This is what has happened since my last blog post:
- Master’s degree in Biostats and Epidemiology orientation week
- MSc Intro to Biostats/Computing week
- Back at work + get sick
- MSc Epidemiology week + sinusitis + GI issues + sister visit
- Missed the Diamond Dash + MSc Biostatististics week
- Work like crazy + try to finish biostats assignment
- Missed the Drakensburg Northern Trail run + pack for move
- Move house + Easter Holidays
- Work and study Epi
So my racing season only started this past Sunday with the absolutely stunning MRLT Nogwaja 13(actually 11)km. Because of the previous 2 months of illness and barely any training I was apprehensive, especially when I saw the profile:
Just in case you can’t quite make it out, that’s a 545m elevation gain happening in the first 5km of the race. Which is why I waffled several times last week about swapping to the 5km. But in the end I decided to view it as a “hike” rather than a “run”, and anyway it couldn’t possibly take more than 3 hours. I’ll just meander along at my own pace and have a nice cold beer at the finish line to celebrate. But it was not to be.
Because the Rustig Hiking Trail climb was so narrow and so treacherous I moved along at the same clip as pretty much everyone else, standing in line at fence stiles, zig-zagging up and down cliff faces, climbing up weathered ladders, down ravines and ditches, through trees and branches, and across rocky cobbled grassland. And listening to the chatter of everyone on the trail the whole way; it was one of the most social trail runs I’ve ever done. There were tons of photo ops, and the views were so stunning that you occasionally just had to stop and take it all in (though after about 4km I was too tired to take any more pictures). During the last several kilometers everyone’s legs were so shattered that we hobbled and walked, and occasionally jogged/loped to the finish line, which gave plenty of opportunity to joke with each other about how fun it will be not be able to walk the next day (I still can’t walk well and it’s Tuesday). The total distance ended up being almost 11km, which is lucky because my legs would not have made it another 2km. I finished in 2:47:40 and was the 73rd woman, ~151st overall of 173. There were about 20+ veteran women ahead of me and one of those vets placed 1st: Elizabeth Dlhiwayo with a time of 1:36:23. The first male on the 13km was Ryan Mathaba coming in at 1:15:18.
I stumbled twice, rolled my ankle, slid down a hill on a corner, and had more people looking up my running skirt than I’d like, but I am so grateful I didn’t downgrade to the 5km!
As always, Nina organizes a good trail run and MRLT is expanding from the usual 2 distances to 3 (a 5, 13 and 21km). She makes sure the trail is super challenging, but super rewarding! Registration went smoothly (we even got bracelets with the contact number on them in case we fell into a rabbit hole), we started on time, and the trail was well marked. I only missed 2 turns because I had to be so careful about where my feet were going. There was one water station early on, but I think the 2nd water station got lost in the bush somewhere, or maybe I missed it in the tall grass. I was extremely grateful that Active Sports Therapy was there because I got a lovely leg massage after prize giving was over. I’m so glad no one could hear me crying.
I would also encourage everyone to try an MRLT event this year because Mindful Runner is giving away certificates for free Trail Clinics (which I have done and highly recommend) and one certificate for Three Months of Personal Training at each one of the races. And Ekam Yoga (that’s me!) be giving away a free month of Yoga for Runners classes to someone in each of the distances for each race this year- so be there to win! The next one is the Buster Bunny Boven Stage Race, which I am really looking forward to.
See you all on the trails!