"I'd rather be seen on my bicycle than on a park run" - Quote from the dark side

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Cradle Half Marathon Race Report with a Lion's Roar!

I didn’t plan to run this race, but since Tuesday was a public holiday in South Africa I decided to go. I was feeling fine after my Sunday half marathon but the plan was still to just get the time and distance on my legs…no time goal at all, just a comfortable finish.

This is an out and back course run in the protected area of “The Cradle of Humankind” one of the world heritage sites in South Africa. This is where they found, and are still finding, some of the oldest human fossils in the world. Check out the Maropeng website…very interesting!

The cold and wet weather is still with us and yesterday morning at the start was wet and cold, but very fresh and there was something magic about the mist on the hills around us.

There was a big field and it was clear that runners don’t get put off by a bit of rain and cold. The half marathon and the 10km started together with the 5km 15 minutes later. I started very slowly to see what my legs were like after Sunday’s half marathon. I felt surprisingly good! The start was slightly uphill and I concentrated on not tripping over someone’s feet or not bumping into walkers that for some reason always start at the front…?! There were lots of not so fast walkers doing the 10km and maybe lack of experience played a role in them starting at the front.

After about 2km things got better and spread out a little more and we were running comfortably. I found one of my old running friends and we started chatting. She is recovering from flu and was also taking it easy. The chatting became chatting and chatting and chatting for the rest of the race! We ran a bit slower than I would have on my own, but I think it was a good thing two days after my previous race.

We kept a comfortable pace with no walks and I was feeling stronger and stronger. The last 8km my friend was a bit tired but she stuck to the pace. I decided to stay with her as there was no point in running a few minutes faster. I was just happy to feel so good towards the end of my second half marathon in three days! Something is slowly coming together for me.

The race description contains this text “You are running close to the Rhino and Lion nature reserve. With some luck the breeze may carry the roar of a lion”. With 3km to go I heard the roar of a lion! How cool is that? The guys at the water table there told us to get a move on; they’re letting the lions out soon for lunch! We got a move on…

Soon we were at the finish and I was feeling absolutely great! Better than Sunday, when I ran 02:24. My son wanted to take the photo below and with all of that I forgot to look at or stop my watch. The time was around 2:29 or 2:30.

I was happy to receive my medal and felt ready to run the route again. I’m very happy with my progress and will continue my training feeling very positive.

Afterwards we went to the nearby Sterkfontein Caves. This was very interesting with a beautiful exhibition and a guided tour through the caves. I’ll post more pics of the caves later, but the theme is all about the fossils and the people that lived here many, many years ago.

The entrance to the cave. I'll post more pics later.


ajh said...

You ran half marathons two days apart? I was pleased with myself when I ran them two weeks apart!! I like the medal and the roar of a lion while racing is something I am sure I will never hear! Very cool.

Molly said...

that's a lot of running in a short span of days, great job! I think hearing a lion roar while running would make me run faster out of fear!

: )

Julie said...

Hi Johann,
You are as crazy as me:) I would of probably ran another race too! Great pictures of your run....just like Minnesota...we run in any kind of weather that Mother Nature dishes out.

I find the cave tour so interesting. I am a big history geek and would of been all over this tour. I can't wait for the rest of the pictures! Have a wonderful day Johann!

misszippy said...

I am impressed--I could not pull of back-to-back races like that! And how cool that you heard a lion? And the caves afterwards? You really do live in a great spot.

Anne said...

Wow! Of course it makes sense that as an ultra-runner, half-marathons are training runs...you did great! Myself, I'm planning to wait about 4 months between my first and second half :)

Chris Lawson said...

Nice report Johann. I ran this Half last year and it was very enjoyable. A fairly easy course but a few challenges, all helped by running in a lovely part of the country.

Evolving Through Running said...

Two half-marathons in such a short timespan - awesome. I get the occasional fox or deer crossing my path, but don't imagine I'll ever experience a lion's roar while running. Definitely would help with the pacing.

Christina said...

you are the raciest person I know. Wow. And hills too. Cool medal.