At this moment I’m in Atlanta, GA, on my way to the Comrades Marathon. Yes, the 56-Mile Ultramarathon in South Africa known as the Ultimate Human Race. The race with a 12-hour cutoff – gun to gun. This ain’t no wimpy flat marathon, either. This one has a few hills. And I’m on my way to run this race for the second time in two years. Even the famous and awesome Dean Karnazes has not done that. The nerves haven’t hit yet but I suppose that’s because I’m still in denial about what I’m about to attempt. Despite that.. it’s time for the countdown!
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Yes, I know I ran Comrades last year. I’m going for a coveted back-to-back medal. In fact, one bit of advice I was given last year was “Don’t follow the striped numbers!” (You see, the striped numbers are those going for a back-to-back finish. Apparently, they were a special type of crazy – now I’m one of them). But to balance the extra year of running comes an extra year of age, a more complicated life, and less training. Am I as fit as I was last year, did I train enough? Not enough? Did I do right or wrong by running the last race? Should I have run more in a more stable taper, instead of the abrupt one I did?
That’s all the typical thoughts a runner has before a race. In my case, I have one added challenge: I’m going without family support. Last year, my best friend, my sweetheart and her brother, all joined me in South Africa as a support crew. This year, none of them will be there.
The good news is that Facebook has a group – North American’s Run Comrades – which has given me a feeling of not being alone. In fact, several runners are joining up on the flights to South Africa, getting together for beers, or generally doing stuff to support and encourage each other. There might not be many of us, but at least we don’t feel isolated.
And yes, it is possible to feel isolated amongst 20,000 other crazy people.
Which leads to another thought. If 20,000 people are all crazy in the same way, does that make them all normal and the rest standing by, wishing they were running, actually the crazy ones?
Comrades sent out their final newsletter and it has some great information for all those being left behind. First, if you visit the Comrades Website, you can watch any runner live on the web. Additionally, I’m signing up for LIVE facebook updates! So if you want to track me via facebook, just follow my public timeline at http://www.facebook.com/captainchas. Additionally, there will be twitter updates also. In any case, all the information non-runners might need can be found at http://www.comrades.com
Bib Number: 37312
If you want to follow my adventures in the race, you can follow my bib number thanks to Mr. Price Sport and the Comrades marathon.
The time difference between my base in San Francisco, CA and Durban, South Africa is nine hours. So what’s the best way to change my body clock from the West Coast (UTC – 7) to Durban (UTC+2)? Well, everyone has their own techniques to combat jet lag, but my own favorite that works for me is also extremely simple.
The moment I step on the airplane, I set my watch and my mind to local time at my destination. I don’t think, remember, or try to remember, anything about the time where I’m leaving. Instead, I eat, sleep, drink, and behave by local time. If it’s 11pm in my destination, I try to sleep – or relax as best I can. If it’s 6am, I get up, and go about my day. Within a day, I’m used to the local time with little difficulty.
Unfortunately, this time around may be a little more difficult, since I have little time to adapt. I’m hoping it will work, however, despite being older.
Tomorrow will be taken almost entirely on the flights from Atlanta to Durban. It’s a long flight. Honestly, despite being in the industry, I’m not looking forward to being entombed in a metal tube 6 miles above the surface of the earth hurtling through the sky at over 600mph for many, many hours. But, hopefully I’ll sleep through most of it… Either that, or I’ve got a few good android games to keep my company.
Here’s today’s Comrades Video! An inspirational video from an amazing runner who runs 3,000+ miles a year.