Inspiration Series: An Interview with Elisa

On my mission to complete 17 races in 2017, I have most enjoyed running with friends and family. It has been more fun than I ever imagined it would be and I have drawn so much inspiration from them. This is the first post of my “Inspiration Series” where I plan to interview different people who inspire me in the world of fitness. The first person I have chosen is my dear friend Elisa who recently completed the Diacore Half Marathon. We have been friends for over 20 years and I have always admired her determination to be the best she can be in anything she puts her mind to. This is her running story…

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When did you first start running? I have always been fitness conscious and active, but  I think I can truly say I started running during A-Levels when I was boarding at Maru-A-Pula Secondary School in 2000. A lot was going on in my life. My parents had just relocated to London and with the biggest exams of my life looming I took up running to de-stress and of course keep healthy and keep any weight gain at bay.  I started doing short runs around the school track and on the road around the neighbourhood. Then I  participated in the annual school cross country event before heading to university and that is when I discovered and got a hint of the true joy of long distance running; however it would be a decade later for me to take up long distance running again and to run my first official race!

I remember those High School days where you would run around the track after class and also that cross country race! How did your first official race go?  My first official race was the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon (10k) in 2010. I was working and living there and stumbled upon the craze of race events. Some close friends had participated the year before and I promised myself that I would not miss out again. I started focusing on my running and less on gym classes which I have always loved. As a first timer the whole experience was exhilarating, right from the excitement and build up of collecting the race pack to the morning of the race… the crowd, the glee on everyone’s faces waiting at the start line… the pride and amazement that we were running on the same tarmac as legends like Haile Gerbrselassie, who took first place that year for the full marathon. I was not used to running such a distance so my time was a very modest 1 hour 19 minutes but a PB for me, therefore a victory.

What is your weekly mileage? And what does your fitness regime look like? My weekly mileage is about 15 km; a combination of outdoor running once a week and treadmill running. However I increase this to 20 km when a race is coming up. I also do group classes, Pilates twice a week, Yoga, Boot Camp and Step classes once a week.  I am training to be a yoga teacher so I also incorporate 30 minute yoga sessions four times a week; usually after my classes or during rest days.

When I am focused fully on running training I replace the Boot Camp and Step classes  with some resistance training. I truly have to say I enjoy everything about fitness and all the exercises I do…whether I’m running or focused in a group class on getting the routine perfect while maintaining the tempo or the mindfulness of yoga – getting deeper into a stretch or holding a position. It is the challenge,  that push on myself, the feeling that I am doing it and knowledge that tomorrow I will be better;  it’s such a high and that keeps me looking forward to more!

How are you able to balance training with your daily responsibilities? Thankfully, depending on how you look at it I’m in the middle of job hunting and only freelancing now, therefore I have the time. I also look after my three year old champion of a little girl. She goes to nursery school in the mornings and we spend the afternoons and the rest of the day together. As a result I do most of my fitness when she’s at school. However, if because of work I can’t fit in exercise in the morning, I take her with me to the gym where she gets looked after for two hours. A brilliant concept at Virgin Active! If it is too late, I work out at home and of course she always wants to do what mummy is doing so I include her in my workouts; I use her as extra weight during reps and getting deeper into stretches.  We both get great play time together and I get a fantastic and challenging workout!

That’s an amazing way to incorporate kids into workout routines! What would you say running has taught you about yourself? Running has taught me a lot, it has taught me about being my own cheerleader. It has taught me more about my body, listening to every twinge and adjusting myself accordingly to get rid of it…it has taught me to appreciate the big things, which we deem little and always take for granted; the clear air in the morning before the pollution of the rush of traffic…watching the sun rise. Running has taught me patience;  I’m not  ‘naturally’ athletic and it has therefore taken me time to shave off minutes from my runs with some hard work and training.  Running has taught me to not be self-conscious…the number of times I have had to spit while in motion on the side of the road… I have shamelessly become an expert (discrete and neat) spitter!

Your dad has been at a couple of races now and I love his expression as he crosses the finish line! What have you done to motivate him and other family members to run? To be honest, not much,  it is all them. It is simply through watching me; day in and day out, going to the gym, getting up early on weekends to run. It struck a chord with them immediately! When they ask how I do it, I  stress to them that there was a time I could not even run a full kilometre.  I stress to them that if I can do it, so can they. They see the joy and excitement that running brings me and of course the health benefits and being in good shape, and they too want that for themselves.

