ASICS FrontRunner Quaniet Jakoet tackled his seventh Old Mutual Two Oceans Half. He spoke us through having to reassess his goals on the fly and how that turned a potentially disappointing day into something really satisfying.
SHOE: ASICS DS Trainer 24
OMTOM is the biggest half marathon event on the SA race calendar as it is the only one that brings international athletes down for the race. It brings out huge crowds of support along the route, making the vibe along every km amazing and worth running when people you don't know are shouting your name and cheering you toward the finish line.
I love that the route takes us through the greenery of Cape Town; through Constantia, Newlands and Kirstenbosch area and the route itself is a challenging one for a half which makes training for this race so important when you are wanting to do a quick time. The end of the race also has the biggest support area and with so many running clubs participating the comradery with all the runners is incredible amongst everyone no matter your club, your level of experience in running and whether it's your first OMTOM or 10th.
Everyone is supporting each other and giving pushes of motivation and encouragement. This year that is what my race turned out to be all about:
My goal time was 1hr30m, I badly wanted my third silver medal (for sub 90mins).
Mentally I was ready for the race, but I was doubting my body. Why? I ran a marathon the previous week, the Paris marathon. This was never part of my previous training as a marathon (and travel) would be insane the week before a race. But I did it and now had to run OMTOM.
I was in the A seeding batch as per past two years and the vibe was intense - you are with all the elite athletes gunning for the honours of standing on the podium. We get to warm up in front of the cameras which makes it more intense with everyone around you watching...thinking you are an elite athlete because you are in the A pen.
The gun went and we darted off in the dark (it was 5:50am), running at just over 4min per km for the first 3km. That's when it hit me: I would not be able to hold the required pace for the 1hr30m, which is 4min15secs per km average.
I quickly had to reassess what I wanted based on the feeling of my legs which at that point wasn't 'fast'. Less than 1hr40min was the new goal. I was not happy with myself but I just couldn't justify faster at that moment, feeling the way I did.
There was a flood of thoughts and emotions at this point: Running a marathon a week before and expecting to run fast the week after, not enough speed training for this race. You know how it goes.
I stuck to my nutrition strategy for the race by only taking in my food items at the 10km mark. But, what did happen with the adjustment in goal time was that I got to run with many friends that were also running for the 1hr30min time.
We ended up pushing and pulling each other all the way. That was really cool! I ended up helping runners wanting to go faster or they helped me push on harder, especially at the hill sections of the route after Southern Cross (which is often the 'breaking point' on the half route).
For me Southern Cross actually ended up going by faster than usual as a friend of mine chatted all the way from the bottom of the hill all the way to the top ,where we were both surprised we got to so quickly.
After that, I ended up running my fastest section of the race on the day. It seemed like my legs needed to warm up for 16km before it fired for faster running. This is not normal for me but was happy with the fact that it happened, as a runner will always want to finish strong... Looking strong and finishing strong, which I was able to do; I checked my stats on my RunKeeper app and it was indeed my fastest section for the race.
After the race in the finishing area, many runners thanked me for helping them, pushing them through and providing motivation. This was great. As the previous two years it was all about me, pushing for my time, for that Silver medal. Wanting to run fast to chase the required time.
This year, I was forced to reassess during the race, but that ended up with me helping others.
This year I ran in the ASICS-GEL DS Trainer 24 - one of the lightest running shoes in the ASICS range right now and perfect for me as a neutral runner even with its mild stability block. It's also in an awesome colour and the upper is a knit which makes the shoes feel faster with it being so light in weight.