How to get into ‘the zone’

As previously mentioned, Saturday was the finale of the Winter Trail Series. It was held in a place called Kogelberg biosphere nature preserve, near Kleinmond. This is southeast of Gordon’s Bay where you may recall that I had lunch after the second race in the series a few weeks back.

I woke up at something like 6am to get to this race on time. I somehow misread the directions and wound up taking the scenic route on the way there but I had allocated enough time before the start that this was not a problem and boy was that a gorgeous drive!! Absolutely breathtaking, so from now on forget taking tourist friends down to Cape Point we are going to Kleinmond! There are even penguins along the way, according to the signs at least.

This may be my favourite course that we ran – there was a good mountain section, some good uphills, and although the track was rocky and it was hard to enjoy the views because I was so focused on trying not to sprain an ankle there were some areas where it evened out and you could get some good running room. There were mountain streams to drink from, and once we got off the mountain and were running through the more sandy part of the course it was tremendous fun because it was really very much single-track, and overgrown so you were basically running through the fynbos at a rapid pace! This rapid pace came back to bite me though, literally, as I wound up with blood and some huge welt on my right leg afterwards. Not even sure what happened but I presume I ran through some bush so fast that it cut me up a bit. Blood on trail.

So the most exciting part of this day for me was that I practiced what I learned at yoga the other night in terms of relaxing into the pain and I actually managed to put myself into ‘the zone.’ Once I learned this I was tremendously excited but the problem is it requires a good amount of concentration, which for me at least was not possible when jumping from side to side, up, down, and over rocks. But when we came to long straightaway sections through town and along this great long boardwalk by the ocean I was able to practice and boy is it cool! Nearly 31 years of being alive and all it took was one kundalini yoga session to learn how to go into the zone. Anyway then we hit the sand at about 13km into a 14.3km race … that is just cruel and unusual punishment! By the time I got to the last hill, I could barely feel my legs but felt good running up the hill and of course was able to kick it into another notch to sprint it into the end. Different muscles. Not that you can tell from the photo, because I was too busy at that point hamming it up for the camera! On a related note, my fast-twitch muscles are soon going to be getting some TLC (or should it be having fun with lactic acid … the track at Stellenbosch is calling, I can feel it!!). Feel it, it is time …

This race coincided with some gravity festival, which sounds pretty interesting; there was some river race going on that some guy who asked what was up with all the running told me about. But in any event at the end of this race you could buy both food and, more importantly, BEER. I don’t think a Black Label will ever taste so good again! Then they gave out free Red Bulls and I drank one and then my stomach hurt from the sugar. Ahh all sorts of things I should not be drinking, sigh …

I also managed to get sunburn because I forgot to put on the sunscreen that I specifically packed in the morning (!!). Probably because at 8am it was about 10 degrees, but had warmed up to 23 or some such by the time we finished. Winter.

The drive back was similarly stunning. I am still not sure whether I had more fun racing on the track or drag racing on the N2 between Somerset West and Cape Town! Boy that is a fun section to drive, and hey if everyone else is going 140km an hour … it is really best that I never learn to drive a motorcycle I think. Speaking of dangerous, I decided to take a photo of the Athlone cooling towers while driving by, which is more dangerous even than taking photos of the fog & mountains at 7am because there is more traffic on the road. Well, all’s well that ends well. Oh, I took the photos because they are being demolished soon.

That afternoon after cleaning myself up I went by a braai in Camps Bay for a half an hour or so. I really wanted to stay longer but I had to head to Obs to pick up friends then to Newlands for a rugby match – Western Province vs the Blue Bulls [of Pretoria]. This was interesting since the last rugby game I’d been to was the Springboks in a friendly vs. France. Provincial rugby is certainly not as fast or as skilled … but this game was really interesting to me because it was so highly defensive. Province was on what was basically the 1-yard line (what is that, like 1 meter or thereabouts …) just in front of us and the Bulls would not let them get in to score a try. In rugby, unlike football, you can keep passing the ball around to your heart’s content (as long as it’s not a forward pass), so being able to keep the ball out of the end zone (or whatever you call it in rugby) is quite an accomplishment. Highly impressive. Actually not a single try was scored the entire time – Province wound up winning 15-12 on kicks alone (it was 15-9 until near the very end, so a good game!). Our crew seemed thoroughly to enjoy the match, which was good! Following the match, suffice to say I didn’t last very long and wound up in bed with the lights off at 9:30.

Sunday I went back to yoga and this session was much more like I was expecting, and if I may say so some of the exercises were quite hectic, especially with my quads and hip flexors being a bit tired (although amazingly not sore … I thank the stretches I learned at CCF that I did after the race). Yeesh. This was interesting too as in this session I got to thinking and picked up on a lot of the emotion I was feeling back in March. Luckily I snapped out of that pretty quickly, and enjoyed a nice lunch (despite the sugar in the chai tea, I mean what’s up with that, really) with my co-worker at the Wellness Warehouse. These will be interesting times, these next few months.

After a quick laundry run I drove up to Kuils River (yep) to have coffee with one of my friends from Stellenbosch. He and I are doing some business consulting work with a manufacturing company in Kuils River, hence the meeting place. What was supposed to be one hour of coffee and quick planning for the next evening turned into two coffees, and then three beers at Spur (he ate dinner there but I decided to go home and cook instead …). Five and a half hours later, I headed home laughing at myself a bit for having had the thought of doing work that day. Should have known better.


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