Molebatsi is ready to rock her debut Soweto Marathon
11 February 2016
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Great things start here, great things start now. I’m Brad Brown, It’s awesome to have you with us, thank you so much for joining us here on the podcast. We are just a short way away from the 2016 Old Mutual Soweto Marathon and I know there are thousands and thousands of people that are eagerly awaiting the race to take place.
One of the runners who we’ve been sort of following in the build-up to this year’s race is someone who’s running her first Old Mutual Soweto Marathon. We spoke to her a few weeks ago here on the podcast, Molebatsi Manzi. Molebatsi welcome, thanks for joining us once again. Are you well?
Molebatsi Manzi: I’m well thanks, how are you?
BB: Very good. Molebatsi, we spoke to you a little bit about the decision to run Soweto and what you were looking forward to. But as the race is now just around the corner, how are you feeling?
MM: I want to say that I’m calm and I’m ready and I’ve got my thoughts together. But in actual fact I am freaking out just a tad because now the reality is setting in. Yesterday I was following the hash tag on Twitter and I realised that they were going on a tour of the route. Then that just like, brought it home to say: Oh my gosh, this is really happening.
Kept the training on track
BB: Well, if it makes you feel any better, that’s normal, having the worries and concerns particularly around your first one is very normal. If you weren’t feeling that I would be worried so you’re in good shape. It’s always good to go into a marathon respecting it. You don’t want to go in there all blasé about it and think: I’m going to walk this thing. A marathon is hard. But from a training perspective, how’s the training been going?
MM: The training has been going well, I managed to do as much as I, actually more than what I expected to be able to do within the timeframe that I have and with all the other responsibilities that I have. So I’ve been able to get my long runs in, which has been a pleasant surprise in a way. Because I’ve always struggled with that.
I’ve had a few issues of course where training has been interrupted because of issues like getting sick, getting the flu or a slight sprain on my ankle last week. Then I had like a tummy bug at some point so there’s been little things that have interfered with training. But for the most part it’s gone really well, I’m really happy with where I am with my fitness.
BB: Making the decision to step up and run a marathon is huge, you must be incredibly proud of yourself. I mean yes, you haven’t run the race yet but you’ve done the work to get there. How proud of yourself are you?
MM: I’m very proud of myself, I think more than proud I’m actually surprised at myself. Because had somebody told me that I’d be running a marathon in a little over two weeks from now, had they told me this two years ago or a year ago I would have thought that they were smoking their socks. Because it’s just like: I’m not that person.
But like they say, a person will only dream according to what they’re exposed to so I think having been exposed to the world of running and gone into it I’m actually very surprised at myself. Yes, of course proud as well that I have worked this hard and I feel confident enough to take on a marathon. Because signing up for it proves that I believed that I can do it. Because if I didn’t believe that then I wouldn’t have bothered. So that in itself is an act of faith in myself on that part. So that’s really cool.
My race day plan of action
BB: No, that’s awesome and let’s talk about how you plan to approach race day. Have you thought much about it? Have you given much thought to the strategy?
MM: I have because I was reading online and they were saying it’s important to have a practice run, even if it’s not 42 kilometre but maybe like, 32. Then do everything as you would do it on the day of the race just to prepare yourself and to see how your body reacts. So I had one of those where I ran 37km, it was supposed to be 32 but it ended up being 37.
But in going into that training session it was what I ate for breakfast, my fuelling in terms of being hydrated, in terms of using gels. All of that was kind of like a simulation for me. So then at the end of that training session that’s when I realised that in actual fact this works. Therefore, this is what I’ll do for the marathon so I know to fuel before I feel depleted.
That’s a big lesson for me because I realised that’s what’s always gotten me down in previous runs and previous races. So lessons like that, like learning that I need to fuel before I feel depleted and how to approach the hills. Because you’re over this hill doesn’t mean that there isn’t a next one coming up. So how to save my energy for that.
So that training session gave me a game plan, almost for the Soweto but obviously I’ve never ran the route before so I’m not completely sure what I’m in for. But it makes me feel a little bit more comfortable about the idea of going into the race. Because I feel like I can prepare myself going into it and be able to carry myself throughout the route.
BB: I think that’s one of the big things particularly when you’re doing firsts and I think anybody who’s run can attest to this, that when you’ve run a five and you can run a five comfortably. To make the step up to 10 is quite daunting because you’ve never been there before. The same applies when you go from 10 to 21 and then from 21 to a marathon.
But you’ve now, like you say, you’ve run 37 so you’re only 5 K’s off the distance. From a confidence perspective, does that fill you with a lot of confidence knowing that: Hey, it’s just another Park Run, essentially, that you’ve got to go further and you can do it?
Ready to run just that little bit more
MM: Well, confident yes but still with a level of caution because I realise that I ended at 37 but my body had taken a beating to get to 37. So that last 5 could make or break the entire race. So I can’t go into the race thinking: I’ve run 37 therefore I’m going to be okay. So it has given me confidence to say: Okay, my body can push that far.
But also not underestimating that last five or last three or even last two because when I ran the Soweto last year we ended on a hill. That was really difficult and obviously wasn’t as fit but still, ending a race on a hill is difficult. So I’m thinking that if that’s the same thing this year, then I can’t underestimate that last bit. I need to still approach it with the, even when you’re at 38 have the same drive that you had when you started and push through. Don’t think that now you’ve arrived, then you can just chill.
BB: Molebatsi, one thing that I did and I still do it today, is I visualise what the finish is going to be like, particularly during the race. So I’ve done it in training and I sort of figured it out in my head then when things get tough during the race I think of that. What it’s going to feel like and what it’s going to look like with me crossing the line. Have you planned your finish line celebration yet?
MM: Not exactly. I think that that’s because of my nerves so my mind has been mostly stuck on the actual starting the race and going into the race and pushing up until like, 38. I think that’s like that, I get to 38, 39, 40, that’s where I’m at. Every time that I try to visualise that finish I’m always like: But it’s going to take so much to get me there. Then I go back and think of all the different distances that I have to cross before I get there.
But I get what you’re saying, it makes a lot of difference, I can imagine, to think of that end. Because then it keeps you going and keeps you pushing because then you know this is what I’m working for as you’re doing it. So I think now that’ll be one of my challenges to myself, to change the way I’m thinking about it and trust my training. Therefore, then shift my focus a bit.
BB: Yes, absolutely. Well Molebatsi, best of luck for the run. We look forward to seeing you at the finish and having a chat to you after your run to find out exactly how it went but best of luck in the final run in.
MM: Okay cool, thank you so much.