Medihelp 10k Training Recap: Weeks 1 – 3

Three weeks have flown by since I last wrote. My initial aim was to post weekly updates leading to my next race on the 4th March, but these weeks were plagued with immense self-doubt, a whopping migraine and a tummy bug!

Week 1

Sunday: Immediately after the Jack’s Gym 5k Trail Run, I felt energised, excited and truly inspired to keep running. Yes… I acknowledge it was a dismal performance but it was a start. The very next day I went up Kgale Hill. This is the highest peak in Gaborone and is very popular for both beginner and advanced hikers. I did a distance of 4.97 km, 1:34 hrs, with a 296 m ascent. So far, so good…

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Thursday: I did a treadmill walk/run. It was quite intense for me, 4.62 km, 39.02 min, at an average pace of 8:27 min/km. However, it was a late run (around 20:30) and by the time I finished I was completely exhausted and didn’t drink enough. So around 03:00 I woke up with an awful migraine that lasted for two days. Headaches are not new to me but I suspect this one was caused by the fact that I didn’t hydrate enough before going to bed. An extremely painful lesson to learn…

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Sadly, it was all downhill from there. Self-doubt crept in and completely ruined the next couple of weeks for me. I felt silly for even thinking I could do 17 races this year, let alone do a 10 km race in an hour. I thought, “Why did I even start this blog!?” I felt helpless. The last time I really felt this way was when I was trying to get my Driver’s License. When I turned 18, I got a learner’s license but I ended up getting my license when I was 30. I simply told myself that some people are meant to drive and others are not. Twelve years later, something clicked. I started lessons and passed my driver’s test on the first go. In Week 1 of training, that same feeling of helplessness returned and I convinced myself that although I may like the idea of running, it may just not be for me.

Week 2

This feeling continued right into Week 2 and after being hit by a tummy bug and continued headaches, I was just not in the game. Aside from a pilates lesson on Wednesday, I did nothing. In fact, by the end of Week 2, I told myself that I was not going to run in Pretoria and that I was basically going to throw in the towel…

Week 3

Tuesday: I started the week feeling a lot more determined. I was a little bit tired from work, but still managed a good walk/run outdoors. I did 2.21 km in 19:03 mins, pace 8:38 min/km. Much slower than my last run, but I felt happy that I had put on those shoes and gone for a run.

Wednesday: I decided to go for a run before my pilates class started. I ran (no walking!) with my cousin which was really fun. We found a nice pace (average: 7:47 min/ km) and chatted the whole way (2.77 km in 21:33 min).

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Saturday: Taking advantage of the beautiful cloudy weather, I went for a run around the neighbourhood. What a great run and a personal record! I managed 4.03 km in 30:57 min, my longest distance and time without walking! I kept a close eye on my watch and as soon as I approached a pace of 08:00 min/ km, I stepped it up a gear.  My average pace in the end was 7:40 min/ km. I was very pleased.

20170225_210509.pngSunday: I was supposed to go up Kgale but decided to have a lie-in and go for a late morning run with Ditiro. Somewhere in the back of my mind I wanted to run 5 km without stopping but I didn’t think I would manage. But I did!! Oh my word!

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I was so excited. It was a tough run but having Ditiro there really helped. We also included an uphill section which I managed to do without slowing down to a walk. You should have seen my excitement when my watch finally said 5.00 km, 38:04 mins with a pace of 07:36 min/km!! The word “happiness” doesn’t quite do my feeling justice!

Can you remember the feeling you had the first time you RAN 5 km?

Upcoming Races

I have got the Medihelp Mini-Monster 10k race this Saturday and then the Bots Half Marathon (10k) race the very next week. Am I ready?!? Not at all! But I am going for it… Pretoria (South Africa) is a lot hillier than Gaborone. So if I can finish in 1: 25 hrs I will be quite pleased with myself. It will be a nice training run for the next one in Gaborone where I may even be able to PB!

(For the first time I am linking up with Courtney at Eat Pray Run where you will find links to others blogs sharing their training plans this week. Eat Pray Run is my “go to blog” when I am looking for some inspiration!).

