Toontjie 4km - 14 October 2017

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

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Outsurance Gun Run Half Marathon 2014 - 12 October 2014

Kilometre 5 - Still feeling good!

Steve's phone alarm clock got me out of bed at 4:45am in the dark to get ready for the Half Marathon.  It wasn't until it started getting light that I noticed how misty it was.

Standing in the start enclosure at about 6:10am, I looked up to see not a lot of the Green Point Stadium in front of me.  "Oh well, it will soon clear," I thought, as I stood with several thousands of other runners waiting for the 6:30 start.

The Gun Run is always started by the firing of a cannon, and this year was no exception.  It made the air around us vibrate before we even heard it go off!  Then we jumped - and were off!

Kilometre 8

We all had chips, which were started with the gun but it took a while to get over the starting line.

Then, I discovered that my Garmin hadn't yet picked up my location, no doubt due to the heavy mist as much as to the thousands of other runners tightly packed around me.  I did get it started eventually, but by that time I had decided not to worry about it and run by feel. I would be given a chip time anyway, and I could work out the adjustment necessary to get an accurate actual time later.

There were over 5000 half marathon runners (5394 actually) taking part, and the route was very congested for the first 4 or 5 kilometres.

It didn't help, either, that there was the first turn-around point just 3km out and the lead runners were struggling to run back through the crowds.  Mmm, think that part of the route needs to be improved next year!

The Home Straight!
I had warmed up now and was starting to speed up just very slightly with each kilometre - ideal really, as I had decided I wanted to run the first third slow, the second third on pace (ha ha, get real!) and the last third fast (now, that is a joke!) I had already decided it wasn't really worth checking my time but just checked the pace every ten minutes or so, and I could see that I was definitely speeding up naturally with each kilometre I was running.

We carried on running around the Waterfront, around Dock Road and up back into Sea Point, where I saw Steve again, having passed near where we had started!  Then, off up the Main Road of Sea Point where I discovered I was catching up with the 2:30 pacers.  Wow!  I couldn't believe it.  I was running at a nice, comfortable pace now, but wasn't looking forward to the hill that was to come at around 12k.  I actually passed the 2:30 pacers then, and gradually pulled away from them.

100 more metres to go!
We turned off the Main Road and ran up Kloof Road, which went on and on.  I am so glad I had been practising hills by running up the huge B'bos hill every few weeks!  I jogged and walked up it, but it really didn't feel as bad as I had thought it would, and we ran over the top of the hill and levelled out for a while alongside the mountain.  It had been very misty all the way, but now we were up in the clouds proper!  When you run a long run, sometimes your mind plays tricks on you, and I couldn't remember from that point on whether the 2:30 pacers had passed me or whether I was still in front of them.  I really didn't know.

Eventually, we started to come back down again but the kilometres were starting to feel rather more difficult now.  It certainly didn't help not being able to see much.  But I kept going at quite a pace now as we were on the descent at this point and I needed to make up some time.  Only a few more kilometres!  Only!  Ha!  I still wasn't checking my time because I was working too hard and it didn't seem that important.  "It would be what it would be," as Steve was always saying to me!

Eventually, we reached the 21km marker, although I still couldn't see the Finish!  It was that misty!  I was struggling now and sneaking in tiny walks now and again, but there it was - at last - the Finish. I hadn't any idea of what time I passed over the line at but when I finally stopped running I checked my watch it was so annoying because it told me first of all that I had run a 5k PB, then it told me that I had run a 10k PB, and then it told me I had run the furthest I had run (with that watch) and I still didn't know how long it had taken me!

Focussed on finishing!

 When I was able to check my chip time later, it told me my time was 2:20 something.  Later, when I worked out my time properly, I ran 2:18:12 -  my best half marathon time ever!  Real pleased with that.

Good weather to run in, as not too windy, and quite cool, but the mist was rather damp!  And it was hard not being able to see much!  Scenery?  What scenery?  I'm sure there was some out there somewhere but I didn't see it!

