This Easter weekend was mostly glorious. I enjoyed some downtime and bottomless mimosas at brunch on Sunday.
I had a good bout of FOMO from watching the Two Oceans race updates from my friends and social media. I missed the last two races because of my nomadic life but before that I ran five races, collected four medals and was comfortably trotting towards my blue number. This is the permanent race number you get after completing ten Two Oceans runs.
Those who have known me for a while can attest to the fact that running was not always something I enjoyed. In a former life I used to drive past runners in the early hours of the morning on my way back from revelry and wonder what possessed them.
If someone suggested that I run, my first question would be what we were running from
Nothing short of flesh-eating zombies would make me move faster than a stately walk.
This was fantastic while I was in my twenties and my metabolism compensated for my complete lack of exercise. Fast forward to the first few years of my thirties when I realised that my body would no longer be a conspirator in my slothful ways.
If I didn’t want to look like I had eaten my sibling, exercise would be necessary. Gym was not an option: I had conned myself into it twice with no results, so had to say a hard no to that.
I needed something simple that required the bare minimum in terms of organisation but would shift the love handles that seemed determined to settle around my middle.
So running was the obvious pick as it seemed to require nothing more than a good pair of shoes and self will.
Disclaimer: I did not sprint out from the starting blocks. I began by brisk walking to acclimatise my body to exercising, after my partying and couch life.
Brisk walking then evolved into slow jogging which left me short of breath and swearing I was experiencing heart failure after five kilometres.
Because of the way my ego is set up, I gritted my teeth and stuck it out
There were a few challenges – like when I bought my first pair of New Balance running shoes and was so salty about paying so much money for footwear with no heels.
I eventually reached the point where I was comfortable entering races on the weekend and I turned into one of those people I used to mock.
After experimenting with several distances I discovered that half marathons are my happy place. 21 kilometres is long enough to challenge me but not so onerous that I feel like giving up.
At this point I found an amazing running partner (Bernard Faul) whom I met through a mutual friend. He has literally carried me through a lot of pavement pounding and was always there at the crack of dawn to encourage me to leave the comfort of my warm bed and run the dimly lit streets at dawn.
I’m not going to talk about how race organisers who don’t give out medals to finishers need Dante to invent an entirely new circle of hell especially for them, because that would require an entire column just to vent.
Bernard and I ran just about every race in Cape Town and even entered a marathon once. I will go on record and say I will NEVER do that again, but we finished and got the medals and sweaty selfies to prove it.
As a runner in Cape Town, the Two Oceans is a must-do
I curse them loudly every year when the site crashes as thousands of runners try to enter. Having said that, it is one of my favourite races, the atmosphere is electric, the support is phenomenal and those medals are worth coveting.
The fact that your name is on the race number makes you feel like a rock star as strangers cheer you on. This is particularly helpful on any of the hills the organisers have strewn along the route.
I also like this race because once I got over the novelty of completing it more than once, I had the option of raising money for charities close to my heart. And no, I don’t mean my stiletto collection.
So far I have raised funds for Doctors Without Borders, SPCA and DARG, the last two being animal charities.
So you can imagine how I felt slightly bleak even as I cheered my friends on from afar
I have not really done much running in Florida because of a combination of laziness and lack of running crew. But last week I was driving home and saw one of my neighbours running at noon. He was tall, dark and topless, so I could see all his tattoos and that he had a gorgeous beard.
If that is not motivation to lace up my running shoes, then I don’t know what is…