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, 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 Cycling, Family, Ironman, Ironman 70.3, Port Elizabeth, Training, Triathlon

This weekend

I think I am living in denial about this weekend.  I have not even thought much about it and am not stressed (yet).

It is Ironman weekend!  I love Ironman weekend!  I love the build-up, the excitement, the expo, the registration and seeing all the athletes.

What I have not been thinking about is the fact that I have entered the Corporate Challenge Triathlon (10% of the IM distance).  What I have not been thinking about is that I have not been on my bike since January, nor have I swum.  Yikes.  Thankfully I am not a stranger to doing an event with minimal training…

This weekend it will also be my amazing sisters 6th Ironman. We did our first one together in 2007 and she has just kept going, only missing one when she was living in London.  I am so amazed by her.  Did I mention that she swam the Bell Buoy Challenge on Easter Weekend???  I am in total awe of her.

The other thing that I am in denial about this weekend is the fact that it is my birthday!  Oh dear…  I still have not celebrated my last birthday and here is another one.  At least I am planning on doing something I absolutely love this weekend – cheering on at an Ironman. Believe me the temptation to do it as it was on my Birthday was extremely, but sanity prevailed.

So, if you are down near Hobie Beach on Sunday, come and say hi.  I will be the one eating handing out cupcakes in between screaming for my sister.

Posted in East London, Ironman, Ironman 70.3, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, Triathlon, Women

Essential Ironman Preparation

There is a lot that goes into getting ready for an Ironman or ½ Ironman race.  Obviously there are the months and months of training and the mental preparation.  That we all know about, but once you have done that there is so much more to do.  I am talking about the more important stuff!  The stuff that really matters on race day – like ensuring your toenails are painted (preferably matching your bike), your legs and under arms are shaved or waxed and your hair is done.  In my case when I say done I mean coloured.  Horror of horrors, your finish photo has the grey showing!  So, to ensure that this disaster does not befall me I am off to an emergency appointment with my hair dresser this afternoon.

A few weeks ago I realised that my next appointment was only after the 20th I called him in a panic and asked if he could please, please, please squeeze me in beforehand.  He laughed and said yes, and I was the 2nd person that week to phone him for the exact same reason.

Very glad to see that we PE athletes have our priorities straight!

 

Posted in Cycling, Family, Ironman, Ironman 70.3, Ocean Racing Series, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, Running, Swimming, Trail Running, Training, Training, Triathlon, weather, Wetsuit

2012- A year’s Race Review

I am not going to review every race I took part in – that would take far too long.  I love racing!  Ok, I don’t like racing as such – I like races.  I like the spirit, the social aspect and the friends I have that race.  I don’t go out to clubs, pubs or bars.  I don’t even go out much to restaurants or coffee shops – I go to races.  This is where I get my social fill.  I meet up with good friends and acquaintances.  I see my brother and sister and mom.  I chat, I race and I go home.  I love it! (I also feel less guilty leaving Mr OL to watch Little OL if I am “racing”)

I am not saying I am not competitive, I am although it might not seem that way.  I don’t win, I usually don’t even place.  In fact I have been known to be dead cold stone last!  Yip, prize giving has been held and I have walked run across the line.  But I do check my results, I watch my time and I have been trying to get faster this year (it’s worked).  But that is not my main reason.  I just like to take part.

However 2012 did not start well.  My first big race was Ironman South Africa 70.3 in East London.  I got sick 2 days before the race and decided not to do it. A DNS. It was disappointing, but not as much as most people (myself included) believed it would be.  My goal for that race was to get back into training, and I did that. So whether I did the race or not I achieved my goal.

My poor bike - checked in and nowhere to go
My poor bike – checked in and nowhere to go

However, after the following 6 months I was feeling more than a little bit down hearted.  I pulled out of the PE Herald cycle tour after 75 km with very bad cramps.  It was my first cycle race.   A DNF.  Also, what was to be my first stand-alone marathon, Knysna Forest Marathon, was cancelled due to weather. (photo thanks to Mike Brewis)

Gouna Crossing 14 July 2012
Gouna Crossing 14 July 2012

I decided to withdraw a month before the Baviaans Trail run as I did not feel I would be ready.

Thankfully the smaller races went well, and I have enjoyed training. One of my favourites is definitly the Urban Run.

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Urban Run - me on the right
Urban Run – me on the right

I have also rekindled my love for trail running.  I did quite a few of the local trail runs, with quite a few of them being longer than 20km.  I have also enjoyed the 10km road races I have entered and have seen my speed improve.  Also my 21.1km time is almost on par with what it was before I had Little OL and I am happy with that.

I have entered a few triathlons which have been fun.  The first one of the year was the Corporate Triathlon the day before Ironman South Africa.  We had stunning weather – unfortunately for the Ironman competitors it had changed by the following morning.

