Terry and Tony in South Africa. Two South Africans working from home in East London in South Africa since early 2008.

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Nahoon Point parkrun 3

I did my third Nahoon Point parkrun on Saturday past – 28 March 2015.

It was also my third parkrun ever.

After last week’s disastrous finish for my 2nd parkrun, which left me just a tad knackered – as well as a little disoriented, with a few minor chest pains, I decided to take the whole run easier.

At my age, and my level of fitness, with my weight problem, even thinking of running should have alarm bells ringing somewhere. My venturing onto the start area of the Nahoon Point parkrun should be the signal for the Men with White Coats to be summoned.

I managed to evade any potential whistle-blowers by blending into the crowd. I suspect that pulling my gut in helped a bit – it was the closest I could get to a disguise anyway.

I had been considering not doing the parkrun that day, but, I am not the brightest person around, inasmuch I actually enjoy that feeling of physical pain at the end of a run. Not bright, and a masochist. Bad combination.

The start signal for the Nahoon Point 28 March 2015 parkrun signaled, and the mob took off, watched by a miserable grey sky.

The crowd that Saturday morning of the 28th of March was smaller than usual, probably because there were 2 other running events taking place that day. It wasn’t a problem for me. Even in a field of only 2 people I would be in that half of the field that made the front half possible.

The beach dash down to Nahoon Lifesavers was punctuated by a teeny splash through the river that had been a raging torrent just the week before. Reach the turnaround beacon, and head back toward the start. And that pathetic little river thing was right there, almost too soon it seemed. Maybe because I was still running at this point in time.

Before I could check my time at the approximately 1km mark, I found myself toddling onto the parking lot, having run all the way from the start. I did check the time, and by my vague calculations I was still kind of on target for a 40 minute run.

At the end of the parking lot Toilet Hill beckoned. I ignored the beckoning, put my head down and strode forward – resolute and determined to vanquish this beast on its own territory. I did too. I didn’t stop once to reconsider my rash actions. I didn’t slow down either. Except to get out of the way of the surfer dude who objected to my walking in the road. I think he objected, because he didn’t pull over onto the sidewalk to let me through.

Other side of Toilet Hill I lumbered onward at what I would call a cracking pace. Other more experienced runners would probably call it a shuffle. After they had finished laughing.

No matter, as Frankie said, “I did it MY WAY”!

Down the road, past the Watering Hole which was covered by African Wildlife disguised as runners, and up onto the jeep track. I don’t remember where I started walking again, but I did. And I managed to keep my hectic (to me) pace up. Amazing isn’t it how easy a route looks on Google Street View. There are no hills, or if there are, they’re only pretty slight…

I got to Retch Stretch which is approximately 2km into the run, again still on time for a 40 minute run.

I got to the Speed Bump, which is the half-way point for the Nahoon Point parkrun, still on time for a 40 minute parkrun. The 3km mark came up. and it was still looking good.

Then it was that filthy uphill to The Square Building With a Fence, just beyond Heave Clearing. By the time I got to the top of, and back down to the bottom of Filthy Uphill, I had 12 minutes left, with 1,5 km’s to go. To normal people this would seem right. But it isn’t. I was able to run most of the way to Sand Alley, but not much running in Sand Alley, as this stretch seems to be a Universal Rest Zone, and although I felt capable of running I was unable to pass anyone. Coming out of Sand Alley, with less than a km to go, I had 8 minutes. Not enough, not for me.

I rolled down the tar road as fast as I could without falling and actually rolling. At the end of the tar road, short right onto the rocks below the cliff. Managed to keep my momentum, but wasn’t gaining any time. At the end of the cliff face, with 250 meters ahead of me, I had 3 minutes to finish, on 40 minutes.

I could not.

I tried – I did, but whatever reserves I had were hidden so deeply I couldn’t find them, and I barely managed to keep myself moving through that Ugly Loose Sand, and up the dune ahead of me, to the finish.

In exactly 41 minutes.

For most of the field this would be a ridiculous time – a laughable attempt, but for me it’s a big deal. And I WILL get to 35 minutes. If I get to go faster than that, cool, but my target for now is 35.

© Copyright Tony Flanigan 2015

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