It’s official – I have been strapped:
It all began with the Nike We Run Jozi 10km race two Sundays ago. I was gutted that I missed the Nike night run through the city of Jozi on 21 March this year (we were out of town) and I vowed to do the next one. From June to August, Megan, my running buddy and I, would meet once a week for a 5km trot. We’d chat, run at a nice, chilled pace and just generally enjoy the urban scenery. Then came our family trip to Geneva and Antibes for The Husband’s cycle race, where I figured I’d stretch myself to 6km since the routes on my doorstep there, were nowhere near as hilly as the routes on my Jozi doorstep, plus I was no longer running at an altitude of 1,600m. Then, in the ten days leading up to the Nike We Run Jozi race, I did two 7km trots and one 8km run. I reckoned I was ready for my first 10km in years.
The Husband proposed that we run the Nike 10km together. I agreed but thought to myself, “there is no way he is going to be able to force himself to stick around at my granny pace.”
Since the race started about 400m from our front door, we arrived on foot a mere 15 minutes before the start and took up a place right at the back of the crowd of 20,000 people. There was a fantastic vibe and lots of up-beat music, interspersed by classic comments by the Nike such as:
“CAN YOU FEEL IT PEOPLE? THAT IS THE FEELING OF GREATNESS!”
We felt like rockstars 🙂
Naturally, we were only able to start moving several minutes after the official start. And then The Husband was off: darting and dodging his way through the crowd of runners, with me trying to keep up with him. Along with the other Type A, gung-ho, superstars taking the race very, very seriously, we jumped over pavement barriers (I am still nursing a HUGE bruise on my inner thigh) and we spread out onto pavements alongside the official race path. In short, we did anything to get ahead and make sure we achieved “our” goal (my granny goal) of finishing in less than 70 minutes. After a while, I realised that a 20,000 person race was not the type of race in which one should get hit up about goals, so I told The Husband I was going to quit trying to keep up with him as he gently and politely elbowed his way past runner after runner. It was just too stressful.
A quick aside on the race: I thought it was amazing. Yes, there were 20,000 people and yes, there were times when it was impossible to run and you had to walk owing to sheer numbers, but considering the number of people, I’m surprised we weren’t forced to walk a whole lot more. Running through the streets of Alex was an incredible, unique experience, as was running along the M1 freeway to the finish. The crowds in Alex were out in full support – cheering, high fiving and helping to hand out water. The experience was marred only by some bigot behind me – the kind of a**hole who makes you embarrassed to be South African – who said:
“That’s right! High five and then you touch your face and then tomorrow you wonder why you’re sick!”
Aside from that incident, the race was great. The Husband very sweetly ran with me the whole way. (He even gently and steadily pushed me up one of the hills at around the 8km mark). And, once the field was a little more spread out and it was easier to run at your chosen pace, he encouraged me to push a little to achieve my goal of an average pace of less than seven minutes per kilometre, which I managed to do.
The Nike race inspired The Husband and he decided that we should run together again that week. I was keen to slip back to a little 5km or 6km trot, but his view on running 5km is that “it takes longer to get dressed”. (I argue that the veracity of that statement depends entirely on how fast you run, but he ignores me.) He wanted us to run no fewer than 10km “otherwise we’re regressing.” Not in the mood to argue, I grudgingly agreed.
And so, three days after the Nike race, we set off on our own 10km run. The Husband picked the route – a route in which the first three kilometres were uphill. As I was puffing and panting along and thinking that I was in hell and that there was still SOOOO much further to go, the conversation went like this:
The Husband: “So… what’s your goal?”
Me: (Cough, splutter, gasping for air and glaring at him). “I don’t have a goal.”
The Husband: “No. I mean, why do you want to run 10km?”
Me: “I don’t want to run 10km! You want to run 10km!”
And that was the end of the conversation.
As it turns out, I made a slight but critical error of judgement when it came to directions and, as a result, we wound up running no fewer than 11.3km. It was actually fine, because we stuck to my granny pace. The only problem was that four days later, I woke up to a very odd pain on the side of my knee.
Luckily it has turned out not to be serious at all but the physio has advised me not to run more than 5km for now, until I strengthen my weak inner thigh muscles which are not adequately supporting my knee (or something…)
When I told The Husband that we should have gradually built up our mileage, he replied:
“We did. We ran 10km and then we ran 11km.”
Next stop: the Soweto 10km on 4 November.