Botswana Independence 10k, Race Recap (#12/17)

On the 23rd September, I participated in the Botswana Independence Race (10 km). I had a great run but struggled to contain my emotions afterwards. For those of you reading my blog for the first time I am a newbie runner on a mission to complete 17 races this year! Enjoy Number 12! 

The Race: The mornings of my races don’t really change much – I wake up at 04:30, hop into the shower, get dressed, and then have some cereal in the car. This morning was no different. When we arrived at the University Stadium, I used the toilet one last time (very clean) and then found Ditiro and Tapiwa in the aerobics crowd! We soon spotted Elisa and Kuma who were doing the Half Marathon, and we later saw Polelo with her hubby, niece and nephew! So once again we were all united on the race track! The aerobics was fun but dragged on a bit; I think we all just wanted to get started! The good thing though is that my legs got a great warm-up. We took some photos at the start, and we were beautifully coordinated in our Botswana Flag colours – even our caps by complete coincidence were blue, black and white! The Half Marathoners took off first and at 06:37 we were off!

The Route: University of Botswana Stadium, right at the UB Circle, then left at the Maru-A-Pula intersection, left at the Bull and Bush Lights, left at Attorney General’s Chambers, along the wall of the State House, back of Princess Marina Hospital, to the Hospital Circle, through UB Campus and then back to the Stadium.

My main goal for this race was to go 3 minutes faster than I had at my last race. I started the race with Tapiwa and we were together for at least 8 km. As usual, I felt sluggish in the first 2 km (splits, min/km: 07:30/ 07:43) but I felt a lot better by the time we got to the 3 km point (07:12 pace). I didn’t realise when I was running but my watch suggests that the very slight elevation for kms 4 – 6 reduced my pace a bit (splits, 07:44/ 07:35/ 07:30). After that I picked up the pace (07:16/07:23 for kms 7 and 8). As we approached the 8 km point, I could feel Tapiwa’s engine rearing to take it up a notch so I told her, “Girl! Take it home”.  She set off but I tried to make sure I always had her white cap in my sights and it helped as my splits for kms 9 and 10 were, 07:03 and 06:55. So I got to km 10… with no end in sight. I was now on the University Campus but I knew I was still very far from the Stadium. At that point, I stopped my watch so I had an accurate 10 km time. But of course the race needed to be finished so I continued running but was getting increasingly tired. I met others who were also struggling and grumbling about the fact that we had long done 10 km! As I approached the Stadium Gate, there was a Running Club cheering for us! Someone knew my name so I heard, “Go Shathiso! Go! Go Shathiso Go!” I entered the Stadium and sprinted hard for a very strong finish! I even took some time to turn for my hubby’s camera! (He works hard for this blog! LOL!) 

And then Polelo managed to get this AMAZING photo! One of my favourite running photos and I was so pleased to see how much my form has improved!!

My time: I ran 10 km in 1:13:59 hours for my 12th medal of the year. Goal almost achieved! I debated with myself whether I should use the 11.4 km time (probably around 1:24) but have decided to stick with my time for 10 km which I think is fair.

Pros of the race:

  1. A nice flat course 
  2. Lovely and vibrant atmosphere in the Stadium
  3. Good warm up and cool down aerobics sessions
  4. Clean, lockable real toilets 🙂

Cons of the race:

  1. As my dad-in-law who is a Maths Teacher said, “14% error! Totally unacceptable!” I agree. It was so demoralising to get to the 10 km point and to look around and realise the end was not even close!! I had started pushing at the 8 km mark knowing that I only had 2 km left, only to find that in reality I had 3.4 km left. I read in this article that you should expect a 1% error with GPS watches… but 14%, I don’t think so!
  2. Not enough water at the 10 km stops. Marshals told us point blank that the water was for the Half Marathoners. Hhhmm.

Would I do this race again?

Probably – although still a bit irritated by the distance error.

After the race: I was so emotional. Not immediately after the race. It all started in the afternoon. I was a weepy mess! I think it finally hit me that I have gone from zero fitness to completing 12 races this year. I have had great races and so much fun even in the most disorganised ones. But until this race, I don’t think I ever stopped to think “You know what… this is big.” So I was just quite emotional – even overwhelmed and I think a little bit race fatigued! My training since this race has been erratic and inconsistent because of work/family load. But I think there is also a small part of me that feels a bit tired. So I am going to work hard to get my motivation levels back up to complete the five races I have left!

