Toontjie 4km - 14 October 2017

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

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Run 149: 32 kilometres DONE! Yippee!

So happy! Longest run done! And survived!

Got up this morning at 5.30am ( a little bit later than a few weeks ago when I ran 30km because it doesn't get light quite so early now). Sorted animals out and then got myself some breakfast. I really don't want to eat at that time of the morning but some things just have to be done!

Dressed, then a cup of tea to Steve (still in bed - I had to get that bit in!), and then out! Light enough to see at 6.25am so off I went (with a jacket because it felt really cold this morning! I had been hoping to have some company in the form of my 'personal trainer' (Steve!) as it was my last long run, but no, we had some guests drop by, so he was having to do breakfast for them. I think the roads around the village must be getting rutted from all the running I have been doing around them of late on my long runs!

First time around the village - sun came up about 4km out, but it was still cold and I kept my jacket on until about 8km out. I arrived back at the house after 11kms and threw my jacket on to the bushes at the front as Steve was on the front deck and said he would bring it in. That's a bit of weight gone. Didn't need to refill my water bottle yet as it had been cool enough not to need it.

Second time around the village - I tried some of the Clif shot bloks that Taz had brought with her on her recent visit (thank you, Taz). They worked well and are much easier and nicer to eat than the disgusting peach flavoured gels I bought locally! Will definitely take some of those to London with me. Got back to the house again after 22kms and Steve was waiting on the drive with some sports drink and more water. (Nice surprise). Blew my nose on a tissue and handed it back to him - I didn't want to carry rubbish around with me! Kiss, and off I go again. I still felt quite good at this point so was well pleased! Switched on my ipod this time round so I didn't get bored.

Third time around the village - it was getting a bit warmer now but I still felt quite strong and felt that there was power in my legs. It didn't really get too difficult until I got to about 29km, at which time that one kilometre seemed to go on forever. I always start to struggle when I get to the last few kilometres of long runs! It was definitely getting warmer now, and I had to stop for water more often now, but I told myself to "zip up my man-suit and get on with it. It's the last long run and I'm nearly done!" So that's what I did.

I actually felt not too bad once I got down to it, and was even able to speed up a bit. Final time and pace doesn't seem to reflect that very well, but every time I needed a drink, I had to stop running and walk so that I could drink, and every time I felt I needed to eat a shot blok I had to stop and get it out of my bag. Also, I stopped several times to sort the ipod out. I think I even knocked my Garmin off at one point and ended up running an extra 400 - 500 metres before I noticed. Never mind!

It's all done now! That's my longest run done before the marathon. A few weeks of tapering now. Yippee!! :)) Oh, and a take-away tonight. Something we've not had for months! :)

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Run 148: 8km F-A-S-T-ish! And marathon kit...

It was an 8km around the village this morning at speed! Oh, alright, faster than a slow jogging pace. Went ok once I got into it but I didn't pace it correctly. I went out too fast to start with so that I was struggling from time to time after half way! Sometimes, it is so hard to slow myself down. My legs think they want to go, but in reality, they can't do it! I wish they would slow down a bit so I could run at a steady pace and not get puffed out!! Practise...

It was very warm as well, but I'm glad I got out before the wind became too strong! Hope it's cooler running in London...

Tried on my marathon kit yesterday. Will be testing it properly next week! Hubs, I need you to come with me. I can't present myself to the world looking like that around here. People will think I am mad - if they don't already think that!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Run 147: Another 5km around the village and got my marathon number

It's definitely getting harder now - to drag myself out of the door! I have to admit that I shall be glad when I have done my last long run (at the weekend) and start tapering. I have decided to drop my second 'easy' run of 5km each week and concentrate on the other 3 runs. After all, I don't think missing 15 - 20kms over the next few weeks will make a HUGE difference to my fitness now!

It was a nice run though, in warm sunshine and little wind, so it did have its good points.

I also received my VLM number yesterday evening - 57945. Now, that makes it all seem very much more real! I am also picking up my travel stuff and other VLM bits and pieces from Cape Town next week.

Quite a few people have now sponsored me, and I am so grateful for that. It is for such a good cause, and I know that remembering that I have had so many sponsors will help me get through the marathon.

