Last weekend the Mindful Runner and I set off on a recce mission to Deelfontein Farm, a potential location for our Trail Running/Yoga Retreat weekend. Gerhard, the owner, happened to be running an informal trail run and we were game to try out the trails and take in the scenery around Vredefort Dome near Parys. Mindful Runner chose the 20km (with ~7 others), I opted for the 12km (with 2 others), there was 1 brave 35km runner, and 3 5km runners. There was no time keeping (except our own watches), no prizes (except for a plunge in the pool when we returned), and we were provided with a map to assist in navigation over, around, and through the farm. The trails were all runnable (with some being positively gnarly) and clearly marked (yellow blazes), but we still all got turned around a few times. In fact, the father and son team hoping to make a quick run around the 5km loop ended up being out for about 4-5 hours and ambling over 18km. I ended up being first lady, first female vet, but still placed last overall in the 12km with a time of 3:17 (with my gimp knee in tow). At the final water point I decided to forgo the rest of the trail (I had completed my 12km afterall) and take the dirt road back to the lapa for a dip in the lovely pool.
Did I mention last weekend saw some record high temperatures in South Africa, and it was well into the 30s by the time I finished (around 10:30am)? The heat coming off the ground (and the surrounding sandstone rock) was intense. Honestly, I had been dreaming (hallucinating?) about the pool since kilometer 6, and I couldn’t wait to get to the end of the line. I think everyone came back with a sunburn and were more than a little dehydrated. That pool, and the ice cold water, powerade, coconut water, beer, water, lemonade, beer, ice water really hit the spot! The Mindful Runner and I stuck around chatting with Gerhard about the development and design of the trails (very eco-friendly and beautifully planned) and checking out the facilities, chowing down veggie burgers, and waiting for the other runners to return. When we left around 2pm there were still 3 people out on the trails.
The trail covered several different terrain types, from sand/gravel trail, through grassy pasture, some riverbed sections, and over the tops of quartzite and cobble hilltops. There wasn’t a lot of shade so we all tried to run/lope in the open and take breaks under the scrubby trees (until the flies caught up with me and I had to start moving again). I was really amazed that a trail could feel as if it were always going uphill. My profile proves otherwise, but it did feel like I was slowly, and constantly hiking up and up and up. But it was worth it- the views from the peaks were amazing!
So we’ll be back there for the Trail Running and Yoga retreat from 2-4 December and you’re welcome to join us! We’ll be exploring the trails, practicing trail running techniques, doing some yoga pool-side, and drinking lots of ice-cold