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April 19, 2011

Two Oceans Marathon training: Choosing the right running shorts

two oceans runner

Michael Cousins

Cape Town Tourism guest blogger, Michael Cousins, will be running the Two Oceans Marathon in a Cape Town Tourism-branded vest on Saturday. He shares his final preparations for the 21km half-marathon event.

With just a few days until race day, I am quietly (oh so very quietly) confident that I am in for a good run this Saturday, April 23. It appears that the weather will be mild with a gentle southeaster and not a drop of rain.

Well, at this point in time, 10km is a “loosener”, a warm-up run. As of Saturday, April 16, I have run 18.7km in preparation for the big event. This, by far, has been my biggest challenge, but first I must share with you my second-biggest challenge leading up to the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon: running shorts.

As a reward for my efforts on the roads in the early morning (which has proved more and more challenging due to the changing season) I decided to purchase a pair of real running shorts: lightweight, reflective strips… and inner lining? Excuse me?

I had been running in any old pair of shorts up to this stage and was completely baffled to find that someone had mistakenly sewed a pair of underwear into my new running shorts. I reassured myself that this was, in fact, not a seamstress’s practical joke after rifling through every other pair of running shorts in the store. If the joke was indeed on that grand a scale, some seamstress’s husband must have been very annoyed when next he opened his underwear drawer. My next question was the purpose of said inner lining. 

fearless knight

You may have figured from my bewilderment that no other pair of shorts that I own includes built-in manhood support. If we take into consideration that I am not a commando kinda guy, it stands to reason that I have been wearing my very own unattached jocks when running (of which I have many pairs, because my girlfriend is not a seamstress).

A further piece of necessary information required to convey my perplexity is the fact that I am a briefs man. Imagine if you will, Superman as a little boy in his summer school uniform. Doubtless he would wear his tighty-whiteys over his little summer school shorts. This, dear readers, is what I felt was taking place beneath my running shorts. 

So this long convoluted story leads to this question: does one wear underwear with running shorts? For the record, I have left my underwear in the underwear drawer when donning my new running shorts.

Back to training: all my runs have gone pretty well and I am quite pleased at how the task of training for a half-marathon has proved un-daunting. Anybody who is anybody can run a half-marathon. They say that for no reason whatsoever one may just have a bad run where they just don’t feel up to it. This has happened to me once in all my training and here’s hoping that I am not afflicted by this misfortune on race day.

The majority of my running has taken place through the suburbs: Kenilworth, Claremont, Rondebosch, Bishopscourt, Newlands. It has been far too easy to pick a route – Cape Town is one of the best places in the world to go for a run.
I also chalked up a very scenic and refreshing 15km run between Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town at sunrise.

The culmination of all my training took place on Saturday, April 16. If you cast your mind back, this was the day that the Cape Doctor pounded the Mother City – a “fresh” 65km/h southeaster! All seasoned Capetonians are well aware that to avoid the Cape Doctor, you just head over to the white sands of Camps Bay/Clifton where the mountain will shelter you from the nasty doc. 

So I did just that and set out on my near 19km run between Clifton and Llandudno. Table Mountain is very lucky I’d already cast my vote for the New7Wonders of Nature, because she was in my bad books that day. She did nothing to stop the Cape Doctor from just about blowing me into the Atlantic.

Relentless winds challenged me from all sides, gusting from whichever direction they chose. When hitting me side-on, my trailing leg was often blown sideways, as if the wind was trying to ankle tap me. When head-on, I honestly felt as if I was scrumming against the Springbok front row. By the time I got to Llandudno and back, I had half the beach in my eyes and am still picking sand out of my ears. I don’t mean to detract, however. The setting was amazing. All you native Capetonians better count your lucky stars at what a great place you have here.

So with only a few days to go till the marathon, I’ve got my colourful running vest from Cape Town Tourism and I will see you on Saturday!

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