About Bo

Dog lover. Runner. Although very slowly. Keeping up with the stresses of running and life...

My Kaapsehoop race review

I remember putting my leave in at work for the Kaapsehoop road race at the beginning of the year, thinking that the race was months away. But as we’ve all seen, the end of the year has arrived in supersonic speed. Our road trip to run our 4th Kaapsehoop road race arrived sooner than we thought. I was undertrained.

The breathtaking Mbombela Stadium with its giraffes and zebra lines. Love it!

I downgraded to the 10km race which meant I could legitimately collect my race t-shirt at registration and keep busy while KK ran his marathon.

Being married to an engineer, most events are planned down to the last minute. We have a holiday packing spreadsheet and a pretty good idea of exactly how the weekend will pan out. But things didn’t always go according to plan.

It’s Nelspruit so you’d expect hot and humid weather. But it dropped to 13 degrees and I was lucky I had packed in a warm top. KK had only packed in shorts and slops.

Milkshakes are at another level nowadays! KK was not complaining.

We stopped for a light lunch at Halls Farm Stall knowing we’d be tucking into saucy pastas later on.

I found this gorgeous Pinocchio at the Farm Stall. I’ve renamed him Stoute Kabouter!

Our carbo-loading plans were dashed when we arrived at the Riverside Mall to discover that the Primi had closed down. KK started to panic. In his mind, an early supper of gnocchi or Alfredo would fill his belly nicely and he’d be ready to run. Now what?

We ended up at the Mugg ‘n Bean. Disappointed. A Milky Lane soft serve ice cream saved my day.

What makes the Kaapsehoop race unique is the 3am bus trips to the start of the race. Shivering in the foggy forest waiting for the gun to signal the start of the race, followed by 42/21kms of downhills. It all adds to the experience of the day.

My 10km race as we headed out for 5kms, to turn back for 5kms.

Done! Not as fast as I would have liked. But I enjoyed it.

My 10km race was the last few kilometers of the marathon route. It’s the ruthless and relentless finishing climb into the Mbombela Stadium. For most of the runners, it’s a painful walk.

The 10km route – down and then up again.

The good news? KK qualified for Comrades! He ran a 3:54 and was thrilled with his time. He has battled injuries for over a year and the smile on his face as he crossed that line… priceless.

It was a good weekend away. We spent a few hours (because that’s all you can do) in Kaapsehoop itself, spotting a few horses.

We also regrouped with some of our running junkies for a hearty Italian meal on Saturday evening.

The races we ran this year, focused more on 10km distances.

It’s the final official road race for us for 2018. When I look back, it’s been a year of rest. It’s been a year of scaling down, focusing more on strength training. But it’s been a welcoming relief not to have the pressure that running often brings.

I suspect next year will be different. KK is rearing to go!

Worth the squeeze

“I’ll take a full body massage, a facial, pedi and throw in a brow shape.”

This has been my monthly Whatsapp to Monika, the beautician and owner of Lemonade Skin and Nail Bar in Douglasdale, which just so happens to be 2.4kms away from home. (According to Garmin – the salon is on my running route.)

What started out last year December as a Christmas present from my sister has turned into one of my favourite times of the month. For a packaged deal, Monika offers x4 appointments every month for R599. Any four appointments! It’s a steal!

beautician packages for face, nails, body

Two packages to choose from.

But here’s why I love it so much:

  • It’s close to home which is super convenient.
  • It’s me giving back to myself every month, which I’m finding more and more important.
  • While I get my grey hairs covered, I get my feet pampered.

    pedicure at lemonade skin and nail bar

    While my tint sets, my feet get the full treatment.

And then there’s Diesel and Hunter, Monika’s two dogs. They follow Monika everywhere and you have to watch your step or risk tripping over their sleeping masses!

During my massage, they’re under the bed snoring with me. While I’m having my pedi, they’re distracting Monika, wanting to play. They make me giggle and I love their welcoming tail-wags each time I arrive for my appointment.

On this day, they found a teddy and wanted Monika to stop and throw it for them.

I love heading to Lemonade every week for a daily dose of cheerfulness, dog hugging and spoiling. It’s important to identify things in your life that bring you joy.

The little things that make you stop and smile. To be around people who are positive about life. And trust me, weekly catchups with Monika, a successful entrepreneur at the age of 28, is incredibly inspiring. To spoil yourself once (or four times) a month.

It’s definitely worth the squeeze!

*Unsponsored post*

Damn! Is the race next weekend? Oops!

You know that saying, “You think you’ve got time, but you don’t” or something like that?

I entered the Kaapsehoop 21km road race taking place on the 3rd November. Yup, next weekend. Or next, next weekend. I digress…

I haven’t trained as much as I should’ve to take on a half marathon but I knew that as the race grew closer, I’d be ready. That was my thinking 3 months ago.

