Bad weather in and out of doors meant that I only ran twice last week. One of those runs happened to be 45km so I'm not feeling too guilty in the most intense period for Comrades training. At least that's what I keep telling myself!
This year so far, has been an unusual one for my running. I have been to different provinces as well as return to Pretoria for their insane races. A couple of years back I vowed to stay away from the purple flowered city with the 'must run up the ridge' mentality. However I did go back to the 'Monster' 32km which is notorious for the hills and I enjoyed it and on Sunday I returned to the city for a 60km training run. Yes, it does seem bizarre that 60km would be considered training, but in this wonderful country it is fairly common. I also knew that part of the route would overlap the famous Monster route. Yet I believed the write-ups when they said 'flat and shady route' so I was keen.
With no Oceans or Loskop plans this year, which are lovely Ultra marathons, I decided to stay closer to home and do some things I haven't done before. The training run consisted of 4 laps of 15km's, which would prove testing as running the same route over and over again could mess with the head. But the houses in the area are magnificent and interesting, so I ended up finding different things every time. Admittedly we were too slow for the fourth lap start cut-off, so we only went past three times, but it was still interesting.
I was surprised by how cold it was went we fell out of our cosy car half an hour before the start and my first lap felt incredibly long and cold. I never realised how cold my hands were until I tried to open my Citro Soda, with non conforming fingers, luckily my teeth don't get cold! The second lap I was feeling comfortable, and was looking forward to pounding the roads. My three fellow runners were begining to glare at me when I tried to point out different things, it was just the beginning of a glare, not a full on 'stop it look', so I continued to to look about me and spot different things.
The water points were very well equipped, and I felt like I was at a kiddie party and not sure what food to choose. I contemplated a party pack to take home and eat it all when my non-bouncing belly would let me.
We were down to three of our original running group for the third lap, and we started to be lapped by the fast front guys finishing their last lap. We had hoped to have good time on the legs as a practice for Comrades but when we realised that we would not make the 5 hour 45 minute cut off, we decided to stretch it out and relax. I stood at the one water point for about 10 minutes, drinking and eating biltong sprinkled bread bites. We debated about going back on the route anyway to extend the distance but eventually there were too many aches and pains, plus we didn't want to worry our partner waiting for us to pass through the clubhouse so we toddled back to the clubhouse just as the sun was really beginning to belt out it's Pretoria superpower.
It was a nice run for me, and I kept a clear head, and had very few niggles, so I was pleased with our performance. Stiffness only lasted a couple of hours afterwards, and was only really obvious getting out of the car, or off my comfy couch. So I kept the reasons to get up to a minimum and drank some more Citro Soda for the stiffness.
All in all, I am still enjoying my running!