Posted in Hiking Trails, Port Elizabeth, Running, Trail Running

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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Posted in Charity, hiking, Hiking Trails, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, Running, South Africa, Trail Running, Training, Training

The Rhino Run 2013

On Sunday there were various Rhino Runs held around the country and there were 2 to choose from in our area. One at Kenton-on-Sea and the other at Crossways Village near Van Standens. I did that one. It was a lot closer to town, and I love that area.

(Its an annual event – so next year why not find one in your area.

Photo by Willi Lawson
Photo by Willi Lawson

As you know, I have not been running much lately, my furthest run as been 11km so I was not really sure what distance I should enter. There was a 6km, a 12 km and a 20km. As I have the Dryland coming up in November and I really need to get some distance in I chose the 20km. Yikes!!! But it was fine. Or at least it was fun up until my Garmin said I had already done 20km then my mind said I needed to stop. Those last 1.8km were tough!!!

The view from the top
The view from the top

All in all though it was a stunning race – tough but stunning. You know you are not out for a walk in the park when at the race briefing they say “and then you run around and up the back, over the top then down the front of Lady’s Slipper Mountain to the finish”! When “hilly course” and “over the mountain” are mentioned in the same race briefing you know you are in for some fun!!!

Photo by Willi Lawson
Photo by Willi Lawson

You see the “hill” behind me…. Yip, I had just run over it! (this was also at the 20km and the legs fell off in about 5 steps from here……)  EDIT: I think this might be the first photo of me EVER where both feet are off the ground at the same time and I actually look like I am doing something resembling running!

I managed it in just under 3 hours and was extremely happy with that time (I even stopped and took a couple of photos). Even if I had been training it is pretty much what I would have expected. In fact it is a lot better than some of my runs of a similar distance. I am now very excited for the Dryland – I know I need to work on hills a bit more but my foot gave me no hassles when I was running and I am loving my new trail shoes – (Innov8)

Posted in Baby OL, Children, Family, hiking, Hiking Trails, Ironman, Medal Displays, Medal Hangers, My New Business, Ordinarylife, Parenting, Running, SA Medal Hangers, South Africa, Trail Running

Hitting the trails

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(I love this picture – all lined up to wave goodbye as Mr OL leaves for work)

 

I have started running regularly again and I am happy girl.

This past weekend I did the Sunshine Coast Trail Run and it was awesome. I even managed to be sensible about the whole thing and restrict myself to the 8km option. There was a 20km but I figured that was pushing it a bit and one sure fire way to get injured again, so sanity prevailed. I did this race last year as well, and although I thought I was way fitter last year I found this year easier. Maybe I went slower. I think I walked pretty much the same amount.

However, sanity can only prevail for so long though and I have entered the 20km Rhino Run to be held on the 22 September…… To those of you that have not heard of the Rhino Run, you should look into it. They are held all around the country at the same time in aid off – yip Rhinos. There are even 3 options in the Eastern Cape, one at Crossways, and one at Kenton and one at East London, so no excuses (if you like trail running). There are 6km, 12km and 20km options. (You can enter the PE one HERE)
Then the Fairview Dryland is getting closer and closer! I am getting more and more excited and nervous! But I figure I will be walking most of those hills no matter how fit I am so I may as well look at it as a bit of hike and less of a run…….
Next weekend it is also the Urban Run. That is my all-time favourite fun event. I LOVE it. I am so glad that I will be able to do it as I was getting rather nervous that my foot would be ok. Looks like it will be fine.
OK, enough updates for now.
Wait – one more.     I have been getting customer photos for SA Medal Hangers and it has been so much fun to see everybody’s medals. Can I just say I am loving this!  I have put the photos upon Facebook – go have a look.  Such awesome achievements. I get excited for them.  Look at all those Ironman SA medals

SA Medal Hangers
SA Medal Hangers
Posted in Baby OL, Children, Family, hiking, Hiking Trails, Ordinarylife, Parenting, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Starting young

I took a couple of days leave last week to spend the last few days of holidays with Little OL and boy was it FUN!  Time flew.  I am not sure I could ever be a “stay at home” mom, but days when I don’t have to go into work are pure joy.  (who am I kidding I could totally be a stay at home mom)

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While off I wanted to do some active stuff with Little OL – she is becoming a bit of a couch potato and I don’t like it.  Unfortunately during the holidays the nanny has been putting her in front of the TV and that is pretty much where she stays – given the option though she would rather be doing something else, so I made sure we did “something else”.

