Saturday, 11 June 2016

The one I drove 300 km for and almost missed {Klerksdorp parkrun}

I had a quick solo mom adventure in Klerksdorp this weekend.  Why Klerksdorp?  Well, why not...?!  It's a short(ish) three-hour drive from Kimberley and it has both a parkrun and a Kauai...  What more does one need, right?

Family logistics meant that I could only leave Kimberley on Saturday morning, which, in theory, should have worked fine.  Klerksdorp parkrun only starts at 08:00 a.m., which left a generous four hour-buffer to get to the starting line if I left at 04:00 a.m.  But, as my dear husband would tactfully point out, I stink at night-time driving.  Little old ladies pass me and growl - I know, I'm ashamed.  Yet here I am: The slowest night-time driver on the face of the planet.

It should come as no surprise to you then that the four-hour buffer was not enough.  A gazillion trucks and one bathroom stop later, and I found myself feverishly searching for Von Wielligh Avenue in Klerksdorp - without a GPS - at 07:59 a.m.  Sigh.  I could feel the dream of completing ten different parkruns slipping, but just as I was about to give up, Von Wielligh Avenue came into sight.  Sela.

I parked the car, grabbed my cap and sunglasses, and sprinted towards the starting line, which must have been a good few hundred metres away.  I tied my hair in a ponytail as I ran, plopped up my cap and glasses, and set off at 08:14, as most of the parkrunners were already setting off on the second of their two 2.5 km laps.  

The route was lovely: It's fast, flat and open - something that the Freestater in me loved.  Just like our local parkrun, it certainly isn't the most scenic one of all, but wide gravel and paved roads meant that there were zero bottlenecks - even for runners catching up with walkers on their second lap.  A PB route for sure.

My attire, on the other hand, was a disaster: After a kilometre or two I realised that half of my hairdo was flapping wildly in the wind - I failed to tie a proper ponytail.  And my jacket, which I tied to my waist on the run, had a car key in one pocket and a pair of gloves in the other - a clanging, swinging distraction.  Ugh.

Flapping my way to the finish line.  [Photo by Johan Claase.]

In the rush to get to the venue, I (obviously) also forgot to start my Garmin, but, having started at 08:14-ish and finished at 08:38, ran around 24-something.  My official parkrun time is, however, the only one that counts: 38:57.  

So, flapping or no flapping, that's ten parkrun SA venues in the bag - wahoo!

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Chapter Chaos

It wouldn't take me too long to come up with a title for this chapter of our family's story if asked for one.  In fact, it pops to mind straight away: Chaos.  We're in Chapter Chaos.  Will and I both work full-time, Miss K is starting to discover her groove (and her ability to stand up to her brother) and J Bear is excelling at being two - an exuberant, sitting-still-is-for-babies kind of two.  It's the ultimate adventure.

Associating rather strongly with the whole experiences-are-better-than-things mentality, we're big on weekend adventures.  All four of us.  Which sounds pretty glorious, but - in essence - adds a lot more chaos.  We're a bit of a travelling circus right now.

Because, you see, Mom, ever the optimist, would come up with the idea to go for a Sunday morning family run.  Dad, having eaten his weight in junk food during the week and feeling remorse, would say that it's an excellent idea and immediately start looking for his running shoes.  Mom would proceed with dressing the kids, packing the diaper bag, preparing juices and snacks, getting herself dressed, packing the car, brushing three sets of teeth and changing a last-minute poopy diaper.  And dad would still be looking for his running shoes.

On the way to the farm, Little Brother would moan non-stop in an attempt to be freed from the baby seat, Sister would belt out Twinkle Twinkle at the top of her lungs and Little Brother would, in between bouts of moaning, inform her that her rendition of Twinkle stinks.  Whereafter she would cry inconsolably and he would contribute another poopy diaper.

Once at the farm and strapped into the double stroller, Sister would, within the first two minutes of running, announce that she wants to run with Mama and, of course, Little Brother would follow suit.  The procession would come to a halt, Sis and Bro would be freed from the stroller, and a joyful, shrieking, arms-in-the-air 100 m of running would become the highlight of the excursion.  But then Sister would bump her big toe, producing two drops of blood, and everybody would be consoled and strapped back into the stroller.  Mom and Dad would finally have the chance to huff out five double stroller hill repeats, and Dad would express his remorse about that second helping of dessert for the tenth time.

A shriekingly joyful moment of bliss.

After the run Little Brother would step in fresh cattle poop before getting into the car, Sister would refuse to get into the car with Little Brother and the cattle poop, and Mom would sigh in disbelief at once again underestimating the family's wet wipe requirements.  

Chapter Chaos.  It's definitely one for the books. x               


Friday, 20 May 2016

We're six!

Running the Race is six today!  Looking back at those first posts really makes me cringe, so apologies in advance, but what better way to celebrate six years of running adventures and stories than by sharing my favourites?  So here they are, in no particular order: 
1.  Ostriches, ostriches everywhere!

Over the years I've come to the conclusion that a career as a Kalahari ecologist and a passion for trail running is not a good combination when it comes to avoiding ostriches - those pesky birds are everywhere.  And they're nosy as hell.  Here are two of my fondest (?) running-related ostrich incidents: Close encounters of the feathered kind and The inaugural Naval Hill parkrun - may they be the last...!  

2.  Where good manners won't get you anywhere

Picking a favourite race is a bit like picking a favourite child: Impossibly hard and frankly not something to be done.  But if I have to pick a favourite race post, it will be this one: My experience at the 2011 Paris Marathon.  The race (and trip!) was such a culture shock (in the adventure-of-a-lifetime kind of way) - I realised very quickly that my meek boere manners were going to have me dehydrated by Kilometre 30...  So I jumped (and bumped) in and grabbed what was mine!

3.  Best of the best     

If picking a favourite race is hard, then picking a favourite parkrun experience is impossible.  parkrun makes my heart go vroom - period.  I've never been to and never will be at a parkrun venue that I don't like - the concept is brilliant and I'll always be a fan.  Two South African parkruns that completely blew my socks off are Big Bay and George - put them on your bucket list!           

4.  Houston, we have a weirdo...    

Runners are weird - there's no denying that.  But this post is about my fascination with non-runners acting all weird when they see someone running.  What's up with that...?  

5.  You    

This list just wouldn't be complete without your amazing stories: Madelene Loots, who lost 50+ kg, completed the Two Oceans half at 34 weeks pregnant and continued to earn her Club 50 parkrun shirt at 40 weeks and one day pregnant.  Gordon Booth, who, at 84, is still running strong.  Claude Moshiywa, who gets up at 03:00 a.m. to do his long runs before clocking in at his full-time job.  The list is endless.  What a privilege to have gotten to know you all.

Here's to the next six years of running adventures and beyond!    

Thanks to the ladies from Eat Pray Run DCYou Signed up for What? and Mar on the Run for the opportunity to share these memories as part of their Friday Five link-up.  Happy Friday!