Tuesday, 3 April 2012

A giant leap for mom-kind!

Meet Riana: My speedy Namibian cousin who lives in the lovely coastal town of Swakopmund, Namibia.  Riana and her family is currently visiting Canada, where she is making the most of absolutely every opportunity to live life to the full.  In this guest post Riana details her very first half-marathon, which she ran in Victoria, Canada, just a short while ago.  Enjoy!

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A giant leap for mom-kind!

So any sane person would probably advise you to run a couple more than seven times before you undertake your first half-marathon, but for me it was one of those blissfully ignorant, live for the moment, suck the marrow out of life opportunities. I knew I just had to do it.
I’ve been an on and off runner for as long as I remember, but the furthest I possibly ever ran was a 10k. I got back into serious running before I got pregnant in 2010, but during the pregnancy I gave up running and just walked up until our boy was born. When Zander was three weeks old I popped him in his stroller and got back to regular walking. In Swakopmund we’ve got a mild climate, usually with windless and often sunny mornings, so we could walk between 4 and 7k’s most days. Add to that a happy sleeping baby in the stroller, this mama’s joy was endless!

The babe and I on one of our beach strolls in Swakopmund, Namibia.
In January 2012, when our son was 6 months old, a longer work contract for my hubby brought us to Vancouver for four months. We were put up in a lovely town house in an incredible part of town, with a 22 km circle running/biking route passing right in front of our door! I was so inspired with all the runners and walkers we came across daily that I started scanning websites for local and nearby runs in places that we were planning to visit while in Canada. I’ve always dreamed of running marathons but just never got so far. I was determined to start sooner rather than later!
The first half-marathon I entered was after a 15 month absence from running - I only had two weeks to prepare for it. I remembered that I once read that if you can run continuously for half an hour you can probably finish a half-marathon. So I ran a few times (7 in total!) and saw that I could easily do 5 or 6k’s in 30 minutes. My train of thought and motivation before entering was that, even if I walked the race from start to end, I could finish a sub-three hour half-marathon, which I thought would be a decent time for a total novice.
The run was in Victoria, a pretty town with its colonial history still very much visible. On that same day a Hypothermic Half-Marathon also took place in Calgary, Alberta. The name of the race might have been apt for Calgary where the snow was still lying thick, but we enjoyed a clear-skied meagre 7 degrees C in Victoria; great running weather!
The hubster and babe dropped me off at the starting venue, a fitness centre nearby Elk Lake. We had half-an-hour to kill before starting time so I tried to find a place to change the baby’s diaper and nurse him one quick last time. The most private spot I could find was on the floor, half-behind his stroller and half-concealed by a large, loose-standing poster, with a couple of excited runners about 5 feet away! Only a running mother would know what a mission it is to peel away winter running apparel (already bearing the race number) and sports bras to find the nursing equipment... and if your babe is as curious as mine is, a 5 min feed can turn into 20 minutes as he tries to grab and inspect everything in his new environment!  
We were transported to the start of the trail by school buses.  All 49 of us.  Yes.  For my return to running after 15 months and a baby, my first ever half-marathon, I managed to get myself into a race with only 48 other runners.  Fantastic.  I had a 1 in 49 chance to end up last, which weren’t good odds for me at all.  But I really had nothing to lose, I told myself.  It was my first half, so I didn’t even have a personal best time to try and improve on.

Runners, ready to go at the Victoria Hypo Half.

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The second and final part of Riana's recap to follow soon!


  1. Awesome! I'm looking forward to part 2. I've been in small races with 34, 22, 15 and even 8 runners. I've been last once, but that was a race with 200 runners :)

  2. Beautiful report, waiting for the 2nd part.
    In 1986 I entered a race with only 10 runners, of course I won the AG but I didn't receive anything because the organization said that we were few.


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