Toontjie 4km - 14 October 2017

Toontjie 4km - 14 October 2017
Alfie's first medal

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Our trip to the Gamka River (Matjiesvlei, near Calitzdorp)

Each year, just before the rush of Christmas and a full house for four or five weeks, and also to celebrate our wedding anniversary, we try to get away for a few days to 'chill'.  This year we spent a few days next to the Gamka River at Matjiesvlei - 7.5 kms into a mountain valley.

River running through the Tradouw Pass

On the way there, we passed through the Tradouw Pass, which was beautiful.  It's impossible to capture such stunning scenery on camera.  You just have to be in amongst it to be able to appreciate it properly.

All that stopping to look at the view every few minutes made us very hungry so we stopped at Ronnie's Sex Shop for lunch.  What an amazing place!  Great fun!  Nothing pretentious!  And a great lunch!

Stopping for lunch
Everywhere is covered in 'graffiti'... 
... or various items of clothing!
The story behind it is great - look it up! Or for those who can't be bothered, here's the link:

Anyway, eventually, after driving for ages through the Little Karoo with very little or no cell phone reception, we came to Ladismith, where we did some shopping.  We needed food once we got to the cottage, so we decided to stop there and do it.  Just as well we did, as we found out much later that there isn't even a supermarket in Calitzdorp (our would-be nearest town)!  What an eye-opener!

We reached the cottage late afternoon and what a view!

River Gamka
The cottage appeared to come complete with farm dogs too!  Everywhere we went, they went.  They took it in turns to be our tour guides, and were very good at it too.   They even slept outside our cottage at night.   They knew they weren't allowed inside the cottage but settled down outside as if they had known us all their life!

Jock - knew he wasn't allowed inside.
If we didn't know better, the greyhound could have been Alfie's mum!
Steve had taken his fishing rod as the river is full of fish.  So, he spent a  lot of time down on the river, while I did a lot of reading!  There was a canoe down there, so he went out in that some of the time.

Steve canoeing along the river - birdwatching

 He never caught any fish though, only dogs!

She was never far away!

We did three of the four walks in the area too - one walk a day!  It was hard work!  Spectacular views with all of them.  One walk (the cliff's edge walk) was along the river but getting higher all the time.  Jock came with us on that one.  And very well he did too!  He didn't get us lost once!

Climbing alongside the river.
 It was also very hot work!  I had intended running one of the days - but, it was not to be!  For one, I did not get up early enough!  For another, I was exhausted from the walking.  But - it is still exercise!

The second walk we did was through a kloof several kilometres into the mountains.  The greyhound came with us on that walk.  It would probably have been better if she hadn't as she is getting on a bit and had had a sore leg the previous day.  It was also very, very hot.

Kloof walk.

We took a packed lunch with us and lots of water.  Luckily, Blondie found her own water supply too - and lay down in it to cool down, bless her!  Sensible dog!

Having a rest (and a drink).
I have to admit it was nice to get back from that walk, have a shower and sit down with a drink - waiting for the braai!

We did 15km of walking (more like hiking really!) and ascended about 1500 metres overall (according to my Garmin, which I wore when we did the walks).

HOW long's the braai going to be??

We had a great stay and all too soon it was time to come back.  We packed up and had to leave the dogs sitting side by side at the gate, looking quite sorrowful.  Still, I'm sure there will be more people to entertain very soon!

We drove back the way we had come and started looking for somewhere to stop for lunch just outside of Barrydale.  We passed a blue sign at the side of the road advertising food - The Blue Cow at the waterfront!  Interesting!  There can be no waterfront in the Little Karoo!  To Steve, that sounded like just his thing and he needed to find out about it now, so we followed it all the way into Barrydale.  It turned out to be a lovely, rustic place on a dam full of fish and ducks.  Very pretty with a backdrop of mountains, so we stayed and had a lovely lunch there.

