I am filled with excitement, nervousness, optimism, and fear. My training has not gone according to plan. Between April 5 and May 14, I did not run a single step. When the countdown to race day reached ~17 days, I felt that it was my last chance to test my ankle and my last chance to impact my running fitness before the big day. If nothing else, I needed to regain some confidence. So, I embarked upon a 5-day Comrades training plan (don't try this at home). It involved running in the hottest part of the day (fortunately, we received some upper 90's and 100 degree temps) and mileage as follows:
Wednesday - 05/14/2014 - 4.1 miles
Thursday - 05/14/2014 - 5.1 miles
Friday - 05/14/2014 - 8.5 miles
Saturday - 05/14/2014 - 10.1 miles
Sunday - 05/14/2014 - 11.1 miles
Roughly 40 miles in 5 days. Had I not been injured, I likely would have ran 50 miles this week, including a 20 mile run. After pushing through quite a bit of discomfort during the first two runs (mostly what felt like cardio fitness issues), I felt stronger each day. On Saturday, I enjoyed the company and conversation of my friend Jeff. On Sunday, I ran alone on the trail at dusk. I've missed this and felt I could have gone on for hours.
My ankle is not 100%. I feel I've done what I can do. Over the past 6-7 weeks, I've applied the patience, focus, and determination that I've gained training for ultramarathons towards rehabilitating my ankle. I am as ready as I can be, certainly as ready as I will be. On Sunday, June 1 at 5:30 AM, I will set out on foot from Pietermaritzburg towards Durban. I will put one foot in front of the other, continuing in that direction, until I reach the finish line or am removed from the course.
From Sunday's run: