OM DIE DAM Ultra (50km)

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Two weeks after my 2Oceans qualifier and  and I was wondering how on earth am I going to get through 50km. I was a bit paranoid about my calves cramping up on me again but I also did not see the point of going all the way to Harties and not see the dam so downgrading to the half was not an option! It would be like the 2 Oceans half where you go all the way down to Cape Town and not see the ocean! The intention was never to race Om Die Dam but to use it as a  long run for 2 Oceans, so I decided to stick to the plan, take it easy and enjoy the whole experience. Good for me!

The weather was perfect. The scenery beautiful. Over 5000 runners doing the ultra what more could I have asked for. I had some good company along the way, taking pictures and just ran very easy. I recently learned that to run easy you need to be fit. I felt fit. As hard as running is for me…it is getting easier. Strange but true. I never once tried to push myself partly because I was scared of calve cramping but mainly because I was sticking to my slow pace and it felt easy! Most important I finished feeling strong 6:19:57…ready to Rock & Race 2 Oceans!!

Racing my 1st Marathon!

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Training has been going insanely well. Miles has been flying and I am having the time of my life!

I have been training hard for the PWC Marathon which is this Saturday (yes, tomorrow) but it turned out that I am no longer able to make the trip out to Mpumalanga so focus is shifting to Vaal Marathon on Sunday (thanks for Vaal Marathon!). I am a bit nervous because I was looking forward to a fast downhill marathon but have all the faith that my training will see me through this little hiccup.

Over the last 2 months I was pushing my limits (a bit). Apparently, CONSISTENCY is the name of the game!

  • November – 160km
  • December – 130km
  • January – 196km
  • February -190km

Kinda feel like I am training to run my first marathon.  REPHRASE. I’ve been training to ‘race’ my first marathon!

My focus running the marathon previously was just to finish within the qualifying cut-off time for Comrades which is sub-5hrs. The goal was clear. My marathon PB… 4:55!! Lately I am starting to think of myself as the “queen of pacing”…always cutting it very close :-)

I never had this dire need to run a fast(er) time before, partly because I knew I have not trained for a specific time goal but to “just finish”. I believe there is nothing you can’t do if you put your mind to it and listening to Dr Ross Tucker at the OMTOM seminar, we are all DESIGNED TO RUN. Not necessarily fast, but we can run long. I finished my first Comrades, so I know I can go the distance and I feel ready to push the limits!

The little rewards of marathon training

1. Charmain’s Award

January is started off with a bang!  Seems like my training effort did not go unnoticed by my running club. Keep saying its just the best running club! Everyone is so supportive.  I received the Chairman’s award for J-A-N-U-A-R-Y!!! So proud and great motivation to keep going!!

2. Losing Weight

The hardest thing for me when training hard is eating right. I seem to be hungry all the time. I am trying very hard to stick to the healthy options. Experimented with the Paleo & LCHF, but have my own version of this now and have lost 5kg so far. The goal is to toe the start line of this years Comrades 10kg lighter!

3. Getting faster

Training for this marathon started last year August/September just working on getting a bit faster running the 10K. I managed to eventually cut 8mins off my 10K time. I know I can go faster, just some of the races that I picked was not necessarily optimal for a fast 10K. Still lots of work to do here so I am already excited about my next training cycle! The big reward for me was cutting 12mins off my half marathon time (which was a long training run so I was not even running hard). I am definitely getting stronger and faster and that motivates me to keep going. I completely get the saying “to get faster at the longer distances, you have to get faster at the shorter distances”.

Yip, things are slowly starting to fall into place…

My time goal for this training cycle

The thing I like most about my training right now, is the variation. If someone were to ask me what my favourite work-out is I would not be able to say.  They’re all equally challenging to me at this stage…speed sessions, hill repeat, tempo runs and long runs. I love them all…except for my training races! I suck when it come to racing, just can’t seem to get it right. Love training for them, but come D(oom) day I always seem to mess up. So, a love/hate relationship that I am working very hard on getting right!

Trying to stick to my training programme, listening to my body, focusing on nutrition, not allowing any negative thoughts to enter this over active mind of mine and balancing work and family…is hard. But I did. I am racing my “1st marathon” on Sunday and I am so excited I am about to burst! I never felt “ready” for a race before. This time round I feel I have done all the hard work. I am ready to run a 6min/km marathon. Right now I am feeling strong and know I can run faster but I don’t want to risk getting this wrong. I’ve put too much time into this. My my goal for tomorrow is to finish in 4:30. That is a good 25mins off my current PB and any second faster will send me home with a huge smile!

