The Comrades Marathon 2019 Aftermath
It has been almost a month now since the Big C. We have celebrated our PBs, licked our wounds following disappointing results, we have posted endless pictures, we have congratulated each other, we have showcased our medals, and we have proudly worn our hard-earned T-shirts and caps. And now, we have moved on. Some people have already started training with next year’s race in mind. A few crazies are training for upcoming races more than double the Comrades distance (I'm looking at you, Johann). Many are back on the roads putting those legs to work over shorter distances to keep the Winter blues away. Cross country season is in full swing, the trails are calling, the mountains are looking lush with waterfalls and streams filling up again, and the Cape Town Marathon is only a couple of months away giving us all something exciting to look forward to. We have moved on. Comrades is no longer our No. 1 Topic of Conversation, but rather something that may or may not come up every so often. Something we are briefly reminded of when we catch a glimpse of our medal hanging somewhere in the house, or when we see the championship chip that is still wedged between the shoelaces of our running shoes. We have moved on.
I have also moved on. I moved onto injury and a persistent flu that left me so wiped out I couldn’t even do the exercises my physio said I must do to fix said injury. As all runners know, even a day or two of not running leaves us feeling like we haven’t done it for ages and have completely lost our fitness overnight. The daily sensation of putting on our stretchy lycras has faded to a distant memory and we now think twice about having that second helping of cake (although personally, I’m not one for denying myself any number of helpings).
It’s easy to think yourself into a panic about not exercising as much as you did in the past 6 months. But it’s just as easy to send your body into injury by continuing with it. A break can be very beneficial. I went through a very similar cycle after last year’s Comrades, with very little (and slow!) running for about a month and getting the flu one or two weeks after the race. But last year my need for a break from running was more mental – I really felt burnt out from it and simply didn’t really feel like running. This time I would actually like to continue and join my friends at the track and on their weekend long runs, but my body is reining me in and that’s fine. Whatever causes the need for a break, the signs are there so I’m listening. Whether it’s going to take one, two or six weeks for my injury to heal, when it does, my friends will still go to the track and they will still do their weekend long runs. I am looking forward to joining them again soon with renewed energy and having the added bonus of earlier morning light. Until then, you can find me in my warm bed, sleeping in.