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

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Three Things Thursday

I don't often do the three things Thursday post, but today I have three things to say.  :)

1. This Sunday sees the running of the Comrades Marathon here in South Africa so anyone and anything that has something to do with road running in the country is all Comrades at the moment. This year is a down run of just over 89km (55.3 miles). I’m not there this year but have lots of friends running. All the best to everyone!

2. Talking about Comrades…a sad shoutout to my good friend Staci (Sandal Girl) who’s mom passed away last weekend. Condolences to all of you my friend. Staci’s dad, Alan Robb, is one of the all time Comrades greats with 4 wins and 12 gold medals (top 10) to his name.  He ran and finished his 38th consecutive Comrades last year. This from the Comrades website:

The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) has been left disheartened at the sad news of the sudden passing away of Merle Robb, wife of Comrades great Alan Robb.

Merle will be remembered as the dedicated spouse of one of the Comrades Marathon’s greatest runners, who was always by her husband’s side. CMA Chairman Peter Proctor says, ‘This is such sad news. As CMA officials, we were always impressed at the way in which Merle stood by Alan. She was definitely his dedicated support system’.

Proctor adds, ‘We send our heartfelt condolences to Alan and wish him strength during this trying time.’ 

3. Anette and I are still following the Body for Life program and we are losing an average of 0.5 to 1kg (1.1 to 2.2 pounds) per week. Anette is slowly building up her running as well and will run her first trail race on 17 June. She will do the 5km while I’m doing the 20km at the Gauteng trail series. You can read Anette’s latest blog post on our family blog.

Thanks for reading and happy training!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Foto Friday

I shared/borrowed this photo from one of my Face Book friends this week and like it so much I decided to put it on my blog as well.

One reason I love living in Africa so much. Always something unique.

I live in Johannesburg and love this view every morning on my way to work.

Johannesburg skyline from one of my favorite trails.

Have a super Friday and weekend everyone!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Another Nice Trail Run

As promised last week I ran the Eastern side of the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve this past weekend and took some photos to share with you.

It was a beautiful morning with open skies and the temperature was very pleasant for running. As always I was very happy to be out on the trails. The climb to the Eastern side of the reserve goes higher than the Western side but it is not as steep.

Start of the Eastern trail...up & up...

It is a hard climb and feels really long. I was happy to take some short breaks to take photos for the blog! :) Anette came with me this time and took a 6km walk while I did my run. She is the tiny white spot at the bottom in the picture below.

The trail goes through grass and then some trees and finally through more grass as you get closer to the top. The climb is full of rocks and you have to pick your foot placement carefully all the way. The grass can be tick heaven so I always check myself for the little pests after a run here.

Going East with the sun from the front.

The climb is hard and long and there are a few false summits along the way. There is a pile of stones placed by hikers at one of the false summits and I've seen many hikers turn around here instead of carrying on all the way to the top. Yes, I did place a stone on the pile when I passed here the first time.

After the pile of stones it is a short run to the top although this is still not the highest point of the trail. It is lovely here and there are always some game to spot. On Saturday I saw a Blesbuck and a Springbuck here but they ran off as I came closer.

Lots of evidence that Springbuck love this spot :)

I ran all the way to the top until I reached the Legae Trail. The views from the top are really beautiful.

View to the East.

View to the North with Johannesburg skyline.

Most of the Legae Trail from this side is a descent that gets quite technical in some places...

Once the descent was done I ran until I reached the Wildebeest Trail. I turned left onto the Wildebeest Trail, running further East. This is a very "runable" trail.

Wildebeest Trail

The trail goes all the way to the North-Eastern corner of the reserve. You get a clear view of a Virgin Active gym while running there. I'm always glad I can view it from the trail instead of me viewing someone on the trail from inside the gym...

View of the Virgin Active gym. Glad I'm out here and not inside there :)

The Wildebeest trail turns South and runs to the South-Eastern corner of the reserve. It is a lovely trail to run and one of my favorite trails in the reserve.

Lovely trail!

No human prints! Love it!

From here it follows the Southern boarder of the reserve for a while, running West. This is one of the best places in the reserve for viewing game. There are always Wildebeest and Blesbuck around here.

Southern boarder of the reserve.

Black Wildebeest, Blesbuck, Zebra & Springbuck on this photo...far away unfortunately!