Looking back at all your races, what has been your favourite race experience?  My favourite race experience  is the one I just completed.. the Diacore Gaborone Half Marathon…mainly because I felt strong throughout…I had a strategy and stuck to it and it paid off.  Best of all I was at the race with some of my greatest friends, such beautiful human beings including my mother.  Sharing the excitement and buzz of the morning with them was truly a wonderful experience.

We loved cheering you on as you came towards the finish line. You looked so strong, your face was so relaxed and you had the perfect stride. Tell me more about that Half Marathon. Absolutely amazing experience… I was strong, I completely enjoyed the route, finishing in at 02:18:49, a PB. There was a lot happening on the road that morning which truly added to the fun factor. A section of the route went close to the National Stadium and we came across people who were just emerging from a long awaited concert by local artists; so we gained ourselves some very happy, overzealous cheerleaders!  What I wouldn’t repeat is having a coke…I got a bit excited at the 15 km mark and desperate for some sugar for energy so,when presented with a cup of the sugary drink I jumped on it…the gas build up seconds after could have cost me but fortunately I just let out a huge belch and all was well again….lesson learnt… never have a fizzy drink during a race; not even sure why the race organisers had them!

How did this race compare to your first Half Marathon experience? My first half marathon was  in 2011, the Johnson Arabia Dubai Creek Striders Half Marathon which I completed in a time of 02:32:57. It was also a great experience.  However, I wasn’t as strong, as well informed and educated as I am now with running. It was my most challenging race up to that point and the route around Dubai was spectacular… it took us through a souk (a traditional Arabian market), the Dubai creek, over and under bridges. A huge negative was that I hit the so called “runners wall” at around 14 km and had to walk up to a kilometre….my legs simply refused to run any farther and my mind couldn’t convince them. However, once I regained my strength on the walk and gave myself a little pep talk, I continued relatively well the rest of the way.

What are some of the fitness-related or running goals you have for the future? My goal is to run 10 km in under an hour…my PB right now is 1:01 hours. Similarly, to edge my way to two hours for a half marathon culminating in participating and completing a full marathon the year I turn 40 (2019). I have just started my yoga course, so within a one year period I plan to become a fully qualified and internationally certified yoga teacher with a body of a dancer to boot!

I have absolutely no doubt you are going to achieve all those goals. I may even join you for that marathon! What advice do you have for new runners who have either just started their running journeys or would like to start running but don’t know how? Start now…start by walking and when you feel up to it jog a little and each time increase the jogging distance and you will soon be running. Listen to your body, be conscious of your breathing and use breathing to help you with fatigue; don’t run in isolation, mix up your running with other exercises, to complement and make you a stronger runner; take a yoga class or a pilates class for guidance on great breathing techniques; building of a strong core for ease and comfort when running. Don’t be concerned about what others are doing, how fast, how many kilometres they are clocking…race against yourself and enjoy seeing the progress. If you love gadgets and have the means, get a fitness watch or load up an app, get a strap for your mobile phone… just seeing  a picture of what you have achieved spurs you on immensely. Take a friend with you, join a running group and most of all have fun!

I absolutely loved doing this interview. Thank you so much for your time, your honesty, and such valuable information. I love your whole outlook to fitness, the varied exercises you do, your determination to be better and stronger, your encouragement of others, and also the fact that you involve your daughter in some of the activities. Fitness and running is such a beautifully personal journey, but one which is made so much more fun when sharing it with friends and family!

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I am so excited to be sharing this interview with Patty, Erika and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run! Also joining Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs for the Coaches’ Corner linkup! Linking up is such a great way to get motivated and to get to know other bloggers! So please take some extra time to read some of their stories and link up if you can!

Diacore 10k, Race Recap (6/17)

On the 7th May, 2017 I ran the Diacore 10k Race – my Goal Race and the 6th Race in my “17 in 2017 Challenge”. It was the first race where I found myself looking around and really enjoying myself… it was the first race, I felt I wasn’t faking it… I felt like a runner… in a sea of strangers I felt like I belonged. But I am getting ahead of myself…let us take a few steps back…   

Eight weeks ago, I had just run my 3rd race of the year. That 10k race was the first I did without taking any walking breaks. That in itself was a victory and the new PB time I set of 1:15:11 was the added bonus. With my new found confidence, I started an 8 week training cycle to get me prepared for the Diacore which is Botswana’s biggest race and a qualifier for Two Oceans, Comrades, Commonwealth and the Olympic games. In those 8 weeks, I got a coach, Nicola from Running Happy, and I ran two races – the Lady K 10k trail run and the Palapye 10k which gave me a huge (self-timed) PB of 1:08:02. Going into Diacore I felt nervous but prepared.