Just waiting for the official pics to come out now!  And, no, I didn't care what I looked like at that time!

Overall position: 3908/5394
Gender position: 1372/2287
Age Category Position: 77/201
Age Position: 4/13

A very enjoyable run.  One which I had worked hard for, and the training, weather, conditions, etc. all came right for once!

Thank you to my lovely Hubs, who got me there on time, and supported me!

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Funky Fynbos Festival Cape Mohair Trail Run 10k - 14 September 2014

The first ever Funky Fynbos Festival Cape Mohair Trail Run 10k was held this year!

What an awesome run!  Stunning scenery, a well-stocked water table with bananas and fresh orange slices, excellent signage, fantastic goodie bag with socks, ice pack and protea seeds as well as money-off coupons and fliers for other races!

There has been loads of positive feedback about the event, such as ‘That was the best trail run I have done this year,’ and ‘That was the most beautiful run ever.'

There was a 30km trail run, which I would never be able to do, which was according to the Fynbos Trail website, 'designed to challenge even hard core trail runners.  It covered a full 30km of The Fynbos Trail hiking route, which is normally walked over three days, with an altitude gain of 1200 metres and 3 steep climbs,'

There was a 5km run through the Platbos Forest.

I did the 10km Pincushion route, which took us through the beautiful Flower Valley and over Windheuvel, and through the Lomond vineyards.  According to my Garmin, there was over 260 metres of climbing!

I thoroughly enjoyed it and would love to do it again next year!  Although, trail running is totally different from road running and I certainly noticed the difference the next day, or two.. or three... !

Thank you to my Hubs for taking me!

Let the pictures tell the story!

The 1st kilometre!

The bridge!

The last kilometre!


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Huntingdon 10k Charity Run - Sunday 15 June 2014

The 'Jelly Bean' t-shirts were worn with pride!
We recently took a trip to England, Wales and Italy to see friends and family - and what a busy and fun time we had!  It was great to see everyone and spend time with them.  Thank you to everyone who put us up/put up with us!

Whenever we do a trip to the UK we try to arrange something that will bring as many of the families together as possible.  This time we set up the Jelly Bean team and ran in the 1k, 3k and 10k races at Alconbury Weald.  (Alconbury airfield when we lived nearby!)

We had good (and amazingly) warm weather up until the day of the event, at which point it turned bitterly cold and windy!  Typical!  However, it did not stop any of the enthusiasm of the 'little ones' and even the 'old ones' and all those 'in between' on the day of the races!

I had arranged specially designed 'Jelly Bean' t-shirts to be worn for the events and the cold, windy weather did not stop anyone wearing them.  Everyone had a unique t-shirt designed specifically for them.

John Major, and his wife, Norma, opened the races.

1k Race and 3k Races:

These races started with a warm-up for those running, which was great fun, and everyone joined in with the jumping and stretching, and waving of the arms!  Then we were off!

The 1k race was fun and a massive thank you to Leila, William, Bethany, Finn and Jack for participating so enthusiastically, and winning medals (not to mention the adults, who also ran in the 1k, especially those who don't 'run').

The 1k race - a great effort from Leila. It's hard work dragging Mum along!

The 1k race - Bethany has both feet off the ground!

The 1k race - Finn has time to do a little dance on the way to the finish line!

The 1k race - William is beating Grandad (you can just see Grandad right at the very back!)

The 1k race - Jack is doing well. Pity about Mummy and Grandad!

Kate and Sam ran the 3k race.

The 1k and 3k were started at the same time so I didn't see the start of this one as I ran in the 1k, but I did get back in time to watch Sam and Kate finish the race together. Well done, guys!

The 3k race
10k Race:

The 10k team consisted of Sam, Steve, Taz, Russell and me.  The first 3k's were run around the airfield, then we ran out of the gate on to a gravel road into the local village, and did a loop back to the gate and straight down the old runway to the finish line.  We ran over lots of different terrain, at one point having to avoid cow pats in the long grass!

