Category Archives: 10K

My 10K Fun Runs

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I’ve been doing some crazy stupid but oh so much fun (trail) running in the midst of training for the Soweto Marathon. I am glad that I have survived all the falls and calf cramps and could continue with my marathon training as if nothing exciting ever happened! Having a looooong term plan in place helps to keep me motivated and training with purpose. I am not running all these silly races for fun (well, scary to say…it is all for fun!). This is about the most fun I’ve had since starting a family. I keep asking myself why haven’t I done this sooner? I could have made the elite running team by now with all the time and energy I’ve poured into my “fun runs”. 🙂

My running has evolved into something much more than just trying to see how fast or how far I can go. It has become a part of my life, it gives me a lot of joy and excitement. One of the little joys was being selected as blogger for Ultrarunner. I am super excited to be part of this community of runners promoting ultra and trail running! Yes, running makes me happy and I am really excited to see where my running journey will take me next.

For now I am stuck on the road to getting faster. I’ve taken a 4 week break after Comrades to recover. When I got back to training in July the focus was on speedwork which I have completely fallen in love with. I love pushing myself hard and going to the track is fun. At first I was intimidated by the paces and the number of reps but now I confidently attempts whatever is thrown my way!

My goal for this year to break 60mins for the 10K. I tried to do that last year, but because finishing Comrades was the main goal training was focused on longer slower runs. With Comrades bagged nailing that sub-60min 10K is back on the cards and with all the track work I’ve done I feel ready to race hard!

I’ve planned to do the Tswane 10K race, described in Runnersguide as fast and flat. I checked the Runnersguide for venue and noticed that the race was CANCELLED! I was disappointed but was so psyched about racing that I felt I was ready to run any 10K, hills or no hills! The next race was the infamous Old Ed.s 🙂

Old Eds (10km)

This race have a few hills – so no fast and flat! I arrived early and made sure I warmed up properly. I started a bit too fast and completely lost it by the time I hit the fourth kilometer (the 1st hill). I struggled to recover until 7km (walked a lot in that km) but started to push from there on. I was so focus on getting up the last little hill at 8km I didn’t noticed I was turning off onto the 5km route and had to turnaround, up another little hill and then finally in the last kilometer. I pushed hard in the last kilometer and finished feeling strong with 61:29. I was a bit disappointed at first but when I saw I made it into top 20 I was beyond myself from excitement – this was not the easiest 10km race!

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 New goal: top 15 or top 10 for my age category? There is more to running than just chasing time! This is so exciting 🙂

Irene Villages Mall (10km)

I didn’t know what to expect at this race, just made sure I was there early and warmed up properly. I waited too long to get to the start arch (so many eager beavers). It felt like ages and lots of energy wasted to free myself from the walkers. To top things up the first kilometer was uphill with a long pull until about 4km. I was struggling all the way but did not walk even though I wanted to. The pace was slower than I hoped but just kept going. At about 7km it started to look like we were turning back. That’s when I had my ‘AHA’ moment. It was going to be down hillish and told myself to be strong and not give into the urge to walk. I started using other runners to pull me along. I now look at runners thinking “I must pass you, you don’t look like you training harder than me” or “She looks about my age, let’s pass her” or ” She is running my pace comfortably, I must stick with her”….all of which helped! I read an article about “road kill”. Apparently you’re suppose to start “road killing” from the 8th kilomoter in a 10km race. The concept relates to spotting your target and hunting them down (passing them). It worked! I don’t think I have ever killed so many men and ran a new PB 60:10!!

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Seriously, I couldn’t  run 1s/km faster? 

Andre Greyling (10km).

Those two races set the scene for my next race. I noticed during training that week that my left foot kept going numb when I ran at faster paces. It happened twice during my training runs that week, but I wasn’t thinking too much about it as I did not have any pain and it also comes and goes.

Again the Runnersguide said fast and flat but believe me in Gauteng there is no fast and flat. I again struggled to find my way to the front amidst all the walkers up a hill in the first km. I had no idea what to expect from this race. There are two types of races that I don’t like. The one is “double lappers” and the other is races that snakes from one street up the next through a suburb. I don’t like to see peoples houses when I run, I don’t mind running on bigger open roads with cars but the suburb scene is not for me and this race was going from one street up into the next street. I think I was a more upset about the “going up” as this meant I was not able to comfortably hit my paces (I expected a fairly flat race!). The cherry on top of the cake was that in the second kilometer I started to feel my toes going numb and by the seventh kilometer by whole leg was numb. I didn’t know what to do. I stopped and started to walk. This seemed to help a bit and I started running again. By the 8th kilometer we were heading back to the start and it was down hill and I pushed very hard (leg still numb with pins and needles sensation, but no pain). I finished the race with the clock saying 62:00!

