Southern Trails 10km Klipsriviersberg Race report

firsthill

View of the hill from around point 2 (see below).

My last Southern Trails run was 3 May, when I ran a 4.1km in 32:25 and placed 3rd woman (after a gym bunny and 12-year-old), and I remember it being frigid. Also, my last name got shuffled in the results list and I didn’t get my ribbon. But I met Donald, who was getting into shape via trail running just like me, and let me beat him; after everyone in the lead figured out we were running the course on the opposite direction. So I wasn’t expecting that much from this 10km run. *Update: I reviewed the Southern Trails website today and the 3 May results have been updated and my full name, time and place are correct.

The Klipsriviersberg area is rocky, technical, and undulating, but still very runnable. Charles, from Southern Trails, has redone all the routes and added a 20km to boot. The trails were very well marked and really stunning technically and also the terrain plus the scenery were awesome. I’m pretty sure my ass is going to be very sore for the next few days. And I’m guessing my quads will start aching sometime tomorrow afternoon. After the Rock Rabbit Run last weekend I thought I had seen my most challenging trail, but this one is now on my top 5 list (we will never speak of the Beast again).

On Saturday, I read on Facebook that my cousins ran the Sleepy Hollow 10km, Katie (triathlete) had a time of 55:31 and Christy (returning to fitness after her first pregnancy) came in at 1:08:15. Both admirable times. I was jealous- I takes me 1:04 at top speed to run an 8km here! And they measure everything in miles! And their miles were 10 minutes, and my kilometers take 10 minutes. My time for this race was 1:52:28; the Headless Horseman would have taken my head for sure! However, I couldn’t find a race profile for the Sleepy Hollow 10km on the website…and here’s the Klipsriviersberg 10km:

Klips18Oct

Seriously, my jaw dropped when I downloaded that profile to Strava. And I think I swore. And I started to feel less bad about being slow. We’re currently experiencing a heat wave here in Joburg, and any race that starts after 7am is destined to be a sweaty one, with a chance of possible sunburn. So here’s what I was experiencing at each of the numbered points:

  1. It’s going to be a warm day today.
  2. This is kind of steeper than I thought would be. Is that sweat dripping off my face?
  3. That headwind feels great!
  4. I think I’m at the top. There’s supposed to be a view of the Joburg skyline somewhere, but it’s too hot to stay up here and look for it.
  5. It’s even hot in the trees! And if I trip and fall I’ll be a puddle by the time help arrives. And probably both my arms will be broken. And my face.
  6. Geez, it’s even hot by the river! When does this get easy?
  7. I need to finish before I spontaneously combust.
viewfromtop

Where’s the view of the Joburg skyline I was promised? View from point 4.

Highs

Significantly more people were there than for the May races. It’s great to see trail running growing! Some sections of the trail I’d run before, so there was some familiarity. But it was definitely challenging, and fun! In total, it was 286m of climbing. Coupled with the 267m climbing for the Rock Rabbit Run last weekend that should mean I don’t have to do a Tabata/HIIT session this week! In truth, I may not be able to do a HIIT session this week. It was well organized and well run- but I’m going to hold back on full stars until I see that my first and last name are correct and I have an official time. *Update: Results were posted to the Facebook page this morning for all 3 races. I was 83rd of 116. Official time as above- Awesome!

Lows

It may have started off quite brisk in the morning, but it became quite warm quite quickly. Certainly no one is in control of the weather, but I’m now not averse to very early starts in summer. Like I’m ok with 6am now. And the earlier we start the sooner I’m home to catch up on my beauty rest. Also, I may have lived on a co-ed floor in college, but non-stinky, single-sex bathrooms are very important.

Mindful Running

Every time I looked at my watch to figure out how many kms I had left, I tripped over something. Considering that more deaths were attributed to selfies than shark attacks in the last year, I should be more mindful.

It’s great to look back at my first year of trail running and see how far I’ve come, and see how far others that I run with on the weekends have come as well. I now see lots of familiar faces at the start line, and when I look like I’m about to pass out on a uphill these, these familiar faces always ask me if I’m ok. Trail running is a positive, affirming community to be a part of.

