LOVE AND HATE – THE STORY OF LONG RUNS By Zola Budd (STADIO Brand Ambassador)
“Have you run the Comrades?” The reaction of absolute disbelief and dismay when I simply replied ‘no’ forced me to consider attempting the big C, as, by implication, I was not considered a runner unless I could add a Comrades finish to my running CV.
I chose the Comrades as a topic this month as it is almost time to start training for Comrades 2024, and many of us feel the temptation of attempting another Comrades.
I got pulled into this long-distance masochistic running by morning club runs with Bloemfontein Achilles Running Club. You have to consider self-harm as recreational to do a long run early winter in the Free State, and then drink Coke (no ice needed) during this experience.
I loved these runs but hated them at the same time. This dualistic experience of absolute disdain versus elation is common in running but uncommonly prolonged and repeated in running and training for the Big C.
I hated to run longer than an hour as everything started to hurt, including my thoughts. I love the elated feeling of getting home after a long run, having breakfast, lying on the couch, and watching re-runs of old murder stories while drinking endless cups of tea. My problem was getting from the hate to the love part.
Luckily, our brains are easy to confuse, manipulate and deceive. The most important aspect is to get to the start of the long run. Get out of bed, get dressed, drink some tea, drive to the club, start your run, wake up, and listen to the banter of other runners to soothe your utter discomfort with yourself.
It is cold and dark, and my brain is sending red SOS signals to my body, NOT to do this. But I pitched up. Going home now was useless, so I trudged along until we reached the top of Naval Hill.
Watching a winter sunrise in the Free State is like watching God paint the sky with hundreds of colours so subtle, yet profound, to turn even a grumpy self-loathing early morning long-distance-run-from-hell into a life-altering transcendental experience which is recorded as a flashbulb memory in your brain.
I got hooked on the love and hate of running 'far.' I became thankful for the cold and darkness of winter, the pain and aches in every tendon and muscle, but most of all, grateful to the amazing people who shared their early Saturday mornings.
The most important lesson I was taught was not to judge your long run by an alarm clock but by a sundial.
To those of you who are starting your training for Comrades, Ieave you with the words of Leo Tolstoy: “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”
DATE: October 2023 | DISCLAIMER: The content of this blog is accurate at the time of publication. STADIO reserves the right to change the content due to changes in legislation, as well as for market requirements and other reasons.