Training: it’s crucial in getting there

It’s been another hard energy-sapping week of training – about 200 kms have been completed, the distance is starting to get taxing, it’s relentless. We are now running every morning, getting up at 4-30 in the dark. I have a 40-minute drive to meet Andrew on the mountain before we start. It’s then dragging my tired body out of the car only to hear Andy’s morning chirp.


“Uncle D! Hope you brought you’re A-game today, as well as your B and C.”

As this relentless scrap with the mountain begins, it’s the same every day. It’s always starts with the 800 meters to the top. As one winds up through the lower forest contours, the steepness builds and builds as you push, it’s always against the clock and last weeks’ time. (How I hate the clock, 30 seconds here and a minute there) you are gasping for breath as your legs burn all the way, screaming for oxygenated blood to feed fuel into the muscle. Just one more step and you finally collapse at the top. Stomach heaving, head dizzy and feeling nauseous, you roll over and look up at the morning sky.


“Shit I made it” – the feeling of satisfaction and hopefully a better time.


Then comes Andy’s chirp again. “It was slower than last week – C game”. Then it hits me, but why, I have been training so hard, but when one adds up the days, the physical exhaustion adds up as well, finally one gets to a point of mental and physical snapping, a rest day is needed, but no! Tomorrow will be the same, the wall waits for no one, it will challenge you every day!


Finally, we decided, time to take a rest.


This one is going to be a bit different. We have decided on a dads and kids weekend and are privileged to be spending it on the family farm camping on the banks of the Kleinrivier, just outside the town of Stanford. The going home is always so special, no matter how old one is. Just to be there with my parents, friends, our children and some of my grandchildren for the last time before I leave for China. This feeling does not lessen with age or being a parent oneself.  It is always special to come home.  All the pressures of life just seem to evaporate as you walk through the door into your childhood home; the caring and love that awaits you beyond that door.


I know that we often take family for granted, thinking that they will always be there for us.  Unquestioningly, and with unwavering love for us, they will always pick us up – again and again, helping us on our feet and hoping that their advice, learnt through the wisdom of experience, will assist us in understanding situations that often are similar in nature to ones that they have experienced and managed to come through.


I feel immense appreciation for my family and the constancy of their love, no matter what.


“Thank you for always being there for me!”

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