Next run - try out marathon outfit! Eek!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Government doubles dementia research funding

Alzheimer's Research UK press release:

Government doubles dementia research funding
The Prime Minister has today announced a campaign of concerted action on dementia. Alzheimer’s Research UK welcomes Mr Cameron’s announcement, in particular, the Government’s plan to double funding for dementia research.

An important victory in our mission to defeat dementia
Alongside our own pioneering studies, we have long campaigned for fairer Government funding of dementia research for the 820,000 people in the UK who live with dementia and countless more carers and families. The Prime Minister has made a commitment to people with dementia by investing in research, but from such a low starting point for funding, the doubling must only be the start. Alzheimer’s Research UK will work hard for people with dementia not only to ensure the new funding is invested as productively as possible, but to continue to push for even greater investment.

Thank you for backing us in our mission to bring about fairer public funding of research for all people with dementia. There is real momentum now, and Alzheimer’s Research UK is excited about where dementia research may lead next. With your continued support, we will defeat dementia.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Run 146: Late run today

I had a l-u-r-v-ely lie in this morning! And breakfast in bed! Thank you Hubs! Really enjoyed it. Didn't get out of bed until 9am. Woo-hoo!

So there was no way I was going to go for a run this morning!

It kept nagging at me, though, 'cos I knew I really SHOULD go for a run, and I eventually went out at about 4.30pm. I didn't realise how warm it was out there. I knew it was still quite windy, but it was hotter than I had thought. I am still feeling heavy and lethargic, so it was probably a good thing that I did go out for a run. Luckily, it is a recovery week so I haven't had to do a huge amount of mileage! We're saving that for next week! AND I ran out of water!

I ended up doing 10.5kms at the pace my training plan told me to run at, although the plan did actually say I should be doing 12kms. Oh well! The hills seemed steeper today!

Hopefully, with two days off running now (and proper eating) I should be ok for my last long run next weekend.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Run 145: Out of desperation (hugely full of food!)

It has been great to have Taz and Nick here in South Africa. We have done lots of wonderful things and had a lovely time. I hope they enjoyed it as much as we did. However, it is not good for the running, let alone the waistline! After a huge breakfast, which Taz cooked for us (thank you, Taz, it was delishhh), and lunch out, they left us to fly back to the UK.

It was really quiet from the moment they drove off, and I was still feeling very full, so I decided it just had to be done...

I changed into my running gear and went off for a 5km run around the village. It was real hard work as, not only was I feeling full and heavy, it was very windy as well. At least it had stopped raining.

Another 5km done and, hopefully, the odd gram or so gone too!!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Run 144: 5km around Pearly Beach with Taz

I had to run approximately 10 - 12 kms today so I decided that if I did the first half by myself, Taz could come along for the second half and I would come back and pick her up. So, off I went at about 8am this morning.

It wasn't until I got out there that I realised it was a lot warmer than I had thought it was. Also, these late nights and wine are catching up with me! No, perhaps I won't do a fast 5km this morning. I'll save that for next week!

In the end, after a warm up, I ran intervals of approximately 1 minute with 1 minute recovery most of the way around. It was actually quite refreshing to do something spontaneous and not worry about keeping to a particular pace.

I ran back home where, amazingly, Taz was already waiting for me. Sorry, Taz, I thought you might still be in bed! I do apologise!!

We did my usual 5km around the village at a comfortable pace (we were able to chat on the way round). It was a lovely run, and it set both of us up for the day.

Thanks for the company, Taz.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Run 143: Lovely 5km with Taz around West Coast NP lagoon

Taz and Nick are over in South Africa at the moment and they drove up to the West Coast NP to join us at our chalet on Sunday evening. We had a lovely time with them, going on a safari at a game park just a few minutes away on the Monday, and going out for an authentic African meal on the Tuesday. Of course, we braai-ed every evening and stayed up really late too. This doesn't really make for quick, efficient running the next day though!

Highlight of safari: Steve getting bitten on the toe by a cheetah

Highlight (?) of African meal: Being serenaded at the table

Anyway, once the meal had been digested and the weather had cooled down a bit, Taz and I changed into our running gear and off we trotted down the gravel road to warm up. We decided we would run 5km in all and agreed we would turn left on to the 'main' road and run down to the junction, which was just a few metres more than 2.5kms - ideal!

