Tuesday, April 6, 2010
The 2 Oceans - What a day
Wow! That`s all I can say. What an absolutely amazing day 3 April 2010 turned out to be.
It started early, pretty much at 21:30 on the 2nd of April. I went to bed at that time and then lay awake for most of the night. I just could not sleep. The excitement was way too much for me to be able to close an eye. All I could think of was the race. I had done 3 half marathons before this one. All of them went reasonably well, with the exception of the last one where my knee had me hobbling for the last 10 km`s. It was a toughie and I think was the main reason why I had almost 2 years before attempting another one. But this was the big one, the biggest race I had ever entered. More than 11, 000 runners.
So I lay awake, going through every part of the race in my head. The start, the tough climb along Southern Cross Drive, going past Kirstenbosch and finally entering the stadium. I had absolutely no idea how it would go. I knew I had trained well and that I was in good condition but race day is race day and you never know.
With all that running through my head, I got up before my alarm went off at 03:15. I took a quick shower and got dressed in my brand new Adidas running shorts, shirt and cap. Then I taped my toes and feet (and nipples but that`s another subject for another time), put on my shoes and was ready to go.
So at 03:50 the 3 runners Clive, (my Father-in-Law), Mark (my Brother-in-Law) and myself plus our 1 supporter Kyle (my nephew) hit the road and headed off to UCT. By the time we got there it was a hive of activity already. So many people up and about at 04:30! We walked past the finish on the way to the start and I remember not looking at it. I forced myself to look the other way. I`m not sure why I did it, I suppose I wanted to see the finish for the first time when I came around that corner on the field. It was like the promised land, that`s how special that little piece of earth was to me.
We headed to the start, which is roughly 2km from the finish. There were thousands of people already. They were singing and dancing, laughing and talking. It was an incredible atmosphere. Black, white, coloured, indian, none of that mattered. We were all South Africans. I was so nervous. I went for a bathroom break but had such bad stage fright that I gave up (after what felt like 10 minutes mind you!). My Father-in-Law was with me at the start. He`s always so good at calming things down and he certainly did this for me. The time went by so slowly, it was crazy. Then with a few minutes to go, we sang the anthem. A true goose bump moment. With about a minute to go, they played 'I gotta feeling' by The Blackeyed Peas. Everybody just went bananas! It was so cool. Not my favourite song but there, in that moment, it was awesome!
Then the gun went and the race started. Well, race is a bit of an exaggeration cos it probably took 2 minutes to get to the start. It was so slow. All I wanted to do was run but it was a very congested walk in the beginning. Slowly but surely the runners started spreading out and finally I could get into the race.
The race itself went really well. I ran all the way, not stopping once. Even ran all the way up Southern Cross Drive, which is one helluva climb. I felt strong all the way and just kept going. What a great feeling to know that all the hard work paid off big time. I was so chuffed. The crowds were amazing and cheered us all the way.
The most memorable moment came towards the end just before Kirstenbosch. I came around a bend and looked to my left and there, in the early morning sun was Table Mountain, looking absolutely magnificent. I had a moment there. I felt so blessed. Life was good.
The finish was awesome. Coming into the stadium and seeing all the people was such a rush. Everybody cheering and clapping and creating such a buzz. I came around the last bend and saw the finish. This time I took it in and ran the last 100 or so meters just staring at it. When I took up running 2 years ago, on the 1st of April, it was because of the 2 Oceans. I had been to the Expo with my Father-in-Law and Brother-in-Law and so wanted to be part of it. That next week I started running. Now, I had finished and was holding my very own 2 Oceans Half Marathon Medal. The clock read 2:15:30. I had done it.
That was not the end of it though! After the race I got to meet Old Friends. I had met Michelle and Charlene on Twitter and they had become really good friends. Hayley and I had grown very fond of them and we had shared many, many laughs during the last few months. They had become a really big part of our lives. Well, they also did the half marathon and we met up afterwards at Forries for well deserved beers! It was awesome. They were just as I had expected them to be and truth be told, even better! We also met up with Ann, another good Twitter friend and her sister Chantelle. It was so cool meeting these friends in real life.
So, as you can see, it was an amazing day all round. A day I want to re-live over and over again just this time I would love Hayley to be there too. That would have been the perfect day.