Rock Rabbit Run Race Report (short course)

RabbitTrailSeries2015

On Sunday I completed the Rabbit Trail Series, run by My Road Less Traveled. My first MRLT race was actually the Vivobarefoot run on 1 March, which was also my first 8km. I loved it so much I continued and completed all four Rabbit Runs- they proved to be the best Sunday runs of this year, and really got me motivated and interested in trail running. The trails were challenging, but the community encouraging, and I’m now sold on trail running. I didn’t place for the series, but I now have a unique set of trophies, and I experienced some great territory (mostly) within Gauteng. Ultimately, the series, for me, went like this:

Date Race Distance Time Pace
10-May-15 Nogwaja Ezemvelo 11.2 1:29:10 7:56
19-Jul-15 Captain Carrot 7.2 1:08:35 9:33
23-Aug-15 Scrub Hare 8.6 1:26:11 9:57
11-Oct-15 Rock Rabbit Run 9.5 1:44:33 10:57

As you can see, I’ve slowed down significantly this year. Winter was definitely a low point for me, and I’ve also had a troublesome hip, which I’m now sorting out with my favorite physio (yoga, unfortunately, sometimes makes it worse). Regardless of my times, I feel I’ve accomplished something, and I’ll be back next year. I like that the Rabbit Trail Series is still small, and intimate, and I’ve made running friends this year. By comparison, I found the Spur Trail Series to be too big, and though it ran like clockwork, it also felt a bit soulless, and the trails weren’t as interesting. So I’ll be back chasing rabbits again next year.

RockRabbitProfile

Highs

  1. That hill. It turned out to be only 70m, but seriously, it was straight up. Ok, only a 27% grade.
  2. That other hill. You might have missed it, but check your profile, another 60m at a 23% grade.
  3. OMG the prizes! I won another bottle of wine for being the tallest female runner (though I think some taller runners already had enough prizes so let me have it). And running friends the Merediths won a Balloon Safari!
  4. Also the views! Stunning vistas from the top (wherever that was), though not much time to savour as one has to keep moving before the sun gets super hot.
  5. And I like technical trail. And the people on the trail are always supportive, and funny. And I have started wearing my skirt, which is cooler.
  6. Run Trail posted pictures the same day, awesome! And Racetime results were also available next day.
DSmithRRR

Special thanks to Darren Smith for this photo of me. We’ve never actually met, but obviously we’ve crossed paths. This is before that hill- the morning light is beautiful!

Lows- My Dark Night of the Soul (abridged)

Normally, I like to review the race profile during the week before the race, over and over again, so I can build up enough nervous energy to get me through the 8, no wait- 9.77 kms. Sadly, I only got to see the profile 10 minutes before the race start, which didn’t allow enough time to create the appropriate amount of anxiety for that hill. Also, between 6.5-8.5 kms my darker, surlier self reared it’s ugly head and reminded me that I hate running. It’s hot, and exhausting. What’s the point? And it’s dirty. Like, even my teeth were caked with dirt. And you have to like, train. Seriously, I am the laziest person on the planet. Why would I run trail? I was running so slowly that bugs were flying faster than I was, which was annoying. I should probably train more.

Mindful Running

Again, technical trail. I love it, but I’m also realizing that I need to be fit and whole. My yoga training keeps me balanced when dropping down hills, but this hip injury, I think, may be preventing me from accessing my mobilizers (gluteus maximus) making climbing tiring, and in the end, painful.

Next weekend, another race closer to home.

Rhino Run Race Report (10km)

rr-gautengI was very excited for the Rhino Run, my first charity run, and my second ‘official’ 10km. I entered (R160), I ordered a t-shirt (R200), and I even threw in R50 extra because rhinos are so adorable! Then Z ended up back at the vet for the weekend (R1000+) and I had to kennel Kinga (R130), and I took the N1 toll road (R80), twice (R120). So together it made it an expensive weekend. But it was worth it! The Rhino Run is a globally coordinated event taking place in 7 different locations (including Mississippi and Hong Kong) around the globe on 20 September. Funds go to other rhino conservation organisations and to help purchase supplies and build rhino ambulances. In Gauteng, there were a total of ~340 runners in all 3 distances (15km, 10km and 5km). They’re still tallying results to determine how much was raised this year.

When I signed up for the Rhino Run I didn’t know where the trail run would take place. I was horrified to find out it would be at Hedianga Farm, the same location and trail as The Beast. But I told myself it was for a good cause, and I was more mentally prepared, and I would be doing the 10km, so everything would be fine!

thathill

Hedianga Farm 10km profile. Yes, that is 4km of uphill at the end!