Our 'Jelly Bean' team all ran at our own speeds, and after about half a km, I found Steve running alongside me.  The others were somewhere up ahead.  We completed the circuit around the airfield, then I looked around and Steve was gone.  He said afterwards that he felt his calf pulling so he 'pulled' out!  Convenient he was able to stop just outside the massage tent!  The lengths he will go to, to get a massage!

Obviously not enjoying his massage at all!

Being used to running in South African races where you 'just get on with it', I was immensely amused to see that every change of terrain was marked with a poster warning us to be careful, and there were usually marshalls standing at those points as well also warning us to be careful!  The potholes in the roads were circled with brightly coloured paint.  Can't imagine that happening here in SA!

Sam completed the 10k in 52:23
Russell completed the 10k in 54:41
Taz completed the 10k in 56:28
I struggled around in 63:29

And Steve got a DNF!  A 10k medal or a massage? Mmm, difficult one!

The Jelly Bean team didn't come last, however.  We came 4th out of 5 teams, so even with Steve DNF'ing, we didn't come last!  I am (seriously) sorry that Steve wasn't able to finish the 10k, but at least he did manage the 1km, which was the important one for him to do.  So, well done for getting round that one - and you got a medal for that race!  That's not a bad result really - a medal AND a massage!

We had planned that, after the races, we would go and have a bbq/braai at one of the parks nearby.  However, because it was so cold we 'had a meeting' and decided to go to Russell and Sarah's house and hold the barbecue there.  Needless to say, once the barbecue had been lit, the weather drastically improved and the sun came out.  We spent a lovely afternoon outside having a barbecue lunch, then went to the local park and played football and rounders!  Thank you to Russell and Sarah for 'hosting' the barbecue.  Much appreciated.

A lovely way to spend a day with family!  Thanks to everyone!

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Hermanus Wheels and Runners - Saturday 10 May 2014

Feeling happy at the end of the race!

Left Ronnelle in charge of cooking breakfast for the guests today and went off to Hermanus with Steve.  A grey morning, it had been raining a lot the day before and it was very windy still.

Parked up at the junior school and went to register and pick up my number.  Steve was supposed to have been running it but as he had damaged his calf a few weeks before, that seemed to be a silly idea, especially as he is entered into a 10k when we visit the UK soon. He was going to help marshall at the race but it turned out that they didn't need any more helpers!

A few trips backwards and forwards to the car (to change into my HW&R t-shirt, and to get an energy bar to eat!) and portaloos and the races started.  We, the 10k Runners, were across the line at 10:03 just after the wheelchairs and off, out on to the main road and up the hill. The marshalls and traffic police were great and really gave all the 'Wheels and Runners' every right of way! I loved it when they held everyone up just for ME!

Just warming up - the first kilometre!
It was an out and back course, with a drinks station about 3.5km into the race.

There were only 88 runners and I don't know how many wheelchairs on the same 10k course, and I felt I was making good time.  At this point the wind was behind me, which helped a bit running up the long, gradual hill.  At the top the road levelled out and the turnaround point was reached.

Immediately on turning around, the wind hit me.  It was strong!  And I mean STRONG!  But I couldn't worry about that, I had a job to do.  I had run 10k as a training run the weekend before (when Steve did his calf in!) and ran it in just under 1hr 4 mins so I was determined to beat that!  I had had some good training, with Taz here in March and Steve encouraging me too, and I had been concentrating on getting some speed into my legs!
Focussed! Only a few hundred metres to go!

At this point in the run, I really didn't need to think about the headwind, and I saw that I was catching up, very gradually, over about 5km, a guy who was obviously struggling a bit.  No-one in the race had passed me yet, which REALLY impressed me (that NEVER happens!) and I decided to go for it and pass him.  It took about 20 minutes or so to do it, but I did pass him.  Then he passed me, and then I passed him again.  I think we finished with only about three seconds time difference, but the great thing was that absolutely no-one had passed me all race, and I really 'went for it', focussed, and GOT A PB!