I enjoyed a relaxing Saturday minus the kids who were at my parents’ place. In the evening we enjoyed a nice pasta meal before heading to bed. In the morning, I had my usual shower to warm up the muscles and my cereal before we headed out at 05:20. On the drive to the venue I made a mental note of the Route:

The Route: They call it the flattest and fastest race in the region and aside from a gentle incline at the start, it really is. Grand Palm – Right onto the A1 – Left at the Rainbow Circle – Left at the Nokia Lights – Left at the CBD Lights – Grand Palm.

The Race: We only found parking about a km away from the start of the race. We tried waiting for Tapiwa but with all the crowds we quickly realised it was a futile exercise. So I walked Ditiro over to the Half Marathon Start and then headed for the loos where I found a long queue of runners. Knowing that I had to warm up my knee to ensure a good start, I started vigourously stretching in the bathroom. I swear, the others must have thought I was one of the elite runners! LOL. With just a few minutes to spare, I took a slow jog to the Start and my knee felt okay. Unfortunately, the long wait at the bathroom meant that I started quite far back. At exactly 06:30 the gun sounded and it took me 3 minutes to get to the Start Line.  After that I had to wade through several walkers so my first 3 km were not the most enjoyable and I struggled to get into gear (Splits, min/km: 06:51/07:41/07:29). However, just after the 3 km mark I found my stride and really started to enjoy myself. I felt truly happy to be out here doing this. I looked up and saw a man holding a banner, “Run it like you Stole it” and I burst out laughing giving him a thumbs-up. I waved at the cheerleaders on the track with their pompoms and as I started having fun, I started feeling stronger and my Splits for 4 – 7 km reflect that: 07:04/ 06:50/ 07:05/ 06:49. As I headed into the last 3 km, I turned it up another gear and remembered my pilates breathing to get me through the final stretch:

As I saw the finish line, I still had enough energy for my final sprint and despite some pain in my left knee I just pushed it until the end. I was elated and on the longish walk down the “passage” to get my medal, I truly felt like a runner. It being such a big race I didn’t see anyone I knew at this stage, and Ditiro still hadn’t finished his Half Marathon so it gave me some time to reflect and enjoy my moment. As I got my medal, a guy tapped me on the shoulder from behind and said, “You ran such a good race. You had such a consistent pace and were my pace maker for most of the race”. And that my friends was the cherry on top!

My time: I ran the course in 1:10:24 minutes (07:01 pace) according to my watch which I started at the Start Line, 5 minutes faster than my last officially timed race. Unfortunately, when the official race results came up, they had recorded our times from the gun start (and not from when we actually crossed the Start Line). So the 3 minutes it took me to get to the start are now included: 1:13:11. 

After the Race: I found a good place where I could watch the Half Marathon and Marathon finishers. Thankfully, my cousin Tapiwa soon found me and we chatted as we waited for Ditiro and our friend Elisa who were both doing the Half Marathon. At 1:42:12 Ditiro came through at a blistering pace and we started screaming, “D!! D!! D!!” and then we waited for Elisa who had such a strong finish and a 20-minute personal best! We were later also reunited with Polelo and were all so happy with our personal journeys. The Half Marathoners had some entertaining stories of Concert Goers who had decided to go straight from the Concert Venue, drunk as ever, to some parts of the course to cheer on racers with their camp chairs and cooler boxes!

Lest we forget – this was NUMBER 6

Lessons/ Discoveries

  1. Start closer to the front of the race: I must admit I was very disappointed that the 3 minutes it took to reach the Start Line are included in my official time but I have learned that in cases where there are no corrals I just have to hustle a little harder to get to the front of the line.
  2. A good warm up is essential: In Palapye and for this race, I really made sure I warmed up and in both races I felt stronger than I had in previous races. I am a little bit worried about my left knee at the moment but I will just make it a habit to warm up even before short training runs.

