The Gaborone Striders Runners Club (GSRC) 10×10 Challenge started on the 29th November with the grand finale on the 8th December 2018. We are now in April 2019 but this Challenge is well worth the recap, so here goes! Enjoy 🙂
The Challenge: Only open to a 100 runners, I made sure to secure my place as soon as the Challenge was announced. I was eager for the bragging rights of saying I’d run 100 km in 10 days and in the heat of December! The Challenge was straightforward – you had to run 10 km a day for 10 consecutive days, with the final day taking the format of a race. The rules were simple – 10 km had to be done in one go (so you couldn’t do 5 km in the morning and then 5 in the evening), you couldn’t miss a day, you couldn’t use the treadmill, and you had to ensure your run was uploaded on Endomondo before midnight each day.
My Strategy: After a great Soweto Half Marathon, I had a serious case of “post-race blues”. So the last thing I wanted was to run 100 km in the heat of summer. But I knew quitting would not be fair as it would mean I’d wasted someone’s space. I had dreamt it, it was time to do it. But given my lack of motivation, poor training and recent injury, I also knew I needed a clever strategy to finish fit and healthy. I divided my 10-day plan into walk-run days, running only days and walking only days. I also solicited friends and family for most runs, and my Challenge quickly turned into a series of great coffee dates. 🙂
Did The Strategy Work?
Day 1, Thurs, 29 Nov: As this was my first run in 3 weeks, my goal was to take it nice and easy using 1 km walk-run intervals to ease me back into it. I set off at 17:39 when it felt a bit cooler. It was a good run. I was very mindful of the fact that I needed to keep my body injury-free for 10 days but for the last 3 km I found my running rhythm again and ditched the walk-run intervals. After my running slump, this was a very uplifting run.
Day 2, Fri, 30 Nov: Sore and bruised from Day 1, I was at it again. It was hot. It was humid. I was exhausted from work. But it had to be done. This time I had fewer walk intervals but my running was very slow and as such it didn’t make too much difference to my overall time. It was a hard, laborious slog to the finish. But it was done!
Day 3, Sat, 01 Dec: This was a beautiful morning run with my troop of runners! Fresh air, fabulous friends, and a great run! This was the first time I ran without walking intervals during this Challenge and it felt fantastic.
Day 4, Sun, 02 Dec: Very early on Sunday morning, I did a 10 km Power Walk with my dad. He’s 73 and when he started feeling sore at the 8 km mark, I asked him why he doesn’t shorten his walks. His response: “No pain, no gain my girl”. Words from the wise.
Day 5, Mon, 03 Dec: Tapiwa joined me for this run and it was about 37°C when we set off around 6 pm. Somehow we made it and even threw in a couple of flyovers. We ran the whole way but it was exhausting. At the end though it was quite surreal to say, “I’ve just run 50 km in 5 days!”
Day 6, Tues, 04 Dec: It was around 40+°C at 17:30 so running at that time was out of the question. Instead I set off at 19:00 on the Western Bypass but then it got dark pretty quickly. There were hardly any working street lights and for the second half of my run I decided to run in my neighbourhood. But that was even scarier. I was spooked by every little sound and movement. So for the the last km, I ended up running in circles around my garden, stumbling over plants and random rocks. Not fun!
Day 7, Wed, 05 Dec: The relentless heat continued so I was forced to run at night again but this time I armed myself with a bodyguard, a torch and some pepper spray! It was meant to be a leisurely run but I had to turn up the heat in the last 4 km because my watch battery was dying! Doing the 10×10 Challenge was always going to be difficult but I never expected all these curve balls!
Day 8, Thurs, 06 Dec: Elisa joined me for this 10 km run. That was in addition to a 10 km run she did that morning! The curve balls continued. My watch strap broke with 2 km to go so I had to run holding it to my wrist. I was scared if I didn’t do that, my stats would all be off, particularly the heart rate readings. Oh, the things we do for stats!
Day 9, Fri, 07 Dec: The story wouldn’t be complete without Polelo joining me for 10 km! My legs were so exhausted at this stage so I was really glad to stick to a Power Walk. I was grateful for the cool morning air and the great banter. After this, I headed to work.
Day 10: Sat, 08 Dec: RACE DAY! We arrived at Sebele and were tagged if we had completed 9 days of running. As I was waiting, a fellow runner recognised me from the blog which was fantastic! It was really special to meet someone who reads and follows my blog! The only people I knew though were Gape and Kuma who are such talented runners and I was glad to get a selfie with them at the end of the race.
Once everyone was tagged, we got into mini-buses and were driven to the starting point at the Oodi Turn Off. It felt like such a long drive and I was glad when someone voiced these thoughts saying, “Are we sure this is not more than 10 km?!” It was really great to see and feel the camaraderie in the group. People were chatting about their running bucket lists and it felt good to belong in the midst of strangers. Once we got to the Start, we were given some brief instructions and then set off on our FINAL run back to Sebele. I thought I would hobble my way through the last ten, but my run was strong, steady and happy. I just focused on putting one tired foot in front of the other.
It felt awesome to get to the Finish Line and I was surprised to see that this was actually my fastest run of the 10 days! Clearly, I saved the best for last.
Why YOU should do it in 2019
This is such an uplifting and confidence-boosting experience. It takes lots of strategy and planning, determination and will power, as well as support and encouragement from friends and family. t’s not easy, but ‘easy’ wouldn’t make it a challenge! What I love is that anyone can do it. Those who are faster are of course spending less time on the road than those who are slower. But 10 km is still 10 km and you are always going up against yourself, whether you are running or walking or doing a bit of both. The timing is great because how else are you going to motivate yourself to run 100 km in the heat of summer with Christmas parties, nativity plays and year-end work deadlines thrown in the mix! The Gaborone Striders Running Club management and team is amazing – I was slightly apprehensive joining as an “outsider” but they were all so warm and welcoming. It is truly a fantastic experience and I will definitely be back for more this year.