Can just see the finish line 100m ahead!

EDIT: I thought I had managed 1:02:08, which I would have been more than happy with - a huge PB in itself, but on checking the official results on the website this evening (16/5/2014), they had awarded me 1:01:54.  WOW!

Getting closer to that 1 hour mark.  Such hard work, but at last I feel I am getting somewhere now!

Hunts 10k - here I come! :)

Position: 44/88 in total
Category (over 50's): 3/14

Monday, 7 April 2014

Spar Women's 10km Race - Sunday 6 April 2014

South Africa's Most Beautiful Road Race

"The SPAR Grand Prix is the only competition of its kind in South African road running. It allows outstanding women runners to score points over the series of 5 SPAR Women’s 10km races for prizes and awards.  The objectives are:
- to consolidate the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge Series as the largest and most prestigious women’s road running series in the country.
- to encourage as many women runners as possible to enter the 5 SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge races and to score points in the SPAR Grand Prix.
- to make the competition as inclusive as possible by offering runners in the various age categories an opportunity to compete within these categories.
- to improve the standard of the races by awarding bonus points for fast times, again within age categories."

It also raises money for charity.  So, with all this in mind I entered Steve, along with me, into the Cape Town race as I believed it would be good training for him now that he had completed the Cycle Tour.  Only problem was, as he is not a woman, we had to turn him into one, at least for that race!  So, I very kindly agreed to make him a tutu.  And a very nice looking tutu it turned out to be - pink, blue and white stripes, and very floaty.  It went very well with his special blue SPAR race T-shirt, not to mention  the black compression 'stockings'!  What do you think???

Before the Race
Enough of that for now!

We were originally going to travel to Cape Town on Saturday, register that same day and run the race the next day. However, we ended up going to Cape Town on Thursday evening instead. I had accepted a job on the Friday for a background part in a movie, which was to be filmed on the Friday, so after an early start we drove to Green Point to register for the race and then went on for a coffee so that I could start to feel nervous about the work I was about to do!


At 11:30, Steve dropped me off at the 'basecamp' at the Waterfront, where I was dressed, made up and fed, until it was time for us to get taken to the 'set'.  I spent the rest of the day at the Gardens in Cape Town being part of a church congregation, and being 'converted' and 'protected' for a Sci Fi film!  Great fun - and the food was wonderful!  Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take photos of any of the main cast - not that I knew who any of them were anyway.  But, hey, what did that matter.  The sun was shining, the sky was blue, ok it was rather windy, but I was in a stunning location and could see Table Mountain through the trees - a few wispy clouds drifting over it from time to time, and I could hear the birds singing.

Steve came to pick me up that evening and after a night of watching the last 'Frost' DVD and one of its three endings, we had a free day and went to the Waterfront for lunch.  Very enjoyable.


Later that afternoon, we checked into a guesthouse we had booked so that we didn't have to get up quite so early the next morning for the race.  Brilliant idea except that we were woken up at 5am by Steve's i-phone receiving an SMS from the SPAR Women's Race organisers - "Wakey, wakey, it's time to get up for the SPAR Women's race!"

The Start - Green Point Stadium

The race started at 7:30 - quite late really by South African standards!  However, there were nearly 22,400 entrants, mostly women, so we weren't able to get anywhere near the start line until nearly 10 minutes after the gun went off.  You were ok if you were an elite runner as you would have been standing at the front, but otherwise, it was a long wait.  Eventually, we managed to shuffle over the start line and carried on walking for the next few kilometres.  The start of the race took us through some rather narrow roads, which wasn't the best way to start a race with so many entrants, especially as it felt as if the majority of the entrants were walkers and not runners!

Ready to Go

We both spent the majority of the time weaving between walkers, and the runners were getting a bit annoyed at being held up so much by all the walkers.  It is a shame that some sort of runners first, walkers ten minutes later hadn't been put into place but apart from getting frustrated with all of that, it was a beautiful day for a run along the seafront.

