Tag Archives: Ultramarathon

Mont-Aux-Sources Challenge 2015

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Mont-Aux-Sources was planned as a 2 day training run to test my pack, equipment, nutrition, recovery and to get more comfortable with camping (lol!). The idea was to do the 50km challenge on Day 1 and then attempt another 10-15km easy run on Day 2 with my pack. More about how all of this went in my next post.

Breathtaking views and images

I’ve yet to experience a race more beautiful and more challenging than Mont-Aux-Sources. This is not a race (well at least not to me)…it is a CHALLENGE!  A detailed race report of my first Mont-AUX experience is available for your entertainment here. So, I won’t go into any detail about the route and the profile (3400m elevations) in this post but rather share some of the amazing images I will carry with me for a long time.

I’ve made peace with the fact that I cannot capture the beauty of the Drakensberg on an iPhone. I decided before the race not to take any photos. I didn’t want to waste time trying to take the perfect shot, however by the time I got to Sentinel Car Park I found myself lost in just the most beautiful running scenes.

It was simply…breathtaking!

…and I was back in full selfie mode (lol!)

Amazingly Brutal 

It didn’t rain but it was cold and my calves did not cooperate. I suffered SEVERE cramps as I was trying to ascent to the top via the chain ladders. The pain was excruciating and I couldn’t help but scream like a woman that’s about to give birth. I had to be unstrapped from the chain ladders to give the calves time to calm down. I really don’t wish this kind of pain on my worst enemy. I wasted so much time just sitting there not even being able to lift my head up, trying to breath thinking this will only last a few seconds but it felt like forever! I was so scared going up the chain ladders as you had to extent your reach and stretch your legs to get off the first set of chain ladders. Yes, there are two sets! I didn’t trust my calves or my arms for that matter…who knows what can happen when you hanging on for your dear life (lol!)

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Photo: Courtesy Adventurelife.co.za

I really had a hard time getting to the top this time. I literally had to talk to myself…the operative word being…F-O-C-U-S. I was so scared that I was going to get another cramp. BUT, I MADE IT!

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Once on top I was flying again…I loved every minute on top of that mountain!

But the CHALLENGE was far from over…more climbing, still not at the top!

Down the Gully

I finally made it to the top and started the dreaded descent. I have forgotten just how long and scary this section is and with most of the guys gone I felt lonely trying to find my way down this DANGEROUS GULLY.

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Photo: Courtesy Adventurelife.co.za

It was all wet and slippery, just a single rope to hold onto. I somehow found the courage (or was stupid enough) to let go of the rope and trust my own hands and feet. It went well until I slipped and landed right on my butt. I thought that was it!

But I survived…

I started slowly again then slipped and fell and then suddenly out of the blue…freakin calf cramps…both legs…at the same time! I’ve never been so close to tears. I was just sitting there in the snow (lol!) Everything was wet…my gloves…my pants…my phone! I really thought I broke the phone. Scary part? I didn’t care to have a look. I couldn’t. I was in pain! It felt like every single muscle fibre in my calves were just torned apart!

I finally resorted to a muddy slippin slide on my bum down the gully; rather safe than sorry, right? I was a mess but I LOVED IT!

I am just in awe of the elites flying down the gully. How do they do it? They are all FEARLESS!

BUT I SURVIVED…AGAIN!

Back To Base Camp

Just over 7hrs and I was on my way to back to the start. I found myself in a similar situation as the year before where I had to run for my life to make that 2pm cut-off at Witsieshoek. My legs were feeling great and calves cooperated, felt like my race had just started. I was flying!

Finish

That last few kilometers are always tough in an ultra but I finished feeling great, collected my little trophy and made my way back to camp.

What an epic event. This is why I love running…just as you think you’ve seen it all you get thrown a few curve balls to test your limits and beautiful surprises like snow capped mountains!

I love Mont-AUX and will definitely be back in 2016!

