Toontjie 4km - 14 October 2017

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

Monday, 7 October 2013

Cape Town Marathon 10km - Sunday 22 September 2013

View from our cottage at night
Since I had informed my other half that he was doing the Cape Town 10 km with me, I had heard surprisingly little from him about it.  I think he was hoping I would forget he was 'running' it with me.

But I hadn't!

We both found him some 'running' stuff and it was packed alongside mine.  I had suggested that perhaps he would like to do the 10 km in cycling gear but that didn't go down too well.

Snow on the mountains

Where did all that rain come from?!  So much of it!  So windy, so cold, and even hail as well!

It rained on the Thursday up to Cape Town, it rained overnight, it rained on Friday, it rained overnight, it rained on Saturday and it rained overnight again!

"I'm not getting out of bed on Sunday morning if it's still raining," he said.

"Don't worry, neither am I!"  I said.  "But it won't rain."  I think Steve was hoping that it would rain.

The race was due to start at 6.30am, and the sun would only just be up at that time - if it shone at all that day!

Our cottage in Cape Town

We were staying about 2 km from Green Point Stadium, where the races (the marathon and the 10 km) would be starting from, and as we (?) had decided we were going to walk the 10 km, not run  it, we didn't need to worry about getting there too early - no need to get into long lines for the loos!  Hooray! So, after a quick breakfast, we set off in the dark to walk to the stadium.

There was the usual 'kerfaffle' that everyone seems to need to endure, i.e. not enough signage, etc. so no-one knew where the 10 km start line actually was!  But we found it eventually!  The two races were being started about 100 m apart from each other, and with five minutes difference between the start times...

Steve is way ahead!

At the gun, we were off!  We had to walk until we got over the line and, gradually, we managed to start jogging slowly, as the crowd of runners let us.  The first kilometre went before we even noticed.  And the next one. "Hope the rest of it is as quick!" we thought.  We were both plodding along together, thinking things like, "Umm, well, we've both got this far", with every marker that we passed.  We both knew that the race may, possibly, become a slight problem for us if we went too fast!

But we carried on for the third kilometre, and the fourth kilometer, and then we were half way.  However, the markers seemed to be getting just that bit further apart.  Was it our imagination and we were starting to struggle?  I checked my Garmin, and it showed 7.15 at the 7 km marker, and 8.25 at the 8 km marker.  Yep, they were definitely getting further apart.

Coming up to the 8km marker

We reached 8 km (or was it 8.25 km?) and we could see the stadium appearing, and we agreed that if I wanted to "go for it", then I would go.  I carried on alongside Steve for a bit more then thought, "Ok, might as well get this finished now!"  I 'sprinted' off and decided to take runners down one at a time, and did so all the way to the Finish.

Steve said afterwards that that is what he did as well.  He would look at the runner in front of him and think, "How did someone that size get in front of me?" And pushed on!

The last kilometre or so was through Green Point park - very pretty, and then around the stadium to the Finish line, which also wasn't the route that the organisers had intended.  However, they said that this was due to the front runners running the wrong way, so to make things equal, everyone was running the same way!!!! (marshalling fault) Great!  And they also admitted afterwards that the markers had been put in the wrong place so that the route was longer than it should have been!

Shattered - but he's done it!

Anyway, to get back to it, eventually, after a few extra hundred metres, we crossed the Finish line.  Obviously, I was in front (!) but Steve was very close behind - he also put in a sprint - and we finished with just a few seconds between us.

We got our medals and then wandered back to the house discussing how well we had done, having both managed to struggle around the course!  Then, celebrated with breakfast in the sunshine!

Considering we were trotting along gently for the majority of the course, I think we did ok and in a fairly respectable time of 1hr 15min!  I am very proud of Steve.  When did he last run???  Well done Hubs!

View from the top deck of our cottage
Not sure he's been the same since, though! lol!  And I certainly don't think I would get away with entering him into a race again!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Pearly Plodder Steps into Cycling (Part 2)

How did Hubs react to yesterday's blog?