Steve eventually managed to push his way through the crowds of walkers and got complimented on his legs (well, that's what he told me anyway) and came back really excited by the fact that he had received lots of offers!  Mmm, which ones to take up?!

Coming up the 'home straight' we joined up with the 5km walkers but by that time I wasn't stopping for anyone and crossed the finish line in about 1hr 12 minutes (ish!)  Steve got back about 5 minutes before me - obviously, he was desperate to take up some of those offers and didn't want to miss out!

The Medal - Well done!
We celebrated later with a lovely lunch at Spier.  Can't beat lunch at a winery in the sunshine.

We had a few other diners for lunch too!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Danger Point Half Marathon - 31 December 2013

Last race of the year!  The Danger Point Half Marathon was on 31 December 2013, and I left Steve in charge of the guests and breakfasts ("Nothing new there then", I am sure he is thinking!) and took myself off to Gansbaai to run the Danger Point Half Marathon.  I have been trying to do this one for the last few years but we are always too busy at this time of year - and exhausted from cleaning rooms!  Still, I made up my mind that this year I would do it!

According to the printed 'blurb' about the race:

This event is run through a Fynbos coastal reserve and the lovely fishing village of Gansbaai. It starts off on a tarred road and goes slightly downhill towards the coast.

The route then becomes a gravel road which is mostly flat and runs along the coastline towards the finish. Enjoy the scenery around the Danger Point Lighthouse, next to the coastline where the famous HMS Birkenhead sank. You will also be treated to magnificent views over Walker Bay.

What it DOESN'T tell you is that once you have run down the 'tarred road' for about 5km, and on to the 'gravel road' it actually turns into soft sand, rocks, loose pebbles, single track, jeep track, steps, bush and just about everything else you can think of to 'run' over - for the majority of the rest of the race!  Only problem with that is that there is no way on this earth that I can RUN over soft sand, rocks, loose pebbles, single track, jeep track, steps, bush and just about everything else for approximately 15 kilometres, I am just not strong enough! Oh, but I just managed to NOT get my feet wet! A bit of positivity there, then!

Have to agree that the scenery was stunning, with beautiful ocean and mountain views - but I was concentrating too much on not losing my footing and running through bushes to get out my phone and take pics!  Sorry!  Oh, and I had to 'hoik' my skirt up several times as it was disappearing over my hips.  Normally, I wouldn't complain about losing a bit of weight and a loose skirt but it gets quite difficult to pull up a rather sweaty item of clothing after a while!

My time was really good for the first four or five kilometres or so, down to the coast, and I was really pleased with my run at that stage, and managed to stay on track (!) for about 12km, but once we had gone off-road proper my pace started to slow dramatically.  I really didn't expect to be quite SO off-road, and I got really demotivated after a while because I was running/walking such a lot.  I was totally on my own as were most of the other runners that I could see at that point but, eventually, after 21.1 kilometres the race came to an end! As they all do!  Hooray!

Unusually, the south east wind didn't cause too much of a problem this year but I did find it very hot once we were running through the dunes and fynbos.  It was 19C when we started running at 7 o'clock that morning, and it reached a high of about 29C later that day!

I did make a very silly mistake though (apart from actually attempting the run, that is!).  I never do the South African thing of drinking cola at races, which is very popular here!  I really can't cope with the bubbles whilst running!   At the last water table, I opted for some of the cola instead of water.  I knew it wasn't a good idea but I couldn't face any more water by then and I didn't want to use another gel, so I gave it a go.  My digestive system didn't thank me and I couldn't run much after that either!

So, overall, not impressed with my speed, in fact I felt quite disappointed.  After all the hard training I have done in the last few weeks, I had expected to run it in around 2:20/2:25hrs,  BUT (and no excuses here) it definitely wasn't the type of run I was expecting.  I'll just put it down to experience and be glad I have some extra calories for FOOD and a drink or two later!

Got my medal though!  Time: 2:40.

Happy New Year to you!