“Anton explains the reasons behind his decision to run the ‘Sad & Nuts Half Marathon’ (If you feel you need more clarification, read on)” [First published on the 12th of April 2012 as part of the Just Dump It Project – http://www.just-dump-it.com/2012/running-the-african-leg-ii ]
There is a difference between watching from the sidelines and participating in the race. Apart from that one requires more energy than the other, I am starting to realise that there must be other differences. Like a puppy let out in a field full of rabbits, I find it difficult to just sit back and watch with a mouthful of popcorn. Actually that’s completely untrue. However, I have made my peace with that slightly over-weight figure in my sub-conscious now sporting new running shoes. I won’t regard myself a runner yet, but I have come to terms with this life in motion business and am jogging along to the mixed tape.
So inspired by the Dumper Runners (it is Dumper and not Dumping?), as well as wanting to contribute my share to Graham and the McMillan Nurses, I went in search of a race. Probably as I did not make my decision on a Thursday night after football, I decided on a half. Now, I know want you are going to say, “Why a half and when you can order a proper pint?” I can only answer by saying, “Sober reason”. Yes, sober reason can be overrated and less exciting, but doing my first ever “run” longer than 10 km, chances are that half of me might just survive.
I took a leave out of the Dumper Runners’ pamphlet in deciding to find something with which I can personally connect. I mean why else would they have entered the only marathon in the world that you have to run in drag and clogs? The answer came to me via a brief Google search. Could there be a better race for a psychologist than the “SAD and Nuts half marathon”?! OK, it is abbreviated from the SAFARI Dried Fruit and Nuts ½ marathon, but still (http://www.safarihalfmarathon.co.za/). Ideally this would have coincided with the Rotterdam Marathon, but joggers don’t have the breath to articulate choices. So, I will do my half part, aka the African Leg, on the 1st of May. However, in an unusual show of commitment, I have entered a second race to add to the mileage. On the 21st of April, I will do a local mountain trail run (http://vista.org.za/). Some say that 12km of this feels like a half marathon.
In doing my research on this running business, I have consulted a few local experts and hope that some of these might also be helpful to the Dumper Runners in Rotterdam:
1. To stay motivated, find a running partner. Ideally one that’s always keen to run, have few excuses on cold mornings, is willing to set a fast pace and doesn’t mind if you drink his or her pint. The only problem with mine (called Viggo), is his embarrassing habit to relieve himself when we encounter other runners or walkers.
2. Find a trustworthy weather forecaster. This would exclude someone consulting bones, sticks or crystal wine glasses. Weather-consciousness makes sense if you consider that during the summer, temperatures might still be in the high 20’s (Celsius) at dusk and this week it snowed on nearby mountains, while temperatures might soar into the low 30’s over the weekend.
3. If running in the early morning between vineyards, be on the lookout for snakes as they may come out after a cool night to warm up in the sun.
4. Moisturise. I know it is not sexy to smell like Oil o’ Oregano (although it might in Rotterdam), but looking like a raisin is not required to run the Dried Fruit and Nuts half marathon.
5. Be cautious when nature calls and it is a number 2. Some form a cacti, especially the more phallic shaped ones, might be embarrassing to explain and painful to be removed at your local surgery.
6. Take in enough fluid. Especially on hot days. However, make sure you are upstream from wherever it was where you took that dump.
7. Although Zola Budd has gained immortality with her barefoot running (the original ankle biter?) and local long distant taxis are often referred to as “Zola Budds” (in local cockney rhyme fashion), good running shoes are essential and clogs are discouraged. Good practice is to check your running shoes for any creepy crawlies that might have stayed the night.
8. Map your progress. This could be in the form of distance covered, personal best times or weight loss. This may act as motivator as you still have the strength to write.
9. Get your family and friends onboard. This would reduce the number of people laughing at you when you are being dragged behind an overexcited dog chasing a cat with a bit of cacti stuck to your behind….