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I’m going to be a runner… a trail runner!

I’m going to be a runner… a trail runner!

Running! The Best Sport Ever!!

We all want to be better. We want to do more, be more. We see versions of ourselves in sponsored athletes in the media. We make the choice… “I’m going to be a runner… a trail runner!”

So we begin. Our training program looks something like this:

Sunday Evening:
Find running shoes in back of cupboard, remove desiccated fish moth from running shoes, bang shoes together to remove dust. Locate socks, running shorts, socks and cap. Place running items next to bed. Count backward from time that you need to start getting ready for work to calculate your “glorious return from run” time, subtract 30mins to allow for a good 5km effort. Set alarm ten minute earlier to allow for wake-up and changing time. Eat salad with tuna for supper. Retire to bed early, check alarm three times to make sure that it will go off in the morning. Post something along the lines of “So excited to start my trail running training in the morning – watch this space for my updates” to your Facebook page. Encouraged by the 3 “Likes” you receive from friends (One of which seems to be in a pub) you drift to sleep dreaming of alpine summits.
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Monday Morning: The alarm sounds gently – you bound out of bed, eager to be off on your run. You quickly change and snack, gather your accessories and you’re out the door. The run is wonderful, you are buoyed by the sound of the birds sweet songs welcoming in the new day. The gentle light produced by the magnificent red sunrise warms you sufficiently as you bound effortlessly around your 5km route. Your legs feel good, you’re out of breath but that’s to be expected. The run goes off beautifully, you finish at your front door comfortably exhausted. Immediately you check your Strava segments, no KOM’s but one PB and two 2nd best efforts. You post this to Facebook and keep an eye on incoming “Likes” while you eat Oats with Honey and Banana and compliment yourself on how easy the run was. The rest of the day passes quickly. In the evening you set out your running gear in anticipation of the morning.

Tuesday Morning: The alarm beeps urgently, startling you from your deep sleep. You swing your legs off the bed, feeling some stiffness from yesterday’s run. You welcome the stiffness as a sign of your commitment to trail running. You forgot to put socks out so you delve into your cupboard to find them, difficult in the dark but you locate a pair, pull them on and you’re out the door. The run is amazing, the birds tweets cut through the morning urging you on. The sun warms your face and you make a mental note to grab sunglasses for tomorrows run. You push through the dead legs and finish at your front door, tired and satisfied. Boiled eggs and toast for breakfast. Deadlines mean that most of your day is spent sitting at your desk. When you stand up to leave for the day a twinge in your calf reminds you of the morning run and you lean against your desk and surreptitiously stretch it out. You decide that Wednesday should be a rest day – you don’t want to go too fast too soon!

Wenesday morning:
The alarm screeches, pulling you out of sleep, you forgot to turn it off. Your legs felt sore in the night so you’re happy to be taking the day off.

Thursday Morning: The incessant beeping of the alarm wrenches you from your deep slumber. You swing your legs out of bed and are met with a stabbing pain from the underside of your left foot. You massage it out until you are able to walk properly. You forgot to put out your running clothes so you spend 5 minutes locating the stuff before you head out the door. The birds screech maniacally in the trees as you run past and the sun’s rays cause you to see little floating dots that dance around as you run. You lean more heavily on your right leg to offset the pain in your left foot. You struggle up the last hill and collapse on your couch for ten minutes before getting ready for work and having a slice of toast for breakfast. You feel exhausted at work, foggy brain, tired body. You consume two pepper steak pies and half a litre of Coke for lunch… you deserved it after all – you trail running legend you!
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Friday morning: The alarm sounds like a claxon. On putting your feet on the floor you realize that in addition to the pain in your left foot, you now have a sore right knee and lower back. You can’t find socks in the cupboard so you run without them. Every step feels like a trial. The birds caw mockingly at you as you run by, the sunrise burns your eyes and you squint as you run. You step in a hole and roll your right ankle but it’s still runnable so you limp on. After 15 minutes in the shower you’re able to get yourself dressed, stop off at MacDonalds for a Sausage MacMuffin with Egg (You deserved it – look how far you’ve run this week!) and drag yourself up the stairs to your office where you spend the day staring at your email inbox and trying to be civil to your co-workers.

Saturday Morning: The alarm wails a dreary dirge as you slowly edge your way out of bed. Your legs feel like medical students have been performing experiments on them. Slowly you dress and make your way through to the weekly Parkrun (Only 47 more runs before your free, red t-shirt…..yay…) You park and painfully walk the 800 metres to the start. The lady standing next to you at the start has brought her Schnauzer along and it takes an immediate disliking to you, barking continuously while it’s owner tugs feebly on the leash repeating “No Cyril, bad doggie!” over and over. A slight headache begins behind your left eye. A lady with a megaphone warbles something unintelligible, people applaud, you applaud too to not look spare. Suddenly the crowd surges and Parkrun is on! Immediately the Schnauser’s leash entangles your right leg and you’re down, fortunately you’r able to break your fall with your chin and no too much damage is done, an ill aimed kick at Cyril misses and the owner glares at you before stalking off indignantly. You slowly haul yourself erect and set off down the path dodging prams, dogs, children and other trail debris. The Hadedas flap intimidatingly around you, their air horn calls vibrate and echo in your head. The sun sears your eyes like a blowtorch. Your headache is now firmly established. The blood drips off your chin onto your best running shirt … “Hardcore” you sniff to youself…. The doctor at the emergency room reckons that the scar shouldn’t be too visible once the stitches come out. You spend the rest of the day applying ice packs to various parts of your body.
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Sunday Morning:
The alarm cuts through your dreams like a hot rip saw. Your entire body screams like a toddler who dropped their ice cream. Slowly you slide out of bed onto the floor where you actively check every body part for usability. Your chin feels like something straight off a Dick Tracy character. Forty five minutes later, you’re dressed and slumped on the kitchen chair. After twenty minutes of introspection you’re out the door. It’s long run day… Most of the “run” is spent trying to stay upright. You stagger over every protuberance in the road and cars hoot incessantly for you to move aside. The birds swarm around your head, their little beaks pinching over and over while they mercilessly taunt you with their screechy chirps. You would swat them away but that ball of fire in the sky melts your eyeballs making avian defence efforts impossible. You trudge on and collapse at your front door. Ten minutes later you make it to the fridge and drain a litre of Coke before collapsing on the couch. You awaken at lunch time and generate enough energy to order a large pizza with extra everything. The rest of the day you spend in a state of near delirium, in and out of consciousness, only breaking your sleep in order to attack more carbs.

“First week of Trail Running training went brilliantly” you post to Facebook later. The same three likes come through and you scan your friends pages, a little jealous of the pictures of them with cold beers and wine in hand. But, they don’t know what they’re missing…

Running… The best sport EVER!


Blogger & Medic at Ultrarunner_ZA
Trail Runner, Mountain Biker, Crossfitter
I'm partial to mud and allergic to tar. Racing less, running more.
Father to two very energetic girls

Husband to an amazing woman who truly believes I am insane.
All my own teeth and above average personal hygiene
Five Marathons, one Ultra Trail
Cape Epic 2005
Sani2C 2008
Dusi Canoe Marathon 2006 & 2008

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About The Author

Trail Runner, Mountain Biker, Crossfitter I'm partial to mud and allergic to tar. Racing less, running more. Father to two very energetic girls Husband to an amazing woman who truly believes I am insane. All my own teeth and above average personal hygiene Five Marathons, one Ultra Trail Cape Epic 2005 Sani2C 2008 Dusi Canoe Marathon 2006 & 2008

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