Then winter arrived and I stopped running. I call it my annual hibernation. Then we went on holiday. And I ate carbs at the buffet. Twice a day. Then I got a viral infection and I’m still coughing!

I’ve run a couple of 10kms here and there. I’ve jogged through the neighborhood a few times. Just to take in the beauty of the jacaranda trees! But a 21km is still hardcore in my books and I haven’t done sufficient training for Kaapsehoop.FNB Jozi 10km

The only “training” further than a 5km Parkrun has been odd 10km races, such as the Heritage Day FNB 10km race.

It gets worse.

Then an email arrived notifying runners that there are no substitutions after September. Ouch!

So it’s 21kms or nothing. No downgrading for a fun 10km run. Oh dear. I’m out.

I know I’ll hate every single kilometer of the 21km if I go and “run for fun”. It won’t be fun. And to risk disqualification if I jump on the 10km bus ain’t worth it.

KK still aims to run the marathon and qualify for Comrades. Yes, he has entered and just as well! Comrades entries are going like hot cakes!

Oh well, on the bright side, bring on that long weekend in Kaapsehoop! *whoop*! I’m always up for another break!

Ps: I’ll be much better prepared for my next race. I promise.

Why I left my phone in the hotel room and went for a run instead

We celebrate our wedding anniversary annually with a trip away. Away from work commitments, household chores, and the noise that drowns out our lives. We try get away from it all.

This year, we couldn’t have picked a more perfect destination than Club Med Bintan Island, tucked away off the coast of Singapore.

The view over the pool area from reception

It was an absolute paradise! The food, the drinks, the people…

There are x4 things I did that made it even more blissful and ensured that I enjoyed each and every minute on the island.

1. I locked my cellphone away in the hotel room safe everyday. For someone like me to not have my phone constantly with me was hard! But when I lay on the deck chair overlooking the ocean, I saw for myself just how obsessed people are with getting that perfect photo, taking pics of their food or simply seeing their heads facing down staring at their screens when in fact there was such beautiful scenery all around us.

I don’t have many photos of the holiday but what I did come back with are hundreds of conversations between Karl and myself. We spoke. A lot. And I switched off. I detoxed digitally and it felt good not exposing myself to all the hatred and anger that exists on social media.

2. I ran. In fact we must’ve run almost every single day on the island. The humidity at 8am did not stop us either. You kinda think that on holiday, you should take a break from exercise but we loved the fact that we had time to run whenever we wanted to! And to explore different routes and pathways around the resort. Yes, so I did get lost on my first run. I blame the Club Med chief of the village who claimed the distance around the club was 4kms. It was actually 8kms! Pffft, non-runners!

I was not mentally prepared for the uphills and humidity on my first day of running. But once I knew the route, it was just me (and the monkeys) on a road surrounded by palm trees and lush vegetation, next to a beautiful golf course with the piercing sound of the Cicada bug, apparently the loudest insect, zinging in my ears. Bliss!

This naughty little bugger made off with my running cap that was drying out on the balcony!

3. I ate everything and more on my plate. We diet way too much. We have become so obsessed with our Banting / low carb / paleo / weightless / weight watchers / Sleek geek / plant-based eating schemes that we’ve forgotten to find joy in actually eating something that tastes really delicious! I ate bowls of pasta, ice-cream, fried rice, curries! I ordered cocktails at the pool. I lived! And the damage was not as bad as I had imagined! I still have clothes which fit. LOL

Food food and even more food!

I didn’t dish up massive portions but I made sure I tasted as much as I could – from spicy Korean dishes, to Indonesian crab and lots and lots of fried rice.

4. I swam in the sea! You heard right! I swam sometimes three or four times in the same afternoon. The sea water was as like warm bath water and there were very few waves. If you looked down at your feet, the water was so clear, you could spot a fish or two dashing through your legs every now and then. Freaky!

I put my fear of the sea aside and not only swam in the sea but jumped on a boat to be led out to the waters to go snorkeling. With a mask covering my face and looking down onto the most beautiful coral reefs, a sea turtle swam passed me! My heart! And then yes, I gulped down a huge mouthful of sea water in all my excitement!

Here’s a couple of photos I did manage to take which gives you a sense of just how beautiful Bintan Island is…

Walkways through the resort which never felt busy or overcrowded.

We had a choice of sitting around the pool or lying on deck chairs staring into the ocean.

Lazy strolls along the beach.

Just couldn’t resist this photo opportunity.

The ‘B’ is actually me, not Bintan 😉

In his element!

No make-up, sticky sun creamed body, cocktail in hand.

Full body massages on beds overlooking the ocean.

Thank you for a wonderful holiday KK!