Monday, February 17, 2014

Twenty Fourteen!

I haven't written much about my running this past while, because there hadn't been much running. When I first started running, I started writing, and this had a reciprocal effect almost to the point that I needed the motion of running to get my creative side flowing.  Coming out of an injury-plagued spell I am back on the road and feeling compelled to write.
Two months in the new year and I am overjoyed to be back on the road. I have a training plan and my big goal is Comrades on 1st June. The way back to fitness has been tough because I sat and sulked for a long time without realising it and I think I may have gotten grumpier, but you will have to ask hubby that. The more I sat, the heavier I got and I left all my fitness behind. In December I resumed a plod that is so much like my early running days and the road felt like a stranger to me.
My face reddened, veins bulged, sweat poured, heart pounded but little by little I got better. I am still unable to talk for the first three km of any run, which for me is so distressing. I have perfectly good conversations going in my head, but they can't get past the thickening tongue and bursting lungs. Some of my runs have been nicer than others and yesterday I had a really pleasant one that urged me back to the keyboard.
The famous tough Pirates half marathon takes runners across a part of Jo'burg and up part of the ridge towards a water tower in Northcliff. The hills here are very testing and having done it many times before, I knew that it would not serve me in any way other than to deter me, so I knew I would not run it. However my friends were all lining up and our club was present so I decided I would go along and do my own run around the race grounds. I set off a half hour before the official race start and took my own route. I had a fairly good idea of the surrounds so I weaved in and out of quiet streets and made my way towards the Emmerentia dam. The air was crisp but full of promise of heat and I was grateful for the still shady streets as the sloping angles made my heart rate rise. I found the dam quicker than I expected and admired the geese, birds, canoeist and solitary swimmer on the water. Cyclists were out and about and everyone seemed to be in a fine mood. The Botanical gardens beckoned me in and early morning walkers crossed the lovely pathways. I neared the waters edge and the sun rays spilled through a thick shady tree, the air golden with the evening moisture I stopped and caught my breath and felt the glow inside. I trotted off again, smiling inside when I saw a huge 'no dogs beyond this point' sign and ten steps beyond two boisterous pups played oblivious to their transgression. Further into the gardens, the 'dog zone' was a pleasure to see with ball playing hounds of all shapes and sizes which reminded me of the dog area in Central Park. Making mental notes to bring our dogs here one day I raced a Border Collie youngster for ten steps until he realised I wasn't his owner. The kilometers ticked merrily by as I was so distracted in this great park. I knew I would have to start making my way back so headed back out onto the road and managed to run the race route for the last two kilometers. The water tables were still being stocked up and bored marshalls sat waiting for some action. The sky opened up while the shadows shrunk and I was grateful that I would be long finished by the time the sun really hit this stretch of road. Turning back into the race grounds I was amazed by how quiet the area was. Thousands of cars sat, almost as if they were watching and waiting for their owners and I realised that I never see the car park like this when I finish races. I had to make up a little bit of distance so I ran the whole stretch of the road and then turned back towards my car. I felt surprisingly good and delighted to know that this good feeling was after the second weekend of back-to-back 10km's. Next weekend I increase the distance to 15km and I'm looking forward to clearing out the cobwebs of the 'double digit' running.
It's great to be back!