In 2012 I felt like my race calendar was getting a little stagnant. I still loved what I was doing but some of the races I was doing were starting to feel like just another day at the office. I have raced 11 ironman triathlons and 20 marathons and God knows how many shorter course events – and I love those distances and races. But I was searching for something different, or bigger, or just “more”.
It’s not that my races are getting any easier, or that I’m getting faster. They still hurt like hell and are tough as hell. But combining hurt with boredom can be very draining. I knew I needed something more but I had no idea what “more” meant. Out of the blue, I received a text message from my buddy Ethan Zohn who simply said “has anyone talked to you about the ultra marathon in South Africa yet”?
Ethan and I have become good friends over the years. Kindred spirits so to speak who share a passion for endurance sports and were also both formerly soccer goalkeepers. (There is something about that goalkeeper camaraderie and fraternity that is much bigger than I will post here). Ethan and I are also both blood cancer survivors ( 2 time survivors if you are keeping score at home) and share a warrior attitude that we are very proud of and advocate. A mutual friend introduced Ethan and I just after he was diagnosed thinking the connection would be good for both of us. And this friend was right.
Since then Ethan and I have partnered on a number of initiatives and I have raced the NYC Marathon a few times with his charity Grassroot Soccer. So obviously, his text message caught my eye and piqued my curiosity. Might this text massage be the key to whatever I was looking for? Ethan immediately brought me up to speed on the trip and the race and within a day or two, I was fully onboard.
I wasn’t fully sure what I was getting myself into, but I knew the very mystery of that was also a strong attraction to do this race. I was going to Cape Town to race a 56KM ultra marathon in support of Ethan’s charity Grassroot Soccer. I would need to raise $3,000 to race, but that was not a concern. And thanks to an amazing support system, I met my fundraising goal pretty early.
So here I am 23 days away from the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon in Cape Town South Africa, and yes, this race and trip are starting to get in my head a little. Physically, I feel great. Training has been going well and I expect to do one more long run effort this weekend before cutting back and tapering down. I have also added 6 AM spin classes to my schedule for a number of reasons. I wanted to add the high intensity cross training aspect to my overall plan. I also need to drag my butt onto the saddle as the triathlon season is almost upon us. And equally as important, I wanted to maintain the good mental discipline aspect of being up and in motion early in the AM. Logistically, I think things have all fallen into place in terms of the trip itself. Or at least everything is on track and should fall into place. I’m just a little nervous about the enormity of this race…
But in all reality, I think the fact that I am racing a little “scared” is a very good sign. Being too comfortable and relaxed going into a race makes it too easy to become complacent and potentially cheat your performance. I like the idea that this race has me feeling a little edgy. It shows that I am respecting this distance and the race itself.
I have heard nothing but amazing things about Cape Town and this race. While I am nervous, I am totally embracing this opportunity.
Stay tuned. Lots more to come.