Pros of the Race

  • Extremely well organised (registration was easy, the race pack pick up was very efficient, website provided all the information including route maps, all races started exactly on time!)
  • Fantastic vibe and atmosphere – on the course there were cheerleaders with pompoms, there was a stage with people dancing and singing at one of the water stops, cheerful marshalls). As a Gaborone resident, this was a very proud moment as we hosted people from across the country and 38 different countries! I saw on Facebook that there was an American couple who are on a mission to run a marathon in every single continent and they were ecstatic for having chosen Botswana and this marathon to represent Africa.
  • Our race bibs had our names on them! I have seen this on other running blogs but this was a first for us! That really was something special 🙂

Cons of the Race:

  • You know what I am going to say right?! For the 10k race which had the highest number of participants, they didn’t record the time we actually started. So I took 3 minutes to get to the start of the line which was included in my final time. Not fair.
  • No corrals/ seeded groupings meant that walkers/ people with no timing chips were in front and once we were through the start it took so long to pass people.
  • Apparently there were several porta-loos but in the dark and with no clear signs I couldn’t find them so I used the hotel loos!

Would I do this race again?

Oh yes!!!  For any Gaborone Resident this race is so much more than just a race. I am so proud to have been a part of it this year and to have run such a strong race. I will definitely keep coming back!!

Once again I am linking up with the awesome bloggers HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap! I am also excited to be linking up with Patty, Erika and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run! Linking up is such a great way to get motivated and to get to know other bloggers! So please take some extra time to read some of their stories and link up if you can!

Palapye 10k, Race Recap (5/17)

For those of you reading this blog for the first time, I am on a mission to complete 17 races this year! Yesterday I ran my 5th race in Palapye which is a 3-hour drive from Gaborone. This race also served as part of my training for my goal race next week – The Diacore. 

We left Gaborone at around 15:00 on Saturday afternoon, picked up our good friends Polelo and Paul, and had an enjoyable drive to Palapye with lots of chatting and dodging of crazy bus drivers. Palapye is a fast growing town, situated about halfway between the two big cities, Francistown and Gaborone. Its strategic position makes it a convenient stopover on one of Southern Africa’s principal north–south rail and road routes. The Morupule Colliery coal mine is located here, and supplies Morupule Power Station, Botswana’s principal domestic source of electricity.

It is also home to one of Botswana’s largest universities, Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST). Our drive was uneventful and we arrived at the Majestic Five Hotel at around 18:00.

We had a lovely dinner before heading off to bed. For some reason I had put a lot of pressure on myself for this race, so I had a restless night as well as a headache which fortunately had worn off by the time I got up at 6am.

The Race: The starting point of the race was at our hotel so there was no big rush in the morning. After eating some cereal and getting dressed, we headed down to the Start for our warm-up. Unfortunately, this race was so poorly organised. I don’t want to be too scathing in my attack because I know a lot of work goes into preparing for a race… but… it was a huge disappointment. Race bib collection was from 6am – 7am on race morning but by the time we got there at around 06:30am, they had run out of race bibs and t-shirts stating that they had only made enough for 93 participants. Did they not know how many tickets they had sold? There was no attempt at an apology and we were simply told that we should run with our tickets and then show people our tickets as we finished. To make matters worse, we were supposed to start the race at 07:30 but only set off at 08:11, 41 minutes late.

The Route: Majestic Five Hotel – onto the A1 (big motorway) – over the Lotsane River Bridge – towards Cresta Hotel – turned left into the Palapye Bus Station – and then back to the Majestic Five Hotel. 

The A1 Road

Bridge over the Lotsane River

Clock at the Palapye Bus Station (Around 5k mark)

Ditiro was running this race alongside me and in the week leading up to the race we had “talked race strategy”. I knew I wanted a 2 minute PB which meant running an average pace of 07:19 min/km. This was a slightly faster pace than I had done in training so I was a bit sceptical that it could be done. We agreed that as I always do the second half of the race faster than the first half, I should aim for 37.5 min for the first 5km, leaving me with 35.5 min to get back, to finish in a time of 1:13 hrs. The plan was clear. However, I started the race around 07:00 min/km and Ditiro even said to me, “This is a bit faster than we are supposed to be going”. At that point I thought to myself – “Well, this is really a training run. I feel so comfortable. I am talking nicely, my breathing is okay, my body feels good. So let me stick to this.” And stick to it I did! When we passed the clock at the station we were at the 5 km mark, and were 1.5 minutes faster than we had planned for. My slowest pace (per km) was on the incline where I did a 07:17 min/km pace, still faster than the average pace I had planned for.  With 1.5 km to go, I turned it up a notch and headed for the finish with a pace of between 06:53 and 06:04.