I am linking up for the first time with the Wild Workout Wednesday crew – Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama and Nicole from FitFul Focus! I’m also linking up with Patty, Erika and Marcia for the exciting Tuesdays on the Run! 

Road to Soweto: Training Recap, Weeks 3 – 5

I am training for the Soweto 10k on the 5th November 2017. The Soweto Marathon is one of the biggest races in Africa and I am really looking forward to being a part of it! I am also doing a #17in2017 Challenge where the goal is to run 17 races this year! To keep myself accountable I am linking up with the inspirational Holly and Tricia this week for their Weekly Wrap! Be sure to check out what they and others have been up to this week.

What a disastrous three weeks for me – we have a new and very big project at work so my weeks suddenly went from normal 40-hour weeks to crazy 80-hour weeks. It has been extremely intense and is likely to continue like this for a few more weeks. As a result, I am struggling to get the runs done. But for the record and to keep accountable, these are the few runs I managed to squeeze in.

Week 3:

Monday, 25th September: Easy Run (30 min; 3.49 km) + Pilates (1 hr class)

After my race on Saturday, I had a beautiful 30 minute “shake-out” Easy Run with Tapiwa. It started out tough but we slowly eased into it and felt great afterwards. Pilates with Oliver was brilliant and I felt so upbeat on the drive home. At that point I didn’t realise that this would be the last workout I would manage for the week!

Tuesday – Sunday, 26th Sept – 1st Oct: Unplanned “Rest Days”

All my planned runs went out the window. Life and work really took over in every way and I just could not get a run in. I felt awful but at the same time I tried not to be too hard on myself as there really was so little that I could do. Sadly, this was also my last week of training under the guidance of Coach Nicola at Running Happy. I am really going to miss having someone telling me what I need to be doing when!

Mileage this week: 3.49 km

Week 4:

Monday – Sunday, 2nd – 8th October: Unplanned “Rest Days”

Nothing! 16 hour work days, gave me just 8 hours to eat, sleep, and catch up (as in hi and bye) with my kids and hubby. It was that intense. But my head and body just felt yuck, and I was determined to see if I could squeeze one or two runs in Week 5, even though my schedule would be pretty much the same.

Mileage this week: 0 km

Week 5:

Monday, 9th October: Easy Run (30 min; 3.72 km)

I set off for a late run (7:56 pm) but I just really needed to start the week off with a run. At this point, the stress of the long days was really getting to me and I was desperate to start running again. It wasn’t the nicest of runs. It was too dark and I took a while to find my groove. But on the back half, I picked up the pace, and managed to finish nice and strong. This stolen, unlabelled meme from Facebook perfectly describes how I felt afterwards!

Wednesday, 11th October: Easy Run (Treadmill: 25 min; 3.45 km) 

I got home just in time to squeeze another run on the treadmill. I am not a fan of the treadmill but it served me well tonight. It felt a lot better than Monday’s run and I was very chuffed with myself.

Friday, 13th October: My Birthday!!

On my birthday last year I announced to my family that I would start running and would do 12 races before my next birthday. This birthday goal was actually there before my #17in2017 Challenge was set this year! And on my birthday I could say with the hugest smile on my face that I didn’t just manage 12, I managed 15! Now that is something I am super-proud of. Surrounded by good friends on my special day and knowing I had achieved the one goal I had set for my birthday last year, it felt like a very lucky Friday the 13th! 🙂

So… not the greatest three weeks! But I am quite happy that even though work conditions and hours were pretty much the same as the first two weeks, in the third week I managed two runs. And next week will be even better.

Mileage this week: 7.17 km

Mileage this training cycle: 41.86 km

Have you ever had not one, not two, but three dismal running/ training weeks? Do you set birthday goals?

Road to Soweto: Training Recap, Week 2

I am training for the Soweto 10k on the 4th November 2017. The Soweto Marathon is one of the biggest races in Africa and I am really looking forward to being a part of it! I am also doing a #17in2017 Challenge where the goal is to run 17 races this year! To keep myself accountable I am linking up with the inspirational Holly and Tricia this week for their Weekly Wrap! Be sure to check out what they and others have been up to this week.