The owner came and talked to us, as people always do here, and she said that she was concerned because the road was closed due to protests.  The farmworkers have been protesting recently, she told us over the small amount of wages they receive.  They want R150 a day.  Currently, they get between R65 and R75 (roughly) a day!  Not much to live on!  They were marching through the town, apparently, and the police were everywhere.  We didn't know that because we hadn't got that far.  However, she very kindly made some phone calls and drove up to the police station to find out where we could get through and carry on our journey.

She came back and gave us some directions, saying 'don't go near the centre of town' so we left sraightaway.  Just as well we did, as they were just coming out of the main road, about 200m away, and on to the road we were driving down.  There was no way we were prepared to hang about there and Steve switched into 'traffic police mode', put his foot down and drove straight through them.  They scattered!  Their placards scattered!  No problem.  Don't know how it turned out though, I must contact the owner of the restaurant and find out.  Hope it didn't disrupt her day anymore as it meant that people couldn't get to her restaurant.

The rest of the journey was fairly uneventful and we got back home safely, unpacked the car, and Steve went to pick up the animals from the kennels, whilst I sorted the bags out.

Now, I really must get back to my running!


First run back out there today.  A week off running and very high winds does not make for a good run!  Oh well...

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Iphone and speed work...

What did I do before I had an iphone, eh?! Thank you, Taz, it has been a really useful pressie.  It always goes with me on my training runs.  I can listen to podcasts or audiobooks, or even music(!)

In the last few weeks, I have found an app by Jeff Galloway - and it's great. I am well into the second week now.  You can put in your own details and set up your profile that the app will use, to personalise it, for the 4 training runs each week and it will select the pace it thinks you should be running at - and the music will keep to the beat selected. It's great!

Well, we'll see where we are with it in another month or so!

In the meantime, I did an interval/speed session yesterday and it was s-s-o-o-o windy that Steve took me several kays up the R43 so that I could run back with the wind behind me.  He took some pics along the way...

Just getting into it


Excitement! The end of one interval run

Concentrating again. Look, almost both feet off the ground!

A bit of effort

A bit more effort

Phew! Done!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Cape Point Half Marathon 2012

Buffels Bay on Cape Point Nature Reserve
This was quite an important race to me as the Cape Point Half Marathon in 2010 was the first half marathon I had ever run.  I wanted to go back and see if I could beat my time.  So, last Saturday morning saw Steve chivvying the guests out (!) of the house so that we could get the animals into the kennels before 10am (the cut-off time on Saturdays)!

Cats were not impressed, particularly Sid, who hid under the bed right in the middle where we couldn't reach her, and had to find something long enough to prod her out with!  Dogs were just hyper with excitement at going out!  Car piled high with bags, food and animals, we eventually got them to the kennels for about 10.30, and breathed a sigh of relief as we drove away.

We were staying in a remote cottage just outside the Cape Point nature reserve, and arrived there late afternoon.  Well, we did have a lot of shopping to do at the mall on the way there!  It was great to get our bags in, sort ourselves out and sit on the stoep with a drink, watching the sun go behind the mountains.  I was drinking water - water I had taken with me, not the water that came out of the tap.  That was very dark brown water and I daren't drink it, even though there was a filter for drinking water, as it was still very brown, and I didn't want to risk a poorly tummy during my run!  It was interesting having a bath later, as the water was so brown (it was mountain water), that you couldn't actually see the bottom of the bath!

Front of the cottage

The next morning, I was up at about 5am, and we arrived at the nature reserve gates at about 6am.  It was a very bright, sunny morning, with not too much wind about for a change.  I registered and picked my number up from the office at the main gate (great number - 234) and we drove down into the middle of the park.  It is quite a long drive down to Buffels Bay, where the parking was, and as we drove along a heavy bank of mist came in and totally obliterated the sun.

After parking, we walked up the long, steep hill to the Information Centre, where the race was to start.  A couple of visits to the park toilets later, and I walked up to the start.  The route had changed slightly this year, so that we ran right down to the bottom of the Cape of Good Hope and then turned and ran back uphill, continuing along the main road, which meant we were running uphill for about 10kms (!) and then at about 16kms turned into Circular Drive, into the heart of the nature reserve, before being sent along a trail for a couple of kms.  It felt harder than when I did it last time, I think because of the extra few kms added on due to the longer downhill at the start of the run, and then an even longer uphill middle part.  The last few kms were a fast downhill to the finish by the sea.
The first kilometre - the warm up

The long plod uphill - ouch!
I had seen Steve at the side of the road at about 15kms with the camera - not good because I had just started eating some jellies and a bit of one had gone down the wrong way, so I started spluttering!  Which meant I was also walking! Oops!  Hurry along and pretend I am alright!

