Many people have asked, how my day was at UTD and how did I manage to second and pace Christiaan during the race with a 2.5 month old and a toddler. Well the simple answer is that it took a lot of grace, a wonderful support structure, a speedy rental, plenty of adrenaline and perfect timing (or sometimes not so perfect ;-)).
So the day started like this: Anzel slept from 8:30pm-5:00 am the Friday night, the peaceful and relaxed baby that she is, which means that I didn’t even wake up when Christiaan got ready for the race at 3am.
I breasfed Anzel, dressed myself and her and packed everything that needed to go for the day (Christiaan’s seconding supplies and bag for after the race, spare clothes for Christopher & Anzel, my running vest with hydration and spare nutrition etc, a lunchbox and snacks for the entire day…). Then it was time for coffee with Em (our trusted Alpasfit employee, friend and dear little helper) and Ouma Raan (who so kindly volunteered to help us with the kids for the weekend) on the porch of our Airbnb with the most beautiful view of the race course and Underberg mountains, while Christopher enjoyed his pappies and played with his tractors.
Now it was time to get him dressed and before we know it we were rushing to leave at 8am. Getting both kids into their carseats etc is always a bit of a mission (as only parents would know) and everything simply takes longer than you think, so we hurried out of the driveway at 8:05.
The roads in KZN is not in great condition, so trying to drop some minutes on the GPS’s ETA is certainly not an easy task! But I did have to put my Formula 1 cap on and drive like a pro to get to the Sani Pass hotel, the first checkpoint at 36km of the race, in time! I left my poor mum-in-law with two kids to park the car, while I jumped out and rushed to the aid station (which was still a further 1.5km from the hotel). I had no idea where it was and had to be directed by a couple of volunteers. I managed to get there a mere 5 mins before Christiaan arrived!! A very quick hand over of drinks and nutrition, a high five and off he went! I ran back to the hotel to help Mom with the kids. As I got near, I heard the announcer saying that Grobler Basson was expected to be in soon.
The hotel was also the finish line for all the races, and Grobler, a very good friend of ours was doing the 100mile race, he was in 2nd place after Ryan Sandes!! Of course I wanted to welcome him in, but in the end we had to rush off to try and be in time for the next seconding point at 50km. The last 13km of the road leading to Cobham (the 50km), was in very bad condition and I realised that I had to make a call to either miss Christiaan at this checkpoint, or miss him at the next seconding point, which was also the start of the pacing leg.
Obviously I knew I had to make the call that pacing him for 15km was more important than seconding him, so I sped the car around half-way on our way to Cobham.
We arrived safely at Old Duck (the 58km mark) with around 40mins to spare before he was expected to arrive. I hastily parked the car, made sure all his bottles were filled and everything he would need was ready. Then it was time to take my boy to the loo for a number two, breastfeed Anzel and get myself ready to run! Fortunately Grandma was there to help, otherwise the chaos would have been even more. I literally just finished putting my pack on and the next moment Christiaan appeared. I seconded him, he went for his compulsory medical check and off we went.
It was a wonderful experience running with him and getting a little bit of an insight into the world of elite men’s ultra running. I tried my best to offer a good mixture of pacing per kilometre, motivational talk, hard love, comments on running technique and even some singing. Christiaan praised me for my good efforts as we made a good gap on 3rd and 4th during this leg. Before I knew it, we were at the 73km mark and sadly it was time for me to stop.
It was here that things got a bit tricky, as I needed to catch a lift back in time to breastfeed little Anzel again. Fortunately, things worked out again, as Stephen Granger forgot his camera bag at Old Duck and headed back in the direction of our cottage.
I even arrived back in time to have a very speedy shower before feeding Anzel. No time for lunch, as Christiaan was almost due to arrive at the next checkpoint (Cobham at 86km). So into the car it was – myself, Grandma, Christopher and Anzel (with all the snacks, nappies, clothes etc that goes along with it). We reached a locked gate after about 15mins of driving and realised that Google maps certainly don’t always know the correct route. Sadly this made us miss another checkpoint… All we could do now is head to the finish to at least welcome Christiaan in.
At the finish line the goal was to keep Christopher busy and Anzel happy with mommy’s milkies. Eventually, Christopher and I went to wait at the end of the finish line shoot to be the first to spot Christiaan. As Murphey would have it, he had another poo just as Christiaan was about to come in… This time there was no toilet close… I will leave it at that… I managed to make a plan, but the timing was terrible!!
Christiaan ran in with Christopher, with me not too far behind. What a day – for all of us!! This made the finish line photo of the 4 of us that much more special as it certainly was a huge team effort! All I can say, is that it is without a doubt easier to run a 100km yourself, than to second and pace your husband on a 100km with a toddler and a newborn!!!
I could not be more proud of my husband’s second position, knowing what I know; how he has to juggle family, work, business, being an athlete and socializng with friends – he is an absolute legend and our hero!! A huge thanks and shout out to my mom-in-law, without her, of course, none of this would have been possible! And to our Heavenly Father, your grace and good favour is the only way the day turned out the way it did, AMEN!!