We were a bit concerned that there might be ostriches running around all over the place (there are a lot of them here) or the odd snake would come out and say 'hello' - but we didn't see ANYTHING AT ALL! It was all probably far too scared of us!

Anyway, we had a lovely run in the evening sunshine and finished just as the sun was setting over the horizon.

Back to the chalet for a shower and braai!

Well done, Taz!

Run 142: Benguela Weskus Marathon and Half Marathon

West Coast National Park - Saturday 17 March 2012

Half Marathon along part of the lagoon

(Pic shows last kilometre of the race - shattered!)

We travelled across to the West Coast National Park on Friday so that we could register for the race that evening . It had been rather an overcast and rainy trip, but not cold. We checked into our chalet on the national park, then drove to Langebaan to pick up some food and register for the race.

Registering was very quick and easy, and I came away with my race number and a goodie bag (full of drinks and food!) within a few minutes. Back to the chalet for pasta and an early night – I had to be up at 5 o’clock the next morning.

Next morning duly came and I made a breakfast of lemon tea, porridge and hot cross bun! It was still dark when we left the chalet and drove through the national park to the race start at Langebaan. We saw the helpers putting up stalls and setting out drinks every few kilometres along the way. We got to Langebaan and parked very easily, then I went across and queued for the toilets! Better after that! The race was starting at 7am so not long to wait. It was quite chilly now and the sun was only just starting to think about popping its head above the mountains.

We were off on time and we ran back up the main road to the gravel path that runs alongside the lagoon. Very rocky, stony, pot-holey and sandy. Also not at all level. But beautiful! About a kilometre on, we ran through some small gates and the path continued for a bit further. At last we ran through the main gates on to the Park. We were on tarmac by now, which was a lot easier to run on. No good speeding up too much yet, though, as we had only run about 3 or 4 kms so far. Then, we turned right on to a cycle track, also very rocky, stony, pot-holey and sandy, but this one also had a lot of ups and downs too! More like trail running!

At about 10kms, we came out on to the ‘proper’ road again and turned right , slightly uphill, and ran to the turnaround point about 500 metres up the road. We saw all the runners running back on the other side of the road along this bit. Good when you can see all the runners behind you, but not good when you see all those in front!

Anyway, now that I had reached the turn-around point, there was some downhill running to be done, which felt really good as a change. I made the most of this and tried to gain some time here as my garmin showed me I was 3 minutes slower than I wanted to be. Of course, after a few minutes of this more enjoyable running, there was a hill – probably half a km or so long. Not too bad though – felt rather like running up a bit of Carruthers Hill near Pearly Beach, and I managed to run up it without struggling. Of course, the next ‘hill’ was a bit steeper, which involved running and walking alternately, but I was still gaining pace, and was only 2 minutes slower. This carried on until I got to about 17kms, when I finally managed to gain all my ‘time’ back, plus a few seconds more. If I could carry on like this, I knew I would get in well under 2:30hrs. The first marathon runners passed us now at about their 32km point. They flew past. I can’t run that speed at any time and they had already run 32kms! Well done them!

However, I knew that the worst hill was still to come! Very soon! Once out of the park gates, there it is – in all its glory. The Black Mamba! It slithers on upwards for what seems likes an eternity, and this is what prevents most from getting a good time! We ALL struggled up it – slowly, some walking slower than others, and we heard the music playing at the top: ‘keep on going, don’t fall to your knees...’ very apt!

Then, suddenly, we were round a bend and it was all DOWNHLL. Yay! Only a few more kilometres. BUT, I knew I had lost all that time I had gained over the last 6 or 7 kms so felt a bit disillusioned. Picked up speed for those last few kms but once the garmin turned over to 2:29 I knew I couldn't get in under 2:30 and my legs just decided it wasn’t worth trying any more and I stopped running for a bit, exhausted. I had noticed Steve in the distance (it was good to see him there) and he ran a hundred metres alongside me, shouting all sorts of nice encouraging things, then I turned and ran the next little bit, and over the finishing line, where there were all sorts of people recording times, handing out medals and drinks, and making various encouraging 'well done' noises.