This week I managed all my planned workouts plus a race! I was quite focused during the week and emerged feeling a lot stronger. I really hope I can keep up this momentum because in the recent past I have had a few “down” weeks that have set me back in terms of fitness. But with Spring here, I just feel a lot more energised!

Monday, 18th September: Pilates (1 hr class)

My pilates instructor Oliver worked us hard today! I knew we were in for it when he made us do extra warm-up stretches using the ring. But I absolutely loved it! After Saturday’s race, this was exactly what I needed. I love the power that pilates gives me to really use my mind to push my body. I also find that when I start my week with pilates I am a lot more committed to doing my runs. Probably no scientific basis, but I’ve definitely noticed the trend!

Tuesday, 19th September: Rest Day

I was actually supposed to do a Fartlek Run today but pushed this to Wednesday as I felt I needed a partner in crime for this run!

Wednesday, 20th September: Fartlek Run (25 min; 3.13 km) + Pilates (1 hr class)

Before the run I carefully read through my coach’s instructions on Fartlek Running. This was my first attempt and I roped in my cousin Tapiwa to try it out with me! We were initially quite intimidated but we ended up having so much fun with it! Our sprints between poles/trees were fast with my heart rate clearly showing the work I was putting in! The easy runs in between helped to give us the energy needed to do the next interval of Fartleks. By the time we were done, we actually felt so exhilarated! It was so hard to believe how painful it all was when we were doing it! Once we were done I went straight into my Pilates Class and unfortunately Oliver decided he wanted to push us even harder than he had done on Monday. Coming straight in from a Fartlek, I must admit I struggled!

Thursday, 21st September: Easy Run (30 min; 4.01 km; 07:30 min/km) + Conditioning Exercises

After Wednesday’s Fartlek Run it was nice to keep things easy. 🙂 I was alone with the kids so once I had put them to bed, I hopped onto the Treadmill. Not my favourite kind of running, but I managed a solid run so I was very pleased. I also did my scheduled conditioning exercises (4-point hip extensions/ squats/ clams/ planks).

Friday, 22nd September: Yay! Legal Rest Day!

Saturday, 23rd September: Race Day (The Botswana Independence Race – 1:13:59, 10 km, 07:24 min/km)

This was my second race in two weeks and you know what that means, right? Number 12 of 17 is in the bag!! As last week, this was a training Long Run for me but this time I wanted to increase my pace a bit more. I also hoped to shave off 3 minutes (!) from last week’s race which I almost did! Race Recap will be up shortly!

Count the fingers!

Sunday, 24th September: Blogging Day and a beautiful outing with my gorgeous girlfriends at a “Vintage” themed event 🙂

Mileage this week: 17.14 km

Mileage this training cycle: 34.69 km

What is your experience of Fartlek Runs? Are they part of your routine? Do you enjoy them?

Gaborone City Mayor’s Race 10k, Race Recap (#11/17)

On Saturday, I participated in the inaugural Gaborone City Mayor’s Race. I chose the 10 km distance and after a very disorganised and rocky start to the day, it was such a brilliant experience! Here is the story of Number 11… 

The Race: The hype around this race was amazing – the huge billboards, exciting social media posts, and several interviews with our charismatic mayor! However, we started getting a bit worried when we picked up our race packs and there was no information on start times. The promised timing chips also appeared to be missing. Around 22h00, a start time (06h00) was given on their Facebook Page. On this same post, we were also told that timing chips could be collected at 05h00 from the National Stadium (starting point). When we got to the race around 05h30, a huge crowd had gathered in the hall where timing chips were being handed out. After standing in the room for 30 minutes, we decided it was just not worth the hassle. We then went into the Stadium and started warming up. There was a great aerobics session with fantastic music, but I chose to take a nice slow jog around the stadium instead. We then made our way to the Start Line.

The Marathoners took off first and shortly afterwards at 07h10 we set off.

