Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Chapter Chaos

It wouldn't take me too long to come up with a title for this chapter of our family's story if asked for one.  In fact, it pops to mind straight away: Chaos.  We're in Chapter Chaos.  Will and I both work full-time, Miss K is starting to discover her groove (and her ability to stand up to her brother) and J Bear is excelling at being two - an exuberant, sitting-still-is-for-babies kind of two.  It's the ultimate adventure.

Associating rather strongly with the whole experiences-are-better-than-things mentality, we're big on weekend adventures.  All four of us.  Which sounds pretty glorious, but - in essence - adds a lot more chaos.  We're a bit of a travelling circus right now.

Because, you see, Mom, ever the optimist, would come up with the idea to go for a Sunday morning family run.  Dad, having eaten his weight in junk food during the week and feeling remorse, would say that it's an excellent idea and immediately start looking for his running shoes.  Mom would proceed with dressing the kids, packing the diaper bag, preparing juices and snacks, getting herself dressed, packing the car, brushing three sets of teeth and changing a last-minute poopy diaper.  And dad would still be looking for his running shoes.

On the way to the farm, Little Brother would moan non-stop in an attempt to be freed from the baby seat, Sister would belt out Twinkle Twinkle at the top of her lungs and Little Brother would, in between bouts of moaning, inform her that her rendition of Twinkle stinks.  Whereafter she would cry inconsolably and he would contribute another poopy diaper.

Once at the farm and strapped into the double stroller, Sister would, within the first two minutes of running, announce that she wants to run with Mama and, of course, Little Brother would follow suit.  The procession would come to a halt, Sis and Bro would be freed from the stroller, and a joyful, shrieking, arms-in-the-air 100 m of running would become the highlight of the excursion.  But then Sister would bump her big toe, producing two drops of blood, and everybody would be consoled and strapped back into the stroller.  Mom and Dad would finally have the chance to huff out five double stroller hill repeats, and Dad would express his remorse about that second helping of dessert for the tenth time.

A shriekingly joyful moment of bliss.

After the run Little Brother would step in fresh cattle poop before getting into the car, Sister would refuse to get into the car with Little Brother and the cattle poop, and Mom would sigh in disbelief at once again underestimating the family's wet wipe requirements.  

Chapter Chaos.  It's definitely one for the books. x               


Friday, 20 May 2016

We're six!

Running the Race is six today!  Looking back at those first posts really makes me cringe, so apologies in advance, but what better way to celebrate six years of running adventures and stories than by sharing my favourites?  So here they are, in no particular order: 
1.  Ostriches, ostriches everywhere!

Over the years I've come to the conclusion that a career as a Kalahari ecologist and a passion for trail running is not a good combination when it comes to avoiding ostriches - those pesky birds are everywhere.  And they're nosy as hell.  Here are two of my fondest (?) running-related ostrich incidents: Close encounters of the feathered kind and The inaugural Naval Hill parkrun - may they be the last...!  

2.  Where good manners won't get you anywhere

Picking a favourite race is a bit like picking a favourite child: Impossibly hard and frankly not something to be done.  But if I have to pick a favourite race post, it will be this one: My experience at the 2011 Paris Marathon.  The race (and trip!) was such a culture shock (in the adventure-of-a-lifetime kind of way) - I realised very quickly that my meek boere manners were going to have me dehydrated by Kilometre 30...  So I jumped (and bumped) in and grabbed what was mine!

3.  Best of the best     

If picking a favourite race is hard, then picking a favourite parkrun experience is impossible.  parkrun makes my heart go vroom - period.  I've never been to and never will be at a parkrun venue that I don't like - the concept is brilliant and I'll always be a fan.  Two South African parkruns that completely blew my socks off are Big Bay and George - put them on your bucket list!           

4.  Houston, we have a weirdo...    

Runners are weird - there's no denying that.  But this post is about my fascination with non-runners acting all weird when they see someone running.  What's up with that...?  

5.  You    

This list just wouldn't be complete without your amazing stories: Madelene Loots, who lost 50+ kg, completed the Two Oceans half at 34 weeks pregnant and continued to earn her Club 50 parkrun shirt at 40 weeks and one day pregnant.  Gordon Booth, who, at 84, is still running strong.  Claude Moshiywa, who gets up at 03:00 a.m. to do his long runs before clocking in at his full-time job.  The list is endless.  What a privilege to have gotten to know you all.

Here's to the next six years of running adventures and beyond!    

Thanks to the ladies from Eat Pray Run DCYou Signed up for What? and Mar on the Run for the opportunity to share these memories as part of their Friday Five link-up.  Happy Friday!

Friday, 6 May 2016

2016 Running Goals: Check-In

A third of 2016 is officially behind us (?!), which means that it's time for a 2016 running goal check-in...  Ready?  Here's a reminder of my five running goals for the year:   

1.  Run a sub-50 minute 10 km

Yikes, what a frustrating, technical endeavour this quest has turned into...!  So far, I've run three 10 km races this year, and although I've theoretically clocked two sub-50s, I've yet to reach my goal.  Ugh.  Long story, but it basically boils down to race routes measuring either (significantly) long or short, vs. trusting the accuracy of one's own distance measuring device.           

Buuut, Gordon over at Run for your Life has given me a fantastic idea: Why not attempt a sub-50 on our own, local parkrun route, which has been accurately measured with the correct equipment?  Hopefully I'll be able to do that (ahem), and hopefully, once it's done, my soul will find rest.  Goodness.

A new PB, and a sub-50 at the 10 km mark, but still not an official sub-50.  Sigh.
2.  A half-marathon PB (i.e. anything below 01:56:12)

Looking at this goal now, I can clearly see that I penned it down while I was bang in the middle of a holiday and very well rested after a year of running fun, ha!  At this very moment, the last thing on earth I feel like doing, is running 21.1 km at breakneck speed (okay, close.  For me anyway.).  Perhaps towards the end of the year? 

3.  Complete a SADC Region parkrun (excluding SA)

No confirmation has been given yet about rumours of SADC Region parkruns (e.g. Swaziland, Namibia and Angola) being established in 2016.  Fingers crossed, because this is one goal I definitely don't want to miss...!

4.  Clock a sub-24 minute parkrun

My current parkrun PB is 24:04, so this goal seems manageable enough.  I must admit, though, that I haven't run a sub-25 parkrun in a while...  I do most of my parkruns in the pitch dark these days (before setting up and/or volunteering), which slows me down quite a bit, but who knows?  Spring, summer and early sunrises will come around again eventually, right?  

5.  Become a member of parkrun's Club 50

Thank goodness for this goal, otherwise I'd have a big, fat zero on the scoreboard right now...!  

On 23 January 2016, after almost two years of hustling, I finally completed my 50th parkrun event and became a member of Club 50!  I ran with J and Missy K, and bestie Tanya and so many other parkrun friends were there to cheer me on - one of this year's running highlights for me for sure.

So that's one out of five for now - which, let's face it, is nothing to be too thrilled about.  Hopefully things will look a bit better towards the end of August, when I'll check in on these goals again, but for now, there's lots of work still to be done!  How have you progressed on your running goals for the year?      

Thanks to the ladies from Eat Pray Run DCYou Signed up for What? and Mar on the Run for the opportunity to check in on these goals as part of their Friday Five link-up!

Happy weekend, everyone!