Tomrades - Running Comrades 2019 - The Ultimate Human Race
I feel that I could reasonably post the above video and leave it at that.
I have a penchant to make untrue claims about the length of time I have had a goal. When I got into the Boston Marathon I made a point of how it had been a lifelong dream. On reflection, that was not the case.
Having started running 'properly' in late 2015 it would be more reasonable to suggest that any running goals/ambitions came after that point. For the most part they came about when I got to the point where the ideas were highly improbably as opposed to impossible.
I then tended to take my ideas, make them harder, and go at them. When I raced 16 miles I knew I could finish a marathon. Why not go for a sub-3 I thought.
At some point during those early running days I thought 'Boston'. I don't recall if I sincerely believed I could 1) qualify 2) sub-3 it but things happened and hard work pays off and all that.
At some point after running my first marathon the idea of an ultra marathon crossed my mind. Google searches for 'best ultra marathon' were followed by 'hardest ultra marathon' and Comrades kept on coming up.
After more research it is certainly not the hardest ultramarathon. It is only a double marathon and a bit up (this year) lots of ridiculous hills. Compared to the Badwater 135, The Barkley Marathon, and the countless 100 mile + ultramarathons this is childs play.
BUT Even a small amount of research makes it fairly apparent that it is the 'best' ultra - 'The Ultimate Human Race' as its motto states. The promo video certainly makes clear as to why.
I posted on the Runners World Forums asking for some logistical insight and got a brief taste of the friendly atmosphere that surrounds the race from the British contingent.
So yeh, I kinda always wanted to run one ultramarathon and this year I committed. I stayed up until midnight when the entries were released and signed up immediately. I was the 200th (ish) entry of 25,000. It sold out in a week. I did not need to sign up that early but I did need to financially and mentally commit.
Make It Harder
Ego aside 'making it harder' is never about looking better. The idea is always to make it actually harder. Sufficiently hard that success is absolutely not a given.
I know runners of all ages and abilities and its never a competition amongst people but rather a race against yourself. I reckon I could finish Comrades today, enjoy the atmosphere, and have a generally great time. I don't think I could run it in less than 7 hours 30 minutes - the time required for a 'Silver' medal.
Yup. Comrades does what the competitive side of me thinks all races should do - it rewards you based on your time. It incentivises personal challenges.
If you want to run fast, run alone; if you want to run far, run together.
I am running this one competitively. I am not going to hide my intentions. My hope is that the great community around the race and the famous crowd support will mean that I am not running alone.
There is no way I could hit that goal now and experience tells me that the training will be harder than my previous marathon training plans. They were without a doubt the hardest things I have ever done mentally and physically so I am pushing it.
I am also still injured. Shin issues (on my right leg) which are very slowly, seemingly improving. This one is less about just doing some hard ass training but rather doing some hard ass sensible training. Resolving my leg issues are my current major challenge and are my most likely cause of failure.
I am investing finanically in this (physios are expensive), as well as adding another dimension to my training. Running a 2 hour long run and then doing an hour of glute strengthening exercises whilst still maintaining any kind of life is fairly tough which leads on to..
Credit where credit is due - I am a massive fan of Instagrammers like ProjectMarathonGirl who publicly post their goals, document their training (and nutrition), and let you live their challenges.
I am certainly not one to do Instagram stories commentating whilst running but I do like the idea of documenting how I train. Nutrition, Strength conditioning, training, injuries etc. If not interesting to others it will certainly be interesting to me as something to look back on post race.
As regards nutrition. I have previously written posts that makes reference to my Binge Eating Disorder. I have always tended not to write about it because:
- If I am having issues it tends to make me feel awful. I don't want to write about it.
- Male eating disorders are not a thing. No-one I have ever discussed BED with has ever not just laughed. Just because I am not fat it doesn't mean I don't occasionally eat 3 boxes of cereal at once and feel sorry for myself.
BUT My running and my shitty eating habits are intimately related in that running caused my BED. The benefits running has provided certainly outweigh the negatives but I'd still be super appreciative if I could sort my shit in that regard. So yeh.. I'll be posting about nutrition.
ALSO Everyone needs something to be trolled over.
Given that with a single letter replacement I can make a cool name for this challenge.. I had to do it. Tomrades - Tom documenting his Comrades journey. I am planning on documenting as much as I can on Instagram (I think images are the best platform for this) as well as through my blog (this) for longer form, more in depth content.
I have created a whole section for my 'Tomrades' journey which is linked in the header. If you want a quick link, just visit Tomrades.com. Being a software engineer by trade has its benefits - I have made my Instagram and my blog sync up. If you want a 'read only' version of everything I post you can see it on Tomrades.com. If you want to interact with me in any capacity, you'll have to comment on the posts directly on Instagram or email me at thomas [AT] tomrades [DOT] com
If you are interested, please do follow me on my journey. I am not sure why but publicly documenting things and tools like Strava really add another dimension to challenges like this one. Having other people invested in your success (or failure) is awesome.