So somebody asked me to take over her entry for a two day trail run in Drakensberg. And without thinking I said yes. I’m not fit, my nutrition is a disaster, my emotional state is a train smash and let’s not even discuss finances.
But hey – what did silly me do? I accepted the challenge and just like that I was in a car with running friends to run in the Drakensberg. Because how difficult can it be?
And the running gods laughed and laughed and laughed.
On Friday night during the race briefing I started to get worried. Normally at these type of events you have a lot of return people. But at this race 80% of the running field was first timers. And that raised a lot of alarm bells with me – this must be hard because people are not coming back.
So 2 days, 25km’s a day.
And this is where I realised that this race is very much like life. Our paths are predestined and we can just forge ahead but we do not always know what is waiting for us around the corner or that this bit that you think is really hard is actually just a prelude in preparation for the even harder bit.
I’m no lover of heights but I had in my mind that we are only going to run around the foothills of the berg. Well that was a misconception.
We ran and after a mere 3 kilometers we had to go up in a gorge holding on for dear life to grass, roots and anything else that looked although it may hold your weight. Got to the top and we were all speechless – the views were amazing and we thought the hardest part was over. SO we trotted on, following the path set out by the orange markers.
And then we ended up on the spine of the mountain – nothing but air to the left and the right and even behind you. In front a few piece of grass and then nothing but a sheer rock face. And there I was hanging and thinking – now what? I can’t go back, I can wait for the helicopter to come and rescue me – so there is only one way and that is up. I would hang on and then realise that I now have to put my life in the hands of the shaking quad of my left leg and haul myself up – and remember I’m not the tallest so it was terrifying.
But I did it and got to the top of the mountain and after 4 hours I’ve done a mere 11km’s. And then we had to go down another gorge – so steep that we had to hold onto ropes to go down. But I kept going and finished in the bottom 5 of the field :-). Six and a half hours to finish 25km’s. I was finished, especially because it wasn’t the end of the run – I had to get up and run again the next day.
So after a very very restless night – imagining how I would have to go up some more mountains and cliffs, I got up with a very very sore and stiff body and dressed for the day. And I ran another 25km’s – not as difficult as the previous day – it only took me 4 hours and 7 minutes but still torture because everything was so sore.
But I did it and if something that can scare me so much be conquered, I can cope with everything.
And I do believe that God has send me to this race for a reason, and I can feel His strength and guidance in me the whole time. He is carrying me and giving me signs all over the place. My hardest job now – is to listen and be open to it.
And then just another amazing thing about this weekend. I shared the accommodation with another woman that was running. We have never met before and there was no plan to run together but we ran both days together and it was so amazing to have somebody to share the experience with.
And another first can be ticked off all the first in my life as a “me” and not an “us”, it was hard but I’ve proven once again that I can do on my own. First running event on my own and first weekend away on my own. And I’m fine – I can do it.
Tomorrow another first is waiting and I can’t tell you how apprehensive I am. Zoe is going away for 10 days with her dad. We have never been apart from each other for more than 4 days. She has been crying for about 3 days now – saying she doesn’t want to go and she is going to miss me so much, but what do I do. So please spare a thought for me and Zoe.
Tomorrow, if there is time, I’ll post some pictures of the mountain.
Have a wonderful day.