Journey to My First Half Marathon, Week 1

After three weeks of indulging (more like OVERindulging) the first thing I noticed  this morning is that the dress I am wearing on my first day back at work is very snug! 🙂 So it is back to work in all senses of the word! I hope you all had a great festive season and that this year is filled with lots of love and laughter for you and your families. I have not blogged in a few weeks and there is just SO MUCH to say – first of all, I owe you the final two race recaps from my 17 Race Challenge in 2017! Yes, I am ecstatic to say I did accomplish my goal of running 17 races last year! It was such an epic journey and when I was in the last few kilometres of my 17th race so many emotions washed over me, at times making it hard to breathe as I ran.

So it will be important for me to take some time to analyse what I went through last year and what I gained from the whole 17 race experience. I also want to take some time to talk about my Goals in 2018, one of which is running my First Half Marathon! So in January I will dedicate a lot of time to looking back and charting my way forward, both in my head and on paper. But in that process I don’t want to lose focus of what I am currently doing so I will continue to write my weekly recaps. To keep me accountable I will be linking up with the inspirational Holly from HoHo Runs and her fabulous new co-host Wendy from Taking the Long Way Home. Both these women have inspired me with their pearls of wisdom as well as their grit and determination to get stuff done. Be sure to check out their blogs too!  

I never thought a Half Marathon was on the cards for me. Me? Run a Half Marathon? Not likely! But after a year of reading others’ blogs and seeing myself grow as a runner, the idea really started to take shape. A lot of people kept asking if I was going to do an 18 Race Challenge and although I toyed with the idea, in the end I wanted to focus on quality over quantity. Sometimes in checking races off my list, I lost track of actually working towards becoming a better runner. Once I was certain that I wanted to do a Half Marathon, I contacted Coach Nicola from Running Happy and we agreed to start my 19 week training plan on the 1st January. My goal race is the Diacore Half Marathon which will be held in Gaborone on the 13th May 2018. I did the Diacore 10k last year (recap here) and I am so thrilled that I will be taking things up a notch! I am nervous but also extremely excited as there is nothing right now that I would like to be working towards more. So… let’s do this 🙂

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Monday, 1st January: Treadmill, Easy Run, 30 min, 4.28 km

I always dread my first run after a bit of a break but this one felt really good. I ran my final race of 2017 on antibiotics so I think the break away from running was a good move.  On New Year’s Day, I woke up rather late and it was already 30°C by the time I had put on my shoes. So I was forced to use the treadmill with a fan blowing directly at me! The run went really well and my legs were on top form.

Coach Nicola has also introduced some little daily exercises to do each week that work on some of the fundamental movement skills (Agility, Balance or Coordination). This week it was balancing on one foot, left and right, for 30 seconds each and then doing it with my eyes closed too. Those went really well and towards the end of the week I was hardly wobbling!

Tuesday, 2nd January:  Gym Class (Grid)

The Grid “is a brand new offering from Virgin Active. We will teach you how to push, pull, squat, bend, twist and lunge. Six movements you’ve done your whole life, probably incorrectly”. Today the 6 stations were: squats with a kettle bell; bench press; lunges with weights; shoulder press sitting and standing; walking high planks; and transferring a cone from corner to corner.

Seemed simple enough but my friend Polelo had warned me that it wouldn’t be easy… It wasn’t easy at all. I am pleased to say I survived! I loved it because it was a proper strength and conditioning class using simple but effective movements. The photo below was taken just as the class was done but that was the last smile I had for a few days! The pain that followed was intense…

Wednesday, 3rd January: Easy Run, 30 min, 3.52 km

I had scheduled an early morning run with my cousin Tapiwa. She got to my house around 06:30 and we were off shortly after. I wasn’t yet sore but my legs were as heavy as lead and I was super slow. Thankfully, it was a beautifully cloudy day so we didn’t have to contend with the heat as well.

