Last weekend I ran my first Old Mutual Two Oceans 56km Ultra Marathon (OMTOM) in Cape Town and despite suffering a bit in the last few kilometers it was a beautiful and enjoyable run. It has been one of those races I have always wanted to do but as it falls over the Easter weekend my family has generally gone fishing at this time of the year. However, as I am now working for Garmin which is the technical sponsor for the Two Oceans Marathon I was able to participate in the race this year as I was working at the Two Oceans Marathon Expo during the week leading up to the race.
So as you will know from previous posts my running at the start of the year was a bit of a bumpy road due to a knee injury and a sore ankle (posterior tibial tendon). However despite this I managed to qualify for the Two Oceans Marathon by running the Vaal Marathon. Shortly after completing the Vaal Marathon I decided to go for a Leg Assessment with Mike Roscoe from SBR Sport to check on my running shoes as I was still having issues with my ankle and I just felt like maybe my new pair of Asics Nimbus 19s were not giving me the right support. I had previously gone to see Mike a few years ago when I had ITB issues and he changed my shoes after doing a running gait assessment and shortly afterwards I was up and running with no more ITB issues. Mike’s leg assessment is very thorough starting with an assessment of your flexibility, legs and feet and then he films you running on the treadmill in your current shoes. From the video he measures your pronation angles and watches your hip movement and based on this info it was very clear that I need more support in my shoes as I pronate too much especially on my left ankle. I then ran in some different shoe options that Mike recommended and based on the video analysis my pronation and stability was much improved wearing Brooks Ravenna mild anti-pronation shoes. In addition to getting new shoes I was also given more exercises to do at home to strengthen my glutes and improve my hip stability which is putting stress on my ankles and knees. Since changing shoes my running has much improved and I have now managed to put in some consistent training in during March and April (around 400+km). My ankle is still not 100% but this is due to the mileage I have been putting in over the past few week but I am doing my strength exercises, stretches and massage to keep it under control.
So with new shoes and a new positive attitude towards my running I was able to get some solid weeks of training in leading up to OMTOM. Two weeks prior, I decided to run the Modern Athlete Irene Ultra again which I did last year (click here to read my post on this race last year). Although it was only two weeks before OMTOM I decided that it would be an ‘easier’ marathon to run to qualify for Comrades with a D seeding. I managed to run a sub-4hour Marathon so I got my seeding I was hoping for so I was very chuffed. With my Comrades seeding out the way, it meant that I could run OMTOM without any pressure and just use it as a long, slow distance run.
On the Wednesday and Thursday leading up to OMTOM, I was working at the Garmin stand at the OMTOM Expo. It is amazing just how sore your legs can get from standing at an Expo for 10+ hours. Thankfully I managed to get the Friday before the race off so I could just keep my legs up and rest. The morning of the race I took an Uber to the start which was such a good idea as the parking situation for OMTOM is a bit of a nightmare. However I got to the start 2 hours before the start of the Ultra Marathon and it was windy and cold. I did bring a dustbin bag to put around me but I really wished I had bought a cheap long sleeve running top that I could have given to one of the homeless people we saw along the route.
The first 30km of the run are pretty flat and easy going and I was feeling really strong at this point and enjoying running past Simon’s Town and Fish Hoek. Then once I reached Chapman’s Peak I managed to run all the way up to the top of the hill albeit slowly – the views definitely helped. But then you have this long downhill to Houtbay which I really suffered on – my quads and ankle were not happy. You then climb Constatia Nek which is pretty steep and then you have this long winding downhill on a road with a serious camber where I was cursing as it was so painful to run. I managed to finish in exactly 5hours30min which I was happy with as it was a decent long training run in preparation for Comrades 2017 which is my goal race this half of the year. I will definitely be back to run OMTOM again to race it and hopefully look to do a sub-5 hour.
With less than 6 weeks to go now until Comrades 2017 I am a little concerned that I have not done as much mileage as last year this time. However, I am staying focused on keeping healthy, running consistently and doing all my strength exercises and stretches. I am looking forward to taking on the Ultimate Human Race again on the 4th June 2017.