Thursday, 26 March 2015

Strike Three

I've been trying really hard to go for a run this week, and yet, to date, I've only managed to clock a measly 400 m...  And it all started with a wrong decision on Monday: Although I really, really felt like a run (I have new running shoes, hello!) and had all the opportunity in the world to do so, I didn't, because I reasoned that I needed to be "fresh" for Tuesday's club time trial.  Big mistake.  

Eeeeeeeeeek!  (New shoes).
On Tuesday, I was planning on doing the club time trial alone (i.e. without the kids and the stroller), when Will, out of the blue, announced that he wanted to do the time trial too.  Uhm, what??  Despite my surprise, I was, of course, elated and in the blink of an eye my planned solo run turned into a family affair - hooray!  Except that we only ran a total of 400 m before Missy K started protesting.  Loudly.  So much so that we abandoned the run and casually strolled back to the car.  And by the time we got home, it was too dark for me to go and run alone.  Strike one.

By Wednesday afternoon I was tingling with excitement about my planned Wednesday-evening run (I hadn't run all week and, hello, I have new running shoes!): I was going to run the Kimberley parkrun route on my own and record it as my very first "freedom run".  Driving to the game farm I was grinning from ear to ear - my first freedom run, yay!  Except that I never ran a step.  Upon reaching the farm, I was greeted by The Flag (a red flag = hunting on the farm = no running on the farm - obviously) - nooooooooo!  So I turned around and headed back home as fast as I could, but it was already getting dark by the time I got back (the farm is quite a distance from our home).  Strike two.

The Flag.

I'm sure that by now you won't be surprised to hear that this morning I woke up with a sore throat - a cold/flu in the making - so once again there'll be no running for this mama today.  Strike three.  

I have, however, learnt my lesson: If it's Monday and you have the urge to run, do it!!  I know that next time I definitely will.

Happy Thursday, everyone!


Monday, 23 March 2015

A dream come true

Seven months ago, I arrived in Kimberley - sad, frustrated, and facing a never-ending string of settling-in challenges.  Will had just started a new job, the kids were struggling to adjust to their new surroundings, and I was missing the very happy and peaceful existence that we had back in Bloemfontein.  I missed our old neighbourhood, our friends, our nanny, and I missed my weekly Naval Hill parkrun fix - I was a sad, sad mama.

Fast forward seven months and things are thankfully looking up!  Will has settled into his new job, Miss K loves her new playgroup and J Bear adores his new nanny - can someone do a happy dance?!  I've joined a new running club and met some fantastic people, I've rediscovered the joy of regular cake-and-movie dates with besties Tanya and Annemarie, and this past weekend was the icing on the cake (drum roll and bated breath, please): The inaugural Kimberley parkrun, whooooooooooooooooop!

After six months of meetings, site visits, e-mails flying back and forth, and more meetings, the dream has finally come true.  And it was the perfect day: Cloudy and cool, but not rainy, with the best of the best Northern Cape sunrises in the background; the group of volunteers calmly chatting and setting up; parkrun SA Country Manager, Bruce Fordyce and his lovely wife, Gill, stealing hearts wherever they went; the contagious enthusiasm of the delightful parkrun tourists; and the locals showing up in their masses.  My heart sang.

No better view on a warm-up run.  [Photo by Corne Pretorius.]

Setting up.  [Photo by Corne Pretorius.]

And they're off!  [Photo by Corne Pretorius.]

One hundred-and-fifty-seven runners and walkers crossed the finish line on Saturday - some having travelled almost 1 000 km to get there.  But it wasn't by any means the numbers that made this event such a personal highlight.  For me the best part of this entire experience has been seeing and experiencing the dedication and enthusiasm of everyone involved in the project - it has completely blown me away.  Every, single person involved went above and beyond what was asked of them to put together something that I hope and trust will become a weekend highlight for many Kimberlites.    

A dream come true.  [Photo by Corne Pretorius.]

And Kimberley?  I think I'm starting to love it here...!         


Monday, 16 March 2015

Perfect Timing

I literally squealed with excitement when I realised that our trip to Hartenbos would coincide with the inaugural Hartenbos parkrun - what a delightful coincidence!  And, what excited me even more, was the fact that Will would be joining us for our first ever parkrun as a family of four - I sure was one thrilled nerd mama, ha!   

Ready to run!

The starting point of the parkrun route was within walking distance of our holiday accommodation, so we made our way there on foot to be greeted by (literally!) hundreds of fellow excited parkrunners.  We also finally met some of the parkrun tourists - a group of parkrunners who travel all over the country to visit as many parkrun locations as possible.  How fun is that?!  And, after giving it a lot of thought, I've finally decided that this is my favourite thing about parkrun: The fun and positive parkrun community.  Although the running community in general is such a positive and uplifting one, parkrun somehow just takes that to the next level.  I love it!

