This past weekend I pushed not only my body but my mind and ran a 60 kilometer Ultra Marathon. This was a tough but rewarding experience and I believe it will prepare me for the journey to come.

I generally get VERY anxious before any big run (anything above 32 kilometers), even if it is just training. This is mainly because I know it will be tough and I always fear getting an injury. Looking past these two fears, I prepared and went to conquer this challenge. After hearing that it was gong to be a run on gravel road, I chose my trusted ASICS Fuji Lite’s trail running shoe as the shoe for the day. 

The first few kilometers were on the road and I remember thinking to myself that this is not so bad. This was a continuous thought until the 43rd kilometer. This is where the running got really tough- my hamstring, glutes and quads were starting to get sore, I started falling behind from the group I was running with and the dust from the gravel road was affecting my breathing. At this point my thoughts were spiraling, I was overthinking everything and almost certain that I would not finish the distance. After a little rest at the seconding station and speaking to the most amazing team mates, I continued. From here until the finish, I really had to dig deep, my body had almost given up and it was time for my mind to take over. I strongly believe that this is when I am most strongest, when my fighting spirit kicks in. It was still tough towards the end, but I remember finishing and thinking to myself that “hey, you did it”.

After the run, I was in disbelief at how tough this distance was, but after speaking to a few of my club members who also ran, I realized that we are all in the same boat and we all just here trying to better ourselves through running. I was very sore, more specifically around my glutes and hamstrings and struggled to walk without looking like a penguin, but this was all very normal. I stretched this out a bit hoping that I would feel better the next morning and foam rolled when I got home. I took all my recovery drinks and plenty of water to rehydrate. Stretching and fueling before and after my runs has been such a priority for me. It has made such a huge difference in how I feel during and after running and has definitely improved my recovery.

This was a huge millstone for me because it was the longest distance I had ever run since I started running. Yes I have had a crazy distance experience in Lesotho, but that was predominantly climbing. I generally run marathons and I could say that I am somewhat used to them. So Pushing past that 45 kilometer distance was always a thought, which eventually became reality.

A day after the 60 kilometers, I sit and reflect upon how we should never live our lives in fear. I for one, have the biggest fear of getting injured, but that should never stop me from pushing myself to the limits and working towards my goals. I did a big thing this weekend and I am exceptionally proud of myself for pushing myself that far. It is amazing what your body can do if you just put your mind to it. This is exactly what it means to have a sound mind in a sound body

written by

Mbalenhle Gumbi

Educational Psychologist from Johannesburg

Age group: 29
Club: Adventist Athletics Club

My Disciplines
Fitness Half Marathon Ultra Marathon Marathon Strength Training

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