Tag Archives: Nike Soweto Marathon

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

Practice Running Faster Paces

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No doubt I am having fun with my running right now. I have big dreams but it is going to take time to get to where I need to be…biggest lesson I’ve learnt so far is that THE JOY IS IN THE JOURNEY. EMBRACE IT!

6 weeks into training and if I didn’t know any better I would say I am still on a Comrades high – that feeling that nothing is impossible? I still have it!

Training has been going well. The workouts are getting tougher – definitely being challenged on all different levels but I can feel I am getting stronger and faster, ran a 1min PB for my recent 10K race at Old Eds. Progress…1min closer to sub-60mins!

Track Sessions

By now my weekly trip to the track has me psyched for the whole week! Track sessions are not that hard once I get going but at first glance it is an “OMG…I have to do that?” I did feel a bit intimidating going to the track in the beginning with all the other runners there but I’ve decided I really don’t care who knows how slow I am. Like everyone else I am there to work on getting faster and that is it.

Now I am a regular at the track, excited and very comfortable going there, even training with the SA Masters Champs!! They’ve even made me ran an unofficial 200m and 300m PB already! It is great to see “elite” and faster people in action, love the way they move and learning so much just by watching them.

I love the track sessions. I know I should not say it but I find running on the track much easier than running on the road, maybe its because I am absolutely focus when I am there or maybe because there is no hills! Just feel like I can run in circles the whole day. I’ve done 32 laps in 2 of my sessions already – that is 8miles (12km) on a track! Yip, that never in a million years feeling 🙂

My Playground - UJ Track

My Playground – UJ Track

The best thing about the track is that I am running at paces I can never run on the road during my training runs (I really try!) but it is very hilly around where I stay (excuses!). I need to run quite far out to find a decent stretch of road with not a lot of traffic. I never feel I practice running fast, which is why I like going to the track. I know the pace that I need to run, and when I am there…that is what I practice. The interesting thing is I actually managed the faster paces quite comfortably so now to put it to practice on the road!

Another advantage of running on track that I have found is that I focus on my form. It’s probably due to watching some of the faster runners, they are so upright and they look so strong. Let’s just say when I’m running on the track I pretend I am Paula Radcliffe or Kara Goucher. It helps, it is starting to feel like I am actually running…not shuffling…and I love-it! 🙂

Nike Soweto Marathon

I was planning on doing Kaapsehoop as my 10th marathon but when I saw the Soweto Marathon backed by Nike I signed up immediately!

Soweto Marathon is special on so many different levels – for me because it was my first 10K race and now 4 years later I feel ready to tackle the full marathon. Make no mistake – this is a tough course, very hilly and not to mention some of the challenges on the day from what I’ve heard and know from my 10K race experience – no water and refreshments at water tables (Note to Self: be prepared…for anything!)

Most runners say just go run the Soweto Marathon for the “experience” and find another marathon for your PB. I probably would’ve had it easier running Kaapsehoop Marathon, but who needs easy, right? I will train harder!

I’ve never been so excited about training for a marathon, to be honest my marathon training has always evolved around training for an ultra as the goal race (and that goes for both my Rome and Paris marathons, they were just qualifiers and training runs for Comrades) which meant I was too scared to just run it flat out as I kept thinking of the next week’s “running on tired legs” I had lined-up!

This time I don’t have any ultras planned for a while so I am 100% focus and committed to achieving my Nike Soweto Marathon goal! I’ve embraced the “We Run Soweto” spirit – with NIKE as title sponsor the Soweto Marathon promises to be the EPIC race it deserves to be!

Quote of the day: ” Listen to your body, believe in your training and obsess over the training and end goal.” Rock Creek Runner