Making excuses but doing it in the end

Saturday, 29 June

Late to bed last night again. Just not disciplined enough. Husband, being far more disciplined, and having no trouble sleeping, was in bed by 10:30 and out of the house by 6:30 this morning, or maybe even earlier, to run a 15 km race with his running partner. It’s the Spookhill race in Somerset West. The profile looks nasty, to say the least.

I’m due a three-hour walk today, i.e., about 20 km, and should be on the road already. I woke up early, when Husband left, but decided I wasn’t walking in the dark. Besides, my Blackberry needed to be charged before I could walk, as I’m not walking without Endomondo telling me where I am and how far I have to go. So, having a good excuse for staying in bed a bit longer, I plugged the phone in to charge and dozed off again. The alarm went off again at seven. I switched it off, with every intention of getting my butt moving, but fell asleep yet again, and woke up at 8:45 – still early enough for a good walk, except that I had arranged for someone to come and buy some wooden crates at 12:30. So now there is no longer enough time to go for a walk. So many excuses for not exercising even before my eyes are properly open.

I will have to go out this afternoon instead, which breaks the whole day. Do you see potential for another excuse?

Things have to change. I have to get my sleep patterns sorted out. I must get to bed earlier and I must sleep. I must sort out whatever is worrying me during the daylight hours, so that they don’t come to haunt me at night. A sleepless night renders the whole day useless. When you’re sleep deprived, you can’t effectively deal with issues, and so they drag along with you all day, turning into monsters at night. I have to get myself to bed early tonight, irrespective of it being a Saturday night. Husband said yesterday that I’m in retirement from my party days. I said ‘No, I’m not!’ But, actually, I should be – or at least until November.

The marathon is going to take place in the cold, and we have to be on the bus at 6:00 am. I’m going to have to equip myself for the cold and I’m going to have to adjust my body clock so that I can embrace those early mornings. If I can’t cope with a Cape winter, I’m sure as hell not getting onto a bus on a winter’s morning in New York!

I decide to definitely walk at about three. I’ll have to make supper when I’ve done my walk, and so getting back at about six will give me some time to shower and relax before getting into the kitchen. Then Husband gets a phone call.

‘Yes,’ he says to the caller, and is on his feet. I need my ID, and I need to go with him now. We can get tickets to listen to Barack Obama speak if we take our ID to the Kramer Building, middle campus, UCT. ‘But I need to walk,’ I protest, rather lamely. ‘So you’ll walk later,’ I’m told. ‘This is history.’ So I do as I’m told. We speed to UCT, get our tickets and head back home. All the while in the car I’m thinking that I have yet another out – no walking for me today.

I am proud to announce that, once home, I make no further excuses. I end up walking at four o’clock, instead of at three, but I do walk.

It’s a beautiful day out and all of Cape Town’s lovers are on the Promenade. It’s amazing what a bit of sea air and golden sunshine after a few days of rain can do. Like a bit of a twit, I walk 2 km, about, with my Endomondo on pause. This doesn’t please me at all. If the plan is to walk 20 km, you don’t want to be cheated out of a kilometre or two … in fact, not even out of a few metes! The obsessive in me won’t allow me to log any less than 20 km, even though I know that I will have done the full distance when my app shows 18 km. But it’s fine, I tell myself. I will be tricked into walking more than 20 km, and that can’t hurt.

My daughter has borrowed my jacket and has stretched the sleeves. I’m uncomfortable and irritated. I can’t wear the sleeves down, as I always do, because they’re too wide around the wrists and drop over my hands. I think I might be hungry, or something, because I’m feeling really crabby.

I walk down to the Waterfront, walk past the entrance, along Portswood, then towards the Stadium and then back to the Waterfront. There are dogs on long, mostly invisible, leads, children on bikes, most of them unstable and out of control, strollers walking hand in hand, or three abreast. I am struck by the difference between walking in Montagu and being back in the city. Miserable-faced anorexic-looking women in full make-up will walk straight into me if I don’t give way. No one smiles, no one makes eye contact and, most definitely, no one nods or greets.

I reach Saunders Rock and see a surfer fresh from the water – a middle-aged fellow with his wetsuit still zipped up and seawater streaming from his body. He busies himself with waxing his board. I can almost feel what he is feeling – his face stinging with cold, his lips swollen from the saltwater and too numb to speak, his fingers red and stiff, too clumsy to do much more than wax his board. That wonderful summer feeling in the middle of winter.

I head along to Victoria Road, and walk to the beginning of Camps Bay before I turn around. The sun has dropped behind the horizon, and it will be dark by the time I’m back in Sea Point. My glutes are aching. I wish I could speed up the fitness process. l have about 7 km to go and I’m feeling as if it will take forever. My lungs feel fine, though, and I don’t feel out of breath or exhausted. But my glutes and thighs and calves are complaining.

I finally head into Sea Point and reach the point where I usually like to push the stop button on my sports tracker, slow down the pace and stroll home. But I can’t. I have done only 18 km, and need to make up another 2 km. It’s dark, it’s cold and I have kind of had enough. I push on, though. I have to walk past the lighthouse to reach 19 km and be able to turn around. Ah man! It’s as if that lighthouse is trying to dodge me. The damn thing just won’t get any closer. When I reach it, I still haven’t made 19 km.

Mouillie Point lighthouse on a cold evening

Mouillie Point lighthouse on a cold evening

‘Ah, come on!’ I call out into the darkness. I am the looney who walks around alone at night, shouting at herself.

I push on until that un-encouraging Endomondo woman tells me that I have finally done 19 km. I turn around and walk back, and have to talk myself from lamppost to bus stop to trash can … ‘Just make it to the entrance to Theo’s.  Okay now to the beginning of the putt-putt course. Now to the bus stop in line with the centre of the Putt-putt course …’ And so on.

Putt-putt course in Moullie Point

Putt-putt course in Moullie Point

Back at my end point, where the lopsided white horses lean on the lawn, I still haven’t clocked 20 km. I have to walk past the horses. I keep my eyes on the LCD panel of my phone, almost shouting at the numbers to clock up faster. At last I’m done. Twenty kilometers in 2 h55 min. Slower than my last 20 km walk. I seem to be walking slower. I’m not sure why. But I’m finding it very annoying. It’s late. I will have to start cooking supper almost as soon as I get home. Boy, am I sore!


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