Two Oceans. Are you ready Freddy?

KK always takes me out for supper for my birthday. Last year it was ribs and onion rings with my family, and the year before that, the degustation menu at DW Eleven-13.

Confession: We don’t eat a lot of carbs so it’s the one time of year that I really pig out. This year, I’ve asked that we wait until after Two Oceans.

Birthday supper 2018. Before I put my bib on for ribs, ribs, ribs and more ribs at The Grillhouse.

It’s a week before the Two Oceans road race. I’m ready and I don’t want to jinx it.

I have done more longer mileage than in previous years. I feel fitter. Stronger.

The race is usually run in my head long before the start gun is fired and it’s often a mental struggle to get my thoughts in the right space. But not this year. Things have just fallen into place.

Mentally, I am thrilled to be pegged in batch E starting at 06:10 and giving me 3 hours and 20 minutes to finish the race. I’m slow and the majority of my half marathon races are run just over that 3-hour mark but never 3 hours 20. (The Ultra winner will be in around 20 minutes behind me, eeek!)

Mentally, I know that there is another batch of runners behind me so I can’t come last. And before you say, you will never come last, someone always must come last. I’ve been close to that last position before. It sucks.

Mentally, I see myself finishing. It’s part of my yoga and headspace exercises that I’ve been trying. My homework has been to close my eyes and visualize myself finishing. To see myself running onto the UCT rugby field with a smile on my face. (I’ve stopped the yoga until after Oceans. I was so stiff the morning after my yoga, my running took a knock. But more of that in my next blog).

Physically, I have run more LSDs than in previous years. I have my Sunday running partner Tamryn to thank for that. She’s been instrumental in my training program and I can’t thank her enough. Motivating me to get out of bed on Sundays, pushing me to run two street lights up every hill instead of one, and ensuring I run more than I walk at every opportunity.

Physically, my knee niggle from a few weeks back has disappeared. Yay!

Physically, I have been running with the Catch Me If You Can (CMIYC) bunch of gals and pushing myself to keep up with them. This has secretly been my weekly interval session because they are quite speedy.

Physically, I’m feeling light and fresh and pretty good. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t want to jinx it and overeat or get a stomach bug or too drunk or overloaded with carbs right now if that makes any sense at all?

I’m ready. I’m positive.

KK and I at this year’s Harrier’s Valentine’s Day Night race.

Good luck to everyone who will be running next weekend – trail, fun run, half or ultra. The love part of my love-hate relationship with this race is knowing that feeling of absolute joy when crossing the finish line and I know you will experience it too.

Oh and back to my birthday supper… It’ll either be a curry or Italian restaurant down in Cape Town on Saturday night with our medals hanging around our necks. Carbs, wine, dessert… you name it! It’ll be a celebration and a reward!

If you have any restaurant recommendations, let me know.

What the Physio said…

It’s not everyday that you get a free consult from a physiotherapist that provides answers you just didn’t realize you needed.

Last week, I visited old Running Junkie friend, Francis, at her practice, Francis and Terry Rogan Physiotherapists, for something non-injury related.

I replied to her “How are you?” opening line with a casual, “Agh, my knee is niggling me.” I went on to explain my dilemma:

  • I was registered to run the Edenvale half marathon on Sunday.
  • I really wanted to run a 21km before Two Oceans. More for mental prep than physical to be honest.
  • I had been trying to increase my weekend long run mileage and had planned to up it to 15kms for the month of March.
  • I worried that my knee wouldn’t make 21.1kms. It’s been uncomfortable and weak with bursts of pain under the knee cap whenever I walked down stairs of drove my car.
  • So I’ve been Googling ways to strengthen my knee so that I would ready on Sunday.
  • I’ve listened to some of a couple of Coach Parry podcasts Brad Brown sent me.
  • I’ve started doing yoga which has been amazing & worth it’s own blog post!
  • Oh and yes, I’m taking cataflams. Should I continue with these? (Snort, you should’ve seen the look she gave me!)

In a nutshell, I’m desperately trying a bit of everything (as runners do).

Francis asked 3 simple questions that for some bizarre reason, I had failed to ask myself:

  • Is it your goal race? No.
  • If it’s about mileage, why not run the 10km and add in a 2-3 km cool down if your knee feels okay. I could do that.
  • Have you checked out the race calendar? Um, no. Why not enter Jackie Gibson later in March to run a half. It’s also not too close to Oceans.

I wondered why it was so difficult to reason it out for myself. Duh!

I went ahead and ran the Edenvale 10km road race on Sunday. My knee was fine. *phew*! I also managed to add on an extra 3kms for a cool down jog which gave me a total of 13kms mileage for the day.

My knee has felt ‘okayish’ this week. Let me put it this way, I’ve managed to continue training. With 5 weeks until Two Oceans, this is what counts, right?

You can Google what you like and convince yourself that you’ve made the right decision. But some times you do need someone to sense check you and make sure you’re asking the right questions, especially when it comes to injuries.

Runners cannot self-diagnose. Fact!

I know that if I had run the 21kms on Sunday, I would’ve been hobbling around this whole week, unable to run, with my knee in pain rolled up in an ice pack. Not ideal. Thanks Francis!

Shit! Did you read what I just said?

5 weeks to Two Oceans! How’s your training going?

Catch me if you can!

With Two Oceans just around the corner, I’ve woken up to the fact that sooner or later, I need to up my mileage. Weekends are fine. I’m currently running a Parkrun (5km) on Saturday and 10km on Saturday with Tamryn, with plans to up this distance to 15kms soon. But somehow, I’m just not getting to running during the weekdays.

My training program I printed off Runner’s World

My training program is stuck behind me in my office and haunts me daily! It’s not a difficult program either. Run 30 mins one day, do some hill training the next.

I have no excuse. I work from home, I don’t deal with traffic, my time is my own. It’s a combination of a lack of commitment and zero motivation. I talk myself out of it almost every single time. I thought to myself that if running with others on the weekends was the magic trick, maybe I should look for running groups in the week too?

I’d seen the Catch me if you can (CMIYC) running updates shared on various social media platforms and even more updates since my friend Tanya signed up as a CMIYC Leader in her neighborhood. I was still skeptical so I messaged her and asked what the deal was.

Knowing my pace (and all my insecurities), I felt I would be left behind and then run on my own. I might as well then run at home then, right? I also felt bad that I would be holding other runners up if they had to wait for me. Her answer: Just go! Go try it, and then decide.

So off I went. I was so nervous. But excited too. We weren’t a big group and when the leader, Naomi, said we’d all stick together, I blurted out that I was slow, very slow. But she didn’t seem to take much notice and off we went with me sprinting that first kilometer! After a while, I realized that I didn’t need to.

We ran. We walked. We stopped to take photos. Those that needed to run off ahead did so but also ran back to fetch the slower runners at the back. Naomi divided her run equally between the faster runners in front, as well as scooping up those of us at the back. Effortlessly too!

Posing along the way

Obligatory running shoe pose

It was relaxed and fun and embodied everything CMIYC promises to be. Not once did I feel awkward or conscious of my pace. In fact, in between the running, the walking, the talking, the laughing and getting to know one another, (and all the stops for photographs of course), 5kms flew by so quickly. It’s also safer which is a huge plus.

Will I go again? For sure!

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!