“Why am I doing this?”
OMTOM: the sound that a 21km half-marathon makes as it chews you up.
Omtom nom om…
And because last year’s just happened to be in a torrential downpour, making my nipples peekaboo through my white vest and filling up my shoes with water, there was the sequential:
Squelch, squelch, squelch…
Add to this the fact that I hadn’t really done any roadwork, and you can imagine the Two Oceans really savoring the mouth feel of a novice runner traversing its gaping maw.
My friend Brad – who should next try his hand at a business called Good Intentions Paving Co. - had entered the race a while back, only to blame his bum back for not being able to follow through, and so he offered me his race number. With very little notice. I accepted on the grounds that I'd been training for a boxing match, and it would be nice to see if this translated to being able to run a marathon. Ahem, half marathon.
Well, if it weren’t for all the people on the sideline shouting for and supporting me, I would’ve almost definitely stopped and walked. But when you see people who have pulled themselves out of bed on a Saturday morning, just to stand in the rain and watch what is quite possibly the worst spectator sport after golf, it makes you tap into your reserves.
So I kept on putting one foot in front of the other, using the runner in front of me to pull myself along. The runner in front of me was almost always a young hard body wearing form fitting running gear. (The nice thing about OMTOM, especially the 21km, is that girls outnumber guys. And call me a creep, but a lot of these girls had obviously put in the work and are the type to post their runs on RunKeeper and hashtag it #bunsofsteel.)
The end was a pretty lackluster affair. No Chariots Of Fire, no socializing on the UCT field, instead I just grabbed my bronze medal and my Coke, trudged through the mud, shook off the sludge and then continued to jog all the way home.
But that's all in the past now. This year will be different. I’ve put in the roadwork, for one, so maybe there’s a silver medal in my future? I’ve made some new friends on my runs, so there’ll most definitely be some high-fiving going on. Adidas kitted me out with their new Boost gear, so I won't be running in a Bintang vest from Bali and all-purpose sneakers.
But mostly I'm doing my second Two Oceans Half Marathon so that I can brag at dinner parties how I’ve completed a marathon.
After all, two halves make a whole.