Highs

This event was really well-organized, and I’m appreciating that more as I run more trail races. For example: Racetime posted results the next morning, which was a nice change from last weekend’s race. I registered, got my goodie bag and my t-shirt (which fit perfectly), and all the distances started on time. Thankfully, the weather was overcast as the 10km started at 9:10am and it would have been blistering if the sun had been out. Between kms 4-8 I felt great, I was moving well, the scenery was beautiful and I was rethinking my negative attitude towards Hedianga Farm. There was jasmine blooming, succulents growing, and the breeze was brisk and cool. The terrain was very rocky and technical, and I was often slowing down to hike through rocky outcrops and ditches. All in all it was a great morning out, until…

Lows

LosingRhino

11 of my friends on Facebook liked this photo of me coming in last. Thanks guys! And thank you Nicky M. for taking the pic!

That hill. That terrible, 2km hill at the very end that goes up and up, forever. Like a stairway to hell. Every time you get to a bend in the trail you think it’s over, but it just keeps going. I remembered it distinctly from the 5km in February, I knew it was going to be bad, but it didn’t matter. Essentially, at 8km, I checked out and resigned myself to walking. And so: I came in last. Yep- you read that right: last finisher on the 10km (official time: 1:54:45). 87th of 87. To be fair, there were 3 people who didn’t finish, but it could have been because they injured themselves, or got lost, or gave up, or maybe they died. It was a really tough run (for me anyway).

Mindful Running

I’m new to trail running, so I would rate this trail as ‘technical’, meaning that if I’m not paying very close attention to where my feet are going I’m going to fall bloody and break something. In fact, there was someone who came off the trail with a sprained ankle. And there were others bleeding at the finish. Trail runs require you to have your head in the game. And for all my “I’m tired of being slow” talk, I was very slow on this race. In fact, I was 1min/km slower on this run than on the 5km in February. Being mindful, to me, means being conscious of my surroundings and adjusting my behavior and attitude to fit. I don’t regret taking my time on this race, and I did enjoy my almost 2-hour hike.

Regardless of my placement, I’m excited about up-ing my game and running the middle distances (8-15kms). There are fewer under-12s, and fewer chatty-Cathys. At this point, I’d rather be in the bottom half of these distances than in the top half of a 5km (and getting beaten by 12-year-olds). I’ve got my watch, my hydration system (including a whistle), and I’ve got time- so why not enjoy a morning of calorie burning and an ice cold brew afterwards? And there’s plenty of time to get my endurance and speed up before my next race on 11 Oct- the 8km Rock Rabbit Run with MRLT.

Spring Break Trail Run Race Report (10km)

I failed to write a race report of the Scrub Hare race I ran on 23 August (#3 of the Rabbit Trail Series from MRLT). It was a nice gentle-ish, scenic trail with some great views, but I was feeling off and didn’t run very well and most of all I felt soooooo sloooooow. My time proved it: 1:26:10 for an 8.6km, and 103rd out of 124 runners. And when scanning the pics I discovered quite possibly the worst picture of me ever taken- I look like I’m 80! To be fair, I’ve had bad insomnia for the last few months, have been stressed at work, and haven’t been training as much as I’d like to be. It was a good course overall, I just wish I had been more in the game and able to enjoy it. The great thing is that since that race I’ve gotten my butt back in gear and my mantra is now “I’m tired of being slow.” With the season changing to spring, it’s lighter, warmer, and I’m getting a bit more sleep. So I’m getting back into my training groove.

Highs

This past Sunday I ran my first official 10km- the Spring Break Trail Run. “Official 10km” means I signed up for a 10km, not I signed up for an 8km and it ended up being a 10km. The weather was perfect and the scenery was beautiful- proteas everywhere. And it makes a huge difference when there’s a little humidity in the air. All the big climbs were early on, and the last few kms was mostly flat and easy, which by that point I sincerely appreciated. My instinct that there are fewer children playing the hurry-up-and-wait game on the longer distances proved true. The trail ended up being 11.8km, but I finished the first 10km only 6 minutes over my target. My official time was 1:44:38 but I don’t know my place in the ~94 runners. It was a well-organized event with a small field, and close to Johannesburg- so I was back home before noon to sleep the rest of the day away. I will definitely be back again next year!

sprintbreakprofile

My garmin clocked 207m of elevation gain.

Lows

Why can’t a 10km just be a 10km? Why does it always have to be more? I am always paranoid that I’ve taken a wrong turn and ended up on the 20km route, and that I will end up running for 4 hours rather than just 1.5+. Snaking through single track/jeep track and seeing other runners going in different directions through the trees contributes to my anxiety. Also, the timekeeping was a major SNAFU, I wasn’t even listed so I submitted my garmin results, so I don’t know where I placed overall or in my age group.

