This week I am proud of…

This week I am proud of myself for completing my first trail ultra – and not losing my sense of humour once.  It is the second longest running race I have ever done and by far the longest time on my legs.  It took me 7h21 minutes.  I did the Addo Elephant Trail Run 44 km.  My first of 3 planned Ultra‘s for the year and the only one on trail.

I am not going to lie it was tough, but I loved it. There were parts where the trail was so steep that I slid back and a hill where I began to wonder why on earth I had not done more (read any) squats or lunges in preparation but all in all I did not find it too bad.

My sister and I and more than a few friends completed the 44km Addo Elephant Trail, there was also a 76km, which I did not even contemplate, although my husband has said he will not be surprised WHEN I tell him I am going to do it :-)

I was a little nervous going into this – the route profile is hectic and well, it is 44km on trail so not for the faint hearted, but I had heard it was beautiful.

Addo Elephant Trail Run 44km Route Profile

Addo Elephant Trail Run 44km Route Profile

We ran through the Addo Elephant Park – but not the section with the elephants or lions (I might have run bit faster then….) and the area is absolutely breath-taking.  We started at Kabouga Gate and ended at Zuurberg Mountain Inn.  The scenery and terrain varied so much from dense bush to open plateaus with spectacular views.  There was even a rock pool that we swam in at the 37km mark and it was very difficult to get out of that cool water.

Here are few photos but they and my words do not do the area justice.

 

Addo Elephant Trail Run - The Start (do we look a little nervous....)

Addo Elephant Trail Run – The Start (do we look a little nervous….)

Addo Elephant Trail Run - still early(ish) on.

Addo Elephant Trail Run – still early(ish) on.

This was rather steep....

This was rather steep….

Sister Selfie

Sister Selfie

At the top

At the top

Addo Elephant Trail Run

Addo Elephant Trail Run

Addo Elephant Trail Run

Addo Elephant Trail Run

Addo Elephant Trail Run

Addo Elephant Trail Run

Yes, I know... It might have taken less than 7 hours 21 minutes if I had not stopped to take photos of spider webs

Yes, I know… It might have taken less than 7 hours 21 minutes if I had not stopped to take photos of spider webs

Thanks to everyone that ran with me, especially Heather, Nicola and Georgie.  Well done to everybody that finished both runs.

Not a medal, but very a very nice finishers memento

Not a medal, but very a very nice finishers memento

This year’s race was superbly organised by Free Spirit Adventures.  It was their first year having just taken it over and although I am not sure what it was like before to me they did a fantastic job.

 

What are you proud of this week (remember it does not have to be sports related)

Camping themed 5th party

Camping was not my theme of choice for this year, but Little Miss K wanted camping and I liked the theme so camping it was.  I initially wanted a Book Worm party.

Quite a few of my friends said I was insane to go with Camping…Maybe insane was not quite the word they used, but mad was mentioned more than once, as was tempting fate. Our family record with camping is not a good one. We have been camping 4 times since Kaylin was born and 4 times we have ended up either at the doctors or casualty or both.

I decided actual camping and a camping theme party were vastly different and went with it anyway.

Here are the photos.  (I am quite proud of how it turned out)

The Birthday Girl and Door Stop

The Birthday Girl and Door Stop

She was very excited that I made them both out of icing and that they were both on the cake….

The Party Table - Camping

The Party Table – Camping

Camp Kaylin - Camping themed Cake

Camp Kaylin – Camping themed Cake

Mix your own Trail Mix

Mix your own Trail Mix

The party pack Backpacks (each guest was given a little torch inside)

The party pack Backpacks

 

The backpack party packs, there was little torch inside each

The backpack party packs, there was little torch inside each

 

I made these little backpacks using a little paper bag and some ribbon.  It was actually much easier than I thought it was going to be.  Just make sure you find the paper bags with the flat base.

Campfire Flames aka NikNaks

Campfire Flames aka NikNaks

This is a disposable braai – but the grid was unnecessary as were the legs – so you could just use an aluminum roasting dish.

