Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Fun times!

I'm just loving this week!

First of all, this little chica turned three yesterday!  What an incredible blessing to have her in our lives.  Our day was filled with early-morning birthday bands; prezzies in bed; Dora cake-eating with friends; and uber serious Lego-building when Brother J went off to bed - a pretty successful birthday, I'd say.

After a seriously hot and dry summer, we also had 100 mm of rain within an hour yesterday - yikes!  The entire town came to a standstill as cars, buildings and streets were flooded in the blink of an eye (read more about it here).  Of course this all happened right when we were supposed to leave for our weekly time trial, but I didn't even mind missing the run.  The coolness and the rain was amazing!

Our private little fishing spot backyard during the storm.

And last, but not least, our annual family holiday at the sea starts in less than a week - HOO-RAY!  Since neither me, nor Will really had a break over the festive season, we're both pretty much pooped by now - I'm literally counting the sleeps.  

I also absolutely cannot wait to properly introduce this little water beetle to the sea - he's going to LOVE it!  (J was 11 weeks old during our previous trip to the sea, so this will be his first real holiday at the beach.  Wooooot!)  

I have some pretty cool holiday runs lined up too, and something really big and exciting to come home to after our holiday...  I'll keep you posted!

Monday, 16 February 2015

One Lovely Blog Award

I've been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by Vince Quek over at With Hope in My Heart - what an honour!  Vince, who lives and works as a barista in beautiful Malaysia, was a fellow participant in the 2014 Big Blog Exchange and ended up being selected as one of the 16 winners - fantastic, right?!  His kindness and sincerity made him a favourite among his fellow contestants, and I can't think of anyone more deserving of the once-in-a-lifetime trip to Argentina that he received as prize.  Be sure to stop by his blog and say hi!

Along with the honour of accepting this blog award also comes the following responsibilities:
  • Thank the person who nominated you for the award;
  • Add the One Lovely Blog Award logo to your post and/or blog;
  • Share seven facts about yourself; and
  • Nominate 15 bloggers you admire and duly inform them by commenting on their blogs. 

Drumroll, then, for my seven facts:
  • I have a severe case of wanderlust.  Man, I yearn to see (more of) the world.

  • I'm no house hen.  Lock me in the house for a few days, and I'll go nuts.  I need to get out every day - even if it's just for a quick drive (or run) around the block.     
  • love water parks and am known to out-slide and -ride everyone in my family.  (I suspect that Baby J will be giving me a run for my money soon, though - he's a real water baby!)

I out-slide these two like a boss :) .

  • I hate driving on the open road during long road trips and am a super cautious driver.
  • I'm a really vocal eater.  If something tastes good, I'll hmmmm, oooohh and aaaahh non-stop until it's finished - good food needs to be celebrated!  (Will is exactly the opposite, though: He'll sit down and eat the meal of his life without even blinking an eye.  It drives me nuts!)


  • I don't function well in severe heat.  Ironic then that I live in one of South Africa's hottest towns, no?
  • I have zero ball sense, which, of course, the male members of my family find extremely entertaining.    

And here are my nominations for the One Lovely Blog Award - I love these blogs and don't miss a single post!  (Nominees, no worries at all if you don't feel like participating.)

Life at Large: My Namibian cousin's blog on her adventures as a flyin', runnin', globe trottin' mama - she's amazing!  (P.S.: She clocked her first ever sub-50 10 km this weekend, whoop!  So, so proud!)

Striding Strong: If you're looking for excellent running advice from an equally excellent athlete, Hailey's blog is the place to go.  She's fast as lightning and yet so humble and kind; plus she even got me to actually properly warm up before I race, haha!  Go say hi!   

Lulu's Big Adventure: Lisa is a fourth-year medical student from Canada and has visited more countries than I can name.  She has a delightful sense of humour and adventure and her blog is an open, honest account of her adventures across the world.  (Lisa is headed to South Africa as we speak - can't wait to go running with her...!)  

Run with the Black Night: Stefano lives in beautiful Italy and is currently making a running comeback after a series of unfortunate events/accidents causing him to sit out for a while.  His patience and perseverance is praiseworthy and although he'll only be running for fun in future, his passion for the sport is contagious.   

Run for your life: Gordon Booth is a running octogenarian and a huge inspiration!  He runs more miles than I do most weeks and does so in the beautiful English countryside.  His lovely writing style and amazing pictures will have you returning to his blog again and again - go visit!

Have a lovely week, everyone!

Friday, 13 February 2015

Five things I'm really, really loving about running right now

Today I'm linking up with the lovely ladies from Eat Pray Run DC, You Signed up for What? and Mar on the Run for their Friday Five.  The theme of today's link-up is "All About Love" and I'm itching to tell you about five things I'm really, really loving about running right now...  Here we go!