Thursday, 4th January: Rest Day

What a disaster. So the Grid workout on Tuesday killed me. I am so glad I scheduled a 06:30 am run on Wednesday because after that run I was just in a state of pain and shock. My kids were laughing at me because I could hardly walk. Bending down to sit was a struggle and bending to pick something off the floor was a no-no. Thank goodness for my little ones, they became my extra hands and legs. In the evening I was forced to take an ibuprofen and I sprayed arnica on the back of my legs. So… the gym class planned for this afternoon didn’t happen. This pain was such a huge wake-up call. I must admit I was disappointed – after all, I have been running for a year, how unfit can I be? But sadly many of my muscles seem to have been dormant and Tuesday’s gym class was a rude awakening.

Friday, 5th January:  Gym Class (Core Conditioning, 30 min)

Pilates classes hadn’t resumed after the holidays so I did a Core Conditioning Class (30 min). I dropped the kids at the Virgin Play Centre and did my class. It was quite an intense ab workout. I got through it but have a long way to go. I did my best though. Just looking forward to my best being even better! My body as a whole felt so much better but my left knee was a bit sore. Knowing I had a 5 km run scheduled for Saturday I iced it and “arnica’d” it before bed.

Saturday, 6th January: Easy Run, 5 km, 41:38 min

The Meteorology Office and the Ministry of Health issued warnings about a heat wave between the 6th – 8th January. It was already boiling hot before then so we knew we were in for it. I aborted my first run in the morning because it was insanely hot. At 8:33 pm it had only dropped to 33°C! At least I didn’t have to worry about the sun! A tough run but very glad I did it. Also, my pace was a bit quicker than Wednesday’s run. However, my left knee was not comfortable throughout.

Sunday, 7th January: Rest Day!

Today was meant to be a spinning class but Sunday classes had not yet resumed… I must confess I was slightly relieved about that! *hands over face*

Mileage this week: 12.8 km

Mileage this training cycle: 12.8 km

Gym Classes this week: 2

Grade: A- (Overall, I am very pleased with my first week. I am a tiny bit disappointed that I am so sore… have I really not been working on these major muscle groups?? Oh well, better late than never! I am glad that I did 5 of the 7 planned workouts and that I went for Saturday’s run even if I had to do it at night because of the awful temperatures.)

How was your first week of training this year? Do you also get excited about New Years that start on Mondays? Any major goals for the year? Are any of you in the Southern Hemisphere and struggling in this heat? 

 

Road to Soweto: Training Recap, Week 7

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 that vibe! 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.

Equipped with my new gym membership card, I felt like I new person this week. Work was also a lot easier, and although I had some deadlines, I had much more time to breathe and to think and to plan (and do) my workouts! A very successful week of training and I recorded my highest weekly mileage this cycle! 🙂

Monday, 23rd October: Easy Run (30 min; 3.75 km)

I say Easy Run but this run was pure torture. I struggled and luckily I was with Tapiwa otherwise I may actually have quit half-way. Remember last week I boasted about my body being “in flow” and feeling so light on my feet? Haha. Today’s run was the exact opposite – I felt like my shoes were laced with lead and every step took a lot of effort. I don’t think I have ever been so glad to be done with a run! It was also extremely hot so this may have contributed to how I was feeling out there!

Tuesday, 24th October: Boot Camp Class (50 min)

The last time I went for a gym class was probably 8 years ago… maybe even 9 or 10… So doing this class was big. First things first, I booked my class using an App — that had me laughing out loud. There was no such thing a decade ago! Secondly, even in my gymming days, I NEVER did an early morning class. But today I was up at 04:40 and by 05:15 I was in a room with many others warming up for the class. Who knew so many people go to the gym at that ungodly hour!? The place was buzzing with people. I think that alone was enough to shock my body into action! The actual class was really good – we did a circuit moving from station to station every minute. I did well on the rowing machine and the bike, and some of the leg workouts. I struggled with the exercises involving my upper body and I definitely have a lot more work to do. The instructor was tough but he did say to me towards the end that, “Yeah, even slow motion movements like that are okay!” I wasn’t quite sure whether to smile or to roll my eyes! By 06:05 the class was done – we were all exhausted and sweaty, but remarkably cheerful. I was home in five minutes, just in time to see my 5 year old off to school, and to get my 3 year old ready for nursery school.

Wednesday, 25th October: Rest Day

Yay – for rest day! My upper body was really sore from Tuesday’s Boot Camp Class! But sore in a nice way – I felt aches in muscles I didn’t even know I had! I was so grateful not to be running today – it must have been around 40°C out there!

