Before recently I had never had the opportunity to race a 10km at sea level. It always seemed like a long way to travel for only 10km’s. So when Elena Meyer invited me to come and race the 10km peace run I was really excited, not just because I would finally get to see the effect of altitude on my 10km time, but also because Elana Meyer – the heroine of SA womens running – actually wanted me to come and be part of the event.
The Cape Town marathon was on Sunday and Haiko and I flew down early on Friday morning to make it to the press conference. I loved the vibe at the press conference – seeing the elite marathoners talk about their aspirations and feeling the intense excitement for the race to come.
After the press conference I went for my run and it was amazing running along the Cape Town Promenade. Cape Town is so beautiful and it was a fantastic run despite a strong wind. I was hoping that the weather would clear before Sunday but at the same time actually enjoying the challenge of running into a strong wind. It’s quite an awesome feeling to have the wind on your face as you power through an invisible wall.
Fortunately Cape Town showed her best side the next day which continued through to Sunday. It was a magnificent day and perfect running conditions.
At the start line I was happy to see a number of our most talented juniors brought through by the newly formed KPMG club. Maybe it’s the CA in me but I felt so proud to see KPMG entering into the running community and making such an impact. They had 6 women in the top 10 of the ladies race and two of them were juniors who finished before me. I am feeling so optimistic about the future of SA running with this talent coming through.
Once the gun went off I realized that I have a need for some speed because my ultra athlete legs could not keep up with the pack. The ladies were there and then they were gone – like magic – and I was running as fast as I could!
It was interesting to feel the difference at sea level. I felt that I was not gasping for air the way I do at altitude when I run fast, I had more then enough air but my legs just wouldn’t co-operate and go any faster. I slowly started reeling the field in as my endurance allowed me to continue without slowing down and eventually landed up in seventh place in a new PB of 35:27. My PB at altitude was 36:20 so I was happy with the improvement.
When I started with Lindsey Parry a year ago my PB for a 10km was 37:55. I asked him then if he thought if would be possible to take me down to a 35min 10km. He said he would and I’m really happy that we got there so quickly. I also told him that if I can run under 35min for a 10km then I will feel as though I deserve to be called an elite athlete. So who knows – maybe next year I can step up to that title ;).
After the 10km race I had to do an extra 15km of easy running and was fortunate to have Jenna Challenor join me. She ran an amazing 34 min something finishing 4th in the race. It was fantastic to be able to chat to someone who gets the juggle of kids, work and running. We had a few laughs and shared a few tips and came up with a great plan of how we would go on a family holiday training camp. I hope it does materialize because it will be loads of fun.
Then it was time to hurry to the finish line to watch the marathoners finish. It was quite emotional watching the women’s finish. I was so proud of Lebogang Phalula finishing in 2:38 and to see the emotions of her pain together with the excitement and joy from her twin sister was quite something. I had been hoping that Nolene Conrad would have the breakthrough in the marathon that she deserves and run the time she is capable of but unfortunately it was not her day. Watching the celebrations of PB’s, the disappointments of missing a target time, the agonizing pain of cramping or from injuries which flared up during the race, the joy at completing the marathon, reminded me of all that I love about running far.
So overall a wonderful weekend away surrounded by my favourite type of people – runners 🙂 The event was incredibly well organized and I highly recommend it to everyone looking for a fast 10km or a fast marathon.