Saturday, 23 March 2013

Namib Desert Challenge: Arrival in Namibia

Well, I'm in Namibia. Windhoek to be exact. It's a quick two-hour flight from Jo'burg and I arrived to lovely, warm weather. I had a window seat - my favourite for daytime flying - and I got to really oogle the land below as we had clear skies most of the way. I spotted an area that looks soooooo interesting with a bunch of dirt roads and possible trails. I think it is still within SA borders so when I get back I'm going to Google Earth fly to find it. May have potential as a run location...

I'm staying at a B&B in Windhoek, Londiningi - I think the suburb is Eros. Pleasant place, nice room and friendly people. I also had a really good experience making my booking (B&B and airport transfer) through the quirky named Cardboard Box Travel Shop and a friendly lady named Anita. Very prompt and efficient.

This suburb seems to be the medical hub of the city with clinics and specialists and doctors' practices all over the place. I picked this spot based on its location and proximity to the hotel from where the bus leaves tomorrow at 11 - Thule Hotel. I'm a 14-minute walk away; I checked this afternoon when a took a walkies up there. In fact, I walked the suburb flat to stretch my legs and take a look around.

Of course I'd prepped a map with the location of my B&B and the location of the hotel, for tomorrow's departure. Where would a girl be without a map? Lost, I tell you.

I think I read my race instructions a bit funny. I kinda thought that we had to carry our stuff with us on the runs, with the exception of food for coming days and sleeping bags. As it turns out we only have to carry compulsory equipment - like whistle, space blanket, knife, compass etc - and the rest we can leave in our assigned tents. We had something like this last time; and it is nice (I'm getting soft!). So, I threw in an extra set of running clothes. Two sets is more than enough. And, I threw in more socks - can never have too many socks.

I probably could have loaded up with more food; more variety and heavier stuff. But, realistically I know how much I'll eat and what I like eating on the run so I think my bases are covered.

I've met three runners. When I got off the plane I spotted a fellow passenger and thought, "He's one of us". Turns out, he was. It was the running shoes (road shoes though) and sleeping bag in hand that gave him away. We were standing next to each other in the passport queue and I'd seen him checking out my shoes. He in fact asked me if I was running. The velcro stitched around my shoes for desert gaiters totally gave me away.His name is Deon and he's also from Jo'burg. Turns out we had the same cab booked to take us to our respective B&Bs.

Deon first heard about this race about 18 months ago and so it has been on his mind a long time. Its the first staged race that he's ever done (possibly first trail-type race?). He asked me if I had any advice for him. Three tips were first to mind.

One: Walk. Walk because you want to, not because you have to... In essence, walk early on and mix in walking and running. And when you walk, walk properly. Not Sunday stroll in the mall.

Two: Keep moving. Doesn't help to sit in any square of shade you can find and feel sorry for yourself. Walk, jog, run - just keep going.

Three: Take care of yourself from Day 1. If you skimp on drinking or food on one day it will bite you on the bottom the next day or the next.

Standing at the passport control counter the officer next door to mine asked the chap at the counter how long he was staying. "Seven days," he replied. I asked, "You running too?". He is. His name is Ivan and he's here with his wife Lauren. She's also running. I didn't chat to him but sounds like they're from the US.

I'm really looking forward to meeting other runners tomorrow.  I don't know who is running but there is sure to be a face or two that I recognise. I'm also looking forward to seeing the race organiser, Terry. He and his team did such a good job with this race in 2009 and I have every confidence that they'll be on form this year with an interesting route and friendly hospitality.

In the in-flight magazine on the plane (Kulula/BA flight) there was an interview with Johnny Clegg. I really liked this comment from Johnny.

A very good thing indeed.

Until tomorrow.

1 comment:

William said...

I know the owners of the Cardboardbox Travel Company. I have sent them a link to your blog post.