17 May 2015
Our first race, and our longest run, since the Rome Marathon.
I was keen to get out there. Firstborn Daughter … not so much. The furthest she had run until now is about 5 km, and the 3 km she ran with me a week ago did not go well. I’ve done bits of running, the longest run about 8 km, and have done some short stints with the dogs. But neither of us has done any real running since our little stint in Rome.
But I had made the decision to throw myself back into my training, I was feeling good and I was keen to test myself. I had no intention of racing this; I just wanted to run a full 12 km, feeling good and without walking.
Being lazy, we decided not to get up early and make use of the many MyCiti buses that were shuttling runners from the city centre to Milnerton. Instead, we were up at about 6:30, and left the house at about 7:45 to drive to the start. The road was clear and there was plenty of parking almost right next to the start. I think this is going to become a major race, so we won’t be this lucky next year, if we decide to run it again.
It was a perfect morning in Cape Town: windstill, with clear skies and cool air. The mountain and sky, tinged in pastel by the rising sun, were reflected in the mirror surface of the lagoon. Everything was calm and peaceful. Our moods were elevated as we walked the short distance across the damp beach, taking cell phone snappies as we made our way to the start.
I had thought of dressing up and put a purple tutu on the car’s backseat but decided against it once we were in Milnerton – which is kind of a pity, as some people made quite an effort to ham it up. There was King Tut, wearing nothing but a headdress, eyeliner, tiny white briefs and a body full of goosebumps , who stood and shivered at the start for a full hour. We were worried that he was going to be hypothermic by the time the start gun went, and considered sandwiching him between us in a life-saving hug. But he had some spurious-looking rake marks across his back and we decided to leave well enough alone. There were some girls dressed in full belly dance regalia, complete with coins, who must have made music every step of the way, and a rather scary looking fellow in a sequinned jacket and full Kiss make-up and hair. I figured my normal running kit was bright enough in turquoise and hot pink, without having to wear a wig and tutu.
The run was well organised and there was no crush at the start, as there usually is in any race that is shorter than about 15 km. The groups were seeded and so runners weren’t tripping over social walkers (I am not referring to race walkers) to get going. There were at least three water stations along the way, as well as bands, drum majorettes, dj’s and pockets of supporters. The marshals were all upbeat and cheered the runners on. It was promoted as a run that would be a bit different to the rest, and they delivered: it was full of spirit and vibe.
I surprised myself by running my fastest 10 km, despite holding back and trying not to run too fast. I expected to fade by about 8 or 9 km and start to walk, but I kept going and felt strong.
It was just fun. The whole run was just pure fun. And every time I say that about a race, I surprise myself. I’m still in a state of amazed disbelief that running is something enjoyable.
Firstborn Daughter snagged herself an admirer in the starting pen – despite showing (and having) no interest at all. The fellow was hoping to do a 1 hr and a few minutes, but decided to stick with her instead, walking when she needed to walk (tactically, to encourage him to leave her and go on ahead) and running at her pace when she felt ready to run. She was a little miffed at the end, but pleased that she had run anyway, as she was quite keen to bail and postpone getting back into running for another while.
It was a run just short enough for us to run without feeling blown – even at a half decent pace – and just long enough to feel that we had accomplished something; to feel that we were getting back into the game. It was a great route, mostly flat, which stretched from Milnerton, past the flea market, through the harbour, along Adderley Street, up along the shady, oak-lined avenue of the Company Gardens, along Orange Street, and up a little hill before a nice, fast, slightly downhill stretch along Bree Street to the end.
A great little race that had everyone smiling at the end. And I was on a high for at least two days.
The only criticism would be the plastic water sachets … come on, guys! We need to do away with these things! Everything ends up in the sea – everything! There was no wind this year, but that is a notoriously windy route, and those little plastic buggers are going to be blown into the sea before the volunteers can clean up. Unfortunately, runners are still too stupid and too lazy to tuck their empty sachets into a pocket or a bra, or simply to carry them to the next water station, so they get dumped anywhere along the route and it’s impossible to gather every piece of plastic before it becomes litter.
All in all, though, the FNB Cape Town 12 ONERUN was a really cool run that I hope will be developed into one of the major races in Cape Town.