The Route: What a lovely route around Central Gaborone! We started at the National Stadium, ran onto Botswana Road, then headed to the flyover by the Bus Station, behind the CBD, right onto the flyover, through the Bull and Bush Lights, right at the Maru-A-Pula intersection, passed Gaborone Avani Hotel/ Golf Club and back to the Stadium.

My goals for this race were simple – this was a training run and I wanted a nice comfortable pace; I was hoping to do it in around 1:15/ 1:16 hours; and I wanted to run without my knee support. After my disastrous training run mid-week, I was also very keen to make sure I started out slow and then gradually increased my pace after the halfway mark. I managed to do exactly that – my splits (min/km) for kms 1 -4 were: 07:46/ 07:51/ 07:45/ 07:40. As I approached the 5 km mark I was feeling really strong (07:19 pace) and around the 5.6 km mark the best thing happened! My cousin Tapiwa who was at work in the CBD came out to cheer me on! My first ever mid-race supporter!

This gave me such a boost of energy and my splits for kms 6 – 8 were 07:12 (!)/ 07:24/ 07:30. With 2 km left, I started to feel a bit tired and my split for km 9 dropped to 07:42; but as the excitement started building again, I increased my pace as I headed towards the Stadium (last split: 07:16)! With 500 metres to go I spotted Polelo and Ditiro who were standing outside the Stadium’s entrance.

I then entered the Stadium for the last 400 metre stretch!

As I turned the bend, I took it up another notch and had a very solid sprint finish at the end… that wave of energy, excitement and happiness as I crossed the finish line was phenomenal. Another race in the bag!

My time: I ran the course in a comfortable 1:16:09 hours and claimed my 11th medal of the year.

Cons of the race:

  1. It was completely disorganised – most of the stores/ outlets that were listed as ticket sellers didn’t know anything about the race. Ditiro was buying our tickets and he had to see three people in Choppies before he found someone who knew something about the race. Polelo was sent from pillar to post, from JB Sports to Liquorama to the Shell in the Main Mall, and eventually got her tickets at Rail Park Choppies. The actual registration process was also lengthy.
  2. Information on start times provided too late.
  3. Chaotic timing chip collection process that left most of us without chips by the time the race started.
  4. A 70-minute delayed start to the race… hhmm…
  5. No toilet paper in the National Stadium toilets (but thankfully I had some toilet paper in the car!)
  6. No distance markers on the road.

Pros of the race:

  1. Running in the oldest part of our city was such a great feeling. It was a beautiful course. Polelo summed it up beautifully: “The race itself was fantastic! Great starting point; the National Stadium has such a fab vibe. Awesome route; love love love my city!”  
  2. Although the race packs didn’t have much in them, they did have a route map and I was able to visualise exactly where I would be running.
  3. Hats off to the Botswana Police Service! They provided great support on the course ensuring that runners were given priority at all times. I overhead one police woman tell an impatient driver, “You can swear at me if you want, you just stay put!” 

Would I do this race again?

Polelo’s answer is “Would definitely do it again” and Ditiro’s answer is, “I enjoyed the race and I will do it again. The GC Mayor’s Marathon has the potential to be the best race in Gaborone. They just need to get experienced race organisers to help them out”. My answer? I know the cons seems to outweigh the pros! I know there was complete chaos at the start… But my answer is YES. Are we crazy? Maybe… But there was something so special about this route. Something that stirred something deep inside of us. Something that really gave us a reason to be proud to call this city our very own. So yes, they get one more chance!

Once again I am linking up with the awesome bloggers HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap! I’m also linking up with Patty, Erika and Marcia for the exciting Tuesdays on the Run! 

Road to Soweto: Training Recap, Week 1

I am training for the Soweto 10k on the 4th November 2017. The Soweto Marathon is one of the biggest races in Africa and I am really looking forward to being a part of it! I am also doing a #17in2017 Challenge where the goal is to run 17 races this year! 

I felt overwhelmed this week. I had some difficult clients at work, my hubby was away, and the kids started back at school after the winter break. But in terms of workouts, I don’t think I did too badly and here is a quick recap. I am going to be linking up with Courtney at Eat Pray Run every week to keep myself accountable. Be sure to support Courtney’s blog as well as other bloggers on the link up!