My time: I ran the course in 1:08:02 – a remarkable 07:09 minutes Personal Best, and smashing my Goal A which was to do it in 1:13:11! I was in complete and utter shock that in just 1.5 months I have improved so much. This was not my goal race and because of the complete chaos of the race, there were no official times, but I am claiming this “unofficial” PB! And of course, there were not enough medals to go around so these photos next to the race banner will have to do! No race bib, no medal – I promise you I did actually run and PB! LOL!

Pros/ Cons of the race:

  1. There were not enough race bibs/ numbers/ t-shirts to go around
  2. No timing chips or proper timing method that I noticed
  3. Not enough medals to go around
  4. 41-minute late start – and we were only saved by the fact that it was a cloudy day, otherwise the heat would have been ridiculous at that time
  5. No distance markers on the roads
  6. Completely dangerous route – we were running on a very busy route, with no safety measures in place – too few marshals and no police officers at key points where we had to cross roads. No orange cones along the roads; no warnings for drivers that there were runners on the roads. Some of the 21.1 km finishers, sprinting in at the end of their long race, were almost knocked over by a taxi.

Would I do this race again? NO – for a race that had so much potential, it was a complete disappointment. But I will choose to remember it for my 7 minute PB and the phenomenal time I had with my friends!! 🙂

Some Shout-Outs: I am still one of the slowest athletes on the track but I have a phenomenal team behind me – Thank you to my dear friends Polelo and Paul for putting aside so many things to join us on this trip. Thank you to Paul for the great photography. Thank you to Ditiro for sacrificing his own race to run alongside me. Thank you to all my friends, those who run and those who don’t, for all your support and encouragement. Thank you to all the runner bloggers for your advice and kind words. Thank you to my parents and in-laws for taking care of the kids so we can participate in these races. Finally, thank you to Coach Nicola from Running Happy for giving me such focus, guidance and clear direction.

Once again I am linking up with the amazing Courtney at Eat Pray Run for the Training Recap and the awesome bloggers HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap. I am also joining Patty, Erika and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run. Linking up is such a great way to get motivated and to stay accountable! So please take some extra time to read some of their stories.

Diacore 10k Training Recap: Week 6

How did we get to Week 6 of my 8-week Diacore Training Cycle? I have been so lucky to work with Coach Nicola from Running Happy who has put together a great training plan that makes my job a whole lot easier. My main task has just been to get up and make sure I get those runs in!

Monday: I enjoyed a really nice Easter Hike up Kgale Hill with Polelo. We set off at 06:30 and took our time, doing it in 1:44 hours, 260 m ascent, 3.91 km. It was a lovely cool morning and there were many hikers on the trail. Afterwards, I did 20 minutes of yoga.

Tuesday: Today I had a Steady Run scheduled but… I rebelled… and if that was not bad enough… I stole four (yes four!) marshmallow eggs from my kids’ stash… Shameless!

Wednesday: After my illegal day off and and Easter egg feast, I hit the road with Tapiwa for a 26 min, Steady Run. Tapiwa was on fire today and started us out at a very fast pace. We tried a new route and it was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I didn’t stop my watch and only realised when I was driving back from our post-run pilates session. I was so disappointed… some run for fun, others run for health, I run for the STATS! Without that, what’s the point of the run?! LOL! After my disappointment had worn off, I was very happy with our solid run and estimated it must have been approx. 3.5 km.

Thursday: I did 20 min, Easy Run, 2.71 km, 7:22 min/km. This was followed by some conditioning exercises (clams, squats, lunges, lateral band walks). I was so pleased to notice that my clams were a lot wider than before! My 3 year old find squats hilarious and calls them “The Toilet”. 🙂

Friday: Rest Day 🙂

Saturday: Today’s Long Run was 6 km – so shorter than last week’s 8 km which made it easier to get out of bed! I was very pleased with my time, 44:46 min, 7:26 min/km. The last 6 km distance I did was on the 4th Feb and I did it in 53:53 min so this is a huge improvement in just 2.5 months! That made me really smile!

