPER small. Too small for my liking. I previously had a love/hate relationship with my arms. I banished it with this post on Insta.

No longer do I care about what people think about MY arms. I have had too many comments to count over the past years about people who have told me to stop CrossFit because my arms were too hard (Yeah! Let’s rather have them functionally unfit and bingo wing looking…) my shoulders were too broad, I even had someone say that men don’t like women who don’t have soft bodies, to which I so badly and desperately wanted to reply ‘well you should really speak to my boyfriend then. It’s clear that he hasn’t gotten the memo because he’s crazy about me.’ Alas, I did not, because as I have mentioned many times on this blog, Jesus steers the wheel and helps in making sure that at least 89% of the snarky comments that I want to make, don’t make it out. #Thestruggleisreal when you have a mouth that moves as fast as your brain can whip out sarcasm.

2. My strength.

Due to work commitments, I have had to for the past 2 days (which has felt like 2 weeks,) train at 5 a.m. I don’t live too far from my box, can we say #blessed! HOWEVER, it still means I have to wake up at stupid o’clock* 4:30 a.m. Any later (as I discovered this morning), and I’m late. I realised that as long as your technique remains tight, your strength will never leave you or maybe I’m just naturally strong.

I’m kidding; it’s not all-natural strength. A lot of it has been mental strength pushing me through from the days when I was sick in bed psyching myself up for the day when I would be able to lift again. This morning the wod had a clean & jerk EMOM that had us doing 3 TNG (touch ‘n go i.e. the bar doesn’t rest on the ground a.k.a. fast lifting, a.k.a. CrossFit cardio!) When I loaded, the bar up to 50kg, aside from the fact that I was stuck with the men’s bar, which was an unwelcome challenge, 50kg, also felt good in my hands and I definitely think I could have gone MUCH heavier for this EMOM. Next time maybe…

3. My pals.

It takes a lot for me to warm up to people. I know how to be polite but for extra friendliness, you’re gonna have to worm yourself in. In any sport, it is important that you not only remain consistent and show up every day but also that you train with people who make training fun. When you surround yourself with people like that, the wod movements & weights may remain the same and still give your lungs a good bruising, but you find yourself enjoying it. You might even catch yourself smiling DURING a wod.

Over to you beautiful fit-friend, what do you love most about training, and what do you miss most when you can’t train?

*stupid o’clock, a phrase coined by my boyfriend when you wake up before the birds even start chirping!