Running Towards the Unknown
Running new routes is always exciting. The anticipation of what lies ahead, around the next bend or over the koppie, is like a magical force pulling from the front. Coupled with the excitement of a new route is often a twinge of fear — the nagging question of what cannot be seen or that which is unknown.
The Hakerville Forest (picture on the left) provided an hour of shady solitude and 10km of well-worn pathways. The forest sounds on a fresh early morning run were quite overwhelming. As I plodded along in the mottled sunlight, I felt the forest was shouting at me. Crickets clapped their wings as my footsteps disturbed them along the path. Louries and bush shrikes had plenty to say as I disrupted their morning peace.
The Robberg Nature Reserve (picture on the right) was a rugged contrast to the forest. Exposed and rocky, slow going and several degrees warmer than the cool temperature of the forest. Eight kilometres and an hour and a half of sweaty rock-hopping felt like a full-body workout.
The solitude of the Hakerville Forest exposed my fear of being alone and isolated. The exposed cliff faces of the Robberg Nature Reserve highlighted my fear of falling to my death. Both these circumstances had real risks, even if the probability of harm was low.
On reflection, I see how these two very different running paths have reflected the fear I have of following the path that I have chosen in this life. We must all choose our path in life and face what comes. The fear of falling is simply the fear of failing. But failure is part of life. As I was reminded on my Robberg run, a small trip here and a stumble there is part of the journey. The key is to avoid a catastrophic fall on a cliff edge. There are times when going slow is the right choice, both in life and on a run.