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

Thursday 30 December 2010

Three Thanks Thursday

At the end of a fantastic running year I have to say thanks…

1.) I had a wonderful running year. I reached my goal of 3000km (1864 miles) a while back and then set a new goal of 2010 miles for 2010 for all the non-metric blogging runners out there. I reached that this morning and I’m now on 3236.1km (2010.9 miles). I will finish 2010 on 3248.3km (2018.5 miles). I’ve had some fantastic running adventures while running all theses kilometers during 2010. For this I say thank you!

2.) I am really grateful that I achieved the distances above and remained injury free. This is wonderful and I say thank you!

3.) I made some wonderful friends via this blog during the past year! To everyone that follow and read my blog I say thank you!

I wish you all a very happy and prosperous 2011!

Tuesday 28 December 2010

Goals and Race Plan for 2011

The end of 2010 is fast approaching and many of you have already posted your plans for 2011. I always have numerous running goals for at least the next three years, but I still plan each year in detail when we get to December. I have some main goals each year and then some smaller goals and milestones to help me reach my main goals.

In South Africa we are fortunate to have the “Nedbank Runner’s Guide To Road Races and Off-road Races” that is published each year to help with race planning.

This is a 480 page gem that I live my life with every year. It contains details of all the races in the country with dates, start times, route descriptions and route profiles where available.

You can also visit www.runnersguide.co.za for tons of info about races in South Africa.

My goals and races for 2011 are:

Main goals in RED.
Odyssey Ultra (90km) – 8 January
Pick ‘n Pay Marathon – 13 February
Pirates Half Marathon – 20 February

Vaal Marathon – 6 March

Kosmos 3 in 1 (73.3km) – 12 March

Om-Die-Dam 50km – 19 March

Jackie Gibson Marathon – 27 March

RAC Long Run (60km) – 3 April

Callies Comrades Legends 32km – 10 April

Loskop 50km – 16 April

Easter 100km – 22, 23, 24 April

Colgate 32km – 1 May

Jackie Mekler 25km – 7 May

Randburg Harriers Half Marathon – 8 May

Comrades Marathon (90km) – 29 May

Race for Faith 15km – 11 June

Big Five Marathon – 25 June

Northgate 10km – 3 July

Asics Vaal Trail Run (21km) – 10 July

Springbok Vasbyt (25km) – 16 July

Mercury 10km – 24 July

Rustenburg Mountain Race (25km) – 30 July

Alberton Rietvlei 15km Trail Race – 7 August

Silver Star 100 Miler – 12 August

Joe Stutzen Half Marathon – 27 August

Botshabelo Challenge (21.1km) – 3 September

Mont-Aux-Sources 50km Challenge – 10 September

Vlakvark Half Marathon Trail Run – 24 September

Thule 4 Peaks Mountain Challenge – 1 October

BASF Mittal 32km – 15 October

Nedbank (NRCVT) 100km Circuit Race – 22 October

Agape 32km – 5 November

Warmbad Marathon – 12 November

Paul Ras Half Marathon – 20 November

Sani Stagger Marathon – 26 November

I know this is a very ambitious list, but I’m confident and aiming to do all of these as far as life allows. The other major goal that goes with this is another injury free year.

Happy 2011 running everyone!

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Thanks Julie and Merry Christmas

Yesterday I had a little early Christmas excitement when I received some mail from Minnesota! Julie from Julie’s Running Blog was so kind to send me a great Minnesota shirt. Thanks Julie, you are the best! I know what I’m wearing for Christmas lunch!

Go check out Julie’s blog if you don’t already read it. She is the kindest person and a true friend. She also included a beautiful Christmas card with photos of her family, really great!

I took this photo after my 15.1km run this morning. It was just after 6AM and yes Char, I used the auto timer. The family was still fast asleep.

Running is going well and I’m completely recovered from Sunday’s 51km run :D. I’ve been getting e-mails and even messages on Facebook about my ultra training. I will post about this a lot next year during my buildup for the Comrades Marathon, I promise.

For now, I wish you all a blessed and wonderful Christmas with lots of love and happiness. Merry Christmas from South Africa!

Monday 20 December 2010

51km Long Run

Yesterday morning I did my last long run before the Odyssey Ultra on 8 January. I ran 51km (31.7 miles). Usually I would do this in a 50km race, but since it is December and holiday time, there are no long races at the moment.

I have a good and challenging 25.5km route that I run often from home. I needed a 50km run so I decided to run my 25.5km route twice with an aid station halfway. I ran the route in opposite directions to add some variety. I opted for an early start as it is the middle of summer here and rain was expected later in the day.

4AM - Ready to go!

This was a true LSD run and I ran slow and comfortably from the start. When I do LSD runs my goal is to spend as much time as possible on my feet and I don’t care about the time I run for the distance at all. LSD is all about time on the legs…the longer, the better.

I ran through the suburbs and mostly on the road and pavement. I always do some long runs on the road. I believe it is mentally tougher to do a long run on the road than it is on trails. That is another goal of my long runs, mental training. This means no running partner, no Garmin, no music (I don’t own a Garmin or mp3 player anyway), just me and the long road. There is no better way to prepare for the long ultras. I feel as if I tune in with my body and the route.

