Thursday, 21 July 2016

Dear Running: I'm dreading you just a little right now...

Today marks the end of our third week in the Kalahari, and I wish that I could paint a picture of rainbows and ponies, and a mom who dug deep, found her strong and conquered the elements.  But alas...  I'm still trudging along like a total beginner, and can't even complete back-to-back airstrip intervals without taking at least half a dozen rest breaks.  It sucks.

So much so that I'm starting to feel something that I haven't felt since high school and varsity days: I'm dreading our runs just a little.  No, wait - I'm dreading it a lot.  Huffing down that airstrip, pushing 40+ (squabbling) kilograms over loose rocks and cattle poop, interspersed with pockets of soft, stops-you-dead-in-your-tracks Kalahari sand, is hardly the stuff that runner's highs are made of.  Or even just enjoyable family outings, for that matter.  No rainbows or ponies over here right now.


Yet I know that I need to run.  For my own sake, but especially also the kids'.  It makes me a better me.  So we celebrated our first three weeks in the Kalahari with a (200+ km) trip to Vryburg - the closest "big" town (and, more importantly, source of dark chocolate).  We stocked up on the good stuff (our first fix in three weeks...!), reading material and might have snuck in a little extra retail therapy.  And you know what?  I think it did the trick: It gave me a mental boost and I'm fired up and as motivated as ever to obliterate that darn strip.


Bring on the intervals!  


Saturday, 9 July 2016

Kalahari - 1; Mama - 0

The kids and I am spending a couple of weeks in the Kalahari and we've literally gone from go-go-go to ahhhhh in 400 km flat.  Kimberley gifted all three of us with a farewell flu, which turned our first week on the farm into a groggy and - most frustratingly - run-less affair.  But, I'm happy to report that we're finally feeling better and running again - well, sort of.

I soon learnt that Kalahari running with two toddlers is not for sissies.  In fact, I don't even think it's for machines.  Holy.  Moly.  Simply whipping out the double stroller and stepping out the front door is just not an option: Thick Kalahari sand makes even short jaunts of 50 m almost impossible.    



Our first double stroller Kalahari run, if you can call it that, was a bit of a joke: It took us half an hour to trudge through the 300 m or so of thick sand from the farmhouse to the airstrip for our run.  Half an hour.  Miss K kept on looking back and asking: "Why are we going so slowly, Mommy?  You're really not strong at all."  I didn't have enough oxygen in my bloodstream to reply.    



And yes, you've guessed it: Once we got to the piece of heaven that is a 1.2 km airstrip made of hard-packed sand, I was too pooped to run more than 2 km.  Go, Mama.  Plus I kept on dreading the 300 m trip back home - which turned out to be every bit as hard as I imagined.  We can only improve, right...?



Killer runs notwithstanding, we're loving this temporary change of pace, and the peace and freedom that is the Kalahari.  Blessed to be here!  


Sunday, 26 June 2016

Farewell, Kimberley parkrun!

My heart feels big in my chest as I'm writing this.  Big; not heavy.  It's humbled, sad, and completely blown away by the kindness and love of so many wonderful people.  

The time has come for me to bid Kimberley parkrun farewell.  A year and three months of early Saturday mornings, hammering in kilometre markers, making chalk arrows on the ground, sorting tokens, and laughing and shivering at the finish line, and now it's time to hand over this passion to an extremely capable and very enthusiastic group of fellow parkrunners and friends.      

Not in my wildest dreams could I ever have imagined the impact that Kimberley parkrun would have on my life.  The night before our inaugural event way back in March 2015, I lay awake, suddenly feeling completely inadequate and totally unprepared for the journey ahead.  I was terrified.  But in hindsight I know that I failed to factor in one tiny little detail: The overwhelming support of Kimberley parkrunners.

Through Kimberley parkrun I've been privileged to meet a group of individuals who have motivated, inspired, supported, taught, and helped both me and each other, and oftentimes just plain left me in awe.  What a massive honour to have been a part of a tiny portion of each of these individuals' journeys - a memory and a privilege that I will cherish forever.

Just a handful of the truly amazing people that I've been privileged to meet through Kimberley parkrun.  [Photos by Erika Venter.]

And in true Kimberley parkrun style, I was treated to a queen's farewell this past Saturday.  There were hugs and well wishes...         

Photo by Erika Venter.


Gebakte poeding and vla in abundance (my comfort food of choice)...


Photo by Erika Venter.


The coolest top on the face of the PLANET...  (#smilingfordays)


Photo by Erika Venter.

And a joyful celebration of friendship and a love for running and parkrun.  It was perfect. 

Photo by Erika Venter.

Farewell, Kimberley parkrunners, and thank you for the memories.  I wish each one of you all of the best - until we meet again.