SpringBreakRun

Like I said, beautiful scenery.

Next weekend is the Rhino Run, and since I ran 11.8km this past weekend I think I’ll be able to take on a(nother) 12km this weekend. This is a new phase of my running- in the first half of this year I was mainly running 5-6km events with 8km at a stretch. Now I’m seeking out the middle distances, though I still only train running 5km around the botanical gardens. It’s interesting to be with a new group of runners, though some of them have also graduated from 5km to 10km over the winter- I’m actually starting to recognize people! Rhino Run race report coming next week and also hopefully some product reviews.

Spring training

Red wine season transitions to craft beer season very quickly here! This 3-day weekend has been beautiful and I finally got a few runs in! I’m preparing for 3 races that are approaching a little too quickly for my liking (join me and say hi if you see me!):

  1. The Scrub Hare Run on 23 August, organized by My Road Less Traveled
  2. The Spring Break Trail Run on 13 September, my first official 10km trail run (and close to home)
  3. The Rhino Run on 20 September, a 12km which I spent a lot of money on (I’m getting the shirt!) and will be held at Hedianga, home of the Beast Run
  4. There’s also the final Rabbit Trail Series race, the Rock Rabbit Run, on 11 October. But I’m not even thinking about that one right now.
UDuv

Photo by Alka

So I really need to get back into a set training schedule because I’ve been sleeping in a lot lately and eating lots of carbs I don’t need. Tabata training (twice weekly for all those uphill climbs- it’s super effective), yoga, and hopefully getting up to at least 15km/week again.

And my new secret weapon has arrived: my UltraVesta from Ultimate Direction! I’m very excited about this (ladies) hydration vest and will be writing a complete review of it in the very near future. I just want to get some more kms on it before I do. But I’m happy that I’ll be prepared if any race changes from a 8km to a 12km again.

I’m also testing the Meow hip pack as well. UD makes really great gear that I hope Mindful Runner will start stocking in the near future. There are a couple packs and hip belts for demoing so stop in and see what’s there to try out.

Captain Carrot Race Report (short course)

captcar

Photo by Alka.

I’ve been looking forward to the Captain Carrot Trail Race (#2 in the Rabbit Trail Series from My Road Less Travelled) since the Nogwaga run at Ezemvelo back on 10 May. Remember the 8km that magically became a 11km? This one was a trail run that turned into a bush-whacking session (that’s bundu-bashing to you ZAers). There is never a dull moment on the Rabbit Trail Series. I think Nina creates good trails that have a variety of terrain and are challenging without being soul-destroying (e.g. Spur Winter Series #4 Leeuwenkloof). In addition, the event was well organized and had a more intimate, friendly feel than the races I’ve been to recently.

Highs

My Garmin measured the short course at 7.1kms and 212m of climbing. At about 4.5km, after the hike up to the highest point on the short course (1609m), we were running through thick bush single file and I started laughing. I started having flashbacks to high-school x-c ski season when, bored with training, a friend and I would set off into the woods, bush-whacking on cross-country skis. We ended up in gullies, streams, tripped up, falling down, and generally just exploring the great outdoors, it was wonderful! And so was this course.

CaptainCarrotShortRace-900x260

Short course profile available at myroadlesstravelled.co.za.

I’m always relieved when the toughest part of the trail is over during the first half, allowing the rest of the run to be relatively easy. But never doubt, this was a truly technical trail, and more fun for the scrabbling, bundu-bashing, getting lost, finding the way, and eventually a long tar downhill back to the finish. Also, spot prize of a bottle of Gentle Giant red wine makes me a winner, no matter where I place. Nina/MRLT always has great prizes, including a balloon safari (which I didn’t win, but there’s always the next race).

Lows

I think it was around 5oC when we arrived in Ingwe Bush Lodge around 7:10am- so brrrrrrr. I wanted to wear cropped tights because the weather has been warmer once the sun is up; this was not a good choice. The scrub was dense and a lot of all of the trail was ungroomed. It made it a bit of a challenge to follow the marking tape, and I ended up off trail, but not critically, a few times (Strava fly-bys shows the long course was a lot worse). My brush-cut shins were relatively minor, but those wearing shorts had it much worse, pretty much everyone had a cut somewhere by the time they finished. Those worst affected (both were on the long course) received a small medical kit during spot-prize giving. My long-sleeved top, which I had tied around by waist, got caught on thorn bushes more than once, and I even fell, tripped around the ankle by what I think was barbed-wire. But my Tabata training/mountain climbers saved me! I was a little sad that the course wasn’t a full 8km, since I have been training for it, but I’m thankful that on a course this challenging it was a bit shorter.

