2012… the year of insanity

While I may have been lazy with my blog posts this year, the same can’t be said for my running at least. As I write this, I have completed two 10km trail runs, neither of which were actually 10km, and also ran in the KFC Harriers 10km Valentines Night Run.

Aside from the events I’ve done, I have entered Run Free. Run Jozi for 21 March, CapeStorm Pure Trail on 25 March, the New Balance Impi Challenge on 31 March, and the Two Oceans Trail Run on 6 April. Whether or not I manage to do all of these will have to wait and see. To round out the insanity, I have also joined an expedition to climb Kilimanjaro in September, to raise funds and awareness for the Sandton SPCA. But those are tales for the future, and so back to the running we go.

Race 1: Stone Staircase, Wonderboom Nature Reserve, Pretoria North

What can I say about Wonderboom? Well, it was during this race that I realised how completely bad I am at running. The route was a looping one, winding up the mountain to a water point, down the mountain, back up to the water point and then down to the finish. By the time I had managed to drag myself up the mountain to the water point the first time, the guy who won the race had already been down and back up again and was heading for the home stretch as he bolted past my prone figure leaning against the table gasping. He finished in an impressive time of 39 minutes and some seconds. I crawled across the finish line more than an hour later at 1:43 and a bit, whereupon I promptly collapsed and tried to remember why I do this.

I figured out why they call this race the Stone Staircase at least. There is an actual staircase made of giant stone slabs leading up and down the mountain to a ruined fort. Running down somewhere in the region of a thousand giant stairs is interesting to say the least. Climbing back up them is not as much fun. The view from the top and you wind through the ruined fort makes the run totally worth it though – quite spectacular and I literally felt like I was on top of the world. And there is my reason. At some point during the pain, I start to smile and think, hey would you look at that, look what I can do. So we continue.


Race 2: Valentines Night Run, Randburg

What better way to celebrate the month of love than by running 10km on a dark rainy night? Well to be honest I can think of many better ways, including doing the housework, but hey. I must say while loads of people think this race is a great way to spend a Friday evening, I realised why I prefer trail running – fewer people.

It took me an hour and a half to get to the race, park my car and locate my buddies. Longer than the actual race, which I finished in an impressive (for me at least) time of 1:20. I then spent another hour crawling my car out of the parking. All in all not my favourite, but despite the miserable weather there actually is something fun about running around in the dark waving a glowstick and sporting heart shaped head boppers in honour of the Valentines theme. I’ll probably do it again next year, but apart from a few people slipping in the wet it was fairly uneventful.

Race 3: Hedianga Ridge, Pretoria East

Oh goody, more rain. My running buddy ditched me at 5:30am so off to Pretoria I headed on my own for a brand new run at a brand new venue. Sounds good right? Not so much, since new route means soft soil, lots of long grass and apparently a trail so badly marked that the 10km I entered for ended up being closer to 12km. I don’t remember much of this race to be honest, at some point around 7km I found myself wishing I was at home in bed and the rest is a blur of exhaustion. I finished in just under 2 hours and went straight home to collapse. I hope the guys at Hedianga can sort out their problems for the next run, because this place has the potential to be a really nice venue.

And there you have it, my running exploits for 2012 to date. The end of March and the beginning of April is set to be a bit of a marathon, so until then I’ll be taking a break and telling myself I will hit the gym to train. I guess if I’m going to climb the highest freestanding mountain in the world I’d better do some training. But more on my insane idea to climb Kilimanjaro another day…

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