Well, I'm still here!  Phew!  Got through that one by the skin of my teeth!

Argus Cycle Tour and Hubs:

(Note: I started writing this a few days ago but have only just finished writing it.)

Last weekend (Sunday 1st), entries opened for the Argus Cycle Tour in Cape Town.  109km around the Peninsula.  A very popular event where approximately 35,000 riders take part (a bit like the London Marathon, I suppose!)  It is getting more popular each year, as entries are filling up quicker every year.  Last year I believe entries closed after only a few weeks.

Hubs has been building up to the date when entries opened for this race for the last 6 months or so, so that I could enter him into it.  At least, that was on the understanding that certain other members of the family in the UK entered it too!  He said he didn't want to do it on his own.   (Aahhh!)  So, me having entered him last Sunday, he is doing the Argus next March!  Exciting!  Also, a couple of relatives in the UK are actually coming across to do it too.  Even more exciting!  And he won't be doing it on his own!

He can't keep making the same old excuses about his training now!  "It's raining, I can't go out."  "It's blowing a gale out there."  "I've got too much to do."  Etc etc.

I had (jokingly) been  threatening to put my entry in, heehee, but not until there were only a few entries left, and it has been filling up really quickly already.  As I write this (Friday 6th), there are under 1000 places left.  It only opened last Sunday.  It would be such fun to have the last entry!

However, Hubs has been trying to dissuade me, at least for this year.  He says we can get a 'proper' bike for me, like his, with better gears that will be much easier to ride. You mean, there are actually bikes that are easier to ride??  You saw the pic of my bike on yesterday's post.  I love the red colour.  Much nicer than his boring silver colour.  Then, he says, we can both enter the Argus the following year (2015) - that would be a much better idea, and give me a lot more practice and training.  Mind you, I might even get the hang of drinking from the water bottle on the bike!  Bonus!

He does have a point.  Well, several actually.  For a start, I haven't actually cycled more than about 25 kms in the last, oh I don't know - many, many years!  He bought me my current cycle about a year ago. Actually, no, he didn't buy it.  He swapped it for a couple of old sofas that Alfie had wee'd up!  It is an 'ok' bike - a proper mountain bike, quite old, and therefore quite heavy, but I certainly don't intend flying over logs and rocks on the mountains and through thick mud on it!  Ugh!  I'll stick to our local roads, thank you, and try to enjoy it!

It does have rather odd gears, but as long as you use them properly (which I tried to do last time I was out on it, as you know - I was concentrating really hard!) they seem to work ok.  Wow, what a difference it makes going up hills or into the wind in the right gear!

I probably don't actually need a new bike but it would be easier to do the Argus if I had a new bike!

I suppose if I did really enter the Argus this time round, then the logistics of getting all our bikes and people to Cape Town, etc. for the race would be totally messed up.  For a start, we only have a cycle carrier on the car for 2 cycles.  Also, at the moment, we are a cycle short and need to find another for one of the relatives coming over (so if I end up getting a new cycle, then that relative will, at least, have a decent bike to use rather than my current one with the funny gears).

If I did enter the Argus, then Hubs would feel compelled to hold back and wait for me to catch up, even if I told him to go on at his own speed.  I would feel bad about that.  But - is he implying that he would be in front of me?!

And if I entered the Argus, well, we just haven't planned for me to do it.  It's not about me this time, it's about Hubs and the other guys coming across to do it.  It's just not right, really, is it?  Why can't they have their moments of glory - all guys together - they will have earned it!  I completed the London Marathon, so why shouldn't he be able to do something that I haven't done.  Something that he has achieved, and the others with him.  I would be so proud!

And, no doubt, they will want massages afterwards by their better halves.  Well, I know Hubs will anyway! So, who would be able to do that for him if I needed one myself?!

