Don’t stop planning

After enduring a week of extreme heat, we woke up to the most glorious, cool rain. It did not stop KK and his running partner DSM from heading out for their weekly run but I was not that brave and decided to wait it out.

After returning from their run, KK and DSM started discussing their Comrades training schedules. Having run since they were both at Varsity in the late 80’s, it’s the first time they’ve decided to give the “Big C” a try. Printouts lay on the table of various training schedules, Lindsay Parry, Don Oliver, Old Mutual, Modern Athlete… It’s quite surprising at how different they all are. Some demand daily runs, others allow for rest days (which really appeals to DSM).

Race plan

As I sat pondering whether or not I should brave the rainy weather myself and go for a run, it did occur to me that with KK’s extra training, I’d possibly also get to do a lot more running myself this year, especially since there are a few road races earmarked in their draft training schedule.

This is great and I’m quite excited about it. Their dedication and commitment will definitely rub off on me and I’m looking forward to the build-up in the coming months.

When DSM left, KK surprised me by joining me on my run. I had planned the whole week to do a LSD as I have Johnson Crane half marathon coming up and have not yet run many long distances recently.

As we headed up to the 4km mark it started to rain. It was a sprint home and I must admit that I have never run so fast in my life trying to catch up to KK!

Just thinking about my LSD and even Comrades, I realised that as much as you plan, as much as you think things will go your way, anything can happen. But it shouldn’t stop you from just doing it. The outcome is still rewarding!

Two days, Two Oceans, two races, this is how I experienced it…

So even though I decided not to run the Two Oceans Half Marathon, it was a spur of the moment decision to partake in the 5km race, held on the Friday before the big races. The weather in Cape Town had started to turn and so, instead of heading down to the beach, we went through to UCT.

At 14:30 in the afternoon, the race started and approximately 3 000 runners /  joggers / walkers / prams (and a Bokkie) ran out of the beautiful UCT grounds and down University Drive on what was aptly named the Two Oceans Fun Run.  The weather couldn’t have been more perfect! The vibe electrifying. The laughter contagious. What a fantastic afternoon and run! I had so much fun! My time: 39 minutes. I’m thrilled.

          

Turn the clocks a mere 19 hours forward and as majority of the field were approaching the half way mark of the 21.1km race, sheets of rain, mixed with nasty winds, started to pour down! 

I sat on the grandstand, waiting with clean, dry towels for KK and the rest of the running gang to come in. But as the rain came down harder, and the spectators scurried for shelter, I somehow missed KK’s finish and spent the next 45 minutes trying to find him. Drenched and freezing, when we did find one another, he proudly announced that he had managed to run a PB! 1:49 … Awesome babes! 

                      

I guess this year’s Two Oceans was one of those that runners will never forget. One that is so gruelling and tough for some (who really feel that they earned that medal) and yet refreshing and invigorating for others who sailed through and achieved fantastic results.

But between you and me, as we drove home in the rain, passing the unlucky few that had missed the 3 hour cut-off, in my heart I was somehow relieved that I did not run. My heart broke for those who did not make it as I’ve experienced that disappointment before. But I knew, with all that congestion in the E-batch, the rain and the lack of mental mojo, I would not have gotten over that finish line in time. 

I was thankful for the fact that I ran my 5kms, I enjoyed it. And I’m learning that with my runs, that’s what matters most.

But I will be back. I know I will…

Running through a storm is not as glamourous as it sounds!

I heard the thunder, I saw the dark clouds moving in, but I simply ignored it thinking it would blow over. It didn’t.

Two kilometres in to my run last week Thursday I got caught in the biggest storm to hit Jo’burg. At first, the drops didn’t appear to be that heavy so I decided to push on and not turn back.

Big mistake!

Within 5 mins, the rain was so heavy I could not see in front of me. I had to seek shelter along the side of the road under the trees (I know!) and next to some bushes. At first, I thought it would blow over but it just got louder and heavier, it felt like the lightning was going to hit me!

I stood dead still, holding myself in a tight ball and closed my eyes. I waited. I hoped it would stop.

Every now and then a car would drive passed. The problem is that with no pavements and very little water drainage in Douglasdale, I would get splashed. I refused to cry. I kept trying to convince myself that it was awesome. It wasn’t!

After 10 minutes, I made the call to run home. It did not look like the rain was going to stop and I feared it might hail. It was getting late. I was freezing! I was 2 kms away and thought that at the most, it would take me 20 mins. I could not run fast because the puddles of water were so deep. My running shoes were drenched!

I arrived home, ran straight upstairs and jumped in to the shower. My mascara had run all down my face. I had left puddles of water from the front door all the way through the house.

I’ve heard people raving about how wonderful it is to run in the rain. How refreshing it is.

Geepers! I rain in a storm. Never again!  

Sometimes, the signs are there and we refuse to listen. We ignore them. And then have to face the consequences.

The lesson: if it looks like a big rain storm approaching, it most probably is. Go run at the gym!

Pushing through the storms

Living in Jo’burg, one of the things I absolutely love are the awesome Highveld storms! I love the build-up…the dark clouds, that booming thunder and the lightening across the dark purple skies. There’s nothing more spectacular!

However, with a detailed running training schedule to follow since I started with my running coach, I’ve become really niggly with all the rain that has hit Jo’burg in the last few weeks.

You see, I have totally changed my training regime since January. Whereas before I trained mostly indoors, with a personal trainer at the gym at 6am on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, I am now only focussed on running every afternoon, as per my new running schedule, out on the open roads.

Let me stop for a minute and be completely honest with you: The last 3 weeks have been difficult. I have run every day (except Saturdays). It’s not as if I am clocking up major kms. Somedays I’ll only run 3kms, but the discipline to run and to push myself, especially with the required speed work is out of my comfort zone. It’s hard work. It’s not something I’ve done before. My entire body screams ‘stop’!

The humidity that comes with the afternoon rains hasn’t helped. It feels as if I am suffocating. I cannot breathe. I am often gasping for air and the sweat just runs down my face. Wednesday’s run was particularly difficult and it took all my energy and strength not to walk. I failed. Most of the route I landed up walking instead of running. I felt pap! But I’ve stuck to the schedule and have pushed as hard as I can.

I then came across a @runnersworldza tweet that not only made me smile but made me realise a few things…

I realised that it’s been 3 weeks. Already! Yes, 3 difficult weeks but I have not quit. My legs have not given up on me. My body is getting stronger and stronger. I’ve realised that I am in fact doing more training than I did last year. This is awesome! This is what counts!

I need to stop complaining and enjoy my training! Let it rain!