It had been a long time between races. I had managed a full marathon in May 2015, and after that life had taken over and I had lost the impetus, the desire and the dream to keep running. On top of that, as any runner worth his or her salt can read between my lines, I had gotten exceptionally lazy.
After work beers had become so much easier than a quick 8 k’s and Sunday mornings had become a time for TV and lying in bed with the wife and kids, getting some catch-up chill time, and think of things that might have been.
The weight started climbing back on, as is wont to do when croissants, doughnuts, bar snacks, beer and wine come back into your life. Actually, it's if you allow them back into your life, but more of that later.
It started with the gentle stretch of my tummy, and soon escalated to the most dreaded of all afflictions, the man-boobs. Totally debilitating to anyone’s self-confidence, man-boobs can lead to humiliation, anguish, self-loathing, anxiety and clinical depressions, and that’s just while going for your early morning shower.
It was time to get my life back, and to reclaim the fit and young physique that had won me so many conquests in the discos of the 80’s. This time, however, it was time to do something good, to leave my mark, and not just a skid-mark. I decided to enter the Wings For Life World Run 2017.
Running to a finish line is hard enough as it is. Psychologists say that long distance runners start thinking about home and how much they want to be there after about three minutes of running, and getting home as soon as possible has proven to be the driving force behind record-breaking long distance wins.
It makes sense.
To be either be on the road or trail, pounding step after agonizing step and doing possible damages to knees, ankles and feet, or to be at home, curled up on a couch with beers and savoury comfort snacks, watching the fools come into Durban after the Comrades, telling yourself how much you like your knees just as they are.
So what happens if you have a moving finish line, giving the race an almost infinite feel? That has to gall.
Without a solid finish line in your mind’s eye, how are you going to envisage crossing the finish, with that visualisation being one of the other most important psychological drivers to finishing a long race? What would it like being chased by a car?
It reminds me of a friend of mine who lives around here. Let’s call him Mickey. Once he said to me, "listen bru, if you ever see me running you need to be worried, because it means I’m being chased.”
“Stop making excuses,” my long-suffering wife told me as I bleakly pondered this race and my existence. “It’ll be fun.”
It was settled. From now until May 2017 it is all about running. Anti-chafe cream, long mornings on the road and hopefully a surplus of endorphins, which is apparently a lot like morphine.
Wings for Life World Run, Pretoria 2017, my wife and I. Chase car et al.
It is still a long way away, which suits me fine, as there was much to be done. It is time, in the words of Goldfish, 'to get busy living.'