Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wild Trail

I just don't understand how people survive without adventures.  Its this step out of the ordinary that makes the day to day living and grind of domesticity all surviveable.

Wild Run was my second big adventure this year.  It was a long haul to get to the start line but I really looked forward to the experience. Aileen (@gardengodmother) and I had been upbeat about the event. This was probably to disguise the fact that we knew we hadn't done enough long runs. But there is also time to just get on with what you have - and this was one of them.

We flew into East London and then were transferred to Thatches in Kei Mouth just in time for briefing followed by dinner at the Green Lantern.  There we met Brett and Francis. He was running and we ended up doing a lot of miles together and she (a physio) provided Aileen with a lot of plaster for blisters. The few people we had spoken to all seemed to have fallen into our category of training but were they spinning a yarn?  Exaggerating the deficit in case things fell apart?

The next morning was stunning and the 80 runners loaded onto the ferry across the Kei River for the official start.  7.30 and we were off jogging down the beach accompanied by thundering booms as massive spring tide waves crashed onto the shore.  The high tide crimped our running space onto soft sand which ended up giving lots of people blisters amongst other niggles.  Then there was the camber.  Picture running 45km on a steep camber while sinking into soft sand.  It did some damage.

I decided to keep my feet dry for as long as possible on that long first day which meant some time wasting at the two big river crossings (Khobonqaba River and Nxaxo River).  Note: river crossings equal swimming.  This, together with my fabulous (new) trail shoes (Inov8 Roclite 295) and handy gaiters meant I had absolutely no problems with blisters or toenails.  Upfront, I'll tell you that by the last day, I had quite bad tendonitis in my foot from the sand and camber but nothing else wrong.

As the day wore on, the headwind increased but the tide eventually went out giving us a much firmer footing and easier running. Aileen and I made a little train of two to give one person respite from the wind by drafting.

The scenery was spectacular.  Long empty beaches, brilliant green headlands, black jagged rocks and perfectly blue water.  I guess this is what keeps you going when you're tired.  Honestly, I don't remember much other than the approach to Mazeppa Bay and being able to see the finish about 5km away.  I remember the final swim across the Qhorha River and the 100m stumble to Kob Inn.  I remember my the tiny muscles in my feet feeling like they were cramping while I lay on my bed dozing.

I remember being gratified that everyone was hobbling - without exception. Oh yes, and I remember seeing the wreck of the Jacaranda at some point.  The pictures will have to tell some of the story.

We mingled and chatted to others throughout the afternoon and evening in a camaraderie of shared suffering. It was early to bed after a five course meal with a hope and a prayer that the feet would be ok the next day.