I was so busy avoiding the giant rocks that someone had left in the game trail that I never did see any game en route. Though hazy, the views were stunning, but I was too focused on my feet to get a good look. However, after finishing the run and waiting for friends to finish, we finally got our game sighting. Just through the bush, a herd of giraffe were seen thundering across the field below us. It was totally awesome!

And just a quick note coming out of the Spur Trail Series, vegetarian options next to the boerewors is always welcome.

Results

Since the Nogwaja/Ezemvelo Run this series has increased in popularity. There were 157 running the long distance and 138 on the short distance. By comparison, the Nogwaja run had 67 in the short distance and 41 in the long distance.

  • Long course (18.6km) Male: Eddie Sesipi, 01:49:10. Female: Nicky Booyens, 01:50:40.
  • Short course (7.1km) Male: Henco Erasmus, 00:40:04. Female: Elzani Smith, 00:47:25.
  • Me: My official result was 1:08:35, 34th female and 6th female veteran. I think I was 79th overall, but I never can tell by the way racetime.co.za lists the results.

Mindful Running

winwine

Mindful running includes mindful post-race drinking.

I really had to stay focused on this run. There weren’t a lot of wide open spaces or even open track, and I was either looking down at where my feet were going or ducking and dodging to avoid low-hanging branches. I’ve been meditating more over the past few weeks as part of my training and I do believe it created a bit of mental steadiness, allowing any frustrations at getting lost or having to dodge rocks and branches easier to cope with.

I’m definitely looking forward to the next in the series, the Scrub Hare Run on 23 August.

 

Hibernation

baby-polar-bears-munich

Boooooo to you, winter!

Did you know that the jury is still out on whether bears truly hibernate? I was reading about hibernation today because I’m convinced that if my dog, Z, left me alone for long enough I could potentially reach a state of hibernation. Alas, she is compelled to wake me up every morning between 1:30-2:30am to go to the loo and so I haven’t had a solid night’s sleep in about two months. Anyway, Asian bears don’t hibernate, and female polar bear do something called ‘denning’ for 3 months while they have cubs. And indeed there is a primate that ‘hibernates’ in its Madagascan tree-hole- the fat-tailed dwarf lemur. So I’m pretty sure that I could probably hibernate if left alone in my own down comforter tree-hole for long enough.

Last month consisted of me drinking lots of red wine, packing vegetable-based protein into all of my meals, and running and training less than I had planned. I also spent time each evening promising myself I would get up at 6:30am to practice yoga the next morning, which I never did. So when I finished the final Spur Trail Series last Sunday, I was truly finished. Seriously, I could barely walk. I finished the 8.8kms in a very sad 1:27:47, and I swear to you that course was entirely uphill. Also, I skipped the previous week’s race (which honestly I’m very happy I did), but in retrospect I should have done race #3 as it was shorter and bailed on race #4. So the results are:

Date Race Distance Time Avg min/km
14-Jun-15 Spur #1 B’Sorah 6.7 52:53:00 7:51
21-Jun-15 Spur #2 Hennops 4.5 42:59:00 9:10
28-Jun-15 Spur #3 Segwati  –  –  –
05-Jul-15 Spur #4 Leeuwenkloof 8.8 1:27:47 9:44

Averaging all the times I unfortunately didn’t place in the top three veteran females, but there’s always the Summer Trail Series starting in October. This Winter Trail Series was well organized, well attended, and had a nice variety of terrain to run through. But in the end I’m left thinking it was a bit sterile. Also, the pervasive smell of charred meat made me unwilling to hang around for prize giving. It did keep me running at least once a week, but I found it very challenging to race every Sunday for a month (in the cold).

But I’m back in the saddle again preparing for Captain Carrot on 19 July. I woke up and did some Tabata training this morning and even meditated. I’ve again promised myself I will get up at 6:30am tomorrow for at least 30min of yoga, followed by 20min of meditation. The reason for this is the profile for this race has been posted and it kind of looks like I’m going to be doing a lot of hiking. Hopefully, I’ll be distracted by the giraffe and eland sightings promised throughout the route.