Monday, 11th September: Pilates (1 hr class)

I had such a great work-out! I have missed quite a few classes over the last couple of months, so although my legs felt strong, my core definitely felt a lot weaker. But overall, I pushed hard and managed to stay on top of things.

Tuesday, 12th September: Rest Day (unplanned)

On Tuesdays I have a teleconference lecture/class from 19h30 – 21h00 at the Office. So that morning I packed my running stuff and the plan was to go for a run just after 17h00. But there was a major issue with a client that needed my attention so I just couldn’t get out. I was so disappointed.

Wednesday, 13th September: Easy Run (30 min; 3.87 km; 07:45 min/km) + Conditioning Exercises

I can honestly say that in 9 months of running, this was my worst run. I set off at 16h45 which was the first mistake. It was just too hot. My second mistake was starting out way too fast. I had not run in a week and with a race on Saturday I felt the need to go a bit faster than usual so I didn’t focus on the fact that this was supposed to be an easy run. With 15 min left on my run, I wanted to quit. I felt nauseous, weak and my average heart rate was high. Towards the end I was just shuffling along trying to make it look like I was jogging. By the time 30 min finally elapsed, I ground to a complete halt and contemplated cancelling Saturday’s race. 😦 Fortunately, I still managed some conditioning exercises (squats/ clams/ lateral band walks/ calf raises) when I got home.

Thursday, 14th September: Steady Run (30 min; 3.68 km; 08:10 min/km)

I felt like I needed to redeem myself for Wednesday’s debacle! So even though it was quite late (around 20h00) I set off for a run. I paced myself much better interchanging Easy and Steady paces. I kept the easy pace, really easy. In the end, it ended up being almost the same distance covered as Wednesday’s run. But so much more comfortable.  I am so glad I did this run as it gave me the confidence to continue as planned with Saturday’s race.

Friday, 15th September: Yay! Legal Rest Day!

Saturday, 16th September: Race Day (The GC Mayor’s Race – 1:16:09, 10 km, 07:32 min/km)

This was an official race, but I used it as a training Long Run and my goals were simple, 1) To run at a comfortable pace, 2) No real time goals but I was hoping for around 1:15/1:16, and 3) To run without my knee support. I am so pleased to say I managed all three goals and had a beautiful run. My pacing was on point, I feel like my form is improving, my knee was good and most importantly I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Plus of course Number 11 of 17 is now in the bag! Click here for the Race Recap!

Sunday, 17th September: Blogging Day 🙂

Mileage this week: 17.55 km

Mileage this training cycle: 17.55 km

Have you had a really bad run that shook your confidence? Do you use races as training runs?

End of Winter Training/Racing Season

I’m going to take a moment to sit back and reflect on the last few months of training and racing! I wrote quite an emotional post back in June where I discussed my injury time-out and put down in black and white my determination to continue with the 17 in 2017 journey despite the setback. I drew comfort and strength from one of my favourite bloggers Wendy, who once spoke of the importance of focusing on finish lines and not finish times. I returned to running with a 3 month winter training plan that was cautious but focused. Unfortunately, my training was quite interrupted with several life and work changes, and sometimes just the gloominess of winter! My blogging also took a bit of a backseat for a while. But I am very pleased to say that of the five races I had planned for this winter, I managed four, bringing my race tally to TEN this year. All my race recaps are now up and here is a short summary:

  • 08 July: I did the Kgale Cross-Country/Trail with my cousin Tapiwa. This was my first 15 km race and unfortunately one where we got mugged on the trail at knife point. It was an awful experience, but we finished the race.
  • 29 July: I participated in the epic 30k Desert-Bush Walk in Jwaneng, taking over seven hours to complete it and emerging from the desert, battered but undefeated!
  • 20 August: I was the 5k trail “sprinter” in the Time Team Challenge in Mokolodi that I did with Elisa and Ditiro. One of my favourite races yet and I shaved 13 minutes off a previous 5k Trail PB.
  • 02 September: To end my Winter Training Cycle, I did the Rustenburg Mountain Race (10km) with my husband on our way back from our holiday in South Africa. It was a tough race but I survived and felt stronger for it.