Thursday, 26th October: Run (30:14 min; 4.01 km)

I decided to go for a run around 20:10 when it was a lot cooler (28°C as opposed to 40!). After Monday’s awful run, I redeemed myself! A much faster pace, and a lot more comfortable.

Friday, 27th October: Rest Day

Halloween was not big in Botswana when I was growing up but over the last 5 years or so, the tradition has slowly worked its way in! We were invited to a Halloween Event and the kids had a fabulous time trick-or-treating for the first time! 🙂

Saturday, 28th October: Race Day (2:42:18 hours; 17.6 km)

I participated in my 13th Race of my 17 Race Challenge with Tapiwa! I love trail races but I don’t think they love me too much! For the first one I did this year, I missed a turn and ended up very lost! In another trail race, I got mugged with 5 km left to run. And then there was Saturday’s race… It was supposed to be a 15 km trail race, but they had obviously not measured it well because it ended up being 17.6 km. We were told the only water stop would be at the 9 – 10 km point and it was actually at the 15 km point (?). As we were at the back of the pack, we spent so much time trying to figure whether we were lost or not especially when we reached 12 km and the water-point they had said was at the 9 km mark was nowhere in sight. The good thing though is that this was my longest run ever and it was brilliant preparation for the Soweto Race! 🙂 Here is the race recap!

Sunday, 29th October: Blogging Day 🙂

Mileage this week: 25.36 km

Mileage this training cycle: 82.22 km

What do you do to celebrate Halloween? Have you run races where the distance was completely off? How was your week of working out? 🙂

Road to Soweto: Training Recap, Week 6

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.

After a disastrous three weeks, I was determined to do better this week and although I still struggled with my workload, my mileage for the week was HIGHER than it was for the previous three weeks COMBINED! LOL! I say that is a win!

Monday – Wednesday, 16th – 18th October: Unplanned “Rest Days”

Same old story. The new project at work meant long hours at the office on Monday and Tuesday, and then on Wednesday I chose to re-group and catch up with a friend instead of working out.

Thursday, 19th October: Easy Run (Treadmill, 36:25 min; 5 km)

In the morning  I started toying with the idea of doing 5 km. Usually my weekday runs are around 3/ 3.5 km. By the time I got home and changed, I was determined to do 5 km. I put on the Moana DVD for the kids and then hopped on the treadmill. It was such a good run – I felt like my body was “in flow” and I was so light on my feet. I remembered to pull myself upright when I started feeling tired towards the end and before I knew it, I was done! Yipppeee!!

Friday, 20th October: Legal Rest Day.

Saturday, 21st October: Long Run (1:20:40 hours; 10 km)

Runfession Time! So my plan was to do around 6 km but on Thursday or Friday my friend Elisa said she was doing a 16 km Long Run. Tapiwa said she would join, and then Polelo hopped on the bandwagon… so I slowly started convincing myself that waking up at 05:00 am wasn’t so bad after all and having a group would be good for me. Kind of forced hubby to join in too. So we all assembled at the Builder’s Warehouse parking lot at Airport Junction and by 05:50 we set off. We started at the Airport Lights and headed towards Phakalane. Tapiwa, Polelo and I stuck together for most of the run as we were doing 10 km and we maintained a good conversational pace. The route was quite nice as there were some gentle ups and downs, but I didn’t like that there was so much traffic! The last 2 km for me were tough but I pushed through and was overjoyed at the end. Once we were reunited in the parking lot we went for breakfast at Cappuccino’s. There must be some perks for getting up at that time and going for a run, right?!? Lol!

Once we were done with breakfast… I joined the gym and signed a contract for TWO years! What an awesome induction I had – I’ve got my online account now, I have downloaded the app with all the class information, etc., and on Monday I am going to register the two kids for the Kids Club so I can bring them along on some days! I am feeling nervous but mostly excited and motivated!

Sunday, 22nd October: Blogging Day 🙂

Mileage this week: 15 km

Mileage this training cycle: 56.86 km

Do you prefer running on your own or with a group of friends? Do you enjoy going to the gym? Have you found gym classes that complement your running?