Sunday, 31 August 2014

My Ticket to Running Bliss

I got the best text message ever on Friday: After a week or three of (not so patiently) waiting, my membership to a local wildlife club (giving me permission to run my little heart out in a game farm very close to town) has finally been approved - hooray!  I couldn't get to the club's offices fast enough to go and collect my membership card - the weekend needed to be run, ha!

I had 14 km on the schedule for Saturday and after "sleeping in" until 9-ish (I pyjama drill until 5 a.m. and then hand Baby J over to Will), Will graciously offered to watch both kids so that I could go and do my long run alone.  Will, you're amazing.

My run was pretty amazing too.  I encountered a large herd of Blue Wildebeest within 1 km of setting off and the whole group literally crossed the road right in front of me at least three or four times before finally heading off into the distance.  Other sightings included Ostriches (at a safe distance, ha!), Waterbuck, Red Hartebeest, Springbok and Cape Hare - so blessed!

Leaping over Aardvark holes - my kind of running!

I finished my 14 km in 1:29 - nice and easy, with no niggles or pains whatsoever.  Can you see the huge smile on my face...?

Only two long runs (and plenty of foam rolling) left before my goal half-marathon at the end of September - whooooot!  It will, God willing, be my fourth international race, bringing the countries that I've raced in to date to a total of five - happy dance!  Now to just stay healthy and injury free...

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There are only two days left to vote for me in the Big Blog Exchange - voting ends on 3 September!  Thanks SO much to everyone who has voted so far - I'm currently #6 in Africa and the MIddle Easte and couldn't be more thankful and excited!  If you haven't voted yet, won't you please head on over to my profile (you can access it here) and vote?  Much, much appreciated!


Monday, 25 August 2014

Cloud Nine

I had a 12 km run on the agenda for Saturday and despite having seven days' worth of sleepless nights over the logistics, everything went really well!  I planned on running a local 10 km trail race and then adding an extra two kilometres at the end, and it all worked out perfectly.  

The trail run took place at Marrick Game Farm, which is located about 10 km out of town.  If ever I had any doubt in my mind that trail running is the way to go, then this run confirmed it: It was incredible!  I just love leaping over Aarvark holes and dribbling through Steenbok middens mid-run.  

It was a smallish race, but well attended by local standards.  My car's thermometer read 2.5 degrees just before the start - brrr! - and my running form actually felt quite off for the first few kilometres as a result of the cold.  I literally felt like I was stomping my legs down, and couldn't do anything about it, however hard I tried, ha!

Things warmed up soon enough, though, and the run turned into one of those runs where everything just clicked.  My eyes just couldn't get enough of the scenery and the kilometres ticked by uncharacteristically quickly for a trail race - it was definitely one for the books.  

Not taken on race day (it's winter now, so it wasn't as green), but just to give you an idea of Marrick's beauty.  [Source.]

Some more Marrick beauty (not taken on race day).  [Source.]

It was also one of those "follow the yellow arrows" runs, which has a way of challenging me on a whole different level (I wasn't blessed with a built-in compass), especially when the field is so small that you can't see the runner in front of you.  But all went well in the end and I'm happy to report that I followed the route to a T - yay!

Since I wasn't planning on racing the run, I only took a peek at my watch at about 9.5 km and couldn't believe my eyes...  I was expecting to see 54:something, since that's about the pace I thought I'd run, but instead my watch read 51:something - what?!  My 10 km PR is 51:17, so I was really, really thrilled!  All those double stroller training runs must finally be paying off (either that, or it's the amount of excess sugar that I consumed last week...) - I'm soooooo happy!

I finished in 52:37 - second lady home and I think 5th or 6th overall.  My heart sings - not because of an unexpected good (for me!) time, or placing, but because my running is going really well at the moment, despite a gazillion other challenges.  Consistency and hard work always pays off in the end - never, ever doubt that!

I ended the morning with an extra, easy 2 km and a huge grin on my face.  Running the race with a thankful, happy heart!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

On a roll

We've had a fantastic week of running so far: Double digit happiness on Saturday, annnnnd (drum roll, please) a sub-30 minute double stroller 5 km yesterday - boom!  That's 5:46 minutes per kilometre of 30 kg+ double stroller mama power - can you tell that I'm just a tad excited?  Whoop!  

My training partners were clearly just as thrilled as I was about our accomplishment...

And to all the other running mamas out there, I've found the perfect way to keep an 8-month old occupied for an entire 5 km run (or until he/she falls asleep): Basting brushes.  You're welcome.  Never underestimate the power of a simple kitchen appliance to assist you in getting your runs done. 

Seriously, though, clocking longer distances and faster times feels great, but I think what excites me most is the fact that our initial new-city running blahs are finally starting to lift.