It’s been a relatively quiet day today so far. We got up around 9am and made our way to breakfast at the hotel. Filled with runners, as you can imagine, and as far as I can tell, mostly from outside South Africa. Breakfast was a typical European-style buffet with lots of meats and cheeses in addition to traditional breakfast fare. A hard boiled egg and a 1/2 PB&j were perfect for me – Sharon, however, was into major calorie load, and had two fried eggs on toast, orange juice, fruit and a huge croissant with lots of butter…. T’would be nice to eat with such abandon, but I’m not ready to commit to the side of the equation (training side), that makes that kind of a meal work .
One of the things I have recently learned about marathon running is the concept of shedding. It seems that it is quite common to start at the beginning of a race with several layers of clothing, and as time passes and you (and the temperature) warm up, you shed layers, leaving them on the street. At some marathons, charity groups put out bins for you to donate – at others including here, kids will swoop in and pick up whatever is left behind. Sharon’s plan was to end up finishing the race in her sports bra, but has subsequently learned that she will need to wear her race number on her shirt, which doesn’t work with a sports bra. The long and the short of it is that it may be that while I will undoubtedly never run Comrades (or any marathon for that matter), my workout top might just make the journey ! A double win for me as it is also a great excuse to avoid the meager excuse for a fitness center they have here…
After breakfast we headed back over to the expo for a bit and then headed over to a local shopping area just around the corner. Wow, what a difference a half of a block can make. Within one turn of a corner, we went from a diverse group of (primarily) runners, to a very local crowd, all busy with either their weekend shopping, or (mostly) just hanging out. We were the only blond women, or frankly, whites around. There was a huge crowd circled around a group of young Zulu girls who were dancing to the beat of an African drum. I was having a hard time seeing much as the crowd was so big, but as soon as someone noticed that I was trying to get a picture, people around me voluntarily cleared a path so I could get a shot or two. One of the things that I have noticed is how very friendly people are – particularly the locals. There are 11 different major tribes in this area, each with their own language or dialect. Most people speak at least three languages – their local dialect, at least one other, and English. In talking to our server at lunch, she said that she is Zulu, but speaks Xhosa (?) and English – our cab driver the same. Current plan is to have dinner here at the hotel so as to have no concerns about food, and turn in early. Supposedly there will be over 300,000 watching the race along the route, and it will be televised live throughout Africa, so tomorrow should be a very interesting day!