Quote of the day: “Ask nothing of running and you’ll get more than you ever imagined!” Christopher Mcdougall

Training for Ultra-trail Cape Town

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I started this blog with its special landing page “My Daily Sweat!’ in 2011 to stay motivated and focused training for my 1st half marathon, the Two Oceans Half. Little did I know that it only takes one race to get you hooked on running. Fast Forward 4 years…and I am still running, more than I would’ve have ever imagined possible!

Over the last two years my focus was on training for the Comrades Marathon and mostly blogged about my race experiences and less about my daily workouts or my training so “My Daily Sweat!” became somewhat redundant. I didn’t want to just blog about my daily training runs without having something significant to say. I discovered Twitter and it is far easier and more convenient to just tweet about a run using 140 characters and a great photo (lol!).

I’ve certainly learnt a lot about running over the last few years; trust me people that say running is just about putting on a pair of running shoes are lying. There is so much more to running as a sport and if you cross over into the world of ultras it becomes even more interesting. Challenging your beliefs and discovering that you have no limits is one amazing experience. I’ve read and reread some of my old posts and I can’t believe I wrote them! I have come a long way and in some weird way have become my own inspiration and motivation (lol!). I guess that is what my blog is about….to motivate and inspire others…but mostly to stay true to myself and to keep pushing those boundaries. 🙂

I am about to start training for Ultra-trail Cape Town; an event that is simply put…out of my league! The organisers have just released the trailer to the race and it promised to be nothing sort of EPIC!

Funny, I’ve never been scared of a race before but after seeing the 100km startlist of Ultra-trail Cape Town (I shouldn’t have peeped) I am starting to have some serious doubts! I need to keep my eye on this ball; best way I know how is by resurrecting “My Daily Sweat!” i.e. blogging my way through training for UTCT!

Week 0: It’s all about that base!

Training for a 100km mountain ultra is going to be a challenge but I manage 80km over a long week and happy to report that I am still feeling great. Yes, leveraging all that easy running during Comrades training! 🙂

…and long training runs?

I have 2 training races planned before I make my way to Cape Town which hopefully will prepare me both mentally and  physically for my biggest challenge EVER!

  • Crazy Store Magaliesberg 50km (15 August)
  • Mont-Aux-Sources 50km (5 Sept)

Blood, sweat and tears awaits me with both these races, guaranteed!

Why I’m running Ultra-trail Cape Town

Running all these crazy ultras are all part of my bigger plan in building up for Trans Arabia 2016, a 300km desert ultra in Jordan. Even though it’s a desert race, it is not all desert. Within the first 50km you traverse over a mountain range so I want to ensure I am well prepared and capable of running on all different terrain and conditions…but mostly I want to have fun running Cape Town and learn as much as I can about running on trails over the next few months. Knowing at the back of my head that UTCT is a training race will help me to keep things “easy” and not try and do anything stupid along the way (lol!).

Ultra-trail Cape Town 100km Flyover

Let the journey begin…super excited!

Quote of the day: “There’s no magic to running far or climbing Everest. Endurance is mental strength. It’s all about heart.” Bear Grylls, Host of Man vs. Wild

Don’t Dream It; Train It!

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creating-yourself-picture-quoteThis is a very exciting time in my life. I feel blessed with health and strenght to do what makes me happy. No doubt the next few months ask for HARD work, COMMITMENT; SACRAFICES will have to be made. There is no easy way around training for Comrades. Guess what…I don’t need “easy” anymore. Just need “possible”, the rest is up to me. It is all part of my journey…it is what makes My Million Miles!

make-the-moment-perfect-picture-quote93 days to Comrades!

My training is on track. Damn, I never felt as confident in myself as right now!! January (195km) and February (165km) training went amazingly well – now for the real hard work in  March and April; 2 standard marathons (Rome and Paris Marathons) and an ultra marathon (still to decide which one). What more can I ask for? I means seriously…an opportunity to run in Rome and Paris? Just thinking about how far I have come gives me goose bumps; thinking about where I want to be keeps me going. I feel like Martin Luther King “I have a dream” 🙂

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