Two Oceans Ultra

What can I say about the Two Oceans 56k run which took place 6 days after Ironman SA without cursing or weeping openly? Let me tell you a story about two brothers who used to swim out into the ocean as far as their bodies allowed (which I have lifted from the movie Gattaca)….

Our favourite game was chicken. When our parents weren't watching, we used to swim as far out as we dared. It was about who would get scared and turn back first. Of course it was always me. Anton was by far the stronger swimmer and he had no excuse to fail.

Eventually Vincent, the weaker brother beats the stronger brother, Anton. Anton asks Vincent how he did it:

Anton: Vincent! How are you doing this Vincent? How have you done any of this? We have to go back.
Vincent: It's too late for that. We're closer to the other side.
Anton: What other side? You wanna drown us both?
Vincent: You wanna know how I did it? This is how I did it Anton. I never saved anything for the swim back.

I relayed this story to my brother Alberto just after the 21k mark of the ultra. Last week I had given everything at the Ironman and utilised all my energy reserves to get me to the finish line, I told him. I didn’t leave anything in the tank for Two Oceans. Everything was to be depleted for the Ironman. Everything post-finish line was removed from my mind – that’d just slow me down. Alberto, on the other hand, I reminded him, must’ve left plenty in his tank because he was still as fresh as a daisy.

Over the next couple of hours I suffered like I have rarely ever suffered. I tried to recruit muscle groups (long forgotten) to activate and get me up Chapmans Peak, to no avail. Things were getting ugly. The world started to lean to the left once we peaked Chappies, and I had to lean on a volunteer to stop me from falling over. And this was before he had even reached the marathon mark. Alberto is a valiant dude and began motivating me to get from one street light to the next, focusing on finishing - no matter what: "We started this, we finish it."

We had the huge climb up Constantia Nek before the downhill hobble to the finish. Here’s what happened with 12k’s from the finish line where finishing within the 7 hour cut-off had become a priority:

Rob: We have 12k’s left to do in 2 hours. 6k’s in 60 minutes. That’s 10 minutes per k. Easy peasy.
Alby: Yip.
Rob: (inhaling; exhaling; drooling)
Alby: (slight pause)The last kilometre took us 11 minutes.
Rob: (extra long pause) Oh dear.

Many people of all shapes and sizes overtook us in our quest to finish this race. People that I didn’t realise existed. At least 4 septuagenarians cruised past us. On the finish line my sister-in-law shouted: “Oh look, here are the Walk for Life guys!” An evil thing to say at such a delicate time in my athletic development. Thank goodness I am made of tougher stuff.

Bearing in mind that my Ironman marathon average splits per k were 5m39s p.k. here are the splits for my last 10k’s of the Two Oceans marathon:
9.53; 9.12; 9.16; 9.40; 10.04 (ouch!); 9.08; 8.40; 9.43; 8.07; 9.09.

Our final time was 13 minutes within the 7 hour cut-off: a proud 6.47.

With the Comrades marathon only two weeks away, the only thing my body can contemplate is the Two Oceans Cabernet Sauvignon.

No mas por favor,

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