It’s so hard to believe that this is my final recap of 2019. I’ve already done a recap of the 12 races I ran this year. But to review the year, I’m going to use a similar format to last year where I answered a series of questions that captured various elements of my running year.
2019 – A Year of Consistency and Courage
- I had a fantastic racing year, setting Personal Bests at 7 of my 12 races. But my best race experience was probably Run the Berg Trail Race in the Northern Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa. This race was so different from anything I had experienced before. I was completely out of my comfort zone but simultaneously drawn to the majestic mountains, the spectacular views and scenery, and the beautiful valleys. Even though it was a very tough race, I felt that my training had been solid and it made me tempted to one day run the more challenging race, the 50km Extreme. The race was far from home and we travelled with old High School friends, stayed in a beautiful lodge, and bonded in so many ways. So all round, definitely my best race experience of 2019.
- Many of my training runs this year left me feeling confident, encouraged and wanting more. But two runs definitely stand out. Eliud Kipchoge’s sub-2 hour marathon inspired me to set my own records using what I called “pace-teams” for the 5km and 21.1km distances. On the 15th December, I got a small team together and challenged myself to a sub-30 min 5km time. I gave it all I had, and came home in 29:52, going under 30 minutes for the first time in my 3 year running career! On the 29th December, I put another team together with the goal to run 21.1km in under 2:22 hours. In an epic run, I managed a time of 2:17:36, almost a 7 minute PB! Both runs showed me what is possible when you remain consistent and start believing you can.
- Favourite running route in Gaborone: I use the hashtag, #irungabscity because I love discovering my city on the run. I’ve never really thought of Gaborone as particularly beautiful, and even tourists spend very little time here, quickly heading to the big game parks around the country. But running has made me see Gaborone in a different light and I’ve loved discovering the quiet charm of the city. My favourite routes this year have been those in the older parts of Gaborone like the Government Enclave, but I recently ran past a unique Hindu temple that is just 1.5km from my house.
- #IRunBotswana: This year I ran in my home village Nshakazhogwe which is in the North-East of Botswana. I’ve never lived there but spent several school holidays there as a child and many of my favourite memories are from there. In November, we were there for my cousin’s wedding and it felt amazing to squeeze in a run!
- In November, I switched from Asics to Brooks Adrenaline. Although I love my Asics, I have really enjoyed my Brooks Adrenaline shoes and for Christmas I was overjoyed to get a second pair from my brother-in-law who is visiting from Australia. They are a lot cheaper overseas so I may need to convince him to visit us more often! I also ran in shorts for the first time this year, so I’ve have loved stocking up on different patterns! And just today I received a reflective strap from a friend of mine in Norway! I’ve been looking for one so I was so excited to get one from her!
- I’m always so grateful for the advice I get particularly from other runners. When my mum passed away, a blogger left a message on one of my posts that really touched me. She spoke about her own mum’s passing and that every time she felt despondent and tired, she remembered how hard her mum had fought to stay with them and that she tries to channel some of that strength in her life. “Enjoy running in Astrid’s memory” she said. I will forever remember those words.
- I have to go with Eliud Kipchoge! I know there are a lot of schools of thought here – whether his sub-2 hour time should really be counted as it was done under such artificial conditions. I get that and that’s why it’s not a world record. But I will say this – he trained for several months and RAN a marathon in under 2 hours and inspired millions, me included. How INCREDIBLE is that?! It’s not just about the time, it’s about what we as human beings are capable of doing. And his humility? What a man.
- Thanks to my husband, I have so many photos to choose from. But this year I am going with this photo of my dad and I crossing the Finish Line at a 10km Race in November.
- Best looking medal of 2019: I sat down with my whole family and we went through all of my 12 medals. We agreed that the STONE hand-crafted medal from my Run the Berg Race was the most unique medal. What do you reckon?
- What about THE stats?
- Consistency and Courage.
How was your year of running?! What was your best race experience? What is the best piece of advice you received?