And how on earth do I, realistically, expect to be able to ride the 109kms required to complete the Argus - and there are hills.  It might be really windy.  It will certainly be really crowded (although possibly not right at the back!) And it has to be completed within 7 hours.  There are cut-off points all the way around the circuit.  Do I seriously think I could pedal fast enough on that bike to complete it?!

What if I got a puncture?  The last time I fixed a puncture I was about 14 years old!

It would have been nice to try and do it but, as Hubs says, there is always the next year.  And I will have had a year more of riding by then, too.

Oh well...

Still, will have to keep checking the entries.  If there are any left by tomorrow morning (Saturday 7th), maybe I will have to enter...

Just for fun...

Saturday, 7 September 2013

The Pearly Plodder Steps into Cycling (Part 1)

It has been a while since I wrote anything on this blog.  However, we have been through a cold, wet, windy winter and it is very hard to get motivated into doing anything much at all other than hide under the duvet and hibernate!

We have had more rain here in Pearly Beach than we have ever had, certainly in the time that we have been here.  Hopefully, we are coming out the other side now and can look forward to summer. The last few days have been much nicer and there has even been some blue sky.  

On my part, there has also been some 'blue sky' thinking going on!

Cape Town Marathon training:

So, what have I been doing then?  I have been training towards running the Cape Town Marathon to be held later this month and my training had been going really well.  I managed to break 30 minutes (at long last) for my 5km and got a really good PB at my running club time trials of 28:56 minutes at the beginning of August - about 3 minutes off my usual time.  I've been aiming towards a sub 30 5km for ages!  After that, I had a few really good runs and I could tell that I had definitely improved, both strength-wise and speed-wise and was really pleased with my progress.

Then the weather deteriorated a lot and most days were cold, wet and windy!  It makes it much harder to get out there in those conditions but I struggled on and did my runs according to my plan albeit they tended to be a bit slower in the wind and rain until, one day, it all started to hurt too much.  I have had a 'sore' big toe for a long time and can usually manage to run through the 'ouch' but over the last few weeks it seems to have become worse.  Maybe the weather has something to do with it, or maybe I'm just getting really old now, or maybe I'm just trying to do too many kms, but I have been struggling with running even just a few kms without too much pain since then, so I feel I really don't want to spend five hours or so on the road knowing that every step I pound is going to hurt and get more sore with each step.

I don't want to pull out of the marathon but, then again, I don't want to make my foot worse either in the long term so I have decided, reluctantly, to downgrade to the 10km.  I don't expect to be able to run all of the 10km either but I will just do it for 'fun' and try to enjoy it - and remain positive about it!  Eek!

So, with this in mind I have a (lovely) surprise for Hubs!  He doesn't know it yet, but he is 'running' the 10km with me!  Yep, isn't he the lucky one?  He, who hasn't been able to run, is entered into the 10km and we can complete it together - slowly!  Very slowly!  At walking speed!  And enjoy the scenery along the way!  That will be a first!  (Doing a 10km together, I mean, not enjoying the scenery!)  So, Hubsy, you'd better get your best trainers out!  You've been entered into the Cape Town 10km.  You've now been warned!

Don't worry, we will be walking it!  And think of all those extra calories you will have earned!  You can have a braai that evening after all!)

I wonder if I should start running (and hiding) yet?!!  Hubs?

First Steps into Cycling:

Anyway, realising that I may not have my running to focus on, at least for a while but, hopefully after a rest I will be able to run shorter distances, I decided to dig out my bicycle from the garage last week, and try to start using that again a bit more regularly now - more than once a year!  At least it will help keep my fitness levels up.  I've been out on it twice in the last few days - not bad for me!  And I haven't fallen off it yet!  The first ride I had, I rode up to the R43 and several kms along it to meet Hubs coming back from Die Dam.  Wow, it was windy coming back!  But I did it, and was out for about 35 minutes.  Long enough for a first ride in months!  Didn't touch the gears though.  Did the whole ride in the same gear!  Don't think I took my hands off the handlebars either - how do cyclists do that?  In fact, how do cyclists manage to drink from their water bottle on the move?  Incredible!

