Standing at the start line, with the oft played Chariots of Fire theme tune blaring, it has never ceased to be a moment of pure excitement and joy, ticklish butterflies flutter about in one’s belly, with the slightly nervous anticipation of the road ahead and its challenges, the supporters cheer, and bang!
You’re off, in a veritable sea of eager runners, adrenaline and endorphins surging through the blood stream, fully charged with the mysterious extra energy into which events seem to tap.
There’s really nothing to beat the start of the Two Oceans Half Marathon – my first, in 2008, drew a field of 11 500, and this has grown annually.
For 2012, entries have been increased to 16 000, with a new route to take in “One Ocean” and to accommodate the kind of congestion that such thousands of runners inevitably cause at the start!
Now that I’ll be joined on that particular route by our new and current merry team of training buddies, first timers Sarah and Paul, second timer Gill, Jo, who’s on a mission to get fitter, and other new found running and cycling friends from time to time, I’m enjoying runners’ and cyclists’ camaraderie more regularly.
We’re having a whole heap of fun, and I’m able to share my wonderfully scenic bush runs with all of them.
In addition I’m taking my Mum out on a long walk each week in the same areas – she’s also wanting to exercise more – so she gets to see my running trails too.
The bush is looking fabulously green and trees are blossoming. There’s more to all this than just exercising – this is “re-creation”, in the true sense of the word – renewing oneself body, mind and spirit by getting out into nature, moving through it, and appreciating it, for its own sake.
Last weekend four of us ran through the acacias groves and vleis and fields and woodlands and past the dams in the Chikurubi area, enjoying the scenery, the company and the buzz of the running itself, accompanied by my three more regular running partners, our dogs.
On Sunday, Sarah, Jo and I went on an excellent 25km adventure through The Grange, Gletwyn, Chikurubi and the Chishawasha hills, on our mountain bikes.
The views were spectacular, the terrain rugged and challenging, the enjoyment factor top notch. We arrived home muddy, tired and happy three hours later, and ready for more, soon!
The thing about getting fit is that, daunting as it can appear at the outset, the gains to be made are really so much more rapid than one expects. It becomes enjoyable to go out exercising so much sooner than one thinks it will.
I’ve observed that some people practically give up on themselves, thinking that they’re now so out of condition it’s too late even to address it. Meanwhile, a 10-minute walk round the block for a week, already makes a difference, and can be the beginning of so much more.
The gains are almost exponential at the beginning. Fitness feeds on itself!
Certainly, company and training buddies can be a great help in motivation, as having committed to a plan of action, the parties then feel they can’t back out, and once they get out there, have a fine time together!
Without a doubt, Sarah and Paul, the newbies, are enjoying themselves and now even saying so, too!
Amanda’s been in Zimbabwe just two years, and is somewhat in love with our country! We chatted all the way and had our five dogs for extra company.
Our entourage of seven returned as it fell dark, about 18 k later, well tired and very satisfied!