I got the runs: Week 4 & 5 — 2 – 15 Feb

Technically, I should change the name of this post to “I didn’t get the runs” because, well, it’s been a two-week period of very little running. Before you fellow runners, would-be runners and amateur runners (like me) moan at me about this, let me tell you why.

If I had gone for more runs, I would have died.

Yes, that’s right. Died. Dead. Pegged. Kicked the bucket. Passed on. Or any other euphemism you’d like to use. The reason for this is quite a good one: I spent the first week of the month in Tanzania on safari for a work trip (sadly, I can’t post about the trip because I’m writing a travel piece on it — it’s also why I can’t post too many pics). Had I gone for a run in the Serengeti, Ngorongoro or Tarangire reserves, I would have been eaten by some kind of beast. Probably a lion. Or a leopard. Or a mongoose.

Fortunately, though, I was able to get out of the game vehicle on one of the afternoons and went for a walk. We were staying at Oliver’s Camp in the Tarangire National Park, and went for a game walk. It was spectacular. And that’s all I can say about that.

tz walk

Sunset at the end of the walk.
Sunset at the end of the walk.

run tarangire

Then it was a few more days of fear of being eaten. Hence, no more runs.

That was until we started the journey home. At Arusha I was able to have a decent length run — but it wasn’t a decent run at all. It hurt like a bastard. Maybe it was because I didn’t have a chance to run for a week, or because I didn’t warm up properly, or (and this is the one I’m going for) it was at a much higher altitude that I’m used to running at. I’m from Durban and we run at sea level (i.e. 0m above sea level, give or take). Arusha is at over 1000m above sea level. My legs could handle it; my lungs, not so much.

run arusha

As you can see, I started well and then just dropped off. Terribly. I couldn’t get into any kind of rhythm at all. Lungs were burning almost from the get-go. It wasn’t fun.

What was good, though, was the view. It was kind of special to run under the shadow of Mt Meru, the second highest mountain in Tanzania. Further in the background was Mt Kilimanjaro, which could just be seen through the haze of dust that was kicked up by an ever-quickening wind.

Mt Meru. Not a kak view to run to.
Mt Meru. Not a kak view to run to.
If you look very carefully (and use your imagination a little bit) you'll see the snow-topped Mt Kilimanjaro in the background.
If you look very carefully (and use your imagination a little bit) you’ll see the snow-topped Mt Kilimanjaro in the background.

So, what did I learn:

— I cannot run at altitude

— Tanzania is beautiful

— I need to swiftly get back into the running thing, lest my legs forget how to operate.

Until next time. Happy running,

Matt

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