The second time I went out was the next day and I did about 45 minutes - around the village and up to the R43 and back home.  This time, I played with the gears (well, some of them anyway) and it all went well.  I had to use the gears really as there were hills to climb.  If I hadn't tried to use the gears, I think I would have had the embarrassment of getting off the bike and walking up the hills!  Bit scary going down the other side though!  So fast!  But I survived.

And I am buying a pair of 'tena tights', sorry, I mean padded shorts, so that I can feel the part!  Actually, I am hoping that my parts won't 'feel' too much and it will be a more comfortable ride.

Part 2 tomorrow if I survive after Hubs reads this!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Napier Patatfees - 10km Run - and Steve's first MTB Race!

 I'm not sure this is really my blog post this time, as most of it is about Steve's mountain bike race, but he did so well and I am really proud of him for doing it.  I honestly didn't think he would!

We went to Napier for the weekend.  We left in the pouring rain and howling gales!  As we had to take the animals to the kennels, we had to go the long way round but at least that meant we were on tarmac roads, not gravel roads.  We also had Steve's mountain bike on the back of the car and, before you ask, no, it didn't fall off the back even once!  Well done to Steve for tying it on so well - on the cycle rack, of course!

At least it stopped raining long enough at the kennels to get the dogs out of the car into their kennel, the cats out of the car and into their 'room', move all the bags around and get settled before it started raining again!

And then we got hungry!  We had had breakfast a couple of hours before, but it requires rather a lot of effort getting packed, trying not to forget anything, and sorting out animals!  We weren't just hungry, we were ravenous!  Trouble is, we are trying to lose a little bit of weight, and it's working, but - what to eat when you are on the road?!  Luckily, we passed a padstal and were able to buy some water, which we had forgotten to put in the car, and - a meat pie each - with pastry!  I'm afraid it was delicious!

Napier isn't very far, and we arrived at our cottage for the weekend about an hour later.  It was still raining and it was still very windy.  We threw the bags in the cottage and decided to go and find a supermarket to stock up for the weekend - on healthy stuff, of course!  We drove into Bredasdorp, the nearest big town, and had lunch there.  Of course, we needed lunch because we were going to exert ourselves a lot the next day - running in my case and mountain biking in Steve's!  It had been rather amusing that, on the drive along the gravel road up the mountain to our cottage, we passed some MTB signs, red ones and blue ones.  Very amusing (to me) because that meant the MTB start was all uphill for the first 5kms or so!  All I could hear was. "What?  We're MTB'ing up HERE???"  I have to admit, it did look rather steep!  And there were rather a lot of puddles - and potholes.  Never mind!  "You can do it," I encouraged him cheerfully, secretly thinking, "OMG!"

The rain coming again!
The rain and wind continued!  All I heard, with each new rain shower or each gust of wind was, "I'm not doing it if it's like this tomorrow!"  I told him, and kept telling him, that the weather would be perfect tomorrow!   That evening, we sorted out how we would 'do' the next morning, and Steve was going to switch on his app on his iphone so that he could record his route and time, and it would also send out a message to me to let me know how far he had got around the course so I had a better idea of when to expect him back.   (Actually, I felt it was more a case of, if he hadn't killed himself or his bike yet, then it would give me an idea of how far he had actually got around the course before that had actually happened!)  I was using my Garmin as usual.  And so, we went to bed, and the rain and wind continued!

Steve had set his alarm for about 6am.  The MTBs were going off first, and the runners about half an hour later, which was good, as it gave me some extra time to sort out running type things!  It was pitch dark but - there was no sound of wind, and there was no sound of rain either.  It was, however, extremely cold!  Still, we did all the necessary things to get out of the cottage, and set off for the local school, about 10 minutes' drive away down the mountain, in the dark.  Excellent.  Enough time for Steve to register and pick up his number.  (I had been able to get my number the evening before, but the MTBers couldn't. "Oh, b***** h***!" came a voice from the driver's seat.  "I've forgotten my phone."  "What?  You've forgotten your phone?  Why have you forgotten your phone?"  I know it was a stupid question but it was early in the morning.  "I left it on charge," he said.  So back we went to fetch it!