It was quite a lonely run as the majority of runners were way ahead of me, and us at the back of the pack were very spread out.  From kilometre 15, I thought, 'Right, now to start catching some of these people up', and I managed to overtake 7 people, and they didn't overtake me, so well pleased with that.  However, we were all about 50 metres or so apart, and I felt it quite hard running on my own in the middle part of the run. Once I had got to about 15km, I thought I had better get a move on and work harder!  So, I changed gear and 'cruised'!

Downhill to the finish
I saw Steve again on the downhill section to the finish and he helped push me to get there in my allotted timescale.  I had seen him at the side of the road (couldn't really miss him as he was the only person there and was wearing a bright green t-shirt) and passed him, and then I had heard footsteps running behind me.  I thought, 'Oh no, no-one is going to pass me now!' and I ran harder.  Until he came and ran alongside me, I hadn't realised it was Steve running behind me.  It was rather scary though as I was terrified I would trip up and fall flat on my face.  As you know, that is something I have done before with dire consequences!  However, the Finish was coming up faster now and I crossed the line in 2:27:39.  So I PB'd! A good result.  I would have liked to do it just a few minutes quicker but I will obviously have to work harder to achieve that!  But I am happy for now!

At the finish

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Following on...

...from the previous post, I've had a few really nice runs this week in lovely weather. I did an "easy" run on Wednesday followed by a 12km steady-paced run on Thursday, which I managed to complete within the allotted time, and this morning I had another "easy" run to be followed tomorrow by a longer run. This morning's run was done in a sleeveless top, rather than long sleeves, and in sunshine with just a little breeze, along the coast road. Very nice! We'll see how it goes tomorrow... Sunday: Long run day of 14km. It went very well considering I didn't expect to get a very good pace up due to the high winds. And it rained! However, with Steve's encouragement I managed to actually beat the time of my training plan by a whole minute. So... well impressed!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Busy training...

Not a lot happening run-wise at the moment other than I am training for the Cape Point Half Marathon next month - 11 November.

We have been surprisingly busy here in Pearly Beach with guests - don't know where they have all come from! But it's nice to see them! There is also plenty of maintenance around The Ark going on at this time of year, as we look forward to summer, and a new holiday season. In between all of this, I am trying to get out for some running. The weather isn't great for running though
- mostly very windy or rainy, or both! Doesn't make for a fun run!

Oh well, I'll keep at it...

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Magic Mile

When I was training for the London Marathon, I discovered Marathontalk - a podcast that I can download on to my iphone and listen to when out running.

I have found it very interesting and informative, and when they mentioned that they were doing the Magic Mile Challenge through September, I thought, "Mmm, interesting!"  Basically, it was training to run my fastest one mile.  There would be three teams - UK, USA and Rest of the World.  And, all the results would be age-graded (best bit!)  and I could run it between 3rd and 16th September.  I registered and decided to run my Magic Mile on 12 September.

So, this morning, being Magic Mile Day, I went out and ran my one mile!  Well, not quite like that.  Steve said he would come with me on his cycle (which was great as it is a real challenge to run REALLY hard on my own and it's always nice to have his support!) and I jogged up the main road for 2kms.  Then, I started my Garmin and I jogged another 1600m (one mile) along the R43 so that my one mile would be run back and I could see exactly where I would finish.  I took note of which way the wind was blowing too, but I didn't go and try to find a big hill to run down ('cos that's not allowed in the rules!)

