I can now officially say 'last year' when it comes to Comrades. There is a strange division of the year for us runners who do Comrades, and once it has come and gone, it's like a 'new year' starts in June. So now I can talk freely about 'last year' without correcting myself!
The good news for me is that I started the year off with a run. I even impressed myself after 3 hours sleep as I met up with one of the 'non-holidaymakers' and went for a comfortable 10km run. It was eerily quiet, with only the occasional car, but the morning had a crispness to it that befits the new start to the year. My week progressed nicely too with several runs with hubby and even one with sister! Sunday saw the first week of the year end with my first race.
15kms round the Johannesburg hilltops, gave the few thousand of us a chance to catch up, reflect and realise the festive season damage! I met up with a group of clubmates and chatted about the dismal December training. The gun caught everyone by surprise and we trotted off. Narrowing of the road at some corners saw our small group disperse but one of our guys had decided to stick with me. It was a nice catch up but I was aware that I was starting out too fast. It feels so long since my last race, that seeing the watertable surprised me, I'm now used to stopping at garages and other points looking for our own water. The coke went down nicely and I tucked an emergency water sachet into my pocket. Spikes was threatening to blast us, so I wanted to be prepared. The route was fairly flat at this early stage, but I had not settled into a comfortable pace, so I tried shooing my 'company' on, but he was having none of it. I pleaded with him, pointing out that he wasn't even sweating, meanwhile I'm sure I had steam rising off my body!
At around 6km another lady slowed down for me, and the three of us chatted for a while and I saw my gap. I encouraged them on together as I was needing too many walks and could feel I was holding them back. They pulled forward and I walked to fix my loosened hair. I began to notice the lovely surroundings and dogs in this leafy neighbourhood. One house had a wind dial on top of it, but I couldn't tell if there was a real Hadeda bird sitting on top of it, as I changed direction past the house I saw that it was indeed part of the metal wind dial. I smiled at the creativity of some people, because Hadeda's are indeed part of the Jozi landscape!
At the 10km marker board I saw that I was going rather slow, but was beginning to get a sense of myself on the road. I remembered that we would be turning into the steepest part of the route but felt good. Around 11km my New Year running partner caught me, which surprised me, as I thought they were all ahead of me at this stage. We trundled into a steady pace, and lampost hill running eventually turning into the last km home which is the long, long uphill to the finish line. The finish was in front of the Wits University Great Hall, and I must say the grounds are lovely. We finished in a comfortable time of 1hour and 48 minutes, but we enjoyed our run, and most of all we are back on the road!
So bring it on 2012!