Surprise, 11km!

nogwajatrophy

Photo courtesy of Alka.

I had a little too much to drink tonight and “accidentally” signed up for another trail race this coming weekend. So far, I’ve raced 3 weekends out of the last 4; so this will be 4 out of 5 of the last weekends that I’ve woken up at the crack of sparrows. But honestly, I’m still high and burning lots of calories from the 11km I did on Sunday. Yes 11km, advertised as an 8-10km. But it was gorgeous!

I decided a few weeks ago to take my first vacation in 2 years and spend one night at Ezemvelo ahead of the Arnold Chatz Nogwaja Run, orchestrated by myroadlesstravelled.co.za. It was so worth it, as I could just meander down to the start of the 8km, no, make that 11km run, on Sunday morning. Apparently the extra kms were added for Mother’s Day. I wanted to protest (loudly) that my mother was not, in fact, in country to run those extra kms for me. But I set my GPS watch and started off with the rest of the (somewhat surprised) runners. Note: The 20 km was actually a 25km, so I shouldn’t complain.

nogwaja

A little less chubby than in January.

Honestly, the scenery was so stunning that I didn’t notice how far I’d run until about 9kms when I searched the horizon for the finish and saw it, rightfully, another 2km away. The difference between 8km and 11km is less than 30%, but I train in the 5-6 km range, which makes an 11km greater than 50% more I usually run. (Can anyone spot the data manager?) A more experienced trail runner than myself remarked that the race brief did say 8-10km, and this is a trail run and so we must be prepared for anything. In addition, I shouldn’t really complain, I paid R90 for an 8km race and got 11km, so- a bargain!?!

So now I’ve run my first 10km (~1:17), which is a major achievement considering I had only set my sights on shorter distances. Overall I was 38th of 67, 21st female, and 7th veteran (official time was 1:28:59). I’m really proud of myself and feel I’ve definitely, finally recovered from my sinusitis and upper respiratory tract infection from March. I’m also truly amazed at what the body can do; I never considered dropping out. My body pulled through, and my mind kept up, and an Epsom salt bath took care of the rest.

Maybe it’s just endorphins, but I’m totally looking forward to Rabbit #2 (Captain Carrot) on 16 July also coordinated by myroadlesstravelled.co.za. Nina has a good sense of what constitutes a beginner trail run, one that still includes challenges so we can level up to the 20km (25km?) runs eventually. Not that I’m considering a 20km run in the future. The scenery was simply stunning, it was a true joy to run through the Ezemvelo reserve, bokkies everywhere! Pics, including me winning spot prizes at the end, can be found here. Definitely worth a look-see (more pics to follow on Wednesday, allegedly).

So this Sunday, an “easy” 6km, the Illumin8 Techniblock Chase the Sun Trail Run, right back where I started in January.

BenAnnaFargo

Fargo?

I must mention now, under other things that make me happy, my brother Ben has completed his goal of running 50 marathons in 50 states before he’s 50 (+1 in DC, making it a 51 marathon total). He ran the final North Dakota marathon this past weekend. I’m not sure how many years he’s been doing this, but he’s only 41, so finished well ahead of his goal. Definitely inspiring. What could possibly be next? Trail running in Africa perhaps?

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