On the way up to, and along, the R43 we saw a (brown?) woodpecker sitting on the telegraph wires, and then a couple of Fish Eagles circling overhead, calling, (obviously waiting with one eye on me, so that when I  started my one mile, they thought I wouldn't make it, and they would have a meal waiting!)  There have also been thousands and thousands of little caterpillars in the road for a few weeks now.  It has been impossible to run around them, there are too many of them.  At least, there WERE too many.  There don't seem to be many left now!  Lots of them have been squashed into the road!

The weather was bright and sunny for the run, but it wasn't too hot, and there was some wind, but not as much as there has been in recent weeks.  I chose right for once!

So, at the end of my jog, I stopped my Garmin and put a stick on the side of the road so that I didn't forget where the Start Line was, then drank some water from my water bottle.  OK, ready...

Garmin on, and off I started.  Not too bad to start with - I could see (a mile on) where I would be finishing - at the junction!  Steve encouraged me by telling me how fast I was going, and he said he would keep at a constant speed so that I knew if I was speeding up or slowing down.  I didn't find the first half too bad, although it is very difficult to judge distance when all there is at the side of the road, is bush!

I decided after a few minutes that a whole mile is actually quite a long way, and the end wasn't coming up very quickly.  But I was keeping my legs going as fast as I could!  I had no idea how fast I was running as I had no intention of even peeping at my Garmin until the end.  All Steve was saying to me was, "You're at about 11 now." "You're well over half way now." "Oh, you're just dropping down a bit.  Speed up!"  "Keep going.  Nearly there."  "Only about 500 metres now."

I wanted to stop!  Less than a kilometre to go and I wanted desperately to stop.  I slowed down, but I couldn't stop yet, (Come on, woman!) and then sped up again!  Keep going!  Keep going!  And, then, I was there!  I had done it! I hoped it was less than 9 minutes.  I was sure I could run a mile in less than 9 minutes.  I had been practising my speed after all for the last couple of months.

I ran it in 8 minutes 36 seconds.  Hooray!  Which gives me an age-graded time of 6 minutes 35 seconds. OK, so I'll never break a five minute mile, but I don't care.  It's good to me.  I'll just have to try and improve further now.

And all those extra calories I had earned too!  Yummy! :)

Sunday, 9 September 2012

10km Race on 8 September 2012

We went to Brackenfell again this weekend so that I could run a 10km race in Kuils River.  It was the Medihelp Tekkie Challenge 10km.  There were a number of other races also being run on Saturday, one of them being the 4Paws 5km.  Lots of dogs trotted around it, dragging their owners around with them.

Dogs (and owners) of all shapes and sizes took part in the 4Paws 5km

One dog even took his owner around on a motorcycle

And for those who didn't have a motorcycle to get around quickly, there was always the horse!

Anyway, back to the 10km Run.  It was another early start but the weather was considerably warmer than the Run I did a few weeks ago, and it turned out to be a beautiful day.  I had registered and picked up my number the evening before so I didn't have to arrive TOO early and could have a lie-in until just before 6am.

After dressing, making my porridge and taking Steve a cup of tea in bed, finally we were ready and arrived at the school where the run was to start by about 7am.  After queuing for the loo, and a quick 'warm-up', I went to the start line where everyone was gathering.  This race was slightly different in that the women started first, and the men a few minutes later, so that the race would have an overall winner, whether that winner was female or male.  I thought that is a fantastic idea!  The handicap time difference this year was 5 minutes 10 seconds, a minute less than last year.

"Is it really time to start?"
 At the gun, we (the women) all jogged off.  9 minutes 34 seconds later, the first man (sorry, the first 10 men) ran past.  How can ANYONE run that fast?

I did not find it an easy race, even though it was relatively flat (well, flat by South African standards anyway!).  I suppose some races are like that, the same as some training runs are like that.  I had not been feeling great for a few weeks and my legs certainly did not want to run that day!  I struggled on for the first 4 or 5 kms and felt like giving up.  The only reason I didn't was because we had come such a long way so that I could run it.  I thought, "Zip up your man suit, woman!" and from that point on which, I was delighted to see, also coincided with reaching the top of a hill, had a few lovely downhill stretches dotted about for the remainder of the run.  I think I had also taken about 35 minutes or so to do just 5km, and was thinking, "Oh well, I've blown it now anyway!"  I had wanted to complete the race in about 63 or 64 minutes and so beating my previous 3 10km races.