Wraps or Bedding Rolls

Wraps or Bedding Rolls

 

Bear Poop......

Bear Poop…… (chocolate, need I say more)

So this is what I did differently this year, than any of the other years.

Firstly – the biggest I did not have it at home.  Oh bliss – why did I ever do them at home before.

Secondly – I paid a little extra for the decor.  I looked through their themes, and then chose the closed to the theme I wanted. This is actually the venue’s fairy theme but I told them I did not want any fairy stuff just the woodland look.  I then made everything else to suit – red and green.

Thirdly – all the baked good are box mixes. I love making the little figures for the cakes, but dont actually like baking.  I find it stressful.  This was a lot easier.  Next time I might even just buy a pre-made cake and decorate it.

And then that is about it – once it is over you just pack up and go….

I have also realised that my daughter is nearly as bad as I am when it comes to planning birthdays in advance. She has already told me what themes she would like for the next 3.

What are you proud of this week?

A friend and fellow runner ran an amazing race this weekend and she posted about it on Facebook, but she started her post “I am genuinely not trying to brag…”

I totally understood what she was trying to say but it has been bugging me!  Not the fact that she posted about her awesome run, not the fact that she has achieved so much, but the fact that she felt she need to clarify or play it down.  She was proud of what she and had achieved and how far she had come and wanted to tell people about it and rightly so, but….

But what!  I see this so often and I am guilty of it myself.  I am in the business of celebrating achievements but often don’t mention my own for fear of being thought to be big headed, or boastful or that I make somebody else feel bad that they have not achieved the same.  I will often get orders for medal hanger from friends of family members who are proud of each other, but less from people buying it for themselves.  I will also get orders from people who tell me all about their friends’ achievements and how proud they are of their friend only to find out that they have achieved just as much if not more.

And so, in keeping with blog theme and THIS post, we should all be proud of ourselves, no matter what the achievement.  Our first 5 km, our first 100m swim, our Mtb ride, our first Ultra Marathon or even the first cake that did not flop.  If somebody else has not quite gotten there, then we should encourage them to achieve, but not by downplaying our own achievements.  Our achievements should motivate them, not make them despondent.  When did it become a bad thing to brag a little?

So, what are you proud of this week – it does not have to be sports related.  I am very proud of the cake I decorated and party I threw for my daughter.  I think it turned out great.

And for the record I have given up baking from scratch – far too stressful.  The cake was a box mix.   I love decorating cakes but do not like baking…..

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I think should be a regular (hopefully weekly) feature… What are you proud of this week?  What do you think?

Friendly City Marathon

On Saturday it was the Rafi’s Friendly City Marathon and it was my first big race for the year.  After the marathon in December I was not holding out much hope for it…

I trained a tiny bit more this time with a couple of runs around the 30km mark, but  I also realised that before my last one I did everything wrong so this time I made sure my race prep was better.  I ate properly the entire week leading up to it and especially the day before.  For me this means staying off the grains, eating more fats and making sure I get loads of green veggies in.  I also made sure that I was off my feet for most of Friday.

My other plans was to implement a run/walk strategy right from the start. They had a water point every 3 km and I planned to walk every single one of them, right from the third kilometer, whether I felt I need to or not.  I also planned on walking the two hills.  My plan in the December marathon was the total opposite.  I planned on running until 21km and then seeing what happened.

So, how did it go?  ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!

The smile says it all.

The smile says it all.

I could not have asked for a better marathon.  Not only did I get a personal best of over 21 minutes, I got a better seeding for Comrades (so now my sister and I are in the same batch) and better that all of that I loved every minute of it.  There was not a minute in the race where I felt like it was too far or I was aching.  There were a few points where I was counting down till the next water point so I could walk, but they seemed to come pretty quickly.

Right from the start I walked every water point.  It was so tempting to run the first few, especially the 3km one as I felt fine but I stuck to my plan.  The first time I walked not at a water point was on the first hill and that was in the last 10 km.  I had planned on walking that anyway.  I think my last 5 kilometers were about the quickest of the entire race.  I cannot believe the difference from the marathon 2 months ago!  It just shows what a difference a clear plan and good race prep can do.

