The law of unintended consequences

Doodles, Boo & OscarMort, too, The Long Jog to Comrades 3 Comments

I think I may have created an imbalance in the order of the universe: I’m really sorry, and I’d like to apologise. The thing is, I can’t find Oscar and I fear that he’s run off in the belief that he’s a superhero. And it’s all my fault. The consequence of involving myself in his battles…

Cat fights and their consequences

The thing is, a bit earlier, I heard cat cries from the back garden. Which isn’t at the back. But anyway. You know the sort of cat calling I mean: like boxers mouthing off pre fight, but more eloquent yowl-y.

I went out to see what was going on, but the hedge was in the way.

I called Oscar.


I called again as I approached the fence/hedge, and rather than entice Oscar out into the open, my calling just persuaded him to launch himself from the bottom of the hedge to the top of the fence. There was a lot of branch creaking and crashing, but he miraculously (but not elegantly) thudded onto the top of the fence in one leap.

Having thus located him, I could see which way he was glaring and growling, and then I caught sight of the BIG GREY CAT. The cat that I am fairly sure is the cause of my ever-increasing vet bills. And with the vision of yet another visit to Bulimba Vets and ANOTHER hefty bill flashing before my eyes, I panicked.

Intent on breaking up any fight, which was most definitely brewing, (and saving my bank balance), I darted into the house, grabbed the sweeping brush and returned to gently nudge (and possibly prod) the grey cat off the fence.

Alarmed NOT harmed, it leapt down into a neighbouring garden.

And that was when disaster struck.

Oscar, being a cat of small brain and large ego, was so dazzled by his new-found super power of predator-cat-repulsion, he ran off after it. To repulse some more. And any other thug cats that had crossed his path. I think he is running round the neighbourhood, as I write, looking to avenge any cat (or possibly possum) that has ever done him wrong.

Although, it’s been a while. So, by now, he’s probably curled up in a ball, awaiting a rescue and a trip to the vets…

Oh Oscar. Those were not the consequence I had intended!

Long runs and their consequences

And it made me think of how the Comrades marathon unfolded at the weekend.

Whilst I was rather disappointed not to be in South Africa, lined up amongst the throng of 18,000+ runners, I took solace in the fact that I could at least watch the front runners race. And resume my place on the sofa where my obsession first germinated.

The men’s event was wide open, as there were a number of contenders for the top spot. However, the women’s race seemed largely sewn up from the start. Ellie Greenwood, who won 2 years ago, had had to withdraw, and it seemed likely that Caroline Wöstmann, last year’s winner, just needed to romp round and collect her prize.

The men’s race, indeed proved as exciting as expected, with the course record being broken.

However, it was the women’s race that gripped me the most. Because, with an impressive 11 minute lead over Charné Bosman, the 2nd placed woman, Caroline’s race started to fall apart at about 60kms. The consequence of going too hard, too soon, perhaps? The commentary seemed to suspect cramp, but watching the way she was swaying, walking, staggering between running, it seemed to me that she’d hit the notorious “wall”. But a wall of delirium. Maybe the heat had played a part. Whatever the cause, suddenly last year’s winner looked very very lost.

Bosman was able to narrow the gap, and with 2 kilometres to go, she ran into the lead. Wöstmann had no response. She was running an entirely different race by now.

And that was the captivating part: the determination on Caroline Wöstmann’s part to finish her race. Even when the wheels were fairly dramatically falling off her cart, she kept picking herself back up (literally at a couple of points) and carrying on, determined to make it to Durban under her own steam. Determined to finish what she’d started. And throughout it all, she remained charming. (Even when she tried to reach the water table and a press bike had got in her way and they collided, Caroline apologised)!!

And whilst the race may have lived up to it’s slogan of “it will humble you”, it never undermined the spirit of last year’s winner. She knew things were going wrong, but she never considered quitting. And when she finally, painfully, crossed the finish line, she embraced the victor and congratulated her.

It was a superhero moment. She was generous in her praise for all who helped her during and after the race. There were no capes, but it showed what the human spirit is capable of, even in the darkest moments.

It wasn’t the set of consequences she’d intended, I’m sure. But when you set out to do something epic, you can’t always predict the outcome. And you can be an epic person, whatever race you run.

Inconsequential other news

I had my own epic moment. I cycled up Mount Cootha, and whilst I don’t want to repeat the experience just yet, I know my legs will thank me when I do. Eventually.

Also, I seem to have found an unintended consequence in drinking wine the night before a run. It appears to make running more enjoyable. Haven’t drunk for over 2 months, and struggled with pretty much every run during that time. Had a glass (or possibly two) of wine last night, and loved my run this morning!?!

Anyway, on that startling revelation, I now have to perform superhero duties in the kitchen and feed the fam. The likely consequence? Food poisoning. But hey, they’ve survived my ministrations this long…

Do you think Oscar will make it home?

Who are your sporting superheroes?

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