Victoria Falls Marathon

A friend from my running club mentioned the marathon to me during training back in March and on a whim I decided to go for it as I thought it would be a great opportunity to kill two birds with one stone; run in a foreign country and finally get to see the majestic Victoria Falls.

So on the 29th June after a little over 24 hours of much needed fun road-tripping, we arrived in the small town of Vic Falls in Zimbabwe’s southern Hwange district.

After locating our accomodation with the help of Google maps and settling in, we made our way down town to the kingdom hotel to collect our race packs and, much to my disappointment, the expo left much to be desired. Understandably so, I suppose, as the event is only in its 5th year, as opposed to the Two Oceans Marathon expo, which I unfairly compared it to.

My friends and I had dinner that evening at the Shearwater café where I had one of the best steaks ever. Unfortunately the establishment did not have any traditional/local cuisine on the menu, which I was looking forward to trying.

Victoria Falls

The following morning we made our way back to the Kindgom Hotel where we parked our cars and proceeded on foot – a decision we were to regret later – across the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia and into Livingstone where we had planned to go bungee jumping. Unfortunately, the bridge was under inspection at the time, and as we were not willing to wait for about the hour it would take for the inspection to be completed, we decided to leave. We walked back to Zimbabwe and after about half an hour in the queue, we finally entered Victoria Falls park.

Fascinating and absolutely breathtaking are how best I can describe the falls.

A green, lush and humid paradise. Seemingly never-ending.

After walking and admiring the scenery for what felt like forever, our friend who was from the area and familiar with the park told us we were not even halfway through the park. We decided to cut our sightseeing short despite this as we had to rest our legs in preparation for the marathon the following day.

Luckily, this same friend had parked his car much closer to the park and gave us a ride to our cars back in the city centre after which we proceeded to our lodge, prepared and had supper and settled in for the evening.

Victoria Falls Half Marathon

The combination of running only my second half marathon and in a foreign country at that made for shot nerves. The beauty of running, however, is that those nerves vanish from one’s body the instant the gun goes of at the starting line.

The race started at the Kingdom Hotel where we ran briefly into Zambia ( No, we weren’t required to go through immigration☺) across the bridge connecting the two countries, enjoying a light spray from the falls, albeit slightly slippery to run on. We then ran back into Zimbabwe where most of the race was through the Zambezi National Park where one could easily see the wild animals. This made for a truly incredible experience. There were sufficient park rangers along the route but unfortunately one unruly elephant had to be put down as it posed a direct threat to the marathoners.

The scenery also meant my focus was not so much on the long gradual hills that were sneaking up on us runners.

The last few km were somewhat challenging for me, as on top of being spent, the race organizers did not make provision for road closures on the town’s main road, which meant we ran through busy traffic to the finish line at the Victoria Falls Primary School.

After the typical post-marathon banter and beer or two, we proceeded back to our lodge where we showered, changed and made our way back to Namibia via Bostwana.

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The Run Life

On 17 October 2017 I decided to do something I’ve come to master – gather up just enough courage to say ‘fuck it’ and jump headfirst into the deep end of something terrifying for me; that ‘something’ being embarking on a fitness journey, more specifically becoming a social marathon runner.

With a few of my fellow Windhoek City Runners Club members

I had no idea what the sport of running entailed and boy has it been an exhilarating 7 months thus far. Ive always wanted to be a social runner but had no idea how to go about starting (duh Priscilla, you put on your running shoes and you run!), until two of my cousins who are runners themselves introduced me to the sport right here in Windhoek city. I was very pleasantly surprised by what a relatively large running community there is right here in Namibia.

Our hike up Lion’s Head mountain after completing the Two Oceans 2018 half marathon

I have learned so much about the sport from pace maintenance, the importance of strength training & stretching and coming to know just how long a single kilometre is (especially when you’re a beginner haha) all of which has been absolutely amazing to learn about.