Sunday: So I was supposed to go up Kgale Hill this morning but I ended up at Mosha Beauty Spa for a facial and FULL body massage… Mosha Beauty Spa is very close to Kgale, so does that make it count as a workout? It does, right? 🙂

Goal for my Next Race (Palapye 10k)

Next Sunday I am doing my fifth race of the #17in2017 challenge and for some reason I am particularly excited about this one!

I have some tentative goals:

  1. Goal A: To shave 2 minutes off my current PB which would mean finishing in 1:13:11 – a 07:19 min/km pace. Looking at the last few runs I have had, I don’t feel I am that far off from achieving this. I’m quite optimistic. I am also pulling out my “Ditiro Card” to help me. (Ditiro has promised to run 4 of the 17 runs WITH me this year and sacrifice his usual lightning speed races!  I feel like his presence will give me the extra push I need at this point in my journey). My main worry is Palapye is a lot hillier than Gaborone is…
  2. Goal B: To PB – anything better than 1:15:11. 
  3. Goal C: To finish the race with a huge smile. To tick Number 5 off the “17 in 2017” Challenge. To remain positive for Diacore the following week!

(I am linking up with the lovely Courtney at Eat Pray Run. I am also linking up with Tricia and Holly for their inspirational Weekly Wrap. Be sure to read these blogs and link up if you can! It’s such a great way to stay accountable).

Lady Khama, 10k Trail Race Recap (4/17)

My fourth race of my ’17 in 2017′ Challenge was the beautiful Lady Khama 10k Trail Run held on the 9th April, 2017. The organisers promised that this race was “not just about the RUN, but about the EXPERIENCE” and I think they delivered. 

The Lady Khama Trail Run is in its fifth year and it just keeps getting bigger in terms of runner and spectator participation. In 2013, there were only 200 runners but this year there must have been over 2000! There was a Lady K Wellness Area with various fitness and health exhibitors. There was also an iPad up for grabs for the fanciest dress! Once we heard that, my friends and I quickly started thinking of outfits to wear! 🙂 I finally decided to go as a Ladybird and my friend Polelo also organised fabulous Team #17 t-shirts for her family and mine to support my 17 in 2017 Quest! The t-shirts looked absolutely amazing!

I am usually quite tense before a race but this time I felt slightly better maybe because 1) I had no real expectations as I had just recovered from a cold, 2) A trail run is a different experience from a road race, 3) I was in fancy dress, 4) There is no luckier race number than 888, right?!, and 5) I was so pumped and inspired after watching “Remember the Titans” starring Denzel Washington. 🙂

The Race: The starting point of the race was the National Stadium. It was really exciting arriving in Fancy Dress, but also disappointing that there were so few of us! In our small team we had a moth, Nala from the Lion King, the Easter Bunny, Girl Power and a pirate! We really stood out and people commented so positively.  The vibe and energy was fantastic and aerobics instructors helped to warm us up. At 06:39, the gun sounded and we set off!

It was a really nice route, a combination of tarmac, uneven dirt track and some grass. We also ran along the fence of the Gaborone Game Reserve and those doing the Half Marathon were lucky enough to run inside the Game Reserve with all the antelope, warthogs and other wild animals. It was a relatively flat course with a a slight uphill section around the 3 km mark. There was also a special bridge that had been made for the race.

Photo Credit: Run 21 – 2017 Facebook Page

Towards the end, the course went through parts of the University of Botswana campus and then back to the Stadium. The uneven terrain made it seem like quite a tough course. There was also a lot of congestion at the start of the race. I almost sprained my ankle at one point, but luckily recovered quite quickly. I had a very steady pace for most of the race with my last km being the fastest at 07:15 min/km. My slowest pace was around the 2/3 km section.

I felt strong for most of the race. There were also some interesting comments thrown in my direction, “You are doing quite well ladybird, keep going!” or “Wow! The ladybird is managing!” I guess ladybirds are not expected to do too well on a 10k trail run?!? LOL! The last km seemed to take forever, but entering that Stadium was a fantastic feeling and I had a nice sprint finish, with my signature move – hands up in the air and a big smile!

