I spend a lot of my life waiting and it doesn’t get any easier. Hang on, with the advent of smart phones, it has -a little. Now I can play games, check social media or check where my waiting ‘subject ‘ is. In this case, I know exactly where that subject is- 12 days away. I am talking about the Comrades marathon- a 89km road run between Durban and Pietermarisburg in KZN. This wait requires a patience different from other waits and all the best training in the world doesn’t really prepare me for the wait.
I have been here before in the pause before race day, eight times to be precise, so one would think that I should be used to it. However this year is a little different because I didn’t run it last year and the previous year I made it only to the 80km mark. So there is an element of curiosity again but not the same feelings of the novices. I know what the race entails and have experienced it in many different ways. I have a ‘Did Not Finish DNF, Did Not Start DNS due to both injury and choice, and 4 successfully Finished. But every year I have to pace myself through the waiting period.
This is called ‘tapering’ which means that the heavy mileage training is done and short easy runs should be undertaken. Note, I mentioned should. I have not run much at all, but I can validate my ‘reasons ‘ why not.
- It has been cold
- It has been dark
- I am too tired
- I am too lazy
- There are germs out there
So instead of destressing myself with a short run, I am thinking about how I am training my mind during the waiting period. I go over my race season and thanks to my sister’s 100 miler race coming up after Comrades, we ended up racing a lot more than previous years. The six months of training have been really interesting, with races that I have never done before. We visited Pietermarisburg for my successful qualifying marathon, Benoni, Pretoria, Bronkhorstspruit, Sasolburg, Secunda, Irene and the mother city- Cape Town. I go over the successful moments as well as the crappy bits and try to understand it all. This has been a good training season overall and I am changing the mind shift into one of ‘ I can’. A freeing mindset -but it does have a touch of fear with it.
I think about all the great support I have from runners, family, friends and I realise how fortunate I am to be able to do this. Gratitude can get me a long way and on Sunday 4 June, I know that the day is filled with it. Many people say ‘but what about the pain?’ Yes, there usually is huge amount of pain, but for me the race is about gratitude for the opportunity to experience the magic of the day. But right now I am grateful for my training season, my friends and my awesome coach/sister who has helped me get out of my negative thought train and be ready for another week of wait.
I can wait.