But the one thing that has really been a true revelation for me was truly learning and fully comprehending the imperativeness of having a healthy, strong mind and being in tune with yourself, because believe me you and any runner can attest to this, your body is without a doubt going to play all sorts of monkey tricks on you to try and get you to slow down or stop running altogether; sometimes due to imaginary ‘injuries’.

Don’t get me wrong, you should by all means listen to your body because sometimes injuries can sadly be very real and PAINFUL (I’ve sprained an ankle and severely pulled a hamstring within the short while I’ve been running) so it’s not to say all aches and pains should be be ignored.

The sport of running is a truly incredible one as it forces you to become best friends with your body. It will reveal a plethora of things your body had been telling you but you ignored like to AVOID CERTAIN FOODS and that it is so much stronger than you gave it credit for. My body for one has pleasantly surprised me and keeps doing so with all the improvements it has been and I know will continue making; from endurance to strength to speed, some of which I thought would never improve when I first started running ( thanks to that idiot called self-doubt).

Because of these limiting thoughts, I must stress that running is by no means a walk in the park – some runs downright feel like a walk through hell…BAREFOOT! Which is why mental strengthing is something I implore on any and everyone reading this.

I will elaborate a lot more on some of the emotional and mental challenges I have and continue to encounter on this magnificent journey in another post, however.

Thanks for reading xo

MY LAST DAY OF BEING SINGLE

Hi Guys, for my first ‘official’ blog post I thought I’d share with you a short story I wrote many moons back. I cringed then laughed so hard at myself when I came across this a few days ago. It’s a cute little story though, so please do enjoy (don’t laugh too hard at me😁) and do let me know what you thought of it in the comments section below. 💜

As she stood on the balcony of her posh townhouse, Helena came to the realisation that she would soon have to make what would possibly be one of the most crucial decisions of her life – the choice between Jason and Peter.
Helena and Jason had been together for 4 years after having dated since their final year of university. They had the perfect relationship, with Jason being a loving, supportive boyfriend whose eyes never wandered. Helena knew she had a good man by her side, since he had been there to help her mend her heart after Peter, the man she had been irrevocably in love with all through high school and was always sure she would marry someday, had broken it into a million pieces. However, despite constantly trying to convince herself that this was not actually the case, Helena always had an unnerving feeling in the back of her mind that she might not have fallen for Jason naturally, as it should be, but rather because she felt indebted to him. She did make one promise to herself, and that was to never betray Jason and to try her best to love him selflessly each day, just as he did her. 

Helena had been thinking more about that unnerving feeling of betrayal over the past few weeks, and was starting to wonder, or rather doubt, if she could keep the promise. This doubt had been brought on by Peter, whom she had never truly gotten over, as he had come back to Namibia after 3 years of working as a petroleum engineer in the United Arab Emirates. Peter had called her the day he arrived, and without wasting any time had begun telling her how much he had been a fool to break her heart and let a good woman such as herself go and how he missed her terribly.  He had also made his intentions to do anything to win her back crystal clear. All this had not only caught Helena off guard, but threw her completely off course. 

Jason startled her as he snuck up behind her and gave her a bear hug and a kiss on the cheek. “What we are so deep in thought about, huh?” he asked, flashing her his signature charming smile. Helena hesitated for a few seconds before responding, “Nothing love, just thinking about some unfinished projects I left at the office”, she said, feeling guilty for lying to him. “Well, I can see that its ruining your mood so how’s about a movie and dinner afterwards. We can check out the new 3-D theatre at the mall”, he said, never ceasing to smile at her. As she turned to face him, she thought about what a fool she herself would be to let such an amazing guy go for one who nearly made her lose all faith in love. “Sounds lovely dear”, she said, grinning back at him.