My time: I ran the course in 1:16:44 minutes. My pace of 07:34 min/km was actually faster than my average in the last race, which was 07:38 min/km but because the last race was a slightly shorter 10k course (9.84 km) and this one was slightly longer (10.1 km), it didn’t work out to a PB even though the pace suggests it should have!

After the Race: As usual, I don’t think I could have done this without the support and camaraderie of my friends. We all went to High School together. We have studied, lived or worked in other countries, but at this point in our lives we find ourselves right here, getting fit together and having so much fun doing it. We truly make a great team!

All of us in Fancy Dress had to get on stage and put forward an argument as to why we should win.

Sadly, we lost out to the “Chocolate Cinderellas” but I got a hug and a picture with Vincent Crosbie! Vincent Crosbie became a national hero this year when he became the first motorbike rider to take the Botswana Flag across the finish line at the Dakar Rally.

Photo Credit: Vincent Crosbie Facebook Page

This photo is WORTH ten iPads in my books! 🙂

Pros/ Cons of the race:

  1. Very well organised (map routes out early, structured pre-race package pick up, very clearly marked routes)
  2. Brilliant atmosphere and spirit – such a great vibe in the Stadium and brilliant warm-up aerobics session
  3. The route was quite congested at the start
  4. It was a very late start even though everything else was so well-organised (06:39 instead of 06:15 because of some problem with the timing chips)

Would I do this race again?

Yes, yes, yes! I loved the atmosphere. But next year, I am bringing home that iPad! 🙂

Once again I am linking up with the awesome bloggers HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap! For the FIRST time, I am also very excited to be linking up with Patty, Erika and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run! Linking up is such a great way to get motivated and to get to know other bloggers! So please take some extra time to read some of their stories.

Diacore 10k Training Recap: Weeks 4 – 5

What an exciting fortnight of earthquakes, birthday parties, a 10k race in fancy dress, tonnes of work deadlines, Easter Egg hunts, and yes, lots of training too! 🙂

Week 4

Monday: After a week off training because of my cold, I was eager to get back into things! So although a run wasn’t scheduled for today, I went for an Easy Run with my cousin: 4.19 km, 34:57 min, 8:20 min/km pace. It was a much longer one than usual, but a nice conversational pace and before we knew it, it was time for our pilates class. It was later that evening though that things got really exciting… I was reading the kids their bedtime story when we heard something in the ceiling. First, we thought it must be a rat, then it sounded more like a cat, but when it started to sound like there was a cow up there, we knew something was wrong! Earthquake!! We quickly ran outside, and it sounded like there was a huge truck passing through the house. It turns out it was the second strongest earthquake recorded in Botswana (6.5 on the Richter Scale) with it’s epicentre around 250 km from Gaborone. Tremors were felt as far out as Zimbabwe and South Africa. Thankfully, there was no major damage so we could enjoy the little “excitement” while it lasted!

Tuesday: Today was my dad’s birthday so we had dinner at a lovely Portuguese restaurant. The kids were in extremely high spirits and we all had a fabulous time!

We got home around 9pm but I knew I had to run. So I grabbed one of the dogs Sadie and went for an Easy Run, 3.59 km, 28:46 min, 8:00 min/km pace.

Wednesday: My daughter had her first play at big school so I missed both my run and pilates session. It was a fabulous production and I was so proud of my little girl on stage!

Thursday: I made up for my missed run and did a Steady Run, 2.64 km, 20:42 min, 07:49 min/km pace. It was quite “exciting” at the beginning because I got charged at by two dogs – a Rottweiler and a Rhodesian ridgeback. But I immediately stopped and after a few seconds, I slowly walked away. Pheeeww! I then changed direction and headed out to the main road for a less exciting run! This run was followed by my conditioning exercises.

Friday – Saturday:

Sunday: Today was the fourth Race of my “17 in 2017” Goal! It was the Lady Khama 10k Trail Run and I did it dressed as a Ladybird! My final time was 1:16:44, 07:34 min/ km pace. This was not a PB time but what a wonderful day we all had!! Check out the Race Recap here.

Week 5

Monday: After a brilliant race, it felt so good to go for my pilates class! It was a very intense “cardio” session.

Tuesday: Today was my daughter’s FIFTH Birthday! I organised a lunch with the family and we had a lovely afternoon. She is ecstatic to be five and I am so excited that I have been a mum for five years! 🙂

Later in the evening I did a tough but good Tempo Run, 2.95 km, 22:03 min, 7:28 min/km. 