With parkrun SA Country Director, Bruce Fordyce.
The Hartenbos parkrun route is a very interesting one: First of all, it has a magnificent ocean view, and secondly I don't think anyone could ever be bored running it - there are little twists and turns galore!  I ran with Miss K and J Bear in the double stroller and must say that some spots were a bit of a tight squeeze for us, plus the start was also quite congested, but all in all we had a lovely run.  What could be better than a seaside run with 311 fellow runnerds on a perfect, sunny day, right? 

Making our way through the crowds.  [Photo by Hartenbos parkrun.]
We finished in 32:18 - 71st out of 311 parkrunners.  What a perfect way to end our holiday at the beach - we had such a lovely time.  But for now, it's time for us to head  back home - next stop: Kimberley!

Hartenbos parkrun done! [Photo by Johannes Bisschoff.]

Have a lovely week, everyone!

Thursday, 12 March 2015

A parkrun and an automatic Sub-3 Argus

After coughing and sneezing up a storm for the first four days of our holiday (and the ten days before that), we finally laced up our running shoes this past Saturday - the beauty of the Cape needed to be run!  I'd arranged with Lisa from Lulu's Big Adventure, who is currently in South Africa for part of her medical studies, to meet Miss K, J Bear and I at the Rondebosch Common parkrun near our hotel - parkrun Number 14 and parkrun Venue Number 3 for us, woohoooo!

It was a lovely, cloudy day in the Cape, and the four of us lined up with 500+ (!) other parkrunners for two laps around the Rondebosch Common.  As you can imagine, it was quite a crowded affair, and as a result we walked for most of the first kilometre.  Things thankfully spread out a bit after that, and we chatted and ran and enjoyed the beauty of Devil's Peak in the background for the remaining four kilometres.  It was so nice to finally meet Lisa (I've been following her blog for more than a year now) and to hear about some of her adventures in person - wishing her a lovely stay for the rest of her time here in S.A.!   

Rondebosch Common parkrun with Lisa!

If you've been following our adventures for a while, you'll also know that Will has been chasing a sub-3 hour Cape Town Cycle Tour for four years now, and that he's very narrowly missed that goal on all four occasions.  The main reason for our visit to Cape Town was also then Sub-3 Attempt Number 5 - yep, we were going for it again.  Except this time things took a very unexpected turn: Extensive fires on the Cape Peninsula (the venue for the Cape Town Cycle Tour) caused race organisers to shorten the race distance from 107 km to 47 km at the last minute (the Wednesday before the race, actually), giving Will an "automatic" sub-3 time (there was no way that he was going to spend more than 3 hours riding only 47 km).  That was, of course, not the sub-3 he'd hoped for, so I guess we'll be back again next year for another attempt at a proper sub-3!

And so, after five glorious days, countless memorable meals, an automatic Sub-3 and a parkrun with a new friend in beautiful Cape Town, it was time to say goodbye.  Thankfully we were not headed home just yet - we had seven more days of sun, sea and fun to look forward to in Hartenbos.    

See you soon, Cape Town! 

Tuesday, 10 March 2015


Man, I love holidays!  And although the first half of our holiday at the coast has literally flown by, we still have a few more days of sun, sea and fun to look forward to - hooray!

We started our long-awaited holiday a week ago in true Running the Race fashion: With four (yes, four!) runny noses and a truck load of luggage, woooot!  And, after three years of practise, I'm afraid we're still pretty much a mini travelling circus: There were dirty diapers, banana peels, torn tissue paper and jelly sweets everywhere.  I even made it all the way to the restroom with half a squished cheese-and-tomato sandwich stuck to my butt during our first comfort break - what can I say?  We were obviously made to do this.         

Luggage, luggage everywhere.

After an overnight stop at the halfway mark (we live approximately 1 000 km from the coast) and a quick hello with precious friends, we spent the first few nights of our holiday in a fancy schmancy Cape Town hotel - ahhhhhh!  Our room was, of course, fancy for a grand total of 5 minutes after we moved in (we travel with a little one-year old tornado these days), but our time there was still glorious.  What is it about crisp, white hotel linen and breakfast buffets that just never lets it get old??  I'm forever and ever a fan.

Our fancy hotel room.  And no, those two little dirty feet and the crisp, white linen were not a good match.

One of my favourite things about Cape Town is that it allows me to indulge my inner health-nut nerd to my heart's content.  If I had a buck for every squeal that has left these lips after spotting yet another chia seed smoothie or freshly pressed beetroot, carrot and apple juice, I'd be rolling in dough right now.  I love this place!

Chia Charge mecca.
And after four whole days of heavenly breakfast buffets, crisp white linen and health food to our heart's content, we finally felt healthy enough (runny noses, remember?) for our first holiday run - I'll tell you about it next time!

Hope your week is glorious too!