New Year Running!
The grey wall of cloud moved towards us with such a speed, catching us unaware as we reached our waterpoint. Rumbles jumped at us as the wind tried to push us further away from our cars. Then it was completely still. I could almost hear the cloud inhale before it dropped its contents on the four of us. I could be talking about New York's hurricane Sandy, but I'm not. We were caught in a short Highveld storm. There was no clear sign of an impending storm when we met for a 8km run. The sun was bright and cloud was building, but no rain clouds showed up. So we set off, eager to get back to a state of semi-fitness, which is lacking at this time of the year. This particular route is chosen for its hills and I lagged behind gasping for breath as my fitter friends got smaller in my vision. Finally meeting up with them, we turned deeper into the hills as the light dulled a little. On top of the one hill, we saw the faraway cloud with the telltale rain trails over Jozi Central. The very same cloud reached us in the short time it took us to get to our tap and we decided to cut short and try reach our cars before it reached us. The realisation that we were at least 20 minutes away via the shortest route possible made me think that there was no escape.
The rain began loudly on nearby roofs and a moment of panic went through my body. As it splashed its heavy plops on my hot head, I realised any resistance would be futile. We stood briefly under a tree and hoped that the cloud would swiftly turn, but we ended up having to just run into the storm. The coolness of the water was initially comforting but as it gained momentum, my hatless head began to cringe at the cool drops. After a few minutes our party had split into two groups as the faster girls tried to outrun the rain. Marlene and I hung back a little, taking shelter when the lashes were too heavy. Lightning bounced about and Marlene questioned our wisdom as to stand under a tree, but I argued that being the taller of us, I felt more vulnerable in the open wet road. We set off from tree to tree as the puddles turned into rivers and we had no choice to run through them as steamed up cars raced by us. I was contemplating flagging an open bakkie down, but none passed us, so we had no choice but to continue. I laughed at the sight that we must look like, with our t-shirts and shorts clinging to our bodies as if they were trying to stay warm.
'We must look like real dedicated runners... or just very stupid' I shouted over the din.
My brain went into overdrive thinking that surely we get more 'points' for this? No points, no bonus, but just the lure of the dry insides of the car. The other two were now out of sight and we knew we didn't have too far to go. The huge intersection was filled with edgy drivers so we had to tread very carefully. By now all thoughts of any remaining vanity had vanished and my curly wet fringe was not preventing the rain from draining into my eyes. My eyes burnt and it felt like salt water crawling and itching. I must have been sweating more than I knew, as I suppose I was running faster than my normal pace. I am sure there are nicer ways of learning to run a faster pace? We climbed in the cars and I silently thanked my organised hubby who keeps two towels in the door. My shoes squelched as I returned my insteps to the uncrunched shape and put the aircon on high, to stop the rapidily steaming windows. On the other side of the ridge, the streams of water turned into puddles and as I neared home, I realised that the cloud had literally been following us and turned away when we stopped running.
The rain had at least cooled the city down, as the high temperatures had been crushing, and I limped wearily into my house. My 'visiting' dad looked at me surprised and asked
'Did it rain?'
I smiled yes, and thought to myself, at least we weren't having a parade.
It's good to be back!