The trail then joins the Kiepersol trail. Kiepersol are some of the indigenous trees found around here. This is the trail where I fell two years ago and cracked my sternum on a rock. Saturday I was very careful and ran without any stumbles or tumbles.

Kiepersol Trail.

Back to the car via Bloubos Trail.

I ran the whole Kiepersol trail and then turned back on the Bloubos trail that I also ran last week. This is the main trail that runs through the middle of the reserve. The views are also great on this trail.

Back at the entrance I found this lovely lady waiting. She did a good 6km walk and after I chatted her up we went home together for a lovely weekend...

Thanks for reading everyone! This Saturday I will run both the Eastern and Western sides in one go for some good training.

Stay positive!

Monday, 14 May 2012

A Nice Trail Run!

Yesterday I went for a trail run to formally start training for my 2012 trail season. I drove to the Kliprviersberg Nature Reserve and I had a blast!

Main entrance to the reserve

My run started with a stream crossing. The water is still flowing quite strong even though we are already in our dry season.

Just after the start there is a spot where you can always see many Dassies (Rock Hyrax). It is not easy to get a photo of these little guys so I was happy to get this one...

I ran the western part of the reserve and took it very easy as I am still coughing from the chest cold I had although I feel 100% in every other way. I took more time and photos along the way and decided it was a good time to show you all my favorite trails a bit better. I went up with the Sunbird Trail.

The climb is tough and technical with lots of rocks but the views are worth the effort.

Once at the top, the run is comfortable and beautiful. I love the type of bush and grass fields you get here and always feel exalted while running here. Some of my favorite spots in this reserve are at the top here.

When I hit the highest point on this western side of the reserve the view to the South always gives me extra energy. This is where I get that feeling of "this is where I want to be".

Running over these rocks is always a highlight...

Once over these rocks there is a steep and very technical (rocky) descent and I ran that fairly hard yesterday. This year I really want to work at getting down mountains a bit faster to make up some time. Once at the bottom I ran another 500m or so and then turned onto one of the connecting trails. Clearly not as many people use the connecting trails...

Mr Porcupine was here.

I then joined the "Gifbol Trail". Gifbol is Afrikaans for "Poison Ball" and I was glad I could see some to show you. It is a tomato like fruit and apparently poisonous.

From here the run becomes easier as the trail make its way back to the stream. There is a wooden bridge here to cross the stream and yesterday a few of the local horses were at the bridge.

People always warn to be very careful of the horses here. They walk freely between the game and is believed to be descendants of the farm horses that was kept here many years ago when the area was still a farm that belonged to the Marais family. Yesterday however, the horses were very friendly, asking for a scratch before I crossed the bridge. :)

It was getting late so I decided to take the easy route back to my car on the "Bloubos East" trail. Bloubos is Afrikaans for Blue Bush.

The Bloubos Trail is easy with only a few stones in some places. I was feeling happy and it felt as if I was floating over the rocks as I ran the final part of the trail.

I'm looking forward to the trail season and can't wait for this weekend when I'll be back to run the Eastern part of the reserve. I'll do a similar post with photos of that run.

Thanks for reading! Happy running and have a super week!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Missed race but happy

I had no choice but to skip yesterday's Colgate 32km (20 Mile) race. I am still coughing and not 100% over the chest cold that's been haunting me for more than a week now.

However, all is not lost! Even though I haven't been running the races as planned this week is still the official start of my trail season for 2012. I can look forward to lots of this...

and this...

and this...

Yes, all is certainly not lost! Happy running!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Involuntary Taper

I am running, or I am supposed to be running, the Colgate 32km (20 mile) race this Sunday, but I am battling with a cough and a bit of a sore chest. I can also feel a few symptoms of a sinus infection that is giving me a hard time.

The race is part of my training for the Num-Num TrailChallenge on 7 July so I did not plan to rest before the race and would have used it as a long run instead. However, the cough and sore chest forced me to take some rest days and I might even have to take off more days if I don’t feel better by tomorrow morning.

This means I am in the middle of some involuntary taper for Sunday’s race. As long as I recover in time and can still run the race I don’t mind too much. The legs will be happy to get a break although being sick always puts you back a week or so.

I will keep you posted and will probably decide on Friday or Saturday about running the race.

Happy training everyone!