13 always was my lucky number – Outsurance 94.5Kfm Gun Run half marathon
By Fadeelah Kenny
The week before the Gun Run I had hit 5 days of running a week, equating to roughly 45kms. Which is rather a lot for my standards. That with our 1st speed training session and LSD left me feeling a bit fatigued and apprehensive about how well I’d do on the Gun Run the next Sunday.
After our killer hills session to Bishop’s court with Coach Galiel’s group I asked Coach how to prevent fatigue as I didn’t want to get injured just as I was getting into the swing of things after the Ramadan break. In his infinite wisdom Coach suggested I drop down to a slower group before a race to get mileage in the legs and not worry about speed because that’s what speed training was for. And that’s exactly what I did. I ran with Ebrahim’s group on Tuesday and Thursday (wasn’t running in the rain just awesome!) and ran like hell during speed training on Wednesday, mainly due to Coach’s cajoling to go faster faster faaaaster!
Quaseem promised to run this race with me (he usually leaves me in his dust so this was an opportunity not to be sneezed at) and as the day dawned cloudy and grey (iow perfect running weather!) I was super excited. My last half marathon had been Knysna which was a whole 3 moths ago and I had run a PB (personal best) of 02:41:34 with Coaches “bus”.
Boeta Ehsan offered to run with us and we set off from the start: Rogeema (my big sister), Abdurahmaan (my “little” brother), Quaseem, Aneekah, Fatima and a few others. I had forgotten my running watch at home that morning so was rather dependant on my running partner to pace us and make sure we stayed on track. At this stage I was going for a modest PB of 02:40:00. As we were getting warmed up just heading away from Mouille Point towards the Waterfront Quaseem said: “Fadeelah, I think you have the ability to do a sub 2:30.” That’s when I thought: Maybe, just maybe. And the seed was planted.
Somewhere around the 7km mark we lost Rogeema. Not intentionally, I looked around and she was missing! I swear! Boeta Ehsan was like “Don’t worry, don’t worry, it’s ok. Just keep your pace.” And so we did. At the Cape Town Stadium there was a loop & we had the opportunity to greet the faster Itheko runners whooshing past and spur on the ones coming on behind us. The Itheko comaraderie on races is just something else! Everywhere you looked there was a red white and black runner in sight. Awesomeness! The entire way Boeta Ehsan was encouraging us on until at the halfway mark just before the huuuuge climb we had and hour and a bit on the clock and Boeta Ehsan told Quaseem and I to go for a sub 2:30. Shukran Boeta Ehsan, we’ll remember to cut the corners, cut the corners. The very steep hill nearly killed my pace and I got a bit of a stitch but like a miracle the heavens opened up at that point and it started drizzling! What a relief and just what I needed: natural cooling!
There was an official sub 2:30 bus led by Nedbank runners and we played tag with them going up the hill but just as they were getting away from us they’d start walking and we’d pass them again. By the time we got to the end of the killer up and downhill the smell of my goal was in reach. I turned around and was pleasantly surprised to see Aneekah. So there was the 3 of us with 3-4 kms to go, and doing very good time! By this time I was quite tired and sore, but the thought of beating the bus, the awesome weather and the company of my (faster) team mates spurred me on to push through. And that’s what we did, finishing in a time of 02:28:32, that’s 13 minutes shaved off my PB. To say I was rather chuffed with myself would be an understatement. Note to self: See, that’s what happens when you listen to Coach!
Shukran to Quaseem for sticking with me throughout the race, without you I… wouldn’t have known what the time was! And Aneekah, it was awesome actually running with you and being able to keep up for a change!
To everyone else who did PBs on the day, well done and let’s beat those next year!