I emerge from winter, proud that I achieved so much but also extremely excited for what summer has to offer. My winter goal was to keep running, keep rehabbing my knee and to turn up for races, which I did. However, I think I am now ready to focus a little bit more on speed and I’m so excited to launch my training plan for my next goal race, the Soweto 10k in South Africa. The Soweto Marathon is one of THE biggest races in Africa, and I am really looking forward to taking part in the 10k and being part of that vibrant atmosphere. My 8-week Soweto training plan looks like this:

  • Three/four runs a week (with a long run every Saturday)
  • Pilates Classes on Mondays and Wednesdays
  • Conditioning/ Strength Exercises at home
  • Joining Virgin Active Gym – my first gym experience in 8 years!
  • Fortnightly weekend hikes up Kgale Hill to try and build some stamina for the Johannesburg hills

The #17in2017 Challenge continues and the next races on my calendar are as follows:

  • 16 September, the Gaborone City Mayor’s 10km
  • 23 September, the Botswana Independence 10km
  • 29 October, King of Africa Race 10km
  • 05 November, the Soweto 10km (GOAL RACE)

I feel ready, I feel excited, I feel optimistic. I will be returning to weekly training recaps, which I have not done all winter. So expect to hear from me every Sunday/Monday on how my training has gone. I find I am a lot more focused when I am forced to blog about my training! Looking forward to sharing the next stage of my journey with you! Let’s do this! Soweto, The People’s Race, I am taking that leap and coming for you…smiling, if a little bit scared!

Ziplining with my boy in Hazyview, South Africa

I am linking up with Courtney from Eat Pray Run for the Weekly Training Recap and really looking forward to linking up every Sunday/Monday to stay accountable and focused! I’m also linking up with Patty, Erika and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run! Please check them out too, brilliant reads!

Rustenburg Mountain Race 10k, Race Recap (#10/17)

Last week the family and I (including my parents) went on vacation! After months of intense work schedules/ challenges, we all really needed the break and we had a fantastic time exploring the beautiful Mpumalanga Province of South Africa. Mpumalanga’s literal translation is “The place where the sun rises” and what a stunning place this was. It took us around 8 hours to drive from Gaborone, Botswana to Hazyview, the quaint little town we would be staying in. We had a fabulous week zip-lining with the kids, going to the spa, visiting some historic national heritage sites, and exploring the stunning natural wonders and beauty of Mpumalanga.

Bourke’s Potholes, Blyde River Canyon

God’s Window

It was a well-deserved break for us all, and I am ecstatic that we were able to get time to do this. I squeezed in three training “hilly” runs, a Long Run on Sunday (50 min), a Steady Run on Tuesday (22 min) and an Easy Run on Thursday (20 min).

With my mind always on my #17in2017 Challenge, I organised a stopover in Rustenburg on our way back from holiday so that I could compete in my tenth race of the year! In my search for races, I landed on the Keystone Milling Rustenburg Mountain Race (5k, 10k, 25k). Not the ideal race to choose considering I am from a very flat city, and most of my training does not involve any inclines! But I felt up to the challenge and we signed up for the 10k race. Some of you may remember that in my second race of the year, I tackled the Sunrise Mini Monster (also in South Africa) which had a 286 m ascent and was quite a tough introduction to hill running! With a few more races under my belt, I felt a lot more confident going into this one. Enjoy Number 10! 

The Race: We arrived in Rustenburg on Friday evening, just in time to collect our race packs (and our temporary license numbers which are compulsory in South Africa). On Saturday morning, we got to the Rustenburg Kloof (Gorge) around 06:30 and the race MC was already calling for the 25 km runners to come to the Starting Line. At 07:00, the 25 km runners set off – the crowd was not very big but runners included some of the running greats of South Africa, so it felt great to be there with running royalty! After some stretches, a last trip to the bathroom, we took our positions at the Start Line.

