A runner’s world

As I open my eyes the clock on the side of my bed says 6.15am. It’s dark, quiet and it’s Sunday morning – no need for me to get up, but my body is ready to go, ready to get out into the cool, crisp morning. We’re experiencing a heatwave in Cape Town right now – predictated temp for today is 32 degrees so guess best to get out now. Running gear on, I head out into the coolness of the morning, sun sprinkling the skies above the Hottentots Holland mountains a light pink. I feel like I’ve reconnected with a long-lost friend on facebook again…that’s what running again feels like. After several years of blaming my official couch potato status on a knee operation I had years ago, I’m officially in love again with the ritual of putting on my running shoes, the feel of the crisp morning on my skin, the deserted streets save for the dedicated workers trudging to start their early morning work shift and the other running addicts and cyclists also taking advantage of this early morning reprieve from the heatwave.
I slowly start my run up the leafy boulevard, the sounds of Uhuru featuring Professor pumping their high-energy South African drumming sound of “Y-Tjukutja” into my ears and urging my feet to keep up to with the beat! Check it out on youtube and see if you can sit still watching it!
Heaving up the gradual incline I know that I’m once again a novice, I’m back at square one and its going to be some time before I’m going to be running any kind of marathon again, even though I’ve been running for years.
The rhythm of my run, the sound of my breathing transports my mind on another journey…and I remember other running memories and see the images like a slideshow in my mind. Running gives you a different perspective on the world, and often, as a traveller allows you to see and explore a city in a way a tourist normally would not, at a time before the city awakes, way before the doorman makes his appearance the front entrance and long before the smell of coffee starts brewing and wafting through the restaurants.
I’m transported to a dry and dusty remote road weaving between the cattle farms of the North West province of SA, long before sunrise, the cows on the side of the road barely casting a glance in my direction as they go about their grazing. I cannot count the number of times I’ve had to jump over a Cape Cobra or some or other kind of snake, still fast asleep on road. Hahaha, yes, that’s running the African bushveld for you! My thoughts take me to a misty morning running along the Grande Canal in Venice as the Gondoliers flirtatiously bid me “buongiorno!” as they prepart their gondolas for another busy day on the canal, then through the olive groves on the hills of Palma de Mallorca, Spain, again trudging along snow-covered streets in Vail, Colorado, wearing beanie, snow jacket, gloves and thinking “I’m from Africa! WTF am I doing so far from home running in the damn snow!” and missing home terribly, attempting to run on a treadmill in a hotel gym in Dubai, which basically was the equivalent of setting up a treadmill in a sauna, even with the aircon. I quickly gave up that insane attempt in favour of the rooftop swimming pool, which was no less comfort with the water at 24 degrees but it brought some relief to the 32 degree heat at 8am and beat running in a sauna. I remember an early morning run in Carmel county, California, running along the local golf course and not believing my eyes when I run past a familiar face, who turns to me and says “g’mornin” before he sets up his putt. I ran home so fast to tell the family that I just ran past “Clint Eastwood” on the golf course! Lol. Back home I remember running along the far northern part of the Melkbos beach in the direction of the Koeberg nuclear power station, undisturbed white sand, only the sound of the waves and the seagulls breaking the absolute silence and thinking what an awful contradiction this is to have a nuclear power station sitting side by side the sand dunes, sharing the same uninterrupted view of Table Mountain. The last marathon I finished some years ago before the knee operation was the Cape Town marathon, probably one of the most scenic races in the city. I’ve driven down Hospital bend too many times to count, but running down Hospital bend is quite another experience all together with Table Mountain on your right, Table Bay on your left, the sound of thousands of running shoes pounding the tar and of course the crowds on the side of the road cheering and egging the runners on.
It’s easy to see why running is so addictive. I know that I’m slowly, slowly getting there. I know there’s many more cities, many more experiences to add to my running log. But for now, my run for the day is done, my running shoes are off, the sun is out and its already hot! I’m going to indulge myself in a glorious Sunday hanging out with friends, sipping homemade cocktails, while lazing in a cool 18-degree pool! Already looking forward to my run on the Sea Point promenade tomorrow evening, the sunsets have been glorious! As my Daddy’s sms to me this morning said “Enjoy your life!” and I happily responded “Yes I am Dad, Yes I am”.

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