Jason and Helena arrived at the theatre an hour later and saw a sci-fi movie that Jason had been dying to see since he was into the whole futuristic robot thing. They agreed that Helly, as he affectionately referred to her, would get to choose the restaurant. Jason had a lot of fun in the theatre, jumping around in his seat. He was very fascinated by the 3-D effect and could not stop talking about it even after they had left and were walking to the restaurant which was on the other side of the mall. Helena, on the other hand, fell asleep twice during the movie and was relieved it was over, as she found sci-fi to be boring and unrealistic. They had a quiet dinner in a cosy restaurant that Helena liked for their grilled fish, which is what she always had there with a garden salad while Jason opted for fries and a steak. Jason asked her again if she was sure everything was alright with her and she reassured him that it was and he let it go, despite not being entirely convinced. 

Peter called Helena again two days later asking to see her. She agreed, despite knowing that it would most likely end badly for everyone involved, but her curiosity got the best of her and she saw him later that night after he texted her directions to his new apartment. She drove straight from work to his apartment. When she arrived she found him standing at the door with a huge smile on his face, he looked genuinely happy to see her but she was not sure if she felt the same. After he closed the door behind them he turned to her and gave her a tight hug that lasted a little too long for her liking and she pushed him away gently. “What’s wrong?” he asked, “nothing”, she said as she sat down on a sofa behind her. “I’m glad you agreed to see me Helena. I’ve really missed you. You look amazing”, he sat down next to her and took her hand in his. “I know I messed up, but I’m back now and we can start over again, we can do things right this time. Besides, I’m sure you must be bored out of your mind with that school teacher guy. We engineers need to be together”, he said with a cocky grin on his face. “Jason is an amazing man who makes an honest living, please do not talk badly of him”, “You sound like you love and respect him”, “and I do, very much”, she replied, becoming slightly irritated by him. “And yet you’re here with me”, “you’re right. I should go”, “no please, don’t leave Helena. I didn’t mean to offend you.” You didn’t offend me, in fact you made me realise just why I should not be here. Goodbye Peter”, she walked out as fast as she could, not even responding to him begging her to stay. On her way home Helena was glad she had gone to see Peter, as it reminded her just why she definitely could not choose his arrogant self over Jason who only ever treated her like the princess he so often referred to her as. And despite the fact that she did not love him as deeply as she had once loved Peter, she made another promise to herself, and that was to make more of an effort to learn to reciprocate his love.

– Aquila. B

Welcome to my blog!


So I’ve FINALLY gotten around to it.

 I hopped onto the blogging wagon 😁

Something I’d meant to get started on a while ago but, indecisiveness is real. Indecisiveness about what, you may ask? Well, when your mind is as unquiet as mine, you’ll understand me when I tell you that I have a lot to say about a lot.

 For the most part I was torn between what to blog about and whether I even wanted to blog at all. The determinant ended up being the other social media platforms I use all becoming Snapchat.    I needed something new!!!!

Nevertheless, welcome! 

On here (unlike my Facebook page which is reserved primarily  for memes and vines), I will unpack for you all my thoughts on the things that pique my interest; love, literature, music, film, fitness (physical, mental, emotional) to mention but a few (God forbid I ever bore you with politics). I also am looking to share my longer poetry/prose pieces, (shorter ones I upload to my Instagram page) @aquila_bartholomeus, as well as my short stories, which were one of the main causes to my indecision, as I could not seem to, well, decide where I wanted to share them. So, needless to say, I’m stoked that I finally have a “home” for them 🤗

I must, however, disclaim, or rather warn those of you who are sensitive to reading about “too deep/serious” issues such as social injustice that this might not be the place for you, as I fully intend to share what I’ve been told to be my “a bit too strong” opinions on these topics, I’m talking racism, homophobia, feminism…the works!

What is a “bit too strong” opinion?

On the other hand if you do take an interest in discourse of such a nature, then this is me asking if you’d like to be my friend 

Blog posts are to be expected biweekly, provided life, and by ‘life’ I mean my 8-to-5 and the subsequent exhaustion, does not get in the way.

-❤