So, after zipping up my man-suit, I talked to my legs and went for it!  I tried not to think of the pain of the exertion, and the time, and was concentrating on watching the kilometre markers disappearing past me.  Six, then seven, and I waited for number eight.  That seemed to be a long time in coming, and then I saw number nine coming up.  Wow, what excitement then!  I must have missed number eight.  "Just keep going, come on, you're almost there! Keep going!"  Then, suddenly, I could see the finish line.  So glad!  No breath left!

And I could stop!

Collecting goodie bag at the finish

1 hour 5 minutes and 8 seconds.  I must have run that second half in 30 minutes or under!  Wow!  So, all was not lost.  I managed a 10km PB of about 10 seconds.  Now, if I had had a better run....

(Mmm, methinks maybe I COULD run a 5km in under 30 minutes then!)

Oh, and a woman won!

I'm happy now (and got my breath back!)

A big thank you to Celia and Dad again for giving us such a lovely weekend.   We had a great time with you.
Oh, and a huge thank you to Baruch as well, for giving us such a laugh.  It was quite novel of him to find a somewhat different way of getting Steve to feed him his lunch:-

1. Get Steve to drop bacon and egg butty in the pool, while dragging chair into sunshine to sit on and eat it.
2. Get Steve to retrieve lunch from pool.
3. Get Steve to drop remains of soggy bread, bacon and egg on edge of pool for Baruch to eat.


Monday, 20 August 2012

Fairbridge Mall 15km Race 18/8/2012 and Steve's Birthday

We (Steve and I) went to Brackenfell last Friday so that I could run a 15km race nearby on the Saturday morning.  I had originally intended running the 6km fun run so that I could see if my speed was improving yet, but decided that if I was going to get out of bed at just after 5am, then I may as well make it worthwhile and do the 15km race instead!  So we dropped the animals off at the kennels on the way to Cape Town and arrived at my Dad and Celia's house in time for lunch!  The weather had been really cold and wet for a few days but it looked like it was brightening up.  In fact, the day of the run turned out to be sunny, which was great.

The next morning, we were up and out of the house by just after 6am.  It was very cold and very dark!  I sometimes wonder why I would want to do this!  The venue was only about 10 minutes' drive away and I registered, finished getting dressed (!) with Garmin, running belt and number and spent the next 45 minutes visiting the loo several times!  As we were able to use the proper loos in the mall, there were lots of them, much more comfortable than those horrible portaloo things, and no queues, which was great!

Just before the Start
About ten minutes before the race was due to start, we ventured outside where it was getting lighter, although the sun wasn't up over the mountains yet, and saw that runners were starting to congregate near the Start line.  Steve took a few photos (which we won't keep because those early morning photos are always appalling!) and the gun sent the runners off at 7.15.  We ran out of the mall car park and out to the main road, around the bend, and that was the last Steve saw of any of us, until the first guy got back 49 minutes later.  Yes, 49 minutes later!  How do they do that???

And we were off! 
It was a lovely run, although it was very cold to start with (I'm not used to that), but it was lovely to see the sun coming over the top of the mountains.  It was also good to run with other people, as I don't get to do that around Pearly Beach!  The first 5kms was fairly flat, which was good as it gave us all a chance to warm up a bit.  That took a while because it was so cold, and the middle 5kms was hard work - there were several big hills, and I struggled up the last one a bit.  However, the last 5kms was much better and a lot of that was flat or downhill so I hoped that that faster part would make up for the slower middle part.  Halfway through the run took us only about 200m from my Dad and Celia's house - I could have stopped off to say "Hi", although I didn't know that until I was going past, and I didn't know the route anyway.  They would have waved me on if they had known.  That's the trouble with not knowing the route - you can't prepare so well! (There says the expert!)