I roped my mom in and we went out.

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My mom is always up for a trip somewhere and on Thursday she suggested we go and climb Lady’s Slipper.  It is a hill just outside PE that my mom climbs regularly but I have never done before.  I was definitely keen!  It was awesome, we did not go all the way up, as I did not want to have to worry about Little OL and her safety, so as soon as it started getting a bit rocky and steep we stopped.  Saying that we still got more than ½ way up.  I loved it and Little OL is still bragging to anyone that will listen that she climbed a mountain.

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It was pretty cool having all 3 generations walking up the hill together and hopefully it was the first of many hikes that we will all do together.  My mom and I used to hike quite a bit together before Little OL was born, and now that she is getting older hopefully I will be able to get back into it.  I think I have mentioned before that for my mom’s 60th Birthday my mom, sister and I climbed Kilimanjaro…… Let’s see what Little OL and I will do to celebrate my 60th…. (thank fully still quite a few years away.

Kilimanjaro Summit 2005
Kilimanjaro Summit 2005

It felt really good to get my hiking boots on again!

Posted in Hiking Trails, Knysna, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, Running, South Africa, Trail Running, Training

I plan to run this city (and its surrounds)

I am not a fan of winter, however if it continues like this I might just change my mind.  It was 30 degrees in PE on Monday.  In fact I think I am going to change my mind anyway, regardless of the weather.  My reason –trail running!  I love trail running.  I have done a few over the past couple of years, but really go into it last year.  This year it is becoming a bit of an obsession!  So much so that my sister and I have entered a multi stage event in November – I am really excited.

It is the Fairview Dryland Traverse and is over 4 days, the first day being a 8km prologue with parts of it through the Cango Caves!  How awesome. The next three days are each about 27km.  VERY EXCITED!  However after last week’s little 23km run I have realise I need a lot more training, on trails, it is very different to the roads.  So I have tried to set up a schedule of events to keep myself going and excited. I won’t be able to do all of these, and some are more for fun that training but here goes.

JUNE 2013

1st June – 11km or a 5km in Baakens Valley – http://www.trailadventures.co.za to enter and for more details

2nd June – Muck Run – for fun 8km of mud and muck (Entries for this event are SOLD OUT and yes, I do have an entry) http://www.zports.co.za/

Muck run

8 June – Royalston for Rhinos – This is to be held at the Royalston Reserve, which borders on the Lake that Firefly mentioned in a couple of his blog posts – HERE.  Entries are open there is a 15km and a family 5km –  http://www.trailadventures.co.za

Run for Rhinos

15 June – 18km or a 5km – http://www.trailadventures.co.za to enter and for more details

17 June – 10km or a 5km SOS Horsing Around Trail Run Series –Schoenmakerskop, More details on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SosHorsingAroundTrailRunSeries

22 June – Katberg Eco Trail Run;  18 km, 10km, or a 5 km Details on below

Kat run

29 June – Heartbreak Hill 21.1km.  Not a Trail Run but fun nonetheless.  I do plan on doing this.

Heartbreak hill

JULY 2013

28 June to 7 JulyKNYSNA OYSTER FESTIVAL.  There are a whole LOAD of events to choose from (not all sporting, it is the Oyster Festival after all.

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6 July 2013 – Knysna Forest Marathon 21.1km and 42.2km- Charity Entries still open.  (I am not doing either of these – long story)

7 July – HoutKapper Trail – 27km (Entered) there is also a 16km and a 8 km .  This is the first time this event is being held and is part of the Knysna Oyster Festival Details HERE  (Yikes – it says the 27 is for “experienced trail runners – not sure if I consider myself that yet)

houtkapper-logo

20 July – 10km or a 5km SOS Horsing Around Trail Run Series – Bushpig Adventure Cape More; details on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SosHorsingAroundTrailRunSeries

AUGUST 2013

4 August – Woodridge Trail Runs – not a series this year, this is the only date  (I have done a couple of these races before – read HERE)

9 August – PROVISIONAL _ Details to be announced.  There are talks about a 25km out at Cockscombe.  Should be awesome, can’t wait to hear more.