If that is my time under the “worst” conditions, imagine what I might be capable of in the best! 🙂

Jozi South (10km)

The next race I had on my calendar as part of the build-up to my marathon was a 21km but with the leg not playing along opted for an easy 18km run that weekend and the leg was fine with going slow :-). The following week I had to do my 30km long run (ended being 34km!) and the legs and feet behaved superbly! So this weekend I decided to do another 10km – Jozi South (which I ran last year in a thunderstorm and I finished in about 65 mins) well that was what the Garmin said. This is a really nice route, starting at the Apartheid Museum and going out to the FNB stadium and then back. Slight down hill the first 3km, but then you obviously hit the up on your return. It also have nice long stretches that you can run and push hard and that is what I like in a race. I knew I could run a PB on this route but was worried about my foot. I didn’t want to be stupid and do more harm!

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Apartheid Museum

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FNB Stadium

As usual I started way to fast and when I hit 3km the foot went numb! I was so disappointed. I wanted to quit right there. I had to walk quite a lot. If it was not such a beautiful day and running with one of our club members I would have bailed right there!  But I pushed through and by 6km I was starting to pull myself together. My whole foot was numb but I decided to ignore it and ran through the numbness which then turned into that pins and needles feeling and then finally only at 9km I could could feel the blood flowing through my toes again. What a relief! I finished disppointed but happy with my time of 61:40! 

Highlight of my race was a photo with Comrades Legend Frith Van Der Merwe!

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The one thing I’ve learnt running this race is that you have to be absolutely focused on the task at hand. I still faff around way too much in races! I have managed to fight the urge against walking but with the foot issue now I’ve decided to play it safe rather than sorry (so took it easy and walked quite a lot) but you cannot run hard and think about other things. The whole time I was thinking about my foot and “what if”. I did not focus on anything around or in front of me. There was no sign or strategy of “road kill” this time….so obviously I was not racing!

I am at peace with where I am with my take 10k goal and training for now. I don’t feel this dire need to chase 10km PB anymore, I know I can do it! 

I obviously need to sort the issues with my foot. I might have to reconsider running the Soweto Marathon. It is going to be a difficult decision, I don’t want to even think about it. I’ve trained so hard and I know I am ready to race hard and run my marathon PB. Not quite sure what to do…I will give it a week of rest and easy running and see how I feel by the end of the week.

Quote: “I don’t worry about what I’ve run. I worry about what I’m going to run. To be successful, you’ve got to keep moving”. Ray Baymiller

Chasing My Dreams

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So what’s next after the most amazing Comrades Marathon experience?

I took a break from running the last 4 weeks yet all I could think of the whole time was RUNNING!

10487259_579398442170507_6473067939894266817_nDREAMING BIG AGAIN. NEW GOALS. NEW PLANS.

I’m very excited about my new goals – it’s going to challenge the wits out of me! I’ve been dreaming about doing an extreme adventure race since the day I took up running as a SPORT three and a half years ago but somehow had it in my head that I was not ready. Truth is, I will never be ready if I don’t plan and prepare for it!

My next adventure is a massive undertaking. It scares the hell out of me so don’t even want to say it out loud, safe to assume I got my work cut for the next 21 months…will be like giving birth to an elephant! Training is only one part of this journey. There are so many other things to consider; balancing family and work, experimenting with gear and the many sacrifices I’ll be making participating in extreme adventure racing & expeditions around the world. So many great adventures waiting. I want to do them all..OK, THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE!

I’m still working on finalising my three year plan so trying not to focus so much on just the end goal anymore but also to appreciate and enjoy all the little detours (yip, those unforeseen challenges!) I will encounter on this journey.

Next Up – Marathon #10!

Number 10 is going to be special. I’m thinking sub 4:30 marathon! Yip, slow by world marathon standards BUT

  • I’ve already cut my time from 5:29 (2012) – 4:43 (2014)
  • I’ve learned the hard way what 10s/km over the marathon distance can do to your overall finish time, so I am working hard on getting faster over the shorter distances!
  • The key is I BELIEVE I can do it and love seeing the progress

So back to basics…reality – building my base , working on getting stronger and focus on running a little faster. Before I just wanted to run fast enough so that I could qualify for Comrades and not run the race with a gun against my head! The most stressful experience…ask any finisher who have just…just…just…missed the 12hr cut-off!

This time I want to push myself and see given the effort over the next few months what I am capable of. I know I can run a sub 4:30 mara just need to get that 10K time down! I should be able to run a 10K in 58-59mins just did not pick the right races before, so the thinking is training for 56-57min 10K and 2:05 half marathon.

Marathon number 10 won’t be until November so plenty of time to get mentally tough and play with speed which should leave me with a good base – going into the new year strong and ready to experiment with new aspects of ultra running like multi-stage races; night racing; ultra trails & the list continues…

My dreams are not gonna come easy but I am going to make them happen. The next few months will see me grow into the person that can achieve all these amazing challenges I’ve set out to do.

A Journey of A Million Miles…Designed Not To Happen Overnight! 🙂

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!