We eventually got to the school and Steve got his (red) number sorted out and his bike and then hung about in the freezing cold while they finished registering everyone else.  It was getting light now, though, and the sun was just beginning to poke it's head up from behind the mountains.  There were no clouds, it would be sunny!  It wouldn't rain and there was very little wind!  He had no more excuses to get out of the ride now, and gathered with the other riders at the Start line (near the back)!  I waited at the side trying to absorb any heat that the sun had started throwing out!  Then they were off!
Getting dressed!

Hopefully, I would see him again in a 'sort of' one piece after 30kms!

And they're off...
... at the speed of light!

My run was next and I was surprised how many runners there were, although the 10kms and 21kms were starting together, but would split after about 3kms.  The gun fired and we were off, and we had to run half a kilometre before we even got off the school premises.  It was a lap of the running track and over the Start/Finish line and then off out of the school.  There was a huge muddy patch of at least 30m long, which we all had to wade through - very slowly (and would look forward to again on the way back!)  Then, down the hill and into the village, on to the main road out of Napier and along a gravel road.  A kilometre or so down there, not too bad so far - loved the downhill bit to warm up.  It was quite enjoyable actually, and my time was good!

Then, we turned into a forest and discovered we were trail running.  There were some horrible little hilly bits and very uneven ground, and plenty of mud due to the rain we had had the previous day.  Oh dear, this was slowing me down somewhat.  And lots of twists and turns.  Eventually, we ran through the forest and out the other side and found ourselves back on the main route through Napier.  All uphill from here onwards!  Oh dear!  Even worse hills up to the school and then the pleasure of wading through the mud again before reaching the grass track, and one more loop to the Finish!  My word, I feel I earned my medal!

Overall, a very enjoyable run, albeit not an easy one, and definitely not a PB route, but lovely running on the differing terrains.  Must remember my trail shoes next time!

Official results not out yet but 1:07 on my Garmin.  Very happy with that under the circumstances.

Now to wait for the mountain biker to return!  At least it has warmed up a bit now - about 18C I think.  I didn't have to wait as long as I thought I would.  Steve thought he would finish in 3 hours.  He actually managed it in 1hr 57mins.  So, well done to him!

Funny thing is though, the MTBers thought the Finish was back where they had started, same as the runners.  That is where they were told they would finish.  However, there were a couple of ladies at one of the side school gates stopping the MTBs as they went through.  That was actually the end!  The rest was just a processional!  That's not the funny bit though.  The funny bit is that Steve had been given a RED number - a 60k number.  The 30k numbers were BLUE!  They all cheered as he came through - they thought he was the first 60k back! But he owned up and told the lady that it was actually she who had given him the red 60k number even though he had only paid for a blue 30k number! There was nothing actually on the number to tell him which race it was...

His first comments at the Finish when he met me?  "B***** H***! Never again!  That is my first and only!

Bet it's not! Heh heh!

Anyway, after a shower back at the cottage, we went out for lunch to celebrate and sat outside in the (now warm) sunshine under the vines at a restaurant with some lovely food, watching a procession of old cars, trucks and tractors.

Overall, an enjoyable weekend, and I am so glad the weather changed for the better on the day that really mattered.
And the sun has come out!

And talking about marathon training now:

My training is still going well.  I have been working on my speed, and have also started doing proper hill training.  My long runs are getting a bit longer and I hope to do a 19km run this weekend.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Week 1/18 of Marathon Training

Well, I've started the training.  Monday was the first day of marathon training.  A 'rest' day!  Yay!  No exercise.  However, I ended up going out on my bike with Steve for a cycle ride.  I hadn't been out on it for several weeks and I ended up with pins and needles in my hands and certain other places!  I really do need to sort out some cycling capris for the winter. Shorts are all very well, but it does get a bit cold on the old legs (going at such a fast pace!) in winter. Still, I managed about 11kms without falling off! Really must get out more!

