Thursday, 24 July 2014


We've moved.  We have a (temporary) new home, a new neighbourhood, a new town and a new province.  Well, sort of.  We lived in Kimberley (our "new" home) a few years back, so everything isn't really that brand new.  And most importantly: We have some amazing friends here that we can't wait to spend more time with.  But still there is a huge part of me that gets tired just thinking about all of the changes.

Despite the "figuring out life as a family of four"-changes going on for us right now, we had a pretty comfy routine going on back in our old town: I knew all the running routes in the old neighbourhood - I knew exactly where the road surfaces slanted; I knew which houses had aggressive dogs; and I knew when to avoid running because of traffic.  We also all loved our dear old nanny; K loved her little play group and I loved the fact that my favourite brand of dark chocolate was always just a block's stroll away.  We had a dear, dear neighbour and Will had a great group of cycling friends that he trained with.  Sigh.

So right now this mama is in "create a new routine as soon as possible" overdrive.  And Number 298 on my list is figuring out a new running routine: Finding a stroller-friendly route; making a mental note of houses with dogs; identifying a good time to run; and finding a parkrun substitute for Saturday mornings (Kimberley doesn't have a parkrun ... yet...  Whaaaaaaa!)...  Yip, again I'm tired just thinking about it all.  But at least yesterday we made a start.  All in good time, right?  

Our first run in Kimberley!  All 2.6 km of it... (before Mom was pooped and J Bear had had enough).
Helloooooo, Kimberley!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A tale of two parkrun moms

Even though we live on opposite sides of the globe, my friend Anna and I have many things in common: We went to school together; we both made our dancing debuts as bears in the same ballet concert; and we were both members of the yellow school sports team that always lost everything.  More recently we were pregnant together and gave birth to our youngest children (both boys!) only four weeks apart.  Yip, we've come a long way.

But perhaps two of my personal favourite things that we have in common, is a) our love for parkrun (and running in general) and b) the fact that we're both crazy competitive.  Yip, being in that losing yellow team was really hard on both of us, ha!  

Of course it was only a matter of time then before we started chasing each other's parkrun PBs.  And also each other's parkrun stroller PBs (because every running mom has a PB-PB and a stroller PB) - Anna in the UK and me down here in South Africa.  And we just can't stop.

Me and Miss K at a recent Naval Hill parkrun in Bloemfontein.  Winter down here.

Even though Anna and Baby L started doing parkrun with their "buggy" way later than me and K (Anna was busy training for a half-marathon and therefore did her long runs alone on Saturday mornings), they're currently in the lead as far as the stroller parkrun PBs go.  Try as we may, K and I (okay, more me than K) just cannot seem to beat their 28:34 - I've literally left my lungs out on the Naval Hill parkrun course trying.  Perhaps I need to find an easier parkrun...?  

Anna and Baby L at a recent UK parkrun - the reigning parkrun stroller PB champs.  Summer up there.

The solo parkrun PB (for now) still belongs to yours truly, though, and only just.  26:39, I'd better bring you down.  Soon.

So here's to many more virtual parkrun PB battles.  Thanks, Anna and L - you're the best parkrun buddies ever!


Thursday, 17 July 2014

What NOT to use your tiny little flashlight for

I did my first ever night-time trail race yesterday evening - wahoo!  Will was shocked that I even wanted to give it a try, because, as he quite frankly puts it, my night vision stinks.  Add to that my not-so-stellar navigational skills and I kind of understand what he was getting at.  But I needed a mid-week kick in the pants in the form of something way outside of my comfort zone, so night-time trail running it was.

The race started off with a moment of silence for a dear friend of the race organisers, who sadly lost her life to cancer this past week.  My heart ached as I stood at the starting line and thought of this brave woman (35), and said a prayer for her husband and three small children.  I huge reminder for each of us to celebrate and appreciate every minute of this life.

In loving memory of a brave, beautiful woman.  [Source.]

The race started just after 17:30 and consisted of three laps of approximately 3.5 km each, thereby catering for all fitness levels (runners had the choice of doing as many laps as they felt comfortable with).  Since it's only properly dark from about 18:00 onwards, I knew I'd be okay for the first lap or two.  You see, my headlamp recently mysteriously disappeared from the face of the planet (I suspect that a certain Miss K had something to do with it) and Will's flashlight is a complete nut case (don't ask).  That left me with only one lighting option for the race: My teeny, tiny little braai light...  

Perfect for a night-blind, directionally challenged woman on a night run.  Not.

The route was amazing.  It took us along some gravel roads, over a dam wall, down some steep descents and up the mother of all embankments.  It kind of reminded me of a Voortrekker (scouts) camp at school - running it was so much fun! 

The mother of all embankments.  That's not me in the picture, but it just gives you an idea of some of the terrain en route.  [Source.]

My fun predictably lasted until approximately 18:00, when my teeny tiny little trusty light could no longer stand its ground against the dark.  Or perhaps I should rather say that my fun only began at this point, ha!?  The poor souls who ran behind me...  I shamelessly and unintentionally led an entire portion of the field astray by scaling the embankment at a completely wrong point - oops!  Note to all: Never, ever follow the lady in the pink jacket during a night run.  Never.

See that little loop in the map at 7 o'clock?  That's where I kind of lost the plot a bit...

In the end I decided to call it quits after two rounds.  7.49 km in 46:21 - not to bad for a blind mouse on the run.  Did I enjoy it?  Absolutely.  It was just the kick in the pants that I needed.  There is a note to self, though: Next time you venture outside of your comfort zone, do so wearing a bright, flashy headlamp.

The end.