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?

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?

Diacore 10k Training Recap: Weeks 7 – 8 (Final)

My 8-week Diacore Training Cycle has now come to an end and my goal race (and Number 6/17) is tomorrow. It has been a great 8 weeks where I have learnt so much about myself, my body and running in general. I am looking forward to starting my next training plan, “Winter Trail Training Cycle” which will take me through the cold winter months ahead. There will be a lot of trail running with some new distances and I am happy to still be working with Coach Nicola from Running Happy. But before we get into that, let me summarise the final two weeks of my Diacore training and then look at some of the goals I have for the big day.

Week 7

Monday: I started the week with an Easy Run, 3.57 km, 27:21 min, 07:38 min/km. As usual I did this run with my cousin Tapiwa but as we hadn’t warmed up and started out quite fast, it was not the most comfortable of runs. My body felt as if it was struggling to move. Our run was followed by an intense pilates session – my core is most definitely getting stronger and I survived all the hard leg work-outs. When I started pilates in January, I actually never knew I would love it this much.

Tuesday: Easy Run3.37 km, 25:02 min, 07:26 min/km. I really didn’t want to run but I’m glad I did. I found a nice new route around the neighbourhood.

Wednesday: I loved today’s run – we started out at a nice easy pace and then did “steady-easy-steady-easy” before finishing off easy. Overall, it actually felt slower than usual but it turned out to be our fastest pace yet, 07:18 min/km. 3.58 km, 26:08 min. This was followed by pilates and our instructor pushed us hard.

Thursday: I forgot about my scheduled Conditioning Exercises, so this ended up being an unplanned Rest Day!

Friday: I did Thursday’s Conditioning Exercises (squats, lunges, clams, lateral band walks) today. My knee felt quite sore especially when I was doing the lunges, so I did one set of those instead of two.

Saturday: Excitement and nerves started building up as we packed for our trip! We then set off on our 3-hour journey to Palapye for my 5th Race of the year.

Sunday: What a disorganised race but a phenomenal result. I was aiming for a 2 minute PB which would give me a time of 1:13:11. However, I completely smashed my previous PB and came home in 1:08:02 – a 7:09 minute PB! It was such an incredible feeling. My body felt like a well-oiled machine and even though I started out at a much faster pace than I am used to, it didn’t feel fast, I felt comfortable. If you are like me and love reading race recaps, jump here for a blow by blow account!

Week 8

Monday: This was a Rest Day like no other! I rested and rested and rested! Bliss!

Tuesday: I had a run scheduled but just felt exhausted so this ended up being another Rest Day. Not as blissful as I felt a bit guilty!

WednesdayEasy Run with my cousin Tapiwa that was actually supposed to be a Tempo Run. However, when we started out, my left knee felt so sore, excruciatingly painful at one point, so we kept it quite slow for the first 10 minutes. After that, it seemed to loosen up a bit and we had a good run – 3.60 km, 28:03 minutes, 7:47 min/km. As usual, this was followed by pilates which was very gentle today.

ThursdayEasy Run – from Wednesday’s experience I made sure I warmed up a lot more and although my knee still felt a bit tender, it was much better than the day before – 2.60 km, 20:01 minutes, 07:42 min/ km. As soon as I was done I did my usual Conditioning Exercises and had a good stretch.

Friday – Saturday: Rest Days – Ditiro collected our packs on Friday and Paranoia hit in a big way! Are my knees okay? I feel a bit dizzy? Should I eat that? Why does my eye feel sore? Do I have an infection? etc. etc. etc…! I then happened to read a good blog article and felt a lot better afterwards – it reminded me to have fun and not be so focused on numbers and pace. I’m really glad I read it.

Goals for Diacore 10k Race

  1. Goal A: My goal all along was to do 1:12 for Diacore! But now that I got 1:08:02 last week, I have had to change things a bit! As my new PB was not officially timed, I would be more than happy to get the same time for the official records.
  2. Goal B: To get a 1:10 time – I would still be very happy with this.
  3. Goal C: To finish my 6th race of 2017, strong and smiling and have a great day at the Biggest Race on Botswana’s racing calendar!

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!).