Tuesday was my first run.  A 5km 'comfortable' run, and I ended up going at quite a fast 'comfortable' pace (if there is such a thing as a fast 'comfortable' pace!)  Felt good after that, as I had worked hard and it was beautiful weather out there at that time of the morning - 9am.  I must make the most of those runs - they don't happen often enough!

Thursday I did an 8km pace run.  I worked hard and ran faster than the pace I had intended to do, so very happy with that.   Still need to work on my speed though.  Steve came with me on this run, which helps a lot, as it can get very lonely out there on the road!

Saturday I did my 'long' run of 13kms - on my own, without Steve!  He was having to serve guests and earn some money!  Due to the weather supposedly being better on Saturday, I did the long run then rather than Sunday.  However, after heavy rain on Saturday night and early Sunday morning, it cleared up beautifully and I was able to get out for a 5km run anyway.  Felt really good even though it was very cloudy and windy when I went out and I had to wrap up.

My thoughts were on that piece of cake I wanted today, and I feel I really earned those calories!  I am trying to lose a few kilograms, and this was my weekly treat!  And very enjoyable and tasty it was too!  Worth the  running 5kms and toning for an hour afterwards to get it.

Friday, 3 May 2013

A New Challenge...

Well, I've done it.  I knew I would!  I just had to do it!

I've signed up to run the Cape Town Marathon in September.  Scary but exciting too!

Description of the marathon taken from their website is below:

'The Cape Town Marathon will take place on Sunday 22 September 2103.  The Marathon starts at 06:30 in Adderley Street, in front of the Cape Town Station in the city centre.  The marathon route is fast (not sure about this bit!) and flat (or even this bit!) catering for elite athletes chasing fast times as well as beginners looking to finish their first marathon.

The route showcases the mountain, the sea, and all the major attractions of Cape Town. After the start in Cape Town's city centre the marathon route takes runners out to Rondebosch before looping back to the City via the V&A Waterfront, Sea Point the Green Point Common and finishes in Vlei Road (by Green Point Stadium). You will struggle to find a more beautiful setting for a city marathon. (And they call it 'flat'?!)

The route offers elite athletes the chance to post a fast marathon time and the eight hour cut-off allows first timers and walkers the chance to complete the distance with no pressure (No pressure??). It also showcases the mountain, sea and all the major attractions Cape Town has to offer.'

So... I will be starting my marathon training plan on 20 May.  

I am also thinking of trying to raise some money for two charities.  More about that later.

Best get those running shoes on!

Asics GT 1000 Women's Running Shoes (SS13)

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Weskus Half Marathon - Saturday 20 April 2013

It was quite a busy few days away.  We were off to the West Coast National Park again, so I could run the half marathon for the third time.  Why?  I really don't know, except that I am determined not to let the Black Mamba hill beat me indefinitely!

Thursday 18th, after dropping the dogs and cats off at the kennels, we stopped off at The Grand West in Goodwood as we had managed to get tickets to watch Michael McIntyre.  We were lucky enough to have front row tickets and thoroughly enjoyed the evening.  We stayed at the hotel there overnight, then continued on to the West Coast National Park the next day.  A nice start to our break away.

The chalet was ready for us when we got there (early), and found that we had the same chalet as the one we had stayed in last year, and the year before that too!  So we felt quite at home.  After dropping off our bags, we drove up, through the park, into Langebaan and bought some food, stopping off to register and pick up my number and goodie bag for the half marathon the next day.

We were up (bright? Well, early anyway) at about 5am - so dark and so cold - and we were in Langebaan at the Start by 6.15am.  Not much to do other than queue for the toilets, and wait for it to get light.  Brrrr, still very cold!

