Its almost three weeks since the Two Oceans Ultra marathon. A race I pictured so differently in my head. Its taken me this long to stomach what happened, to feel better physically after pushing a sick body to its utmost limit and to put on my big girl panties and move on.
This has honestly been one of the hardest knocks of my career and I’ve certainly had my fair share of knocks. The disappointment was rife along with being so sick and unable to finish such a big race. I was absolutely gutted. I felt like I had not only let myself down, but I let you all down too.
To be honest, my build up to Oceans was amazing, I was in such great shape, I was injury free, fit, healthy and rearing to run the race I absolutely loved in 2017. I had been meticulous about everything, I had left no stone unturned, to the extent that I wouldn’t even let my children have play dates at our house for the last two weeks leading up to Oceans so that I didn’t come into contact with any bugs. Kids tend to harbour a lot of bugs and with three kids of my own I have to navigate carefully around that … and then I get sick in Cape Town on race day. (sigh)
I had had a sore throat on and off for three days leading into the race and some night sweats but I didn’t feel sick so decided to just ignore it. On race morning I woke up absolutely freezing. I remember asking Brett if it was cold (which it wasn’t at all) and having to have a very hot shower to warm up, I also didn’t feel 100 percent, felt pretty flat and my stomach wasn’t right but what do you do? ITS RACE DAY. You cant exactly say I didn’t feel right and not run, so I carried on as normal and got ready for my race.
I thought I felt ok, or I talked myself into believing I was fine and hoped that once I was running I’d forget about it and my race would go to plan. I even spoke to my nutritionist about my stomach minutes before the race. Honestly, in all fairness what could he say 3 minutes before I was about to step onto the start line. How wrong I was, I under estimated how sick I actually was. I felt off from the start, I was running the pace I had planned but I was having to work hard when I should be floating along easily at that pace. When we hit the very tiny little hill at 21 km and it felt like a mountain I knew something wasn’t right, then when I got to 27 km I felt like I was being poisoned, I was dizzy and battling to control my breathing. Apparently I blew a kiss to a guy friend of Bretts but I don’t remember even seeing him or anyone on route. It’s all a blur to me. I passed Brett at 28 km and by his facial expression after seeing how I was running and what I looked like he knew I was in trouble.
I started climbing Little Chappies and felt like the life was being sucked out of me, now really struggling to hold my pace I got to Big Chappies where a friend I didn’t even recognise ran up next to me and asked if I was ok. I couldn’t even respond. He later told me that my breathing was so loud and so horrendous he actually looked into the bush to see if there was some kind of extinct animal around hahaha thanks Matt, that will make me laugh forever. (Here he is below-Mr Matty Joker)
I somehow made it to the top of Champmans peak but by that stage was swerving all over the road. I remember feeling so dizzy and I couldn’t hear and was battling to see in-front of me. When I reached my coach at 33.8 km I tried to grab a bottle from him and at that I collapsed to the floor, I was done, run off my feet and literally couldn’t go any further. I spent a few hours in the ambulance up there absolutely freezing and feeling horrific. I was seriously hypoglycaemic.
I had literally run myself to a stand still, my body shut down. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced and as I hit the floor all I could picture were my daughters . Not knowing what is happening or if I would be ok was absolutely terrifying.
It took over 3 hours to get down from Chapmans Peak and back to the finish of the race. I was determined to go to the finish to support my KPMG team mates and the other amazing runners conquering this incredible race. It was hard but I loved seeing everyone finishing and I’m so proud of every single runner, massive respect.
Feeling very upset, very sick and EXTREMELY down I headed home to bed.
The thing about training the longer distance races is that its ONE race, you put so much time, effort and sacrifice into one race and if something goes wrong on race day that’s your race. With 10km’s and 21km’s there are races every weekend so if one goes horribly wrong you can do another the next weekend. With Two Oceans you have to wait another whole year.
Once I got home I had a dozen doctor appointments, numerous blood tests and spent a lot of time in bed. I did try train to be knocked back into bed. I was off for 13 days before I finally started to turn the corner and feel better. I must admit I took my health for granted until I actually felt that sick.
Im up again, I’ll live to fight another day or rather..run another race. I will keep showing up as Boston Marathon champion, Des Linden always says.
What doesn’t kill ya makes ya stronger.
This is the UGLIEST photo I’ve ever seen of myself and I cant believe I’m putting it out there but it tells the story, you can see how bad I was. My face is as white as a ghost, my lips are purple, cheeks drawn in, I look like death.
I now believe more than ever that when one dream fails you have to pick yourself up and DREAM EVEN BIGGER.
THANK YOU to my incredible team and to everyone who is part of this journey, who believes in me and helps make everything possible. Your love, support and encouragement is what gets me back up again.
To my husband who got another 500 grey hairs on that day, I’m sorry for that but hey the look suits you dude 😉
Thank you for looking after me and never letting me give up. I love running too much to give up now so lets go, LETS DO THIS…again.