Racing stripes 

I mentioned in my last post that there were more great things to report about February – well here is the first:

A bunch of my fellow club members decided it would be fun to participate in the Valentine’s night race in Randburg. At the time, I was contemplating when my first race would be and after managing the LSD, I was fairly confident that I could walk the a 10k, albeit slowly. Everyone assured me that it was a fun event with music and bag-pipers and candles lighting the way. It sounded awesome. Until I googled it.

I discovered that race websites sometimes give a summary of the race route and a rating in terms of difficulty. One a scale of 1 – 5, with 5 being the most difficult, this route is rated a 4. That “4” stuck in my head and Miss Defeatist fixated on it. I became quite panicky in the days leading up to the race.

It didn’t help that I also developed a little sniffle a day before the race so I wasn’t feeling quite as healthy as I could have been. I put a little wish out to the universe that my sniffle would develop into an excuse-worthy illness but the universe wasn’t playing along. I didn’t even have a hint of a fever. Trust me, I checked. With a thermometer.

On the day of the race, I moaned all day, ad nauseam, about why I had committed to this. In retrospect, I believe all that moaning was just fear. I was terrified that I would not cope or that I would be the last to finish. I repeatedly checked the race website to see if there was a cut off time. I have a vivid imagination and it ran wild. The fact that I had committed to staying with one of my fellow walkers who was equally concerned about her pace and distance was one of the things that kept me me from skiving off.

The nerves didn’t really let up once we were at the venue either. We had arrived early and I went to the loo for one last pee about five times before the start of the race. OCD much?

I was amazed at how many people there were at the start of the race. The starting gun went, or at least that’s what I assumed as the crowd started to surge forward. I didn’t actually hear it. On Rene’s advice, we stayed as far to the side of the road as possible to allow the runners and fast people to move past and it was more than a kilometre into the race before the crowds started thinning out. I can only imagine what a race like Comrades must be like with their twenty thousand runners at the start line!

Rene was amazing – I think maybe she sensed my nerves and those of my co-walker so she stuck with us, chatting the entire distance. We walked at a very easy pace and the roads was extremely festive. The pipers and candles were there, as promised. There were also loads of folk from the neighborhood picnicking on their pavements and cheering us on. One of the things I love about being out and active is the sense of a community spirit that we experience. It happens during training sessions to some extent too, as you greet fellow runners and walkers and even cyclists.

Clearly our Randpark Ridge routes have trained us well so the killer hill I had read about did not seem nearly as bad as I had read about. And just when I was starting to feel tired, the finish came into sight! What a fabulous feeling finishing is! I was so proud… And the fact that I didn’t feel like I was about to drop dead from exhaustion was fantastic ! I realised then that I really am capable of the distance and that I can definitely achieve more in terms of pace.

I landed up doing a second 10k race later in February, which was quite a different experience to the Valentine’s race. I will blog about that soon.



5 thoughts on “Racing stripes 

  1. The Harriers Valentine’s KFC night race was my first 10km race a few years back too. There’s no better race with all the candles and awesome vibe! It’s remained one of my favourite races! Congrats to you!

    Liked by 1 person

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