Me on the right
Corporate Triathlon – Me on the right

Although I have not done as much open water swimming as I would have liked to have done I am happy with how it is going. The last event of 2012 was on 31st of December being the inaugural Mandiba Bay Mile swim from Humewood Beach to Kings Beach.  The distance according to my Garmin was actually 1.94km and I completed it in 39 minutes – which came as a total surprise to me.

Zport's Mandiba Bay Mile
Me hitting the beach (photo thanks to Zports)

I just hope I can repeat that on the 20th January when I attempt to do Ironman South Africa 70.3 again.  I could not have hoped to end 2012 of on a better note.

I would like to thank all the people that make such an effort to bring all these events to PE and surrounds, I for one greatly appreciate it.

Let’s hope that 2013 starts a lot better for me.  I am positive it will and very excited for the 70.3 (although I probably should have been on my bike a bit more)

Posted in 30 Days of Gratitude, Cycling, Family, Ocean Racing Series, Ordinarylife, Plettenberg Bay, Port Elizabeth, Swimming, Training, Triathlon, Wetsuit

A long fantastic weekend.

I am happy!  I am not sure if it is because I am training lots, if it is because I hired a life coach and I am seeing the results, if it is because of the 30 Days of Gratitude, if it is because it is summer or most probably a combination of all of these but whatever it is long may it continue!

This weekend definitely added to my “happiness” feelings.  A while back I decided to take Friday off.  I could not get my regular hair appointment; the only one available was during working hours, I booked it anyway.  After I booked it I was wondering how to go about getting the time off and then decided to take the whole day and do a total pamper spoil day, something I have never done before so I booked myself a pedicure and massage as well.  Ahhhh – the joys.  My biggest problem was ensuring I kept my toenails (running and toenails are not good friends).  The day was awesome – not that I will have much leave left after January, but this is something I will do again.

Then on Saturday the OL family took a trip to Plett for breakfast.  A really good friend and her family was visiting from the UK so we met them at the Beacon Isle Hotel.  It was stunning – we ate breakfast and then headed to the pool for the rest of the morning.  I could have stayed there for quite a while longer.  We used to go to Plett often growing up and it is one of my favourite places – definitely a “happy place”.  The last time I was there was when I was pregnant and we went to see the same friend.  Between us we now have an extra kid each.  But it was still like we saw each other not so long ago – I miss her.  You can see photos from the last time we where there over HERE.

Beacon Isle Hotel
Beacon Isle Hotel
The 2 "new kids"
The 2 “new kids”

 

Enough photos mom!
Enough photos mom!

On Sunday morning I met a friend at Hobie Beach for a quick ride before we took part in the Ocean Race Series swim.  It was my first Ocean Race Series swim of this season and I was reasonably happy with the results.  It was supposed to be 1 km, but according to my Garmin it was about 1.53km (some of this extra was probably down to my zig-zagging but not all) and I did it in 29 minutes.  If I swim that pace in East London at the 70.3 I will be fine.

All this beach, sea, sand, pools and sun has got me feeling like it is summer holidays.  One more week of work.  I cannot wait!!!

Posted in 30 Days of Gratitude, Hobie Beach, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, Running, Shark Rock Pier, Training

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 21 – Day 23

Day 21 – I am grateful that FINALLY I have the keys to my property. The tenant has moved out and no damage has been done – except for dent in my pocket the size of a couple of month’s rent.

Day 22 – I am just grateful in general.  I am not sure if I am a lucky person, or just choose not to focus on the negative but generally stuff is good and I am grateful for that.

Day 23 – today I am just grateful it is Friday!

Here is another picture of Port Elizabeth, Hobie Beach.  It was taken from the balcony of our running club on Tuesday night after the run.  Seriously can the view get any better?  I don’t think so!  Body Concept must have one of the best views and locations of any running club in the world!

Hobie Beach, Port Elizabeth
Posted in 30 Days of Gratitude, Art, Baby OL, Children, Cookies, Family, Food, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, Triathlon, weather

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 15 to Day 19

Day 15 – I am grateful for the ladies at my art classes I go to. I have been going for over 11 years and it is more about the social aspect that actually getting any painting done.

Day 16 – I am grateful that it is Friday!

Day 17 – I am grateful that I get to spend the day with Little OL.  She is getting cuter and cuter each day.

Day 18 – I am grateful to Mr OL for watching and entertaining Little OL so I could do a triathlon in the morning and finish decorating over 100 Christmas cookies that a friend ordered.

Christmas Tree Cookies iced and ready for wrapping.

Day 19 – I am grateful that it feels like summer is well and truly here!  I woke up this morning and it just had that summer feeling about it. When I was out in my car at lunch time the temperature said 30 degrees (which made me grateful for air-con). But I love summer!!!!!

Wrapped Christmas Tree Cookie