10 August – 10km or a 5km SOS Horsing Around Trail Run Series – Walker Drive Shopping Centre – More details on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SosHorsingAroundTrailRunSeries

9 – 11 August – Southern Cross Multi Day Trail Run – Details here http://www.southerncrossadventure.co.za/calendar.html  (I won’t be doing this, but have heard it is fantastic)

SEPTEMEBER 2013

8 September – Sunshine Coast Trail Run – Details to Follow (I did this last year, was awesome, read about it HERE)

14/15 September – Urban Run – entries open on 1st June.  www.zports.co.za  ENTER , ENTER, ENTER!!!! Although not a trail run it is one of my favourite events of the year!  LOVE IT.  HERE (2012) and HERE (2011) are blog posts about the previous 2 runs held.

Urban run

14 September Baviaanskloof Trail Run – Entries are very limited and open soon.  I will not be doing it, but would like to one year.

22 September – Rhino Run – There are numerous runs held around the country with the PE event being held at at Crossways Village it has a 6km, a 12km and a 20km  Details on Facebook HERE

Rhino Run

21/22 or 23/24 SeptemberOtter Run SOLD OUT.  I would like to do this one year, but have heard it is very tough and entries are limited.  I have walked the Otter Trail a couple of times and it is an awesome part of the country.

NOVEMBER 2013

7 – 10 November – The BIG ONE – at least for me!  The FAIRVIEW DRYLAND TRAVERSE! Can’t wait.

If I have left any out that you think I would like or that you would like to include in this list please just put it in the comments and I will add it.

I also believe that there are training runs most Thursday nights, one held at Dodds Farm and one held at Hopewell Estate (run by the Charlo Running Club).  I unfortunately have art classes on a Thursday night and so have never done these.

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So, PE people you can have no excuses not to get out there and see the surround areas.  Some of these runs are actually right in the centre of the city.  You will be amazed at the beauty we have here – we are very fortunate!

Posted in hiking, Hiking Trails, Ordinarylife, Plettenberg Bay, Robberg Hike, South Africa

Awesome weekend planned!

I am very excited for this weekend. 

I have made plans to meet up with a friend that I have not seen since 1999.  

We first met in 1993 whilst working at the same place in Cape Town.  In 1994 we briefly shared a flat until I decided to go travelling and moved to London.  In 1997 she also decided to move to London and we once again briefly shared a flat.  I left (notice a trend) later that same year to go travelling.  

She still lives in the UK and besides a brief visit to Scotland in 1999 when we met up I have not seen her since. 

She is in South Africa visiting family in the Garden Route at the moment and we have decided to try and meet half way – PLETTENBERG BAY.  I can’t wait.  We are just going to go through for the day tomorrow but it should be awesome.  

Not only am I going to meet up with her but I also get to see one of my favourite places on earth!  I love the Garden Route and she and I used to spend a lot of time there.  It will be like old times – except that we are both 16 years older, married, she has a 6month old baby and I am 9 months pregnant. As I said – just like old times.

Reasons why I love PLETT! (photos taken when we did the Robberg Hike in Novemeber 2008)

Robberg in Plett November 2008
Robberg - Plettenberg Bay.
Posted in Cycling, hiking, Ironman, Morning Sickness, Ordinarylife, Pregnancy, Running, Swimming, Training, Triathlon, Wetsuit, Whale Trail, Women

Exercise and Pregnancy.

I decided to do a post about exercising and pregnancy.  Now as a disclaimer before I write I want to reiterate that I am NOT medically qualified.  Do NOT take what I write as the only way to do things and most importantly before starting (or continuing) an exercise program when pregnant CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR!!! 

That said: 

Mr OL and I decided that we would start trying to have a baby after we had been married a year – which was in August 2008.  I was quite into triathlons and running was worried that if I fell pregnant I would need to stop doing this.  So I started looking online for examples of people who had run through their pregnancy, what their experiences were and how long they were able to keep running.  I also spoke to a number of running friends and found out about their experiences. 

I also found some blogs of girls that were triathletes and moms and read what they had done.  Some good examples that I found were Bree Wee, Mama Simmons and Rachel’s blog, Run like a MotherBree Wee is a professional triathlete and her blog is very informative (and fun to read).  Mama Simmon’s has a few links to girls that were pregnant at the same time as her and continuted running.  I also went onto various forums to see what else I could find out.  In the mean time I started training for Ironman South Africa (and hoped to hell I did not fall pregnant as it grew closer and closer to the race).  Luckily I am good at counting so odds were against it. 