The ultimate goal is to be able to run a marathon in 4:10 by the end of 2014 so still early days and as they say… Rome was not build in a day!

BRING ON CAPE GATE VAAL MARATHON!!

Quote: “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run” Unknown

My Journey to Marathon des Sables

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It is two weeks into the new year and already I am feeling like I am on a rollercoaster ride! After two years of thinking and dreaming about I believe I am ready to take on the Marathon des Sables. Yes, like only…. THE. ONE. AND. ONLY…”world’s toughest footrace”. Yes, the same race that double olympic gold medalist James Cracknell did and screened by the Discovery Channel.

I’ve pre-registered for Marathon des Sable 2015 so now it is fingers crossed!

WARNING: The video footage below contains some graphic content designed to inspire passionate runners to do crazy stuff…like signing up for a 250km, 6 day stage race in one of the hottest deserts on earth!

I am by no means fast.Those who have been following my blog over the last 2 years would know that I am just an ordinary back of the pack runner. I ran my marathon PB a year ago in 4hrs and 55 mins. Yes, that’s how slow I was! Then again it is all relative, isn’t it? I’ve been training quite a bit over the last few months and hoping to cut mins off that marathon time when I run my Two Oceans qualifier this March.

My theme for 2014 is…JOURNEY.

For me this means DREAMING BIG; understanding your own capability; appreciate and celebrate what you have accomplished thus far; understand that Rome was not build in a day, so patience…patience….patience; to be brave and take risks;  to not be scared of failing; to learn from mistakes.

One of my favourite quotes to guide me on this journey comes from basketball player Michael Jordan “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed”. There is just something about this quote that says it all! No doubt the journey is not going to be a walk in the park but I know in the end it will be worth-it…E-P-I-C to say the least!

Goals for 2014

My running goals for 2014 is simple – TO PREPARE AS BEST AS I CAN. That means I will train hard but smart (do the work); start eating clean and get through 2014 injury free (listen to my body and attend to any niggles) so that I can finish MdS 2015 with as little damage to myself as possible

Yes, I have only pre-registered but the next 15 months will see me prepare and train for this race as if I have a confirmed place already. I will experiment with EVERYTHING! Taking care of my feet and blisters myself, shoes, food, kit. No point taking anything to the desert that will not be used.

Building a good running base in 2013

I’ve been training hard the last few months; following my training programme to the T and now have built a good running base. My minimum mileage over the last few months were:

  • September – 99km
  • October – 140km
  • November – 160km
  • December – 130km

I’ve done quite a bit of 10K races during Sept-Nov and I’ve managed to cut 6mins off my 10K time to 62mins, so no doubt that I will break sub-60mins soon!

December training was a bit more relaxed with the holidays however I managed to do quite a few nice runs in the Karoo and Cape Town. Running at sea level does have it’s advantages, so nice to run easy and feel “fast”. I have found a little gem in the Karoo, the last year I’ve really started to appreciate and enjoy the peace and beauty of the Karoo. This probably goes hand in hand with my desire to run in the desert but I think it is a great place to use as training ground for the MdS. In the summer temperatures get in high 30s, even 40s. This summer we saw 43 degrees. Another upside to training in the Karoo is that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ELSE TO DO! You almost feel like a full time athlete…RUN.EAT.REST.RUN!

I did my 1st hike up Table Mountain with my family, turned out to be so much fun. I don’t think I will ever take the cable up again, so many new trails to explore!

My journey to the sands

This year holds a lot of “1st” for me whilst training for MdS2015. My first Two Oceans Ultra Marathon; collecting my Comrades medal :-); running a close to 4:10 marathon towards the end of 2014; experimenting with ultra trail and multistage races. The 2nd half of 2014 my focus will change towards more trail and off road running. I have to learn to run with a 10kg bag on my back and be able to do that for days on end. The MdS is only 6 days long, equivalent of 5 marathons and 1 ultra marathon (something like an off-road Comrades Marathon in distance). My million miles…

There is a lot of information on the internet and social media sites on the MdS. I’m currently following a few of the 2014 competitors on twitter. I am in awe how much training and preparation everyone is putting into this challenge, they definitely not taking this lightly.  I can’t wait for April to come so that I can follow them all live! I am just grateful that everyone is sharing there experiences so openly, I have learnt so much already…not just about training for the MdS but how to improve my running in general.

Excited to embark on my journey to the sands!