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Getting hooked… The novice experience Part I

Getting hooked… The novice experience Part I

So what’s all this trail running about?

I am an ex lazy cricketer, white water paddler who got injured and decided the next best thing was to start running in the bush.

My first trail run was an eight kilometer jaunt in the Magaliesberg mountains. The result was two serious blisters that consumed half my foot and knees that felt like they had been shifted into my hip.

Two major mistakes where highlighted in my cerebellum (for those who are not sure what that is, it’s the part of the brain I believe that does the intellectual work). I had the wrong shoes, old squash shoes not so good for rocks and rivers and all that stuff found in the bush, although it saved me a few bucks. Apparently new shoes and the correct equipment requires a second bond on my house.

And probably most importantly, unlike cricket you have to train a little. The result was that it took me six months to get the above two requirements although the fitness was questionable.

So there I was with my new Adidas trail shoes (got them on a sale for R 650 so no need for that bond) and my larney black long tights for the cold and the coolest Camelbak with water and an energy bar snuck in the corner.

It was winter and I had entered my first real trail run in the Natal Midlands, a stage race for starters. In hindsight maybe I should have gone for a Parkrun first, then a 10 k Groenkloof waddle but hey I come from the south so we do things differently. It’s called just do it and cry later boet!

The Oxpecker day 1 is 21 kilometers that includes running up Spioenkop mountain. That’s 11 kilometres further than I have run and to add the cherry on top it was so cold that I only realised that my toes were still attached to my body at the 10 km mark.

Shuffling the Oxpecker

Shuffling the Oxpecker

Anyway all the pain was worth it when I finally summited the mountain and had the pleasure of a view that was too die for. The problem I found was that the next introduction to my newly found passion of trail running is that the downhills are worse than the uphills.

By the time I reached the river at the bottom of the mountain my muscles where aching and I wasn’t a very happy chappy. The last few kilometres to the end was all to do with survival and crossing the line I decided to make a comeback to cricket at the tender young age of 55.

The next day I did the second stage even though I had promised myself that I would under no circumstances even consider getting out of bed before lunch. So the second day I combined my walking and running skills to complete my first real trail run.

So during these two days of pain and misery there was also this other feeling I had. The sexy name for it I believe is endorphins. It’s this feel good feeling that you have accomplished something very special and it kind of makes you glow with pride inside. It’s that feeling that you have been part of an adventure that you had no idea was possible. But you did it, and you are still alive and kicking and more importantly you want to do it again.

This is called getting hooked. It’s the natural drug of life that makes you alive and young again. It’s that feeling of I can conquer the world, just give me time.

So the novice had started his bush road running career and the passion was undoubtedly going to make this a long and rewarding adventure.

Shane Gouldie

Blogger at Ultrarunner ZA
Ex Cricketer now Bushwacker. Love the outdoors and adventure.

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Ex Cricketer now Bushwacker. Love the outdoors and adventure.

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