24th May 2015
So, this time next week, I won’t be sitting in my study, typing. I won’t be in Australia. I won’t be sitting at all. To be fair, at this time next week, I’ll probably be lying in bed, tossing and turning about the day ahead, because, technically it will be the middle of the night where I’ll be. But, putting technicalities aside, at 9:00am, I’ll be somewhere on the road between Durban and Pietermartitzburg. I hope. Arghhh. I’m pretty scared right now. So much could go wrong.
First, there is the whole getting to South Africa.
Then there is the registering in Durban and getting the race pack.
Then there is the weather forecast.
Then there are the hills.
And of course, there are the cut offs.
You see, even getting to South Africa isn’t a given with my little travelling companion. Herbert gets enormously travel sick, and on his last attempt to get to the UK to visit his dad, he managed to make it from Adelaide to Melbourne before being turned around and flown home. (Ebola has made the travel industry a whole lot stricter about any sign of suspected illness). Funnily enough, he vomited so much on the outward journey that I’m surprised child services haven’t visited to discuss his apparent bulimia. But he was entirely fine on the return leg to get back home. Dr Jo diagnoses separation anxiety, and as we won’t be separated, the flights through to Durban should be puke-free!
Then there’s the whole getting around Durban. We’re staying up the coast, which will mean driving around in our little hire car. Driving in South Africa is not much different to Australia – you drive on the left, and the road rules are fairly similar. It’s just than no-one follows the rules. Seriously! The first piece of advice I was given was “never stop at a red traffic light, (particularly after dark)”. Add to that the number of people driving with a licence they bought with a bribe and a car that isn’t road worthy and the fact that drink-driving is commonplace…. So, yeah, the whole transportation thing is a bit of a nightmare.
Add to that the weather forecast for next Sunday. It was predicting 28 degrees. Yuck! I. Am. A. Brit. I don’t do hot, and whilst I’ve lived in South Africa and Australia, I’ve managed to live in places that have a dry climate. Which is great. But Durban is humid. The good news is that the hubstacle has just checked and the forecast has dropped to 26 and slightly cloudy. Apparently it’s also forecast rain, at points through the week, which would have been great, but that’s changed over the last couple of days. I’m just hoping the cooling trend continues!!!
Can we just not talk about the hills? I mean, I’m running through the “Valley of 1000 hills” and have trained on the 3 small hillocks that constitute Boganvillia’s landmass. I’m in denial, OK?
And you might be thinking, Jo – this is all fairly irrelevant. Topography and climate – that’s what it is and you can’t control those factors – you’re running 87 damn kilometres. Surely that’s the thing to worry about… But the thing is, will I? Will I get to run the whole road to Pietermaritzburg. Because they have cut-offs along the way. I might get booted off the course at the 17km marker! (I hope not). The cruelest (well, apart from the bit where you’re at the finish line and the gun has gone off and you can’t get past the human barrier, so you haven’t “finished”) cut off is the top of Polly Shortts. You’ve just dragged yourself up a hideously steep hill, have 7.5km left to run, and they can cut you off.
So, yes, this time next week, I’ll be sleeping the sleep of the condemned, and waiting to stand at the back of the very large crowd of other nutters who want to test their limits as part of the “Ultimate Human Race”. EEEEEKKKKKKK!!!