Following the pack gets you LOST

Another Sunday, another adventure.  I learnt a very valuable lesson at the first race of the Sunto Quest Trail series held at Rosemary Hill this past Sunday.  Yet another stunning event hosted by WildTrail I looked forward to something a bit easier and flatter than climbing up the Magaliesberg… After having decided on doing my first marathon in November, I started training on a proper program for the first time in years.  I opted for the long route and was surprised when I felt very good in the first two kilometres in stead of the usual feeling that I have a small child clinging to each leg…  My plan was to start slow and wait for my diesel engine to kick in and then hopefully overtake a few girls in the second half of the race.  All was going according to plan and I had the group of girls I planned to overtake in my scope at around the five kilo mark.  The problem came when the eighteen kilometre route split from the short route.  There were little red ribbons pointing the way all over the show but my eyes were glued to the trail in order not to trip over my own feet and land with my face in the dirt.  This preoccupation with the ground caused a bit of confusion and when at last I looked up I was all by myself.  I was sure I had found the right trail but soon got even more worried when there was still nobody around me.  A guy came from behind and said that he thought we were on the wrong trail, it was then I saw people running somewhere to the right next to a fence.  It was at this moment that a lesson my mother tried teaching me around twenty years ago would have come in handy. It involved something with about not jumping into the fire when all your friends do… Like a fool I followed the obviously lost pack and ended up running a full extra kilometre through what felt like the thorniest scratchiest longest grass in the whole world.  I was already so gatvol having gone wrong once I was in no mood to backtrack again.  All of a sudden I was stuck behind people that had a few kilometres before been light years behind me… I was so frustrated with this situation that when I got stuck behind a stubborn old lady wearing a camel back I behaved in very un-Altie like behaviour.  I was politely asking the lady to move over but for some reason she didn’t want to.  After asking her loudly another four times I ‘tapped’ her on the shoulder but being a lot bigger than her and having a bit of momentum I think to other runners it looked more like I shoved her out of the way… So after getting lost and shoving an old lady out of my way I stumbled over the finishing line bearing down on the USN table like a dehydrated buffalo.  I drank about ten cups of water and headed to my car.  I have never been somebody to follow the pack and following the pack on Sunday got me lost so no more pack behaviour from me any time soon!  Despite going the wrong way it was yet again a true trail running experience! Can’t wait for the next one!

For more info on this event and more like them go to www.wildtrail.co.za

PS: I seriously considered photo shopping the photo of me running through the ruins by making myself look thinner and less tired but that’s cheating… I am always sad when whilst running I feel like Zola but look like the Michelin man’s wife in reality… O well where there is room for improvement there is a source of motivation!

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