These words from Henry David Thoreau , American author, poet, and philosopher, sum up the past 100 days. Every morning at 5 am I join Mark, my running partner, on our morning run. We have set ourselves the goal of running six out of seven days of the week for a year (2012).
In the wisdom of Thoreau, Mark and I get on the road – and we talk. Our conversations range from the deeply serious to the hilariously irreverent. There have been moments when we have addressed the problems of the word - we have
solutions for corruption, for Microsoft, for Toyota and for coping with ageing. There have also been moments when we have laughed our way through conversations on bee-stings, sprinting the last 100 meters of the Comrades, and King Henry Vlll’s attempts to find a wife.
Thoreau was also deeply interested in the idea of survival in the face of hostile elements, historical change and natural decay. Well we have faced it all. While the past 100 days have been the summer days of the year – so most mornings have been a cool prelude to hot days – of late we have become aware of the mornings gradually growing darker and the air getting crisper. We have moved from a simple T-shirt to a more recent introduction of gloves and a “chill-cheater”. I expect that shortly we will replace our caps with “beanies” to keep our heads warm. The one great exception in this gradual cooling off was the Two Oceans Marathon, where we ran through six hours of pouring rain.
Natural decay is the other great challenge: the human body is our greatest challenge! Both Mark and I have had to deal with injuries, fevers and the constant inclination to “just plain laziness”. We both readily admit that if it was not for the other person we would not get up in the morning. We also have had to run through various aches and pains, nursing sore muscles and joints until they improve. We are committed to running at least 300 days of this year – so we are not afraid to have moments on the run when self-preservation for the long haul demands a spot of walking. Our one golden rule is, however, “we run downhills”.
To sum up the past 100 days: In the words of running writer John Bingham “we learn through running to take what the days gives us, what our body will allow us, and what our will can tolerate."