Sunday, 10 May
Today was the day. If not today, then never.
The ‘I’m too tired’ and ‘There’s no time’ and ‘I’m too busy’ stopped today.
I went to the first Embark training session about three weeks ago. It was orientation night: basically a bunch of us did a few jogs around the track and then sat inside the clubhouse while Coach told us what to expect from the course. The message amounted to pretty much: turn up or don’t turn up; you’ll get out what you put in. Kind of.
And after that it was trying to slay work dragons and prep for AfrikaBurn, followed by AfrikaBurn, followed by AfrikaBurn decompression and thinking about work. This week I will be in Swaziland on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday – so no chance of joining the Embarkers this week. So the rest of the guys will be four weeks into the course before I join them next week. Or, more accurately, try to join them, as they will all be super fit by now and gazelling their way ahead of me.
I have done bits of running, sure – some five and seven kay runs, and there was an hour’s run with Significant Other through the barren Tankwa Desert, which was pretty awesome. Tough, but awesome. But I’ve just not managed to really commit to the next phase of running. I’ve not got out there every day or every second day and slogged it out on the road. And the few runs with the dogs really don’t count. I don’t think I’ve run further than 8 km since the marathon in March. It is now May – seven weeks since our little jog around Rome. It’s time to get it together now. Really. Seriously. Geez!
So today was it. The beginning of the next phase of running. The Cape Town Marathon is on 20 September. That’s not so very far away. Nineteen weeks away, to be exact. The Ultra is less than a year away.
So up I dragged myself. Up and out of my warm bed, which Significant Other had left a few hours previously to go and run a 25 km trail run on Table Mountain. I cannot lie: my Negative Self had a few objections to raise. I ignored the miserable bitch and got myself going. Finding socks and Fitbelt, strapping on Garmin and lacing up shoes felt kind of comfortable and purposeful. It made me smile.
Just as I was about to leave the house, Firstborn Daughter made a sleepy and disheveled appearance in the passage. She stared at me, curled her lip, unimpressed. Then she decided that she should also just do this thing. Five minutes later she was dressed and ready to tackle the road with me. She has not run at all, I think, since Rome.
She struggled her way through 3 km. In her defence, she has just recovered from a bad bout of bronchitis, and is not quite well yet. But a start is a start, and it was really very pleasant to head out into the morning light for a Sunday morning run with my daughter. It sure has been a while.
We trotted off between the trees lining the fanwalk, did a u-turn at the traffic circle, jogged through the peaceful Green Point Park towards the lighthouse, and then turned left at the lighthouse so that Firstborn Daughter could make her way home.
We took a snappie and a selfie or two along the Promenade, bid our cherios and went our separate ways. I felt comfortable and in rhythm only after about 5 km. I did 7.5 km and didn’t hate it. It felt good to be back out on the road again. Mostly it felt good to be out on the road knowing I am at the start of the next training programme, and not just because I had dragged my reluctant, guilt-ridden self out on a random run to try to smooth out some fat lumps.
I returned home to a cleaned-by-the-daughters kitchen – ah, what a sight! The Kid had stationed herself behind the stove and was making a batch of breakfast pancakes. The two of them had tidied the lounge and set out my coffee things next to a beautiful bouquet of sunflowers and a card expressing their gratitude for food cooked and laundry done. We tucked into fresh filter coffee and hot pancakes with maple syrup, and watched Come Dine With Me without Significant Other around to ask us why we’re watching that rubbish again.
It was probably the best Mother’s Day morning ever.