Monday, January 24, 2011

Back to the grind! It certainly felt like it yesterday, when I ran a 25km race!

Since last September, when I ran my 80 Ultra in the Karoo, I have not gone further than 15km in one go. But I thought, how bad can it be? I have been training more frequently this past while, so surely I am a little fitter? I am a little fitter, because I realised I could once again chat while running, and not too long ago, this felt impossible. This was always my goal when I started running, to be able to run and have conversations without being out of breath. Sunday I was able to chat easier which was a nice sign for me, and until 18km down, I thought that I was doing fine!

Ha. My body just said, 'why are we doing this again?' and decided to grind to a walk. I felt like a Christmas toy whose batteries gave up just as I was beginning to enjoy the game! I ushered my friend on, and watched her cheerfully bob away into the distance. With a little bit of mental berating I realised I have felt this way before, and knew that I could get through this. So I started with the lamp post theory. 2 lamp posts run, one walk. All downhills I could maintain the impression that I was a 'runner' and keep moving. This must have helped, because before I knew it it was 3 km's to go and I could still see my friend's head in the distance. The weather was lovely apart from the time when ironically I had my 'traffic jam', when the sun came out a-scorching, just to add to the moment! When I began to tripple onwards the cloud cover returned.

Reaching the finish, I knew that there was quite a lot of grass, and on unfit legs, no dramatic sprinting would be coming from my weary legs. So I walked casually around the field waving at all the already finished fresh looking runners who were encouraging me onwards. When I had crossed the line just under 3 hours, my body decided to show me how it didn't like this route and I felt very dizzy and nauseous. I remembered my previous years of this race, that my body had the same response so I made my way over to my gazebo, but realised that I should move closer to the toilets instead. This was a very wise decision and afterwards I felt much better.

The afternoon, a strange stiffness lodged itself in my joints, and I was surprised, because i hadn't felt this in a while, no doubt another sign that my body was not used to distance. So I was 'forced' to resume position on the couch, which my body had no problem with!

However, looking at the one training program I did exactly half of the required distance for the week, so this means, that I had better 'divorce' myself from my comforting couch and get moving!

Monday, January 10, 2011


The festive season is now over and we are being flooded both literally and figuratively. Traffic is coming back into Jozi and the rivers are all over flowing and making nearby house dwellers very nervous. Our seasonal rain has been very intense which messes up any running plans.

Yes, I have seen dedicated runners run in the rain and not use the weather as an excuse, but in Jozi the lightning has been spectacular too, so staying indoors is the safer option.

Last week there were a couple of mornings when the alien sun woke me up and I decided to make the most of it. The first morning I decided I wouldn't be too ambitious and stick with my usual 4km route. It was rather pleasant running through the strangely car-free streets but I did feel every day of lightning-watching on my very unfit legs! I stumbled home, very relieved that it was done!

The next morning I realised I needed a different route so I could distract myself with interesting visuals. I turned up a long winded street and shuffled parts of it. About midway I heard a flurry from the pavement bush, and then Guinea Fowl darted across my path. I stopped to watch, as this lovely sight of 6 adults and a whole village of little feathered chicks made their way to the safer side of the road. This made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and took my mind off my internal beatings of not having run this past while. But I did end up spending a lot longer on the road, and managed to put 50 minutes on my clock.

This extra time made me feel a little less nervous about committing to do a 15km race on Sunday. I had run this race in my early days of running and remembered it as hilly and tough, but we decided to go anyway. There was a surprisingly large field of runners when we got to the venue and we caught up with some friends and chatted over new year, new plans and fat tummies! It was much the same for everyone running the race. Compliments were flying everywhere, even if it was for best wishes for the season. The route had changed since my previous time, and there seemed to be an absence of hills which was pleasant. But at 8km we turned right, which ended up being right onto the Jozi ridge, where all the old fancy houses are. Wonderful gardens and interesting architecture took our minds off the fact that we were navigating our way through very steep inclines. By this time most of the runners had gone rather quiet except for heavy groaning and puffing and panting. Only the very fit were still able to chat and thank the pleasant, smiling marshalls. I wasn't one of them. I did manage a grunt every now and then, and if I saw them look directly at me, I would wave in a thankful way.
The last kay was uphill all the way inside the university ground, so we felt no shame in walking most of it.

All in all, a pleasant run, the weather was perfect and the company was great, a nice start to the new year!
Compliments to you!