Today I really feel I accomplished something.  I knew I wasn’t quite ready for it, but we got into the car to drive for an hour at 6am on a Sunday morning to take part in the Groote Post Country Run 2017.  So why did we decide to go?  Firstly, I want to lead a healthier lifestyle.  Secondly, it meant adventuring into a world that I hadn’t ventured into for many years – Darling (Western Cape).

I am currently quite unfit and my lifestyle is filled with stress, not sleeping enough and definitely not exercising enough.  Eating relatively healthy is definitely not the only action to be taken – my weight has stabilised, but I don’t want to stay there.  I want to loose kilos and, more importantly, get fit.

Yes, a few weeks ago I did a 10km road race (walked mostly, but I completed it).  What I didn’t realise was how different a trail run is to a road race.  I did make sure I had the correct clothing, I carbo loaded with a packet of Simba chips (LOL), and I had my trail running shoes on – and my cellphone camera in hand (It would be a bit weird to run with my Nikon!).

When we got to the registration desk, my friend said to me “Caro, have you watched the video yet of last year’s race?” “Yeah” I said, “some of it”.  “Well” said my friend “it looks a bit hectic.  I suggest we do the 4km this time, and not the 10km”.  The lady at the registration desk laughed at us but helped us change from the 10km to the 4km.  And thank goodness we did!

The atmosphere was great.  Granted, the 4km is known as the “hangover race” among the locals.  There were kids, grannies and youngsters all there.  What was great was the fact that there were not too many runners, meaning no congestion at the start.  So we ran for about 500m (and I may be exaggerating a bit here).  We were totally unprepared for the terrain and how different off road running is to on the road.  It was hard!  The sand was very dry and loose, meaning that you had to step 3 strides up the hill to go the equivalent of 1 stride.  It seemed like a really hectic uphill battle – and this hill just went on forever!

The sun was out – and so were the flies and “miggies”.  I am sure I swallowed quite a few, but I convinced myself that having the protein dose was giving me the extra push I needed to get up that everlasting hill.  That, and my belief that I can achieve whatever I put my mind to.  There was reward at the top of the hill – firstly, the road levelled out.  Secondly, there was Coke and water!  Once I had some “miggies” in my system and the sugar from the Coke, I had the extra boost to make it to the finish line.

All in all, it was a really great experience.  Incredible views.  I got to meet some cows.  And, extra bonus, got to see some incredible flowers.  It was amazing to get out into the fresh air so early in the morning.  And the medal at the end line made the effort all worthwhile! 

What we also didn’t realise was that there was a stunning “farmer’s” market for the day, and families were picnicking on the lawns in front of the manor house.  There was a vibey atmosphere, and the locals were warm and friendly.  The stalls sold everything from home made chilli sauce (yes, I bought four bottles of varying hotness), to red fig chilli jam (I couldn’t resist – don’t really eat jam, but with chillies….), jewellery, clothing, a very interesting ceramic garlic / ginger grating plate (I really really wanted one, but couldn’t quite stomach the price…. Maybe next time?).  And then there was a variety of food and drinks for sale.

I don’t regret making the trip for a second.  Even though I thought I might die on that uphill, I survived the whole ordeal and am not even stiff.  Next year, however, I am going to make sure that I am fitter and more prepared for the race.  Maybe I can run further than 500m as well.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to take part in this experience next year.  They are planning two country runs in 2018.  One towards end March and one on 28 October 2018.  2017 info can be found here

Fitness plan and tips to follow….