The last 150 metres
Almost there! I must keep going!
I had hoped to manage the run in 1:45hrs, going by past experience of running that sort of distance, although I thought that 1:50hrs might be more likely.  I was desperately trying to keep my pace below 7 mins/km and I felt I should be able to do this because I have spent the last month doing some speed work.  I was delighted with my 1 hour 42 minutes 12 seconds, which made my pacing 6:48 mins/km.  Perhaps the speed training is working!  So, besides the fact that I have never run a 15km race before, I have run 15km distance before, but not so fast!  Which means I got a PB!!  That doesn't happen very often!

Stepping off, totally pooped!

We were all done and finished by 9am, although the official results haven't come out yet.  I was 'home' and showered by about 10am, then we all wished Steve a Happy Birthday!  Yes, it was his birthday on Saturday and I had dragged him out of bed at some unearthly hour so that I could run a race and earn another medal!  I do hope he will forgive me.  Anyway, we celebrated his birthday with a lovely birthday meal later and he had beautiful weather for his birthday too.
Showing off my new medal! Chuffed with my PB!

We came home yesterday afternoon, picking the animals up en-route, and are back into winter again - rainy and cold!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Another week...

illustration of happy teeth with tooth brush and tooth paste Stock Photo - 9062568

I seem to have done quite a lot in the last week.  It has certainly passed quickly for me anyway.  Last Friday I had a dentist appointment to check that my tooth was ok now.  I was dreading it, as if it wasn't ok, I would have to have more work done, so I went for a run in the morning before my appointment to take my mind off it.  It worked - I didn't think about the dentist at all until the moment I stopped running.  I needn't have worried though and I am pleased to say that the appointment went well and all is ok.  Went for a coffee afterwards to celebrate!

On Saturday, I went for a cycle ride with Steve.  It was the first ride for about a month and it felt like it too!  Hard work!  We went as far as the farm just before Carruthers Hill, about 8 kms away, and all was fine until half way back when my bike started making a sort of clunking noise from somewhere, not sure where.  Oh well, it's back to the bike shop to get checked out!

Sunday was my long run day and I ran 16km with Steve on his cycle to (almost) the top of Carruthers Hill.  That was hard work too.  It is the longest run I have done since the London Marathon!  When  I got back, after stretching and a shower, I sat down with my lunch and watched the second half of the Ladies Marathon on TV!  How do they do it?  I don't run half as fast as those elites!

It was an appallingly cold day on Monday, so I was very glad I had no run to do.  Supposedly, it was the coldest day of the winter, and snow fell in many places, and rivers flooded too.  That's one advantage of living by the sea  - it doesn't get quite as cold as inland places.  Still VERY cold though!  I did some exercise just to try and warm up a bit.  'Extra fleece and hot water bottle under my jumper' weather.

I was out running again on Tuesday and I took Alfie with me.  We did a 5km jog.  Well, I jogged, he just trotted along beside me with his long legs!  He wasn't exhausted at all when we got back.  I will have to 'up' his runs, I think.

Wednesday was very windy and I wasn't looking forward to trying to do a faster run in a very strong headwind.  It does get a bit much sometimes.  I don't seem to get a run in lately without it being very windy.  Oh well, I suppose I'll be complaining it's too hot in another month or so.  However, I was pleased with the run.  After a 2km warm up, I did 15 minutes into the wind (not fast, too windy for that!) and then turned round and ran faster for 10 minutes, then finished off faster still.  Actually managed to keep my pace up for 20 minutes altogether.

Yesterday was National Women's Day, and a long weekend here now.  The weather is supposed to be really bad tomorrow, which I'm not looking forward to.  I hope we don't lose the electricity this time.

However, we made the most of the good weather this morning, and took the dogs up to the reserve at Walker Bay, just a few kms from us - and I wore my trail shoes.  Two jobs in one!  Run for the dogs and a run for me!

All the bush is growing on rocky sand dunes, so it is quite hard work running up and down the trails on them.  And, yes, I am in the picture above if you look hard!

Even Mango looks tired.

This was a hard bit - a hill!

A nice flat bit at the end.  I ended up doing about 5.6kms overall.  Alfie must have done at least 8kms and Steve and Mango probably did about 4kms each!