Friday, 1 May 2015

Five tips for making race day a success

Today I'm linking up with the lovely ladies from Eat Pray Run DCYou Signed up for What? and Mar on the Run again for their Friday Five.  The theme of today's link-up is "Five Things About Race Day" and, since I'm actually running a race later today (yay!), I'm very excited to share with you my five tips for making race day a success:

1.  Be organised.
There's nothing as awful as showing up at a race in a hurried whirl of chaos and realising, five minutes before the start, that you forgot your safety pins/MP3-player/running fuel at home.  There's a very good reason why (most) runners lay out their race day gear the evening before a race (i.e. before the race-day nerves kick in) - it works.  Do it.

My pre-race spread for the Paris Marathon in 2011.

2.  Be well prepared.
There's nothing as reassuring as knowing that you've done your training and prepared well for a race.  Sure, there will still be nerves and butterflies, but doing your part before a race is definitely the greatest gift you can give yourself in terms of race-day morning peace of mind. 

A race is a celebration of months and months of training and flights and flights of stairs run!

3.  Be early.
Note that I didn't say "be on time".  For me the only way to start a race in a calm and relaxed way, is to show up early.  This will give you time to study the route map, warm up properly, hit the porta potties (again...) and get those nerves under control before the start.  

Give yourself time to hit the porta potties again.  And again!

4.  Be motivated.
Although adrenaline surely does most of the work here, I'm a big fan of having a visual motivation cue with me when I run.  For me it's my Endorphin Warrior "believe" bracelet, or I might even write my mantra on my hand ("You can do this!").  Whatever works for you. 

5.  Be present.
I think this is my favourite tip of them all: Don't get so swept up in pre-race hype and nerves that you forget to enjoy the experience.  To me a race is a high five for all the many, many hours spent training out in the heat/rain/wind - it needs to be celebrated!  Make a concious effort to take in the scenery, enjoy the spectators' cheers and to relish the joy of running.

Running the Highlands Trout Mountain Challenge in the Kingdom of Lesotho.  The breathtaking Maluti Mountains are forever etched into my memory!

Happy racing!   

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

2015 Running Goals: Check-in

Well, a third of 2015 is almost over - the perfect time for a quick check-in to see how we're progressing with this year's running goals, right?  

I dubbed 2015 my year of running fun, and I honestly couldn't have done it at a better time: I'm really struggling to consistently get in some good quality runs these days.  It turns out that two kids in two years is quite the adventure, haha!  But it's an adventure that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world - I'm loving every chaotic, precious minute of it!  

So here's a recap of my running (fun) goals for 2015, and an indication on how I've progressed with each one to date:

1.  Complete parkruns at five new-to-me official parkrun venues.  60% complete, whoooop!  I did the Rondebosch Common, Hartenbos and Kimberley parkruns during March and April - all of them new to me and all of them lots of fun.  Two to go!

Rondebosch Common parkrun with Lisa.

Hartenbos parkrun with the family.

Kimberley parkrun with Tanya and Annemarie. 

2.  Do one international run or race in a country where I've never run or raced before.  Zero percent complete.  I honestly don't even have any definite plans for this one in place yet!  I'm tentatively thinking about Swaziland in September...  Or perhaps a quick jaunt over the Botswana border while visiting Grandma and Grandpa on the farm?  We'll see.  But I'm as determined as ever to run the world!

3.  Get a local parkrun up and running in our new home town.  100% complete - hooray!  This was honestly the biggest goal for the year and I cannot even begin to tell you how much I'm enjoying Kimberley parkrun.  You know when you find something that you love, and doing it requires work, but that work doesn't even feel like work at all?  That's Kimberley parkrun for me: I absolutely love it and always will.      

The inaugural Kimberley parkrun.  [Photo by Jaco van der Walt.]

4.  Complete our first race as a family of four.  Zero percent complete.  And in a new plot twist this one might become a bit trickier than anticipated: Baby J wants nothing to do with a jogging stroller these days.  Nothing.  Most of our family runs now end up in either Will or me carrying J Bear home.  Hopefully it's just a phase...?  Or perhaps we're nearing the transition from jogging strollers to push bikes and bicycles?  Whatever the case may be, we're just going to go with it and try to find a way to make sure that everyone has some fun.    

"Mama, I want out!"

5.  Do a fun costume race (a first for me!).  Zero percent complete.  I'm tentatively planning on doing a 5 km fun run with Miss K (in the stroller, and perhaps with her doing a bit of walking here and there) in August, with the two of us all dressed up in tutus and tiaras...  I absolutely cannot wait!

How have you progressed with your running goals for 2015?


Monday, 20 April 2015

No excuse to sit on the couch

Us running parents sure can make a big deal out of the things that make running a challenge, can't we?  Our jobs, family commitments, a lack of energy, too little time, blah, blah, blah...  But you know what?  Sometimes we're just plain lazy.  Like I was last week.  It was Tuesday afternoon and I knew all too well that skipping the weekly club time trial would a) make me feel miserable, and b) throw out my entire running schedule for the week.  And yet I skipped it.  Because I was exhausted hungry lazy.  Boo.

Exactly one day before my run-skipping laziness, my good friend Anna took an unfortunate tumble on the first day of their family skiing trip to France.  But, ironmom that she is, she shrugged off the pain in her wrist and opted to continue skiing, until blacking out on the ski lift shortly after.  Her arm was broken.

Anna, shortly after her fall.
Heeding the good advice of her physician, she spent the rest of their holiday cheering on her hubby and three kids on the slopes, but knowing Anna I just know how she itched to get out there and join them.

This morning, exactly one week after Anna's fall, I received the following text: "It is indeed possible to run with a cast and a buggy".  I am in absolute awe.  And not only did Anna show me that anything is possible, she also unknowingly gave my lazy butt the kick it needed with her incredible attitude: "It's so much easier to sit on the couch and feel sorry for yourself, but that just makes you feel even worse.  Endorphins make everything better." 

Anna, her cast and Baby L fast asleep in his running buggy.

So thanks, Anna, for the kick in my lazy butt.  It's exactly what I needed.  You.  Are.  Amazing!