Wednesday: I was exhausted from work, but managed a Steady Run, 2.80 km, 21.18 min, 07:36 min/km pace. As usual, this was followed by a great pilates session where the instructor focused a lot on exercises for running.

Thursday – Friday: On Thursday, I was supposed to do some conditioning exercises, but I felt so tired and found myself slumped on the couch after the kids were in bed. Friday was a “legal” rest day. 🙂

Saturday: I was so nervous about my scheduled Long Run. The longest run I have done (excluding the races) is 5 km so I worried that I wouldn’t manage 8 km without the adrenaline rush of race day. I was supposed to make it an easy run, but I wanted to experiment a little bit with pace. In my last two races, I have found that in my quest to finish the race, I have held back a bit, for fear of running out of steam at the end! So I did the run at a faster pace than my last two races, 59:49 min, 7:28 min/km. Definitely a PB pace!! I followed this with the conditioning exercises I had missed on Thursday.

Sunday: Rest Day and an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids in the garden! The last two weeks have been so challenging as I have been pulled in all directions with several personal and work commitments… BUT… what a great feeling to have actually succeeded with most of my training. I am feeling a lot stronger than two weeks ago. Diacore is only three weeks away, but before that I have the Palapye 10k where I am *secretly* hoping to PB! Sshh…!

(I am linking up with the lovely Courtney at Eat Pray Run. I am also linking up with the two Jess’s (Jess Runs Atlanta and Jess @ The Right Fits) for their Week in Review. Be sure to read what they and other bloggers have been up to this week!).

Diacore 10k Training Recap: Week 3

What a disaster – in summary, “cough, cough, splutter, splutter, sneeze, sneeze” – REPEAT! 😦 Boy, oh boy! Confession time: when my kids and husband were sick, I didn’t really take them seriously. I may even have muttered the term “man-flu” in the direction of my husband a couple of times. But this week was definitely:

The Gaborone Runner 0 – 1 The Common Cold

Monday: I was still in denial and put on a brave face for most of the day. I had a parent-teacher consultation at my daughter’s school in the afternoon, and once I was done, I grabbed a cappuccino, and headed for my 1-hour pilates class as planned. Now, let me be very honest… I am not the most elegant person on the pilates mat on a good day… but one thing my instructor knows is that I always give it my best shot. 🙂 But on this day, I felt exhausted, my legs were shaking, my breathing was chaotic; when we did the plank my nose was dripping onto my pink mat; I was just one big mess! But when I tucked my kids into bed that night, I still had some hope that I could fight this bug off.

Tuesday: This is the day when anger crept in… anger that I was sick. Anger that I couldn’t prepare for my next race on the 9th April. Anger at this whole “17 in 2017 Goal”. Anger at my very happy (and loud) kids for bringing this bug into the house in the first place. Anger at my fully recovered husband who excitedly shared his running and cycling stats with his mates on Strava. Anger at the whole medical fraternity who do not seem to have figured out the common cold. Anger at my mum who had to go out of town for work. Anger. Anger. Anger at the whole world.

Wednesday – Saturday: I must admit I did some bargaining, “Please let me not be sick now. I can be sick on the 10th April when my race is done and that will still give me enough time to train for Diacore”. Later I was just plain down and finally I reached acceptance. Acceptance that my goal here is to get fit – this is a long term LIFE goal, and sickness will happen, life will happen, and that is just that. But you get up again, and you keep pushing. Once I got to this point, things felt a lot easier…

Sunday: I woke up to find Ditiro all dressed up and ready for his early morning hike up Kgale Hill. He then asked, “Do you think you will manage to join me?” I actually felt good. Really good. I would love to be a hero and tell you that I jumped out of bed with excitement. But in reality there was that little pause and then that voice – “Noooo… you are still sick. Say no!!” However, I did muster a “Yeah, sure” with a slightly strained smile. But… I am so glad I did it (1:20 hrs, 3.94 km, 256 m ascent). I am back in the game people, back in the game!! 🙂

(I am linking up with the lovely Courtney at Eat Pray Run. I am also linking up with Tricia and Holly for their inspirational Weekly Wrap as well as the two Jess’s (Jess Runs Atlanta and Jess @ The Right Fits) for their Week in Review. Be sure to read what they and other bloggers have been up to this week!).