I’ve moved house. Remember 3 months ago I had an operation on my shoulder and the doctor told me I could run again in 8 weeks? Well, as it turned out, in that time, I sold my house, found a new house to rent while our other house is being built, waged a war of attrition on my hoarder self, packed up what was left of my house of 10 years, and moved to another province. We now live in a house on a farm in Broederstroom. The farm is called Kykidam. It could also have been called Kykiberge because the views of the mountains and Hartbeespoort dam are beautiful, if not a little subtle. And it is on this beautiful farm that I have laid my ass to rest for the past 6 to 8 weeks since the 6 to 8 weeks from the operation was over. So essentially, I haven’t run at all since before the operation on 5 May.
In my defence, aside from some really technical trail in my front, side and back garden, there isn’t anywhere safe to run nearby. The verge on the road outside the farm is very narrow and it’s a main road for supercars and superbikes and superegos. There isn’t even decent gravel on either side of the road, so it’s very dangerous to run there. 20km from our house, however is the bustling metropolis of Schoemansville, which is also where our nearest Woolies can be found! You know how we have to plan cooking these days? It’s something, I tell you. I can’t just dash out quickly between meetings to pick up basil for tonight’s meal. And we have to cook because there is no Ubereats. So the nearest “civilisation” (are we really civilized?) Is 20km away and if we want some safe suburban roads to run on, that’s where we have to go. And then what? We drive to suburbia and run where? I’m a woman. This is South Africa. I can’t just drive somewhere, park my car and start running. Although I have done this many times before, it’s been a good excuse for me these past 6 to 8 weeks. Realizing, however, that I was fat, tired, stiff and on the verge of a nervous breakdown, I decided I needed to get back to running. I went online and found Hartbeespoort Dam Marathon Club. I had met a few members at Kaapsemoer one year and so I knew there was a club there and of course, Om Die Dam. We found out they had a social 8 to 10km run last week Saturday, leaving from the Wimpy in Schoemansville. I know you know the one.
We arrived to a small group of mostly Afrikaans speaking people of a variety of ages, smiled, greeted and off we went. Fokkit! 6.25 going up. 6.15 going down. No man. I can’t do this for 8km. Ffs. So I dropped back. We had started off chatting to a nice older man, Trevor, but I’d run ahead, being enthused by my restedness and eager to impress these new running friends with my previous Comrades runner vibes. But mostly just trying to keep up. I’m such a bumbling idiot! You know it’s 6 years since I last ran Comrades. Lol. So 2km in, I mumbled to EP, listen, I can’t hold this pace. I’m going to run with Trevor. Glory be, I really hope I mumbled that and Trevor didn’t hear me. We dropped back and ran with Trevor for the remaining 200m of his warm up. And then Trevor fucked off into the distance. By the time I turned back at about 4km, Trevor was about 700m ahead of me. Okay then. I shall not be running with Trevor. Certainly not that day.
I made my way back to the Wimpy a few minutes after everyone else had arrived there and two chivalrous gentlemen had come to fetch me when EP told them I’d turned back. They were startled that I had done such a reckless thing as turn back because it wasn’t safe. I don’t know if they were referring to the state of the narrow, vergeless, ego-infested main roads or the neighbourhood. Anyway, the two chivalrous gentlemen that came to fetch me interrupted the leisurely walk I was on and I felt obliged to run the final UPHILL 200m. Ffs. We got ourselves added to the whatsapp group and eagerly anticipated the next opportunity to run with the group. We spent the week laughing about my not running with Trevor. The Whatsapp group got a bit busy with Riette’s fucking birthday wishes, so I muted notifications and carried on sitting on the couch. Yesterday, Trevor posted on the group asking if anyone would like to run 10-15km with him today, Women’s Day. Oh, I almost responded. Knowing what I know now, I’m glad I didn’t. I’m glad I slept in. I’m glad I managed to get out to bustling metropolis, Schoemansville for a 7km run, but I really should have started earlier. When I started my run at 10.20am it was a mild 14°. By the time I finished, it was 27°. Lol. And it’s Winter! EP is going to die in Summer. Hahahaha! Casual banter later with EP, we joked about how I missed an opportunity to run with Trevor. Then EP said, “But did you see his name is Trevor Parry? I wonder of he’s related to Lindsey Parry? You know, the guy that stole your blog’s name to name his coaching programme?” So I started Googling.
This is the humble part, by the way. Trevor Parry is indeed the father of the Comrades Coach, Lindsey Parry. Wait! That’s not the best part. Trevor has acquired 3 Comrades GOLD medals in his life. That’s3 times in his life he has been fast enough to be in the top ten finishers of a Comrades Marathon. He also took part in the Comrades Race the Legends virtual race last year and did 21km in 1h52 and he’s in the 70-74 age group! There’s a very real possibility that I shall never be running with Trevor. The humble part of this story is about both Trevor and me. Trevor was so humble as we ran along. If I had won 3 Comrades Gold medals, rest assured, 400m in you would have known about it if you were meeting me for the first time. Fucken Trevor made out as if he was some lanky old guy who was just in it for shits and giggles. He was so humble about his running. And today as I write this, I am humbled by the depth of running talent that exists (not only in Schoemansville) in South Africa. If our sporting administrators could pull their fingers out of the cookie jars and their asses, we could be a great athletics nation, if not the greatest. Runners of South Africa: now is the time to use your political vote wisely. Don’t squander your vote for sentimental reasons. Vote for the opportunity for our nation to show off our fellow runners’ talents for the whole world to admire.
Anyway, I digress. I’m going to run on my own a bit more before I go back to running with those slackers in Schoemansville. I found a really lovely 7km route with loads of elevation today. I’ll use it to get my lazy ass back into gear so that I can one day hope to run nearer Trevor. It’s those little goals that get you to where you want to be.
Yours in the spirit of Comrades Legends.