Healthy Living: Marike's Story

>> Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Marike writes:

Greetings from Cape Town, South Africa! A place where we run up mountains, through vineyards, and along beaches were two oceans lap the shore. A place where we enter races purely for the wine tasting tables at the end!

If you asked me a year ago what I did on my weekends, I would probably have answered that I liked going to the beach in summer (not swimming -- Cape Town water is near freezing!), having cocktails on the beach, or eating at one of Cape Town’s many wonderful restaurants.

The one thing I would never have said? "Waking up before dawn to drive an hour to do a trail run in torrential rain and gale force winds."

But this is exactly what I do now!

Last year this time a friend of mine handed me a 10K training program she was using, as she was thinking of entering the annual Gun Run –- a 10K race where the starting "gun" is the Noon Gun -– a cannon usually used to signal 12 o’clock noon every day (a Capetonion tradition).

At that point, I could run about 3K on the treadmill at the gym, so I thought, "why not? It might be fun!" The day of the race came, and as I crossed the finish line in 1:10:00, I was simultaneously happier and more tired than I'd been in my life.

I was hooked. I was . . . a runner!

Over the course of the year my life changed. I started hiking -– Cape Town has such beautiful hikes, including Platteklip Gorge –- a route which is essentially vertically up the mountain, and something I never even have considered attempting before!

I started taking part in trail running -– where I discovered the delights of racing through vineyards while rain slashed my face and mud covered me up to my hips!

This month, I am in the last stages of training for my first half marathon -– the same Gun Run I took part in last year. I can't believe how scared I was of running 10K –- now I regularly run more than that in my short weekly runs!

Running has changed my life -– now I can't imagine not grabbing my shoes after a day at the office to go for quick run, or spending my Saturday morning breathing in crisp ocean air, sharing the seaside promenade with other fitness enthusiasts, as we all contemplate how lucky we are to live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world!

Thanks for reading my story!


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