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!

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.

Running is good for mind, body and especially soul

When the alarm on my phone buzzed this morning, my brain started its familiar sabotaging tricks: stay in bed, it’s Sunday! Don’t drive to Wanderers and run a stupid 10km race. Stay in bed, it screamed. Luckily I had committed to two friends that I’d run the race with them, which was a good enough excuse to fight back those negative thoughts.

Meeting up with Tanya among 7000 runners was surprisingly easy and as that gun went off, we had already started to catch up. Work, life, kids, food, running… all the usual stuff.

I had promised my trainer, Stacey, that I would focus on my heart rate and my breathing, so the walk / run approach suited me perfectly.

Crossing that 10km finish line felt like a 90 minute “free” coaching session aka marathon. I vented, Tanya advised. I quizzed, she answered. I opened up about insecurities and she was able to stop me in my tracks, continually making me question, “but why not?” And “is that true?”

The rewards of running are endless…

Some days, you learn about your body. Other days, you test the willpower of your mind. But every now and then, it’s the company during the run which is what you need most. Today was that kind of day!

Surround yourself with people who inspire you, who build you up and make you believe in yourself. There’s no better time than when you are out on a run because when you’re running, you’re automatically in a winning frame of mind. When you run, you are already giving back to your body. The conversations are pure gold.

Thanks Tanya! Good soul food! I forgot about the uphills and didn’t obsess about watching the time on my Garmin.

Oh and I did offer to push the pram during our run while Tanya tweeted & cheered on the Rockies 21km leading runners. Wow! New respect for runners who run pushing prams because it is not easy! You do feel like a million bucks when people cheer you on though! That last kilometer was amazing!

Thanks Rebecca! *high 5*

Treading lightly

The RAC 10km race is one of my favorite road races on the running calendar. It’s well organized, you can enter on the morning and the best part is the 8am start which means you still get to sleep in and enjoy your Sunday long run (bonus)!

Having taken a break since last year for his stress fracture in his femur, KK decided to run with me. We never run together. He’s too competitive and runs almost double the pace faster than what I can run. Which usually means we fight. And besides, I was worried about his leg. Would he manage 10kms?

But 2kms into the race, my worries turned to my own pain. My foot!

When I had X-rays taken in November last year for my sprained ankle, what surprised me most was finally seeing what had caused months of heel pain. The plantar fasciitis was in actual fact a heel spur!

I had not felt the stabbing hot poker to my heel since I started running again in January but boy did it rear it’s nasty head at this race.

I was disappointed. Was it ever going to go away? Most probably not.

Did it ruin my race? Definitely not!

Watching KK’s body language, the glee written all over his face at the fact that he was running: priceless! We stuck together for the entire distance.

And when he pushed me up that last 500m into the RAC field, I didn’t hate him. I would’ve run another 10kms if he asked me to.

Running through the Jo’burg streets engulfed in the most beautiful autumn colors. Just beautiful!

There are a few more winter races coming up soon and we’re both looking forward to them.

Will we run them together? Judging from his motivation to regain his running strength and fitness, most probably not. As I blog this post, KK keeps moaning about the DOMS from his training. There’s no such thing as baby steps in his life! Dude’s on a mission!