1st sign of the sun.

2km “trail”, the only off-road section of the route.

I was feeling great and as the sun came out more and more birds were waking up as well. It was a beautiful, fresh morning and I was in a very happy place. This is what makes me a complete runner. Just me and my thoughts on a beautiful morning, running at a comfortable pace.

Early morning in the suburbs.

Beautiful morning.

Before I knew it the first half was over and I was back at home. I got rid of my reflector belt and also swapped my hydration pack for a full one. I also had some ice cold water, Powerade and PB sandwiches waiting. Oh yes, if I set up an aid station for myself, I do it properly!

My aid station halfway.

PB sandwich, my favorite long run food.

Then I was on my way again. My son asked me later if I wasn’t tempted to just stay at home after the first half. I’m glad to say the thought never crossed my mind. I was focused on 51km.

About 4km into the second half some heavy rain clouds started to move in. I didn’t notice them earlier and was a bit surprised when the sun suddenly disappeared behind dark clouds.

Rain clouds moving in.

Not long after this it started raining. I ran in the rain for about 30 minutes. Luckily there was no lightning and just rain and wind. Then, just as quickly as it started, the rain and wind stopped and the clouds were moving away.

Just after the rain.

The sun came out again and it cleared completely. It was now hot and humid. This was certainly a run of different seasons. By the time I reached the “off-road” section again it was warm and I could feel the sun burning me.

Sunny and humid. About 6km to go.

The last few kilometers were tough. 51km on your own is not easy! I wanted to get some mental strength training in and I certainly did. I kept my pace and I’m happy I didn’t have any problems on this run. This was exactly what I needed before the ultra on 8 January. I was happy and satisfied with my effort.

51km done! Tired but a good run.

I’m as ready as I can be at this time of the year for an ultra. The next two weeks I’ll still do my 6 runs per week but cut back the long runs to 21km and 15km. Then it is the final week with 3 short runs before I tackle the 90km Odyssey Ultra, a great way to start 2011.

Wednesday 15 December 2010

Tagged with a few questions

I was tagged by Molly to answer a few questions so here they are:

Do you prefer winter or summer running? Why?

I prefer winter running. Our winters in South Africa are pretty mild and I can run outside throughout the year. It does dip below zero but it is still good for running. Here in Johannesburg the winters are dry with no snow or ice and things like that. I don’t do well in the heat although I relate bad summer runs directly to my fitness level. If I’m in great shape I can get through any distance in the heat, slow but without problems.

What's been your toughest race to date? 

I’ve had quite a few of those. I’ve run some races on very tough routes and things went well and then I’ve run some races on easier routes and it was all hell. If I have to say the toughest was when I felt the worst, it was the 1996 Jock of the Bushveld 54km. I nearly died there and was on two drips before I could get up again afterwards.

Running goals for 2011?

I have a few main goals for 2011 with many other races to help me reach these goals. Some of the main goals are the Odyssey Ultra, Comrades Marathon and a 100km circuit race. Maybe the SA Sky Run but I’ll see about that. I also want to have another injury free year and run 3500km (2175 miles). I'll do a post about my 2011 goals soon.

Do you have any other passions in life? 

Quite a few! My 9 year old son is my life. I’m lucky to also be passionate about my work. I have a passion for trains and model trains as well. Wildlife Conservation is also very close to my heart. Then there’s gardening and photographing flowers and many more.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

In South Africa I would love to live in the Bushveld (Google it and see why) or somewhere in the Drakensberg Mountains. Overseas…probably in the USA where the best trails are! I’ll leave it to my US friends to decide where that is.

Now, I need to tag three people. I’m going with Staci (from SA), Natalia (SA ties) and Tim Wilson (SA ties).

Monday 13 December 2010

My Top Five Favorite Places to Run

ajh at Age Groups Rock did a post about her five favorite places to run. She inspired me to do the same, so here is my list.

1. Drakensberg Amphitheatre – Northern Drakensberg.
If you read my blog you will know I love running in the mountains. There are many fantastic places to run, but if I have to choose one place in the Drakensberg it is here. The Mont-Aux-Sources 50km Challenge runs to the top of the amphitheater and back.

2. Kruger National Park.
I’ve been lucky enough to run races here a few times but even if it is not a race, just running in the camp where we are staying is still incredibly special. This is just a special place.

3. Trails close to my house – Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve.
These are my favorite trails. I know them extremely well and do most of my trail training here.

4. Johannesburg CBD.
This will surprise a lot of people but I love Johannesburg. I’ve lived here my whole life and running through the CBD is exciting and different.

5. Next to the ocean.
This can be anywhere at the coast. I live inland so running at the coast while looking at the ocean is always special. It also means lots of oxygen as Johannesburg is at altitude!:) My next race is the Odyssey Ultra and will follow the coastline for 90km…exciting!

Have you got a favorite place to run?

Have a fantastic week everyone!