what I learned about running while on safari

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After Kilimanjaro we went on a 6 day safari in the Serengeti. Driving for 9 hours a day gave our legs a break and we learned a few interesting things about running along the way.

Cheetahs are f*cking lazy

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We were lucky to see loads of Cheetahs during our stay in the park. They are such beautiful creatures, and yes the fastest land animal, but 99% of the time they are doing nothing. Absolutely nothing.  It takes a lot of energy to run that fast, all their muscles are going full-blast and it’s not something they can sustain for a long period of time. So they take breaks. Long breaks. Other than poking their head up to sniff around for predators, they spend their time lying in the grass letting their body recover. They’re not doing yoga or a recovery jog, just lying down doing nothing but surviving. They couldn’t be as fast and deadly as they are without all the rest.

Sound familiar?

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It just drilled home the importance of rest for me. I’ll never be a sub 1 minute/mile speedy cheetah but I do appreciate the importance of real rest. Working all day? Not rest. Watching TV with your legs up? Not rest. 1 hour dynamic yoga class? Not rest! Take some serious time out to do nothing and let your body rest and relax.

Follow the wildebeest crowd and you will be eaten by a crocodile

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One of the best days of our safari was when we drove up to the Northern Serengeti and set up along the bank of the Mara river (looking across to Kenya and the Masi Mara reserve) to watch the famous wildebeest great migration when hundreds of thousands of them try to make the dangerous river crossing.

In each herd there is one leader who decides when they’re going to cross the river. He’s not the smartest or even that good of a communicator. He just decides to make a break for it and everyone follows him. Within seconds they go from grazing on the grass to attempting one of the most dangerous events of their lives.

In the first crossing we saw one wildebeest didn’t make it and was being held in the river by a crocodile. The poor wildebeest struggled to get free and didn’t give up until the very end when he was finally pulled under by the crocodile.

Sound familiar? (I am really stretching the legal metaphor limits here)

This guy didn't make it

This guy didn’t make it

Just because everyone is doing something, or someone is extra loud about their way of going about running, doesn’t mean you have to follow them. Make up your own mind. You *probably* will not get eaten by a crocodile, but why risk injury following what someone else says. Plus you are going to waste a lot of time and energy on them and their ideas. Do your own thing and make up your own mind when it is safe to cross the river!

Always stop at a zebra crossing

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Really. It’s a good life rule and and a classic safari joke.

Eat if you want to get big and strong

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Vultures eat everything. We watched this bunch absolutely decimate a recently killed wildebeest and they were not picky about what part they got. They are some of the biggest birds in the Serengeti and will eat whatever is leftover from the other animals. There are no elimination diets in the Vulture world. (I didn’t see one vulture choosing a cauliflower rice option). A good article came out recently about how Women athletes need to eat more. I agree, too much food information out there, especially aimed at women, is about reducing and removing. Dive in and be a vulture. Eat!

 

 

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