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COMRADES 2019: CALM BEFORE D-DAY

June 9, 2019

Nothing else can be done to prepare myself now. At the time of writing this there are just over 18 hours until the songs are sung and played (National Anthem, Shosholoza, Chariots of Fire), the cock crows twice or thrice (can’t remember how many exactly) and the cannon is fired to signify the start of another epic journey between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. Unlike last year where I was in a tizzy over whether the timing chip was going to work and if I could find the 8 pins needed to ensure both front and back number were secure, this time I have everything I can think of needing in my room ready to lay out in a few hours time.

What does a Comrades kit entail? Well upon checking in each runner receives a number of products that they shouldn’t use on race day (but probably will) apart from the cap.

The remainder of the gear is similar to what I was wearing last year, and this list may at least help understand how much I’ll be carrying on the race route.

(1) Race Singlet: Same Asics top as I wore the last 2 attempts, with the Australian sewn on flags added last year remaining on board. Probably will look to get a new top for next year should the budget allow.
(2) Shorts: Shorter than the ones I wore last year, don’t think it will matter that much in terms of performance but wearing these will obviously be a requirement
(3) Upper Leg Tights: Again the same “skin” coloured pair as last year, will look to replace prior to the 2020 race.
(4) Socks: Not the original choice I had in mind (I considered wearing the blue socks) but still short cut white pair
(5) Runners with timing chip attached: For confidence and continuity the pair I have for the race is the same brand and model as those I’ve been using all year in earlier races and training. The chip is vital as it needs to be attached to the shoe to record the time over the timing mats placed at cut offs and even at random locations to prevent cheating.
(6) K-Tape: Didn’t bring the rigid strapping tape with me, so store purchased K-Tape will be sufficient for strapping the right calf as well as below the left kneecap.
(7) Yellow Zinc Cream: The identifying strip if ever I needed one, plus it does keep the kids amused and brings attention.
(8) Sunglasses: Again a R180 purchase from the expo, won’t need these in the early portion of the race but as the sun rises they’ll eventually find their way to where they’re supposed to be worn
(9) The race cap: See the video depicting the goodie bag for details
(10) 2 Bottles of Orange Lucozade: Part of the nutrition plan, this will be hopefully tide me through until after the 30km race when I feel as though the Coke provided at the tables will tide me over. That’s not to say I won’t look for water on a few tables here or there, this is also part of a plan to avoid crowding at the early tables. I often train myself to run about 10km before requiring a drink anyway so missing out on early hydration tables isn’t a great concern. That said I was pleasantly surprised to see this was available in South Africa last year, prefer that energy drink to others.
(11) Sunscreen: Need to protect the neck, ears, shoulders, arms and legs from the sun, especially with an anticipated finish time of about 11:20.
(12) Vasoline: Under the armpits, the line of the race top, inside the legs particularly the left, over the “you know what” and following the success of this method in Canberra, between the toes which in past year I’ve bandaged. Good news is that Vasoline is available on course should I need it as well.
(13) Band Aids: Using band aids designed for elbows and knees to cover up the nipples preventing chafe and/or bleeding.
(14) The tog bag: To be dropped off prior to race start, items in this will include warm clothing as the finish line in PMB can get rather chilly, particularly at sundown. I’ll also need to have the vouchers for the post race feed and drinks internationals get. Plus a change of socks and even underwear should I need it.
(15) International hospitality tent wrist band: With my bag hopefully in storage in the international section, this wrist band is my ticket into the area. Without it I’ll never get my bag back.

All that is now left to do is to lay out my gear which I’m planning to do this afternoon, have a final room service dinner (and ask if they have something COLD to drink), make sure I have the alarms set and active (first alarm is at 1AM), and drift off to sleep. I know some will be lucky to get a couple of hours or so but if I can get my usual 3-4 hours on race eve and make sure I get up in time for the race, everything will be fine. The motel is a couple of kilometres from the start line at the town hall, but with a couple of other runners in nearby motels also walking plus a team of runners in the same motel perhaps coming to my aid should I require/ask for it getting to the start shouldn’t be an issue. The plan for race morning should be:

2:00AM: Wake Up having turned off alarms for the last hour or so, take time to regain awareness of surrounds
2:30AM: Shower (hopefully I won’t have to play HeMan to make sure the door closes properly)
3:00AM: Breakfast downstairs, should be better for the motel staff this year after last year having to be ready at 1AM. Won’t have a lot, perhaps a bowl of cereal, some yoghurt if that’s available, perhaps some toast and a juice or two.
3:30AM: Final check to make sure I have everything required
3:45AM: Depart on foot to the town hall
4:15AM: Drop off tog bag, attach international hospitality wrist band.
4:20AM: Final toilet stop, yes there will be a queue to do business
4:35AM: Enter Start Pen G, hopefully find some Australians to relax with.

 

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