A quick blurb about the Adventure Lisa Forest Run that I ran on 21 May in and around the Vredefort Dome near Parys. I was looking for a race that I could ghost- just disappear for the day, rock up, run, and leave. Sixteen kilometers is more than I’ve ever run, but I’ve known Lisa for years and I had heard that the route would be smart and accessible for someone with my limited experience. I figured if she can get through one of my Saturday morning Ashtanga classes, I can get through her ‘short course’ forest run. And I needed to see if I could actually go for 16km with Run the Berg appearing on the horizon in October.
And for the most part the run was amazing: I had the right shoes, the right pack, the right food, the right amount of water. The terrain was varied, from gravel road to jeep track to forest single track, to picking through some rough and rocky steep terrain. But at around 3-5km I started to get a nagging pain in my knee. A new pain that didn’t get better as I warmed up to the run, just a nagging freezing/locking sensation. Several times I stopped to stretch- hip openers, quad lengtheners, nothing worked. So I walked. I walked through sections I could have run, I walked through sections I wanted to run. I walked up that scorpion hill and when I started down the other side I had the most exquisite pain in my knee that several times took my breath away. And then I walk-jogged, or rather walk-slogged to the finish. Official time: 3:37:00, 41st place (yes, at the back of the pack). And honestly, despite my frustration at having to walk when I had the energy to run, I’m not too sad with that time for my first 16km. I was more just angry with a new ‘injury’ that I was going to have to deal with in my training for my next stage race (see Buster Bunny post next).
Lisa runs an awesome race! It was the little details in the organisation that really counted, the personalized bib, the contour map (in a baggie, with extra pins!), the trail fairies along the way offering lots of encouragement, the regular water stations with great snacks, and the veggie burger option at the end of the trail (this was very much appreciated)! And above all, the trail was runnable and enjoyable. I wasn’t so shattered when I got to the Trig Beacon (where there was a ukulele player serenading the runners) that I couldn’t enjoy the walk/run and the terrain I was moving through. I will definitely be back for another forest run! Adventure-Lisa- you ROCK!