CaptainCarrotShortRace-900x260

For those who can’t see the numbers, that’s 1450m to ~1600m in 1.5km.

Red Wine Season

Every Sunday for the past two weeks Webyogi and I have woken up (albeit a little later than usual), put on our running clothes, and competed in a Winter Spur Trail Series event. Every Sunday when I pick up Webyogi we agree that we were insane to have signed up for these races at all, what were we thinking, and we’d really rather be gaming and drinking red wine, both in large quantities. Because winter.

redwine

Sweet, sweet nectar!

For those of you who think South Africa experiences a perpetual summer (because it is on the continent of Africa?), think again. It hovers around 0oC at night in the highveld, and is only getting up to almost 10oC by the time we hit the trail running on a Sunday. (For those of you in America that’s 32oF at night and into the mid-40s during the day.) To add to that, June, July and August might get one day of rain each. Essentially, it’s hat and mitten weather these days. So it is difficult to stand in your running tights and short sleeves waiting for your batch to leave, we all jockey for a patch of sun in the line up.

To compensate, South Africa makes the best red wine on the planet, which is what I’ve been doing lately- compensating. In large quantities. And I feel pretty good about it because I have spent the last six months getting off my butt and running. So for these three frigid months, I’m going to enjoy my winter drink and not worry about where I’m placing these days in the series.

And by the way, the Spur Trail Series is very well organized and I’m loving the new terrain we’re running through every Sunday. So I’ll overlook the fact (for now) that Spur is a meat-based semi-fast food chain with few vegetarian options. I will however suggest/beg that they make their soya burger available at these events along with the beef burgers they’re serving up because when I finish running I am super hungry but the smell of charred meat really puts me off.

Two more trail events and I’m done with this series. I’m curious to see where I place as they are giving out prizes to the veterans for a change, but it doesn’t make me want to put down the wine glass at all.

Winter Running

Winter doesn’t officially start here until 21 June, but it’s been pretty frigid for the past few weeks. To keep myself active during the cold months I signed up for the Spur Winter Trail Series, 4 trail runs on consecutive Sundays starting 14 June. So I know I’ll be running once a week in June at least. The cool thing about this series is that you have to run 3 out of 4 of the races (long or short course), they drop your slowest time and average the 3 remaining times and then place you in your age group, which does give someone who is more tenacious than speedy (like me) a chance.

As is my habit, when the cold sets in and the mornings are dark my yoga practice tends to die off. I just can’t face a cold, hard mat in the pre-dawn chill. However, I’ve noticed that the more I run, the more I really need to get on my mat and work out the odd kinks and tensions that running brings. Tight hamstrings, tight hips and hip flexors, an aching lower back not only from running, but also sitting long hours at work trying to finish time-sensitive projects. I need a yoga practice to keep my body happy. So every Monday I make the effort, even if I don’t make it to the mat again for another week.

So before I start blogging about the Trail Series, here’s an overview of all the races I’ve run this year:

Date Race Distance Garmin Time Avg min/km
18-Jan-15 Biogen Resolution Run 5.9 52:56:00 8:52
25-Jan-15 Leafy Greens 5.3 42:22:00 7:53
22-Feb-15 Hedianga Beast 4.9 45:27:00 9:13
01-Mar-15 Vivobarefoot Nature’s Way 8.5 1:04:40 7:34
12-Mar-15 Merrell Night Run 5 39:39:00 7:51
14-Mar-15 Merrell Day Run 5.4 1:09:14 12:38
19-Apr-15 Rosemary Hill 6.4 45:42:00 7:06
05-May-15 Klipriviersberg 4.1 32:25:00 7:50
10-May-15 Nogwaja Trail Run 11.2 1:29:10 7:56
17-May-15 Chase the Sun 6.6 54:25:00 8:12
chasethesun

Brrrrrrr

I’ve averaged about 2 races/month, even over the time I was sick in March/April. I hit my goal of running a sub-35 minute 5km during the Rosemary Hill Run (34:44), and I managed a 10+km long before I had planned to do one. Note that the first run (Biogen) and the most recent run (Chase the Sun) were almost the same course- so in 5 months I’ve managed to drop my average min/km by 40 seconds, on that course anyway.

More blogs from me coming soon over the month of June. The first Spur Run today was a really great trail, challenging, but not agonizing. I don’t think I’ll be able to report the same next Sunday.

Surprise, 11km!

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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?