1.  My new running club

Joining a local running club, the Kimberley Harriers, was the best decision ever.  Not only are my new club mates extremely kind and welcoming, but I've also come to love our weekly club time trials.  Definitely one of my favourite things about our new town!    

2.  Early morning runs

Don't you just love summertime running?  (Apologies to those of you living in the Northern Hemisphere...)  There's just nothing like starting off the day with a sunrise run on a cool, quiet morning.  Love it.    

3.  Tempo runs

Who am I, right?  Perhaps I should be more specific: I really, really love the impact that regular tempo runs (i.e. club time trials) are having on my running.  I'm gettin' faster, whoooooot!

4.  My new club gear

It's blue and it's for running - what's not to love!?  Plus I feel all fast and fancy wearing it, ha!

5.  Virtual running friends

My favourite part of the interwebs, by a mile, is the virtual running buddies that it has brought me.  I can't even tell you how much I enjoy sharing in the running highs and lows of so many running friends from across the globe.  You guys are such an inspiration!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

February - The Month of Love, Spinach and Beetroot

February is celebrated by many as the month of love, with shop shelves brimming with awfully clichéd ceramic hearts, stuffed bears and every shade of red discernible to the human eye.  I'm afraid that things are a lot less romantic in the Running the Race household, though, because to us February is simply known as the month of spinach and beetroot.

Because, you see, Will is once again in the peak training phase for his yearly goal cycle race, the Cape Town Cycle Tour, which takes place on 8 March this year.  And somewhere, through the years, spinach and beetroot has become an integral part of this training phase - it's the food of champions, so I'm told.  (If you've been following our adventures for a while, you'll know by now that Will is chasing a sub-3 hour finish, and that he has narrowly missed this goal on four previous occasions.  Four.  And when I say "narrowly missed it", I literally mean that he missed it by a few seconds.)   

Will in his happy place.  [Photo by Vrystaat Fietsry.]

So here we are again: The entire household eating beetroot until everything is stained purple (ahem, Miss K and Baby J) and eating enough spinach to make even Popeye cringe - all in the name of a sub-3 hour finish.  And I can tell you this much: We'll continue with our annual spinach and beetroot fest for the next decade if that's what it takes to get Will to his goal.  

You can do it, Honey!  We're right behind you!

Monday, 9 February 2015

As happy as a little kid

I had an unexpectedly brilliant day on Saturday - don't you just love when that happens?

The plan was for Will to do a century ride with the guys, while the kids and I run a local 5 km race with the double stroller (which would have been tons of fun too!), but a nasty cold forced him to stay at home and gave me the opportunity to fly solo at a local 10 km race instead.  

The race was our provincial 10 km championships, but since races in our part of the world are few and far between, runners of all abilities were encouraged to enter.  The turnout ended up being pretty good too, with 101 runners of all shapes and abilities lining the streets on race day - yay! 

The starting line.  [Photo by Vodacom Kimberley Road Runners, who hosted the event.]

It was actually a bit premature for me to be racing a 10 km, since I spent the last month or two focusing on shorter, faster runs, and neglecting the longer distances.  But I was so curious to see if my tempo runs are paying off yet, so I just had to give it a go.  I lined up towards the front of the field (behind the racing snakes, ahem), and was thankful for a familiar route - I could literally just switch on auto pilot (no searching for little red-and-white route markers) and go, go, go! 

After a quick route briefing and a prayer, we were off.  I started off at a fast (for me), but manageable pace (more or less my tempo run pace for the past few weeks), but got a bit of a fright when I peeped at my watch and saw that I was running a sub-5 minute/km first kilometre...  Oops!  Too fast, too soon, Girl!  So I took a deep breath and tried to calm down.

Kilometre two was a bit more under control, with my pace hovering just above 5 minutes/km, and after that I felt comfortable enough to pick up the pace just a little bit and keep it there until Kilometre 7.  I anticipated that I wouldn't be able to hold a sub-5 minute/km pace for the entire 10 km, since my longest tempo run at a similar pace had only measured 4 km, but dang, I tried my hardest!

Race splits.

As you can see, my pace started dropping after 7 km and although I sped up a little for Kilometres 9 and 10, I just wasn't able to dip under 5 minutes/km again.  I am, however, thrilled with my final time of 50:23 - a new 10 km PR, woohoo!  (My previous 10 km PR of 51:17 stood for more than four years.)  

Post-race, all kitted out in my new club gear.
Although I missed a sub-50 minute finish time, which I've been dreaming of for so long, I'm beyond ecstatic with a new PR and the progress that is happening.  For the first time ever I feel like a sub-50 minute 10 km is actually a possibility (perhaps towards the end of the year?) if I put in the hard work.  And, guess what?  Since it was a circle route, I had no idea of my placement until the race results were posted on the Internet, buuuuuut: I finished under the Top 5 women!!  Move over, Jo Pavey, haha!    

First five ladies.

Thrilled, thankful and happy like a little kid.  Man, I love running!