Cape Town: 2 Oceans 21km Day
At 4 am I woke with probably a cumulative 4 hours of sleep due to staying in an 8 person dorm and being nervous about my first 21kay. I ate breakfast and hitched a ride with Kelly and her family to the University of Cape Town where the race was to start. It was packed. There were a ton of people wearing stupid plastic garbage bags. We commented on how dumb they looked. That sentiment only became more negative when the race started and they stripped them off and threw them on the ground. There were countless bags and probably even more trips and falls. I really disliked those bags.
We walked probably the first 2km. There were 16000 (?) people running/walking down single lane residential roads so it was pretty difficult to advance. There were a few near collisions. The first half flew by. We had a nice long hill in the beginning which was meant to break up the pack. Maybe it worked but it seemed to just cause congestion. Once on my way down the other side it was significantly less crowded.
I have never run a race like this before and found the water/powerade delivery interesting. Both came in plastic bags. Pretty efficient but the water tasted like plastic. Still, I took at least one water and one powerade at each stop. Every once in a while you could hear a “POP!” as someone stepped on a dropped bag. Not so fun when it shoots a stream at you but soon it didn’t matter anyway.
That is because it rained. Some people did not appreciate that but I LOVED IT! I thought it felt really nice. Sometimes it was a light rain but at times it was fairly heavy. The puddles were my favorite. At one point some of us ran through a body of water that was above ankle depth.
I found the crowd to be very motivating. There were a lot of spectators and a few choirs, bands, and sound systems set up along the way. I heard my name called quite a few times and remembered that my name was written in large letters on my number. Kinda cool that so many people came out to support the 21km. I wonder what the 56km route was like. The only thing I wish I hadn’t noticed was the smell of grilled meats. I could have done without that.
The last hill seemed to take up the last quarter of the race. It was undulating, zig-zaggy, and so tiring. I was running too slow that people could have walked passed me (I bet some did) though I kept passing a few people who were doing a run/walk. I was surprised at how easily I was breathing but not at all surprised at how very weak my knees were. I really should have strengthened them more. At one point I had to stop to tie my shoe. My knees were so weak I almost fell over. Motivation to get going!
The finish was out in the university’s athletic field. It was all muddy by 2:27 with thousands having ripped through it before me but I made it over. It was a cool feeling and one I hope to have many more times.
Once I had finished I realized it was extremely cold. I noticed that everyone who had one of those dumb garbage bags on seemed happy. Unfortunately I did not have my pullover or my phone. I did find my way to some rooibos tea and though I was shaking so hard that I slopped it all over myself, a few cups in warmed me up. Eventually I found Kelly and her parents. By that time I think everyone was ready to get out of the rain and get warmed up.