Time Friendly City Marathon

I now feel so much more confident for the rest of my goals for this year.  My next major one is at the end of the month – the Addo Elephant Trail Run 44km.  At least with this, it’s a trail run so I will be taking my camera and appreciating the amazing scenery of the Eastern Cape.

Friendly City Marathon Medal

 

 

 

My races for 2015

My running goals for 2015

I love running and being fit, but I need goals.  I am not very good at getting up at 4:30am day after day “for fun”  I need something to training for – a goal to work towards and so, to keep motivated (and because the races sell out very quickly) I have already entered all my “big” races for the year.  I am VERY excited and more than a little scared.  They are a stretch for me, there are some rather big ones in there – some because of the distances and another because of the technical bits (and tough cut offs).

Here they are:

First up – the Friendly City Marathon.  I have already qualified for both Two Oceans and Comrades but am going to do the Friendly City Marathon in February anyway. I had hoped to improve my seeding in Comrades, but I have not run much more than I did before the last one (common problem) so will just run it for fun. Last year this race was my first stand alone marathon.

Next up, but still in February is my first rather big race – a 44km trail run in Addo.  This will be hard for a number of reasons, firstly it’s an ultra-marathon (anything over 42.2 km is an Ultra), secondly it is a trail run and thirdly it is probably going to be very hot.

Next up is Two Oceans Ultra Marathon – I was toying with this one, but SA Medal Hangers will have a stand at the Expo so I will be in Cape Town anyway so thought why not…. I will consider it a training run for my next BIG one, which will be………

Yes, the Comrades Marathon…… Yikes!!!  This one is rather scary – the distance, the heat….. the fact that SA Medal Hangers will have a stand at the expo and I need to figure out a way to do that and run…. It is not a good idea to stand too much in the days leading up to the race.

Then, in October, the one that I am most looking forward to.  My sister, her fiancé and I have all managed to get an entry for the Otter Trail Run.  The have 2 races, one with very strict cut offs and the other still very tough but slightly more lenient.  We are doing the slightly more lenient one.  This is the race I am most excited about and most nervous about…. It is 42km on very technical trail.  I love trail running but am not that good over very technical stuff – or on hectic ups… or downs…. And this race has all of those. But hey – it is on one of my favourite trails so how bad can it be… J

So those are my big races – I will do a few smaller ones in between, mostly because I love races – they are my social time. It is where I see all my friends and chat, sometimes run a bit….

PS: you can click on the names of the races (highlighted) for more info

No more ordinary!

I have had this blog for nearly 8 years and over that time I have mentioned many times that I find it difficult to “label” myself.  I never call myself a “triathlete” a “runner” or an “artist” and yet this whole time I have been labelling myself as “ORDINARY

No more.  I am not ordinary!  My daughter is not ordinary!  She is not Little OL and I do not live “An Ordinary Life”

I did not do a word for 2014 but I am going to for 2015 and it is going to be “AWESOME”.

I have a VERY wise friend and she once said that you teach people how to treat you and she is so right!  I have let people treat me as ordinary, I have even labeled myself as ordinary, so how can I expect any different.

My reason for my blog title “An Ordinary Life” initially was not that I thought my life was ordinarily, it was that I thought it was anything but.  It was that I, a girl from an ordinary town, an ordinary family could live such an extraordinarily life.  And an extra ordinary life I do lead.  I make it that way.  And my family is also anything but ordinary.

My confidence levels over my 30’s and 40’s have sunk!  But I am reclaiming them. I have done some AWESOME things and intend to do a lot more.  I will not be called ordinary and I will no longer be treated as such.

So, firstly – for those of you that don’t know here are some of my some  achievements!

I am a MOMMY! (to the most extra ordinary 4 year old)

I am an IRONMAN

I am a ULTRA DISTANCE RUNNER

I am an ARTIST (and have actually sold quite a few paintings)

I am a WORLD TRAVELER – I have been around the globe, right around.  I have worked in 6 different countries and traveled to a lot more.