Jack’s Gym, 5k Trail Run Recap (1/17)

**For an introduction to who I am and why I am doing this, please click here**

My first race was a 5km trail run on the 4th February 2017. Since January, I have been following a walk-run programme and two weeks ago, I joined a pilates class twice a week. I usually run when I get back from work on a treadmill as the kids are too young to be left alone, but where I can – I squeeze in a run outside. What a difference there is between the two! By the time the race came, I had really not trained as much as I would have liked but I had a good run on Thursday where I managed to run consistently for 3 km (around 21 minutes).

The Race: I felt surprisingly good at 04:20 in the morning when I woke up. The weather was cool and humid as we had enjoyed some light showers overnight.  We had a nice aerobics warm up session at the Wharic Rugby Grounds and we set off at 06:22.

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I managed to jog for the first 2.5 km (at a pace of between 7.52 min/km and 8.34 min/km). However, it was most definitely a struggle. I have never run on a trail before so although there were not a lot of ups and downs, the surface was uneven and I was probably a bit too cautious. I also struggled to breathe properly and started getting exhausted way sooner than I expected I would. The route though was absolutely beautiful. The rain over night meant that the track was not as dusty as it otherwise would have been. It was beautifully green which is not a common sight in Gaborone, and we ran up a section which allowed us to catch a glimpse of the Gaborone Dam. There were also lots of cattle and donkeys along the way. At around 2.5 km I found myself on my own. Many people were doing the 12 km race, and those doing the 5 km one like I was were either way ahead of me, or way behind. Trouble struck when I missed the 5 km turn that would have taken me home. So I ended up redoing parts of the path I had started with. I panicked when I realised that something was wrong but then decided to backtrack as far as I could until I saw the turn-off for home. By then I had lost so much time and when I finished the race, I had actually covered 6.11 km!

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So it was not the best way to start my running journey. I am extremely disappointed, but I keep telling myself that at least I did it; plus I did an extra km and survived and as my cousin put it, “You got more than what you paid for!” 

Route: Started at Wharic Rugby Grounds and ran in the bush surrounding the area. (So from Point 3, I should have gone straight through to Point 6. But I went all the way to Point 4, then back to 5 then 1 and finally 6!)

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My time: When I had done 5 km, it was around 44 min. Of course, by the time I finished the race it was a different story. So my final time was 53:53. (Thoroughly disappointed that I got so lost and ended in that time, but it can only get better from here!). My husband Ditiro did the 30km trail cycle in a time of  1:20. He was very pleased!

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Lessons/Discoveries: 

  1. Keep your eyes up when running so that you don’t miss any critical signs! This is a big lesson for me so early on in my running “career”
  2. I need to learn how to breathe: I really struggled to breathe. I was already panting during the first km and I haven’t figured out how to time my breaths to the steps I take. Too inefficient and in the end I just felt like I was huffing and puffing. I have to work on this, otherwise, I may be struggling for a long time.
  3. I run funny: I have a very strange running gait. Firstly, I am knock-kneed (which I knew) but when I run my “thigh internally rotates during ground contact” (thank you Dr Google) and on top of that (or maybe associated with that??) I have major over-pronation of the foot. So I need to figure out what I can do to fix this before I damage my knees.

Pros/ Cons of the race:

  1. Lovely aerobics workout session in the morning. It reminded me of my aerobics days and definitely helped to warm me up.
  2. Beautiful track – can’t emphasise this enough. A really scenic track with cows, donkeys and all! 🙂
  3. 5km and 12km markings were the same green colour which seemed to contribute to some confusion on the track not just for me, but for others too. I think if they had been a different colour, then when I went off track I would have quickly noticed and turned around before adding a whole km to my run!
  4. Signing up/ collecting packs for the race was a struggle as the organisers didn’t seem to know what was expected. The collection process took almost 2 hours!

Would I do this race again?

Yes! In a heartbeat – and this time I would probably try the 12 km race!

Till next time, keep fit!