Autumn is creeping into our early mornings which is nice for running but not so nice for sitting around after a run! Sunday I went south for the first time ever and ran the Jackie Gibson half marathon. This race sees us weave over the south ridge of the Witswatersrand, and with the word 'ridge' in any sentence means hills. The first 10km's felt like it was uphill all the way. They weren't even the steep hills that carry no shame when walked, but they were those sneaky deceiving ones, that make us lean forward and breathe heavier!
The race had a huge field of runners, which meant a 20 minute drive up the last km towards the parking, luckily our race started half an hour after the marathoners, so we weren't as rushed as some. The nice thing at the stadium grounds was the lack of queues at the downstairs toilets which most runners didn't realise were there. There was a queue for the gents however, which is really unusual so we sailed past the wide eyed men into the Ladies, and the front chap was screaming at us to stand in the queue. 'Ha, sorry, I don't think so!'
The misty weather threatened rain, as we stood under the very loud speakers at the start. Luckily the clouds held back any urge to soak thousands of runners and we had great cool weather all the way. We ran around some lovely unspoilt ground which is part of the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve which is still looking lush and green due to all this late season rain. When the road flattened out near the end, I trotted a little quicker than usual wrapped up in my stories in my head. I think some runners may call it 'entering the zone' as I didn't notice much around me, which is unusual. My zone was crashed when I noticed heavy breathing and that it wasn't coming from me. A heavy set runner came up from behind and groaned, and this made me realise that in the absence of hills, or the early part of any run, I am actually a silent breather. This is strange as my 'old thinking' idea of runners used to be that they would be panting all the way, but it's the panters who seem to be in the minority! Now I quite enjoy the normal tempo of breath and the added bonus of being able to chat!
This race was rather unlike 'Om die Dam' in that there was a lot less chatting and more quiet, which seems strange considering this was less than half the distance of 'ODD'.
Our club hosted a breakfast roll, and some warm coffee, which warmed me up in the dull weather. It is lovely watching the fast marathoners finish their race in excellent style for a change, instead of them watch us finish our marathon three weeks later, that is the nice part of doing half the distance!
With 60 days to Comrades, I feel nice and calm about my training, hopefully it stays like this!