At 07:12 (3 minutes early), the gun went off! Although it’s called the “Mountain” Race, I didn’t quite expect us to start on an incline! But yes, we did! Before we even got to the first km marker, I told Ditiro (who was pacing me as he is nursing a hip injury) that I was out of breath, uncomfortable and just felt blehh. When I later looked at my Splits for the first 2 km (min/km: 07:42/ 06:57) it is no wonder I was feeling a bit out of sorts. I was powering up the incline at a faster pace than I usually do on my normal flat runs! I think I got intimidated by the other runners and went out too hot. So I reminded myself that this was my race/ my pace, and slowed it down a bit in the 3rd and 4th km, Splits: 07:45/ 08:13. But after passing the 4 km mark, I felt awful and did what I haven’t done since my 2nd race of the year… I walked. It was a strong walk, but I was initially disappointed in myself.  So it was great to hear Ditiro say that all we have done by walking is “adapted to the conditions and downshifted to save ourselves from burnout and collapse.” That actually made me feel tonnes better. My splits for km 5 and 6 are, 09:21/ 09:16. The more manageable pace gave us a chance to look at the beautiful cliff as we approached it, before turning around.

The last part of the race was so much better! It was a nice gradual descent, and not hard on the knees. I went from, “I am dying. Get me outta here” to feeling like I was floating on air! For km 7, 8 and 9, my Splits were: 06:59/ 06:55 (hello!)/ 07:32! With a km to go, I started feeling a slight niggle in my right hamstring, almost like a cramp was coming, but I stayed positive, drank more water, and kept going. Ditiro then set off with 750 m to go so he could get some photos of me as I pushed through the finish line! There was an unexpected climb at the end of the race which slowed me down so my last split was 07:52 min/km. As I came through the finish, I happened to be alone at the time and the MC cheekily announced “Here comes another runner. Very fast, she must have taken a short cut!” I ignored the possible sarcasm and laughed out loud as I hopped across the Finish Line, like I was born to do this! 🙂

Route: It was a straightforward route but with an ascent of 177 m. We started at the Rustenburg Kloof  and headed into the beautiful Kgaswane Nature Reserve. Our route was almost tarred the whole way, but as we were in a nature reserve, the scenery was beautiful and there were even a couple of bridges over quiet streams.

My time: The only race I can really compare this one to was the Monster I spoke of earlier which I did in 1:28:33. I did this one in 1:19:20. Nothing spectacular and most certainly not a PB, but for me a whole lot better than I did on a similar race 7 months ago. It gave me such a confidence boost!

Lessons/Discoveries: 

  1. My knee is ready to rock n roll!: When I injured myself back in May, it took physio and a lot of self-talk to keep my eye firmly on the goal of getting to 17 races. Since I returned from injury, I have done four races. I have been careful to stretch before and after all my runs, no matter how tedious I find it. I think this has helped. I have been patient and maybe even too cautious. But I think I am now ready to step it up a gear and I am optimistic for a 70 minute 10k finish time in the next race or two!
  2. I am no longer a toilet snob:  I just go. LOL. I used to struggle to use public toilets/ porta-loos! But since becoming a runner, I. Just. Go. I’m in and out in no time. 🙂
  3. I am ready to add more to my regime: I would like to start doing more cardio, strengthening and toning exercises. There is a Virgin Active Gym very close to home, so in the next couple of weeks I think I will sign up.
  4. The importance of adjusting to race conditions: Although I didn’t have any race expectations as such, I did expect to run the whole way as I have done since March! But I had to walk for around 1.5 km of the race… and although initially disappointed, I really see that this was what needed to be done to finish the race. I could have stormed ahead, and then simply burned out before time. This was an important learning for me.

Pros of the race:

  1. I do admire the South African race organisers for their overall efficient and well-organised races that START ON TIME!
  2. The marshals were also very cheerful and enthusiastic.
  3. It’s not an over-crowded race. A big race with a small crowd if that makes sense!
  4. A beautiful route through a lovely nature reserve.

Cons of the race:

  1. A lovely medal, but with the wrong date! “2015” – oh well, I believe in recyling and not wasting so I wasn’t too bothered to be honest!
  2. There were no chips/ transponders – so I’ll use my GPS watch as my official time.
  3. No bibs – we just had our temporary license numbers at the back and then a small tag with our details on the front.

Would I do this race again?

If I lived in South Africa (or was in the area again), I would definitely do this race again. However, with so many races cropping up in and around Gaborone, I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to do this. But a lovely race all round!

I am linking up with the awesome bloggers HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap who are today joined by Pretty Lil Mudder as guest host) Please join in on the fun! You will find so much useful information and many inspiring running stories! 🙂