Pic 1: Before the half
Pic 2: After the half
On Saturday September 27th, I ran my second half marathon. This time the race was in Swaziland. I ran with four other PCVs for the half and about six PCVs ran the 5k also available that day. The race was throughout a business district in Swaziland and then went into a few communities.
This race was harder for me than the one in Cape Town for a few reasons. In Cape Town the course was difficult with a lot of steady hills. I think the course there was actually a lot harder. The benefit was that there were tons of people on the side of the course cheering everyone on. They were cheering on all the runners whether they knew you or not. It was a very enjoyable race atmosphere. I felt supported even though no one on the side of the course actually knew me.
In Swaziland I felt the complete opposite. There were a lot less runners so the race already had a different atmosphere. I was running with friends again but soon after the we began we spread out and I ran alone, at least from my friends for the whole course. There were even moments on this course where I was completely alone. No spectators or fellow runners around. It was a strange experience. I didn’t enjoy being alone on the course. On another part of the course I was running with two other runners and came across two drunk and still currently drinking men. The men were extremely rude and started to harass me. They were yelling things like “you are sexy” and “give me a baby”. I was very frustrated and really didn’t enjoy this race after that. I didn’t quit because I wanted the satisfaction of completing the course but I was extremely annoyed that I could feel so much disrespect while doing something that felt so uplifting and supportive in Cape Town.
I started running here as a way of staying fit and healthy but also to help relieve the stress that I was getting from working and living in an environment so different from what I am used to. I have actually started to enjoy running. I like the feeling when I complete and long run on a Sunday morning. I like running in the evenings as a way of burning off that days frustrations. Running has become a real support for me here as a way of dealing with the things I can’t control. I left the course Saturday frustrated and not enjoying running. I want to win back my enjoyment of running and not let those guys win. I want to continue to run and feel and see the benefits it has for me. I may have not enjoyed this half marathon but I refuse to give up on something that has been helping me deal with the stressors in my life.
Now it’s onward and upward. There is another half in Swaziland in February. I am unsure if I want to run in it or not. I have some time to decide. I do know I want to keep up with my training and maybe run a full marathon sometime after I return to the states. That’s quite a bit in the future now so I’m not sure. We will have to wait and see.