Diacore 10k Training Recap: Weeks 1 – 2

I somehow made it through three races this year with no clear “plan” other than to walk/run at least three times a week and to give it my very all on race day. However, I no longer want to simply focus on doing “17 races in 2017“. I want to become a better runner and to work towards my equally important goal of completing a 10 km race in an hour. So, I am now going to be a bit more focused and have special goal races where I hope to PB and then use other races as training runs. On that note, I am very pleased to officially launch my 8-week Diacore 10k Training Cycle. The Diacore Gaborone Marathon (10k) is scheduled for the 7th May 2017 and is the biggest race on Botswana’s race calendar – a quote from their website states, “As an AIMS and IAAF certified event the Diacore Gaborone Marathon is a qualifier for Two Oceans, Comrades, Commonwealth and Olympic games. It is also widely renowned as one of the flattest and fastest routes in the region.” 

I last did the Diacore 10k race in 2015 when I was working my way back to basic fitness after the birth of my second child. With no training, the plan was to take it easy and walk/jog with my dad who was 70 at the time. However, as it turned out my dad obviously had other plans and I ended up playing “catch up” for most of the race! In the end, we finished within a minute of each other and he proudly told people “My daughter is half my age but we finished together!”  He is running it again this year and let’s just say… it is payback time! 🙂

As part of the training for the Diacore and to keep tallying up the 17 races, I have scheduled two races before the Diacore: the Lady K 10k Trail Run on the 9th April and the Palapye 10k on the 30th April. So this is definitely going to be an exciting few weeks of training, racing and blogging! 🙂

Week 1

“Dear Husband, I regret to inform you that your coaching services will no longer be required. However, I will still expect you to run as fast as you can so you can return to the track and take photos of me as I cross the finish line! Kind regards, The Gaborone Runner.”

And that is how Week 1 started! I fired the husband, and got a new coach – the lovely Nicola, from Running Happy. I had not even considered online coaching before, but after my new PB, I explored it as an avenue to improve my running. I contacted Nicola who did a very thorough assessment of me and by the end of the week I had a tailored plan in place. So although I didn’t log any km this week, I found a Coach and some direction!

Week 2

Monday: Having taken the whole week off, I was eager to get back into things. I was a little bit tired from work, but managed an Easy Run, 2.73 km, 7:58/km pace. This was followed by quite an intense pilates session where we did a number of new moves. It was so intense that by Wednesday I still felt some soreness in my abs and leg muscles.

Tuesday: Another exhausting day at work but there is something about having a coach and a plan… not as easy to skip a workout! 🙂 So I begrudgingly put on my shoes and off I went! Look, even my dog seems surprised! 🙂

I did a 25-minute Easy Run, 3.11 km, 8:03/km pace. I struggled a bit as my legs felt super heavy but the feeling of completing those 25 minutes was amazing. When I got back, my kids were very happy to do some stretches with me!

Wednesday: I did a Steady Run with my cousin Tapiwa (5 min Easy, [1 min Steady; 2 min Easy] x 3, 6 min Easy). We managed 2.91 km, 7:47/km pace. I felt really good and we chatted the whole way. This was followed by my one-hour pilates class which I always love doing after a run.

Thursday: I wrote in my post-workout notes to Coach Nicola that had it not been for her, I would have happily taken the day off. But I knew I had to do my Conditioning Exercises (squats, clams, lateral band walks, lunges) to strengthen my glutes and hips and after my little session I felt so good!

Friday: 

Saturday: I started my Long Run in the late afternoon after a busy day with the family so it got dark very quickly and I had stupidly worn black clothes! So I spent half the time straining to see my watch and dodging cars, and the other half getting startled by the barking of dogs that I could not even see. But I managed my 5.05 km, albeit slower than normal, 41.34 min, 8:12/km. I was ecstatic that I had actually gone for my run so I did not appreciate my watch reminding me that:

Sunday: I ended the week by going for my hike up Kgale Hill, 3.94 km, 1:16 hrs, 256 m ascent. It felt so good to touch that pole at the top.

It was a great end to a successful week of workouts. But now the cold that my husband and kids have had on/off for the last couple of weeks has finally hit me. I thought I had escaped and I am praying that it doesn’t disrupt the next couple of training weeks too much. Hope you all have a phenomenal week of training! 🙂

(I am linking up with Courtney at Eat Pray Run where you will find links to others blogs sharing their training plans this week. I am also linking up with Tricia and Holly for their inspirational Weekly Wrap. And for the first time I am linking up with the Jess’s (Jess Runs Atlanta and Jess @ The Right Fits) for their Week in Review. Reading the blogs on the link-ups gives me so much motivation, so please check them out too!).

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!).