I am a UNIVERSITY GRADUATE.  I put myself through UNISA after returning to South Africa in 2000 and have a B.Com.

I am CLEVER – no explanation needed.

I have climbed KILOMANJARO, my sister mom and I climbed it to celebrate my mom’s 60th Birthday (yep, no ordinary family)

I once READ 365 Fiction books in one year.  I was in Std 9.  They were not all literary greats but it was still a book a day for a year….. Not including set works or text books.  Some books took me more than a day, but I read a quick read in between to make up. (yes, there were quite a few Mills and Boons in there – I was 16 ……) I read quickly – I still do.

I obtain provincial colours in ROLLER SKATING…. And came second in my age group on South Africa (I was 12)

At one stage I could speak, write and read SWEDISH fluently

I run my own COMPANY

I own several PROPERTIES

So, that is it for now… I am sure there is more stuff that I have done, accomplished and achieved!

My business is all about celebrating achievements and it is about time that I celebrated my own.

So from now, NO MORE ORDINARY!  I am not ordinarily, I have never been ordinary and I have no intention of ever being ordinary!

In the words of Anaïs Nin “Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments.”

An ordinary life

I am sorry I can’t credit the photo – I am not sure who took it.

Trail Running – my favourite part of winter

This winter however has been FUN!!!

I have been running a lot more than last winter!  That was not hard, last winter I was off injured for the majority of the time.

There are some amazing trails around PE and we have been making the most of them.  Most of them are free, some you pay a nominal amount – all are very worth it.

Here are a few of my favourite photos

First, My favourite one of me running.  (Thank you Willie Lawson for taking it)

Pamela - Woodridge Trail Run

Me – Trail running, my happy place.  Woodridge Trail Run

3 Rivers Trails 12km

3 Rivers Trails, training run

3 Rivers Trails, training run

Baakens Valley Series organised by Free Spirit Adventures

Baakens Valley Series organised by Free Spirit Adventures

Alexandria Hiking Trail (thanks Linda Rowe Photography)

Alexandria running on the Hiking Trail (thanks Linda Rowe Photography) also organised by Free Spirit Adventures

My awesome sister (and Drylands partner)

My awesome sister (and Drylands partner)

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Under Van Staden’s Bridge. An informal run to support the Friends of van Stadens and the Flower Reserve

Did you know that it is free to visit the Van Stadens Flower reserve and there are walks, runs and mountain bike trails that you can use all year round.

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Crossways Farm Village

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King Protea 3 Rivers Trails – Crossways

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3 Rivers Trails – Crossways

Notes on the 3 of the venues:

In Port Elizabeth – Baakens Valley – FREE!!  There are many access points to the Valley all throughout the city.  It is free to run, walk or bike here but it is advisable to go in a group.  We have not had any problems but I have heard of some people being harrased or mugged. BE CAREFUL

Port Elizabeth – Surrounding areas:

Van Stadens Flower Reserve, access on on the same road as the Van Stadens Pass and Woodridge Schools. You can visit the Facebook group “Friends of Van Stadens or the website VAN STADENS: for more info.  The reserve spans both sides of the N2 and is stunning.  Entry is free of charge and there are easy walks, hikes and bike paths. There are also more challenging trails for running and walking. The vegetation is diverse and has wooded areas and fynbos.  It is awesome.

3 Rivers Trails - Crossways Farm Village  Cost R40.00 For more information visit their Facebook page or website 3 Rivers Trails.  The trails are marked and there are many different options for mountain biking, running and walking and all different distances. Each time we have been we have done a different route.  Those that did the Port Elizabeth leg of the Rhino Run will know it – this was the venue. Sign in and pay at the Crossways Farm Village Country Kitchen.  If you plan on doing parts of the Longmore Forest, you will also need a forestry permit.

If you would like to stay up to date on trail runs in the Port Elizabeth area there is a group on Facebook called Trail Adventures which is updated regularly.

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