The clock showed 2:31 something, but I didn’t notice the seconds. My eyes just kept seeing the ‘31’. A bit disappointed really, although I know I shouldn’t be. My time was much better than last year’s, at least 8 or 9 minutes quicker, so a PB for that course, but it wasn’t as hot as last year’s run either. Still got warm and in the 20's but bearable.

I still struggle to get my pacing right but think I went at about the right speed to start with. It is never going to be a course for anyone for a really good PB – too much trail type running over the first half and very hilly the second half. It’s very hard running entirely on your own too, especially over the harder bits. I was quite envious of some of the runners who were able to run with others, and didn’t focus on the ‘pain’ of it.

My garmin told me my time was 2:31:05. And I got my medal! That's the main thing.

I worked hard, and it was enjoyable. Beautiful scenery and lovely setting. The marshalls were all very good and the water and coke tables well organised, at least from my point of view and what I saw of them. I think it all worked much better than last year’s race (when temperatures soared and the marathon runners didn’t get taken to their start on time).

I even managed to stay in one piece, which is even more important. I need to remember that I was running it as a training run, NOT an end in itself, and that the London Marathon is the main race.

Mind you, I will just HAVE to run Cape Point again and beat my time there of 2:29!!!

Position in my age category: (women over 50) - 30/56

Position overall: (everybody) - 586/839

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Run 141: 5km around village before half marathon on Saturday

This is the last run I am doing before my half marathon on Saturday. 5km around the village in warm but windy conditions. Quite exciting as waiting for daughter Taz and her husband Nick to arrive in Cape Town this morning, and plane has just landed.

Lots of work to do this morning so no time to sit around chatting here. I have to go off and clean the herbarium.

Glad I got the run done though. It's another to tick off my list. I now have the half marathon at the weekend, followed by a cut-back week (which I think I will need), followed by my last long run the following weekend. Then, I start tapering. Just as well. I doubt my body can hold out for much longer!!!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Run 140: Slow run in the sea mist

It was a lovely slow run this morning. It was warm and sunny (I got out just before it got too hot) with sea mist drifting over the roads. 5km done.

Legs still a bit achy from last Friday's 30km so taking it easy this week. I have a half marathon race to run at the weekend so don't want to overdo it now! I am hoping to run that as a training run but would also like to be able to put a bit of effort into it!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Eating Berries Benefits the Brain (ScienceDaily)

Eating Berries Benefits the Brain

ScienceDaily (Mar. 7, 2012) — Strong scientific evidence exists that eating blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and other berry fruits has beneficial effects on the brain and may help prevent age-related memory loss and other changes, scientists report. Their new article on the value of eating berry fruits appears in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

In the article, Barbara Shukitt-Hale, Ph.D., and Marshall G. Miller point out that longer lifespans are raising concerns about the human toll and health care costs of treating Alzheimer's disease and other forms of mental decline. They explain that recent research increasingly shows that eating berry fruits can benefit the aging brain. To analyze the strength of the evidence about berry fruits, they extensively reviewed cellular, animal and human studies on the topic.

Their review concluded that berry fruits help the brain stay healthy in several ways. Berry fruits contain high levels of antioxidants, compounds that protect cells from damage by harmful free radicals. The two also report that berry fruits change the way neurons in the brain communicate. These changes in signalling can prevent inflammation in the brain that contribute to neuronal damage and improve both motor control and cognition. They suggest that further research will show whether these benefits are a result of individual compounds shared between berry fruits or whether the unique combinations of chemicals in each berry fruit simply have similar effects.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Run 139 - 30km on my own

I have been worrying about this one all week. It's a long way, 30kms!

As we are expecting guests in this weekend, I had planned that I would run it earlier than my normal Sunday long run day, so that Steve could come with me and I would be able to help him with the guests later. I didn't want to run it next Monday as that meant that there weren't many days in between my long run and the half marathon at the West Coast next Saturday. So I brought it forward to Friday as we had no guests booked in...

Late yesterday afternoon, 4 Germans turned up looking for 2 rooms for the night. Well, what can we do other than offer them the rooms. Can't turn that sort of money down just so that I could have somebody accompany me on my long run! So, I decided that I could do it on my own, by myself, without Steve, I didn't need company, just my ipod and MarathonTalk. Two and a half MarathonTalks as it turned out!