After IM we all know what happened.  One of the first things one of MR OL’s friends said to me was “now you have to stop all that nonsense.”  Cough, cough uhhh ‘scuse me!!!  No I don’t.  Just because I am pregnant does not mean that need to stop anything.  I bought James Clapp’s book “Exercising through your pregnancy” and started reading. 

Here is what I found out (remember that this is only my interpretation of what I have read).  Running is fine, swimming is fine, dancing is fine (except I have no rhythm and being pregnant is not going to help), aerobics is fine (except see previous post), cycling is fine and so is pretty much everything else with moderation.  With the exception of deep sea diving and high altitudes if you don’t already live up there.  Cycling is also not advised as your pregnancy progresses but just because your centre of balance is off and you might fall (or I might fall as I wobble a bit anyway). 

You can carry on running (or whatever) right through your pregnancy – with the consent of your doctor.  However if it is a low risk, normal pregnancy there should be no problems.  Obviously doing a marathon at high speed is not advised.  But your normal jog around the block(s) is actually recommended.  That old rule of not getting your heart rate above 140 has gone out the window.  Now it is recommend that you go on Rate of Perceived Exertion.  Moderate to moderate/hard is recommend.  Basically you should be able to hold a conversation (with a bit of puffing).  Just as well that HR thing went out the window, mine gets up there just buy walking around the block (I have a high HR what can I say). 

Now to the interesting things I found out while reading James Clapp’s book.  People who exercised throughout their pregnancy picked up less weight, delivered babies that had a lower fat percentage (but were the same size atomically) and were less likely to deliver late.  There were no instances were exercise had caused a baby to be born prematurely or that exercising had caused any other problems.  In fact babies of mothers who exercised were more able to cope with trauma’s during pregnancy like dehydration or hemorrhaging because the placenta was better developed.  The most interesting fact that I picked up though was of mothers who had exercised then stopped in the 3rd trimester.  Their weight caught up to and sometimes exceeded the mothers that had not exercised at all.  Their babies were quite a bit fatter and they were more likely to deliver late.  It seems to me that either exercise or don’t – but don’t’ stop ½ way!!! 

He also found that exercising moms coped better with labour, but that it did not affect duration. 

The risks people associate with exercising are that the baby will overheat or that when you exercise your blood flows away from your internal organs.  Apparently your body is designed to cope with these and protects the baby.  It appears from their research that exercising moms are more able to cope with heat than non exercising (benefit to me seeing as I will be pregnant in summer) and that yes, the blood does flow away from the internal organs including the womb, but in exercising moms the placenta is better developed, the babies heart rate also increases but not dangerously so, and the baby slows down its movement while you are exercising as if to conserve energy.  From all their tests there were not instances where this caused trauma or distress to the baby. 

Obviously there are quite a few exercises and conditions in which you should not exercise, like in excessive heat or that yoga done in a hot room and stuff like that.  You also need to make sure that you don’t dehydrate (good advice for any athlete).   Also if you are a competitive athlete you will need to cut back, but for the general recreational athlete, in consultation with her doctor it seems as if running (or jumping up and down in an aerobics room) is fine.  They do recommend that towards the end you use some support of some kind because the reason most women stop is comfort.  

Now my personal experience: I was running up till 6 weeks, in fact the morning I found out I had been for a 10km run and felt great.  However the next week morning sickness hit and I just did not feel like running or doing much of anything.  So I stopped.  I have since been walking quite a bit, including a 55km 5 day hike and been for a few shorter slow runs.  I feel a lot better now and am missing it a lot.  I will start again slowly and have set myself a goal (I don’t function without them).  As far as cycling goes – I stopped the day I found out.  I don’t want to take the chance.  I am not the best cyclist and although I have not fallen a lot, I have fallen so with my balance off it would be too risky.  I might get on the stationary bike at the gym when it gets too hot to run outside.  I also can’t wait for the weekly sea swims to start again but am worried that I won’t fit into my wetsuit.  I HATE cold water.  I am going to try and run/swim for as long as I can.  Hopefully throughout my entire pregnancy.  I will let you know how it goes. 

As for my goal – it is a triathlon 2 months after the baby is born.  It is a very short one – even shorter than a sprint.  I will see how I feel (I might not want to sit on my bike just yet). 

