Aiming for Africa’s alps
Trail running is different for everyone. It depends on what kind of trails you’re accustomed to running, but also what kind of suffering you’re willing to endure. For some people, it’s about running through maintained trails of a nearby park, for others, it’s about running the undulating paths of rolling hills over rocky, rooty terrain (AKA the Maluti Mountains)
Having been given the opportunity to stay at a lodge nearby for next-to-nothing, I decided it was time for my first high-altitude experience and took to the Afriski trails, the out-of-Africa experience which not many people can ever say they’ve had. Within the first 100m, I quickly realized that the “let’s do a flat route” at Afriski simply does not exist. You have to get out of the “bowl” which means a really steep incline, an insane peak in heart rate, and a number of f-bombs 😊
No matter how long or gnarly the route up and down was, little compares to the views experienced after that insane elevation (and decline on the way down). I was also lucky enough to have received a pair of new V-Lite Ox-Trail Racer from Hi-Tec to try out just before this experience, and although I’m not saying they made the run easy.. They definitely made it easiER. Hi-Tec is not necessarily the brand I would natively turn to when purchasing shoes, but after a great first experience, I’m definitely going to give them another go. The shoes are equipped with high-performance tech for stability, you wont need to worry about loose or snapped laces, and they’re all about comfort and convenience.
4 things I learnt from this experience of high-altitude trail running:
1. Stay hydrated – Dehydration is a real risk at high altitudes. The increase in elevation means lower air pressure which automatically results in quicker evaporation from your skin and lungs. To put this into perspective, you will lose twice as much water than when you are running at the sea.
2. Run conservatively – While running, I felt like I was missing a lung (which made it much harder to breathe). To combat this, start slow and allow your heart rate to normalize. Once adjusted, you can gradually increase your speed
3. Get some sleep – Running is exhausting at high altitude, so utilize the excuse to nap on the way home, your body will thank you by recovering properly!
4. Swear .. A lot – it helps alleviate the pain and keeps you in control of managing your body. Check in with your legs, lungs and head frequently, and if issues are rearing their ugly heads, tell them where to go to get some sympathy 😊
Anyway, that’s my experience of the Afriski trails. I’d like you to think of me when booking leave for your next vacation, to ditch the boogie boards (which are so dusty from your last trip), ditch the colourful bikini (that took 6 weeks to find) and ditch the sunny shores of Cape Town, Durban or PE. Instead, I’d like to challenge people to go on an adventure unlike any other, whether it be snowboarding on Africa’s alps, mountain biking through the scenic landscapes, or the soul-seeking moments on the trails at 3222m above sea level! Soak in the nature around you, get out of the hustle and bustle and let the oxygen-deprived adventures take over! Lesotho awaits your soul.
For more information on how to get there, when to go etc visit this site: https://www.afriski.net/
@Hi-Tec @Afriski @Trailadventure