There I was, staggering out of bed in the dark this morning at five o'clock as Steve's alarm went off. I had to wait until just after 6 o'clock to get out though as there was a lot of cloud cover, which made it appear darker than it actually was. I got out as soon as I could see where the roads were! No street lights here to help, and you don't know what's running, crawling, slithering or flying around, so I wasn't going out until I could see!

It was wonderful out there at 6 o'clock. It was only just getting light, there was no wind, the sea was calm and there was the smell of the early morning in the air. I didn't actually see anyone at all for the first hour!

I stayed in the village for most of the run, and ended up doing 3 full circuits of it plus a bit more up to the R43. Two 'comfort' breaks were included in that, and I am glad there are ablution blocks at several points around the village - open! Didn't fancy trying out the bush!

One of the MarathonTalks included an interview with Jeff Galloway, who is known for his run-walk-run programs, so I had a go at that while I was out too. I am desperately trying to stay in one piece so that I at least get to the start line of the London Marathon relatively uninjured, and doing the run 4.5 minutes, walk 30 seconds, really did seem to make a difference. Mind you, once you have covered about 29kms, walking always does seem to be a good option!

Anyway, I got back about 4 hours later to find that Steve had prepared breakfast for the 4 Germans, washed up and cleared away, said 'Goodbye' to them, put the bedding and towels they used on the line and cleaned the rooms. He had also made our bed and cleaned all the windows (because they don't stay clean for more than a day or two here, being so close to the sea) and now he has gone out to do the shopping to feed the next lot of guests later today.

I'm well impressed!

I wonder who really has had the better deal?!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Run 138: Slow jog around the village

It was beautiful when I went out this morning. Very little wind, so the sea mist just hung over the fynbos in the 'valleys'. Sea smelt nice too. Makes for an enjoyable run. Only 5kms to keep everything moving and felt better afterwards.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Run 137: Medium long run...

Woke up this morning to an overcast sky and a few small puddles around. Outside rain puddles, not inside doggie puddles, I hasten to add! I let the animals out and the wind hit the door - mmm, that's going to be a fun run this morning!

I had a 12km 'comfortable' run to do, so decided to run around and out of the village. I knew it wouldn't be very fast anyway with that wind! There were a lot of sensible people around when I went out this morning - they weren't out in the wind.

Anyway, I struggled around the village and then ran up the main road out of the village with 3km to do. So that meant 1.5km up and 1.5km back. The road is actually 2km long so I knew I shouldn't reach the end of it. However, I did reach the end of it! Stupid Garmin! I turned around to come back and the Garmin seemed to 'catch up' then and I ended up finishing about half a km short of the turn-off I was expecting to reach! So, I ran a bit more...

1004 kms run in 2011
370kms run this year to-date.
Only 7 weeks until the London Marathon.
Oh no...!!!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Run 136: 5km around the village

I didn't feel good yesterday. It was very hot again (can't get over how hot it has been this summer!) and I don't know whether I was just tired or the heat was getting to me, or both. Didn't know whether I would want to run this morning. Anyway, after a good night's sleep, it was darker this morning than usual, and I thought it was earlier than it actually was. So, it was a bit of a shock to look at the clock and see it was 6.55 - and not an hour earlier. Better get up!

I did 5km around the village at a slow, gentle pace. It was rather windy but very warm. There were a couple of joggers out running in the opposite direction, but not a lot else happening out there. Just glad I felt ok this morning to get out!

Another run in the bank!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Run 135: 8km around the village before the hairdresser

I had to get up at a reasonable time to ensure that I got my run in before I went into town for my hairdresser appointment at lunchtime. I really ought to arrange appointments on non-running days! Oh well...

Steve kept me company, which was good because I didn't have an enormous amount of energy this morning. I don't know whether it was because my legs were tired (it is a recovery week this week) or because I didn't sleep too well last night.

It was supposed to be a 'comfortable' run, although I am not sure it did actually feel 'comfortable'! But I was within the right pace band, so I did still manage it.

Then a shower and washed my hair before off to the hairdresser, where it got washed again. Didn't mind that though because they always give a wonderful head massage whilst conditioning the hair. Mmm...