Yet here I was, 6am and my eyes sprung open. Sleep had been vanquished, and two circles installed for eyes. I was awake, and felt awake. Outside a heavy misty cloud cover shrouded the land, adding a dampness to everything. I was keen, excited, to be out there. What enchantment had befallen me? Only one thing could draw me from my precious sombulant state, the prospect of a run. Not just any run, the first of the new year, in the beautiful mountains.
To the non-runner this sounds absolutely crazy! But for those who know, for those who have experienced it, there is nothing like an early morning run, in a beautiful place. The invigoration, the beauty, the energy is beyond words.
The run starts with a soft caress as we descend from our holiday home into the valley below for about 1km. Gently the last vestiges of sleep are erased as fresh air coarses through lungs, and the silent slap of feet on the road is all that disturbs the morning beauty. Birds busily sing their greeting as they prepare for the day below a thick cloud descending from the mountain ahead.
Then, all of a suddden, with little introduction, the run asserts itself, lest the partially entranced runner take the journey for granted. A huge hill suddenly looms menacingly in front of us, as the road snakes up and up, to be lost in the clouds above. In no time the only sound seems to be the bellows of some steam engine, as lungs frantically gasp for air, which seems to be at a premium in this mountain paradise.
Before any real steam is produced we change gear to a brisk walk. This is what makes Running Easy so awesome. The hill is relentless, climbing kilometer after kilometer up into the clouds. Walking and running, the cool mist caresses our bodies, and dampens the sound, leaving us in a strange dream space. Maybe I haven’t woken up…but the salty sweat trickling down my face asserts otherwise.
The road finally reaches it’s end, 8 kilometers later as it enters the National Parks Board. The mountains are still wearing their white night clothes, yet their imposing majesty is palpable nonetheless. Briefly, we savor a bottle of water, before turning around and heading home.
Homeward bound the journey feels like a surreal flight. The mist is still thick as it dances around us. As the road plummets into the valley below, it seems as though we are magically carried along. Cool air, soft light, cotton-muffled sounds weave a trance as the landscape flows by. This is a dream…I’m certain…but the best type of dream, a waking dream. This is why I run…even if I must get up early…to be alive, so very alive!
Yours in Running Easy