Looking back at 2017, I am quite surprised still having managed 2,076 km of running on tar and trails. From April – September I took it easy, ran very little and just for fun. And it was worth it. I am pleased with my mental state after the break and my body definitely benefits from a couple of months without hard and long runs.
It’s all relative
But it’s all relative. When I speak with other people, especially outside the “running-family” and mention my rest-year, they ask me, what I did.
When I tell them, that I ran
- 2 full distance marathons
- 1 ultra marathon (Two Oceans Ultra)
- 1 half marathon
they look at me with huge eyes and ask me, if I really consider this a rest year.
Only by getting such a feedback I got aware of the fact, that “normal” is not universal. What I consider “resting” would be the achievement of a lifetime for others. And what used to be my most intense year (2015 with 2,807 km) is less than half of what many other ultra runners cover over the course of one year.
My races in 2017
Two Rivers Marathon
After barely recovering from my UTCT injury (Dec. 2016) I was honoured being invited to fire the gun at the Two Rivers Marathon in Holland. It was a really cool race – figuratively and literally with only 3°C air temperature and snow – but heart-warming support, organisers, water table crews and fellow runners.
Two Oceans Ultra Marathon #9
My main goal of 2017 was to finish my 9th Two Oceans Ultra Marathon. I was happy being able to recover early enough to prepare for the race. I knew right from the beginning of the year that I would not be able to go for a great time or even a PB. And this actually is nice, since it takes out all the pressure from pushing through hard sessions. I love this race and I’m looking forward to 2018, where I hope to receive my blue number. (At Two Oceans you receive your permanent number after 10 successful races and become part of the so called “blue number” club).
Time off from April – September 2017
For the following 6 months I spent more time at the gym and less on the roads. I slept longer on Saturdays (usually I get up around 5am for long runs) and during my many business trips. When I felt tired from traveling or work, I just skipped a run which I might had considered doing. That was good. Really good.
Singapore Newton Challenge Half Marathon
In October my business took me to Hong Kong and Singapore – both amazing experiences. Fortunately – at least that’s how we runners might see it – there was a half marathon in Singapore scheduled during my stay. Even more fortunate was the fact, that my wife accompanied me during the trip and it was an easy decision to sign up for the half marathon. Luckily we did it from the comfort of our home in Cape Town – if we would have considered the humidity in Singapore even at 4 am we might have thought harder 🙂
I did not really prepare much for the race, but it was kind of the unofficial re-start of my training for 2018.
Getting into running again
I needed a qualifier for the Two Oceans and was able to get into my routine 30+ km long runs on Saturdays early enough to be able to run the Prison to Prison marathon at the beginning of December. It feels good having the qualification in the bag long before the qualification period closes.
Upping my game
For many months I considered upping my game by hiring a coach to improve my running. But not a running coach…
I was tempted to get support by someone helping me improve my strength. I recalled an interview from many years back where Landie and Christian Greyling, two of the best local trail runners, mentioned a strength coach in Stellenbosch, some 60km away from where I live. I got in touch with Ronel, a competitive trail runner and coach, and since mid of December I am working with her.
And boy do I have to work… I never was as exhausted after a gym session like now. I know that improving my strength it not only going to make me faster in running, but it will also reduce the risk of getting injured. And I might even be able to get ripped abs… Let’s see. As of now, after 3 weeks with 2 session per week, I absolutely love it. Funny enough, even after the hardest 70 min gym session, I can go out immediately and do a decent 12 – 15 km run. I’ll keep you posted 🙂
That’s been my 2017
That’s been my 2017 and I am very much looking forward to 2018. I rediscovered my motivation and passion for running again and I am curious to see how the strength training is going to improve my running.
I hope you had a wonderful 2017 and wish you a blessed, injury-free, motivation-filled 2018.
When you see me on the road, trail or in the gym, please stop by and say hello!
Never underestimate what you can achieve if you put your mind to it, focus, work towards your goal and get some support. Love your life and live it – we might have only this one 🙂