The run started at 7.10am and over 1000 runners were off!  I know the route now, having done it twice before, and we were up the road for about half a kilometre, and then on to the gravel track.  There is approximately 8km of off-road running, which makes it interesting (rock, gravel and sand) but the tracks are quite narrow and with very uneven ground.  I haven't run on gravel since I rolled my ankle three months ago, so I took more notice of where I was putting my feet than  the scenery.

The weather had warmed up a lot, but there was quite a strong cross-wind.  It didn't seem to matter which way I was running, the wind was in my face!  The temperature was in the low 20's by then, so not too hot by South African standards, but quite warm enough!

It did get rather congested at times along the track, once with an 'unofficial' bus of people running at a much slower pace than me.  I had to follow them for over a kilometre!  There were quite a few people getting held up by them as well, and it wasn't an option to simply run round them because of the high fynbos at the sides of the track.  Eventually, a few at a time, we started to ask them to move to the side so we could pass.  It also does get me riled when walkers decide to start at the front of the race and won't move to the side, or groups of  runners just run next to one another so no-one else can get past!  Grrr!  OK, rant over!

At last, we ran out on to the tarmac, and the rest of the run was only on tarmac roads, although very undulating roads.  I tried to make up some time then, and was doing ok (I think) until the bottom of the Big Hill!  Yes, the dreaded Black Mamba was still there, as it had been the previous two years.  Just what you don't really want at 16/17km of a half marathon!   I could see this hill from some distance away, and no-one was running, or even jogging up it.  It is HORRIBLE!  But we all staggered up it anyway, with the knowledge that there was only another 3 or so kilometres left to do, and that was mainly downhill!  I really stretched out then, desperate to make up some time.

In the end, my time was 2:31:30, and I was not entirely happy with it!  I would have liked to have taken off a few more minutes at least!  Still, it was not to be.  My own fault for having a couple or so weeks off from running in February/March to do other things, probably.  However, the medal was worth having and, also, the ice lolly they gave you at the end!

Position: 34/102 (Category: 50-59 women)
Position overall: 761/1170

While I was running, Steve had a long wait, so he took some pics of the lagoon:

After the run, we still had a couple of days at the National Park, so were able to enjoy some more good weather and nature.  One lunchtime, while sitting outside the chalet when Steve was inside cooking himself a sausage and egg sandwich, I looked up to see several Eland munching on the fynbos of the neighbouring chalet.  They are MASSIVE animals!  I didn't realise how big they actually are until I saw them up close.

There were lots of ostriches around:

Another day, we saw some puff adders sunning themselves in the middle of the road.  Ugh!

It is also the time of year that Flamingoes come to the National Park as well, and there were so many of them.  We had a lovely time there, as in previous years, but being there a month later meant we were able to see the Flamingoes this time.   Well worth it.

And if you have a chalet where you can see the floor mop hanging on a wire through the backdoor window, but actually think that someone is there, what else are you supposed to do with it but give it a face?  At least, then, it can REALLY look as if there is someone peering through the door!

Of course, in the evenings what else could we do but braai:


On Tuesday, we were due to go home but were stopping off to see Dad and Celia for a couple of hours first on the way.  However, they invited us out for a meal in the evening, so we rang the kennels to ask them if the animals could stay for another day.  Luckily, they could, so we were able to enjoy a bit longer at Brackenfell.  The meal was lovely and I think we all really pigged out!  It was my birthday that Friday, and Celia arranged that the staff sing "Happy Birthday" to me at the table!  Excellent! lol!  And I got extra ice-cream with some sparklers in it, so it was all worthwhile! :)

Well, the next day we really did have to come home.  We had done all we had set out to do, and more, and had spent far too much money at the 'big shops'!  The dogs were delighted to see us though, and the cats just complained all the way back from the kennels!

Next race up:  The Hermanus Wheels & Runners 10km in a couple of weeks.

