Monday, January 30, 2012

January is almost done, and I must say I've had a good month of running. Almost 200km's and for me that sounds great, and the best thing is that I'm feeling clear headed through most of them! (Apart from the first 4kays- sigh!)

I have also done 3 races this month and returned to the scene of my first ever funrun at the popular Dischem race. 6 years ago, I did the 5km funrun, never ever believing that I would be still at it years later, never mind running distances that I do now. On this busy race, people were out in their thousands, and it is great to be part of such a festive sport of all ages. Groans and moans were the order of the day, being the first half marathon on the Jozi calendar and I'm sure many people were reconsidering their November entry for Comrades 2012! 

The following week we did the infamous Bobbies 25km race, which is hosted by the police force. Not a very pretty run, but very useful for building up the distance, it was also a very full field of runners. This race, I decided to hold back in the first few kays, as my first January run, I had started off too quickly and felt the effects later in the race. The summer weather was very kind to us, with a cool breeze to ease us into the early morning strain! A friend and I started early taking walks and trying to keep the heartbeats within a healthy range. The World Cup stadium next to the show grounds beckoned us closer with one of those irritating uphills that don't look like uphill. But a nice waterpoint broke the hill, and we edged closer to the calabash shaped stadium. Around the grounds the runners weaved, and I always find that interesting spotting the faster runners and waving wildly at them! 
The route was changed this year to avoid running over the slippery vlei, so we were sent over the back of a dump, but the marshall was so friendly at the end, encouraging us, that it didn't matter where we were running. The evening's rain had softened the ground, and the field towards the finish was luckily not too muddy, but did slow our weary legs down but all in all was great time on our legs.

This past weekend, we ended up not doing any races, but ran with some friends instead. All was going well, and I was feeling surprisingly good, when I went up on the pavement and choose the sandy path. I know it was sand, because I ended up seeing it up close with a classic 'army roll' fall. There was no arm flapping in this fall, when the realisation hit me that there was no way I was going to stop this, I put my hands out and gravity did a thorough job in making sure the rest of me followed suit. I managed to dodge my face out of the way, and my hip and shoulder bore the brunt of it. A loud grunt got the attention of my fellow runners who shouted concerned words over to me. I realised that neither of them had seen my swan lake dive, and the better part of me was relieved at that! My knee was grazed, but the damp sand on my hands was the most irritating part. Ego bruised, I shuffled off, up the hill, this time on the tar, and saw my hubby in the car. He washed off my hands and offered me a lift, but I could feel the stiffness in my hips, and didn't want it to settle, so I decided to keep moving to loosen it off. After the run I looked at my knee that now has a piece of Sasolburg, Berea, Little Falls and now Ruimsig and felt sorry for it. I also now have huge respect for stunt women, because no matter how planned a fall, it's still gotta hurt!

Today I feel a lot better than I thought I would, and I'm looking forward to getting my first marathon of the year under my running pouch!

Monday, January 09, 2012

I can now officially say 'last year' when it comes to Comrades. There is a strange division of the year for us runners who do Comrades, and once it has come and gone, it's like a 'new year' starts in June. So now I can talk freely about 'last year'  without correcting myself!

The good news for me is that I started the year off with a run. I even impressed myself after 3 hours sleep as I met up with one of the 'non-holidaymakers' and went for a comfortable 10km run. It was eerily quiet, with only the occasional car, but the morning had a crispness to it that befits the new start to the year. My week progressed nicely too with several runs with hubby and even one with sister! Sunday saw the first week of the year end with my first race.

15kms round the Johannesburg hilltops, gave the few thousand of us a chance to catch up, reflect and realise the festive season damage! I met up with a group of clubmates and chatted about the dismal December training. The gun caught everyone by surprise and we trotted off. Narrowing of the road at some corners saw our small group disperse but one of our guys had decided to stick with me. It was a nice catch up but I was aware that I was starting out too fast. It feels so long since my last race, that seeing the watertable surprised me, I'm now used to stopping at garages and other points looking for our own water. The coke went down nicely and I tucked an emergency water sachet into my pocket. Spikes was threatening to blast us, so I wanted to be prepared. The route was fairly flat at this early stage, but I had not settled into a comfortable pace, so I tried shooing my 'company' on, but he was having none of it. I pleaded with him, pointing out that he wasn't even sweating, meanwhile I'm sure I had steam rising off my body! 

At around 6km another lady slowed down for me, and the three of us chatted for a while and I saw my gap. I encouraged them on together as I was needing too many walks and could feel I was holding them back. They pulled forward and I walked to fix my loosened hair. I began to notice the lovely surroundings and dogs in this leafy neighbourhood. One house had a wind dial on top of it, but I couldn't tell if there was a real Hadeda bird sitting on top of it, as I changed direction past the house I saw that it was indeed part of the metal wind dial. I smiled at the creativity of some people, because Hadeda's are indeed part of the Jozi landscape!

At the 10km marker board I saw that I was going rather slow, but was beginning to get a sense of myself on the road. I remembered that we would be turning into the steepest part of the route but felt good. Around 11km my New Year running partner caught me, which surprised me, as I thought they were all ahead of me at this stage. We trundled into a steady pace, and lampost hill running  eventually turning into the last km home which is the long, long uphill to the finish line. The finish was in front of the Wits University Great Hall, and I must say the grounds are lovely. We finished in a comfortable time of 1hour and 48 minutes, but we enjoyed our run, and most of all we are back on the road!

So bring it on 2012!