There is so much more that I could write and probably should, but for now I am going to stop there.  If you have any questions please feel free to ask ….. your doctor!!  Or me if you want.

If you are pregnant and want to know more I would seriously recommend reading Bree Wee’s blog about when she was pregant and what she did.  Her child is now 3.

Posted in hiking, Hiking Trails, Ordinarylife, Whale Trail

Just a few

Here are a couple of photos that I took with my digital camera.  I can’t wait to get the others developed.  For now I am going to leave you with this and a promise that I will write more detail shortly!!

Looking over the Breede River Valley
Looking over the Breede River Valley

 

Looking over the De Hoop Nature Reserve toward the sea.
Looking over the De Hoop Nature Reserve toward the sea.

 

Whale watching from afar
Whale watching from afar

 

Walking towards the 3rd hut.
Walking towards the 3rd hut.

 

Cormorants nesting - with chicks (very cute)
Cormorants nesting - with chicks (very cute)

 

Some whales - not cooperating!
Some whales - not cooperating!
Posted in Family, hiking, Hiking Trails, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, Whale Trail

Back in town!

I am back and everything I have ever read about the Whale Trail is true!  It is FANTASTIC.  I had an awesome time and would well recommend it. 

I will post pictures and more info shortly.  All I will say for now is it must have some of the nicest and best equipped hiking huts in the country.  The staff are so friendly, helpful and knowledgeable and the trail very well maintained. 

We left PE on Wednesday and got back yesterday.  It is quite a drive (7 hours) but not unbearable.  You don’t walk on the first day so that is fine, but yesterday was a bit of a rush.  It might have been better to stay another night in the area and only drive back today, but unfortunately we could not because of leave constraints…. 

I took my old film camera so will have to wait to get the photo’s developed….  It’s been a while since I used it but it is a better camera than my digital so I thought I would try it out again.  It was actually quite fun and will be interesting to see how the pictures come out.  I am so used to instant gratification of the digital that this is quite novel.  I hopefully will be able to convert (or at the worst scan) some of the photos so you can see how beautiful it was. 

And it lived up to its name – we saw LOADS of whales and some of them were really close in to shore.

Posted in hiking, Hiking Trails, Morning Sickness, Ordinarylife, Pregnancy, Running, South Africa, Whale Trail

General Update.

So I thought I had better do a general update post – what is going on!! 

Well I suppose the quick answer would be nothing much.  Which is probably why I have not been posting?  But seeing as have a blog I suppose I had better put something on it!  I have been blogging for nearly 3 years and besides when I am on holiday and don’t have access to the internet this is the slackest I have been.  Yes, the guilt is setting in. 

So – update…. 

I am 9.5 weeks pregnant – not far at all.  I put on a bit of weight initially (the only way to keep the nausea at bay was to eat) but seem to have lost it again.  Besides the nausea and fat (possibly bloated) stomach is the only different I have seen is my boobs!!!!!  I have a cleavage.  Quite a substantial one!  Wow….  Let’s hope they don’t continue to grow at this rate. After nine months I won’t be able to stand upright.  People are going to start calling me Pammy for another reason besides it being my name. 

In other news, I am going hiking soon and can’t wait.  It is still a couple of weeks away but I am really looking forward to it.  We are going to do the Whale Trail in the De Hoop Nature Reserve in the Western Cape.  It is whale season, so hopefully we see lots of them.  I am also hoping it warms up slightly!!  It is 12º Celsius in Port Elizabeth today.  I know that is not that cold to people living in some other places but we are not prepared for weather like this.  We don’t even own a single heater!!!  Lots of layers of clothing are required the minute we step inside the fridge that we call home. 

I have been really slack on the exercise front as well.  I have just been feeling so listless and nauseus and cold that the last thing I have felt like doing was going for a run or a swim.  I WILL start again soon.  I bought a book called Exercising duing pregnancy but have not read it yet.  There are certain smells that make me want to gag at the moment – mostly chemical smells – and that book has it.  I tried to start but it was not pleasant.  Maybe in a few weeks time when the nauseas abates….. 

Hmmm, any other news??? Nope, not really.  I am still here, still alive and everything seems to be going well.  I have another appointment in 2 weeks time and then another scan at week 12.  boy, oh boy am I glad that I decided to add the saver section to my hospital plan this year…..