Also, nearly time to enter the Cape Town Marathon!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Peninsula Half Marathon - 17 February 2013

We stayed in a cottage in Bergvliet so that I was near to the start of the race and travelled down there on the Friday.  The next day we duly registered and I picked up my number, then the rest of the day was free to enjoy as we wished.  We ended up going to Kirstenbosch Gardens for the day, which is always enjoyable.  It was a very hot day so I made sure I drank lots of water!  I didn't want to dehydrate the next day whilst running.

Steve posing in front of a statue at Kirstenbosch.

Orange Breasted Sunbird at Kirstenbosch

Steve's new girlfriend (met at Kirstenbosch!)

The Peninsula Half Marathon starts at Bergvliet and finishes at Simon's Town.  I had decided to use this race as a training run more than a race because:

1. I was due to run a 21km long training run this week

2. I had rolled my ankle a few weeks ago and I am still being careful on it (I don't want to do it again and mess up my chances of running a good West Coast Half Marathon)


3. I have been struggling with having the energy to run in the heat and wind since Christmas, and we have been very busy at work (not a very good excuse, but true)

so I was never going to run this one particularly fast.  Anyway, I wanted to enjoy running the distance with other runners around me (and not on my own, for a change!).  The write-up that I read on this race is that it is a lovely one to run because it is flat (well, by South African standards, I suppose it is!) and you run through stunning scenery.  Well, I do agree with that last one - it was much nicer being 'out there' in the fresh air running to Simons Town, than driving it in a car.

I was glad to be staying only a five minute walk from the start of the race.  It meant I didn't have to get up at an even more unearthly hour than is necessary for most races and I was able to use the loo at the cottage and not have to queue at the porta loos.  I am hugely grateful for that, as there were obviously not enough of them at the Start as there was still a line of ladies waiting to use them when the gun went off at 7am!

Before the start of the race - it looked quite daunting!

And we're off!

 There were 1840 runners at the start of the half marathon, and it took at least 2 kilometres to get into a reasonable pace.  The sun hadn't been up long and it wasn't too warm yet, with very little wind.  However, at around 5kms and approaching Muizenberg, wow, the wind suddenly decided it would be fun to blow at us runners and from that time onwards it was 'in yer face' - all the way to Simon's Town!

There were roadworks at Kalk Bay (there have been for about a year!), which rather messed up the pacing, having to run up and down high kerbs, around parked vehicles, and it didn't seem particularly organised in that part for the runners, let alone the poor vehicles having to be diverted literally miles out of their way (including one poor husband meeting me at Simon's Town.  He would have done better to run or cycle to Simon's Town instead!)

Almost there! Just around the corner...
Looking down  on to the end of the race with the sea in the background.

We were running with the sea on our left for at least the second half of the race and it looked beautiful with the sun glinting on it.  I was actually enjoying it and was really glad I had decided to run it at a comfortable pace.  As I looked across the bay, I could see Simon's Town in the distance and over the next hour it slowly got closer and closer, which was quite a relief really!  It had also got hotter and hotter.  In fact, the temperature went up to 32C that day!  Although the head wind was very strong, it was actually quite nice some of the time, as it helped to cool me down.

The last kilometre seemed to be all uphill with lots of twists and bends and I had run over the finish line before I realised that I had finished and could stop!

Not a fast one at all, but very enjoyable.  And I feel I earned my medal, it was hard work.  One of my running club organisers had come over to the finish line to congratulate all us Whalers as we finished, which was a nice touch, and invited us all over to the Whalers tent for a celebratory drink!

A drink and the medal!

Time: 2:37:16
Position in my age group: 71/150

After all the excitement, Steve then drove us all the way from Simon's Town back up the N1 for an outside picnic concert on a wine estate in Paarl, stopping en-route to say 'Happy Birthday' to my Dad as he will be in the UK for his 80th birthday party very shortly.  The next day we drove into the mountains for a short break in a tent.

View from our tent.



Kitchen and dining room.

The deck!

Wood-fired hot tub - great for stargazing at night!

Outdoor shower!

Can you see the nest being built in the fynbos?

The little mouse came in out of the rain!

Our tent is up there somewhere - bet you can't see it!