Monday, March 24, 2008


We just had the Two Oceans Marathon, and I went to watch. I have never seen one in person before. On Friday (Good Friday and Human Rights Day) they had the 5k and the 8k marathon. There’s even a 500 meter run for little kids. And one 4-year-old had seriously trained to win! Easter Saturday was the 21k and the 56k. The 56k is called an ultramarathon since it’s longer than a normal marathon (42k about 26 miles). It’s one of the two big races in SA. The other is the Comrades Race on the East Coast of SA between two cities (ends in Durban). It’s 96k!!! Something like that, maybe 94.

It seems (as I’ve been told) that the running community is more of a community here than in the US. Though it happens in the US, I’ve been told that you’re less likely to find runners with ipods or some other equipment that closes her off with fellow people. And people become friends, good friends on these runs. Some get married. I’ve even heard of two kids being born during these runs. There are people who are called pace runners (I would like to do this) who are trained to run the marathon at such a steady pace that they are guaranteed to reach the finish line within a few minutes of a set time. For the Two Oceans the top 10 get highest honors (gold medals), and 11th place through the last person to finish within 6 hours—all get silver medals. So it can be dehumanizing or discouraging when the pace runner (they have these big flag things that go up from their back above their heads saying 6 hours) runs ahead of you and the distance between you two increases. It’s especially hard when this is near the finish line. The finish line, by the way, was on campus which was easy access for me.

When I was young, I was told I was always out of shape. I couldn’t run. I used to run the mile in PE at the back of the pack. I was with the last group of boys and the first group of girls. The top girls were ahead of me and their might be one or two boys behind me. After people told me how out of shape I was over the years, I finally believed it. It wasn’t until later that I found out I had exercised-induced asthma. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but my bronchial tubes close up with more and more mucous as I play any sport. This might have been why I never played any sports. I’ve very competitive and I would always keep playing and playing as my airways closed up. Thankfully, I have never gotten to the point where they completely closed, but I’ve been close. I usually must undergo an uncomfortable hour after the game is over and my passageways gradually open. But it’s slow and hard. I got a doctor to give me medication once, but I never liked it because it has the side effect of increasing your heart rate. I don’t like that at all.

Anyway, getting back to the marathon, you have to be registered with a running club to join. I was invited to start running, in general. [I think I’m mentally tough enough, I suppose. I remember I decided to be tough one time and run the mile without ever stopping, and I did; it was horrible but I did it as a kid.] I’ve also been invited to join a yoga club. Lots of invites this week.

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