Posted in Books, Medals, Running, Trail Running

What are you proud of this week?

This week I am proud of how much my downhill running skills have improved.  Exactly a year ago on the Lake Farm Charity Trail run a friend , feeling very sorry for me, gave me a quick 101 beginner course in downhill running. (Thank you Sheena :-))

Downhill running, especially on trails, has been a real weakness for me but over the past year I have been practising a lot.  I have been making a concerted effort to run the downhill’s, not to be overly cautious, not to slide down on my bum (although I still do that in parts) and it seem to have paid off.

This weekend, again on the Lake Farm Charity Trail Run I passed quite a few people on the downhill’s and not only did I pass them somebody called me “Speedy Gonzales” as I went by.  (I am not entirely sure she meant that as a compliment but I am taking it)

I am super proud of myself.  I still need to work on the technical down hills as I am still pretty useless on those, but I think that is more a strength issue (I see squats and lunges in my future)

What are you proud of this week?

I just love these medals, I now have 3 and they are gorgeous. They are handmade by the residents of the Lake Farm Centre.  For more info about the centre visit their website HERE

Awesome Lake Farm Trail Run Medal, hand-made by the residents of the Lake Farm Centre
Awesome Lake Farm Trail Run Medal, hand-made by the residents of the Lake Farm Centre

All in all it was a great day – an awesome 15km trail run where we saw loads of buck including giraffe. Being called Speedy Gonzales on a downhill and a second-hand book sale at the end (I got a bit carried away as the books were only R3.00)  What more could you ask for on a Saturday morning and all before 9:00am!

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Posted in Ordinarylife, Running, Trail Running, Training, Ultra Marathons

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)

Posted in Comrades Marathon, Medals, Ordinarylife, Running, South Africa, Trail Running, Training, Training

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

 

 

 

Posted in Comrades Marathon

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

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.

Posted in Cycling, Ironman, Medal Display, Medal Displays, Medal Hangers, Medals, My New Business, Ordinarylife, Running, SA Medal Hangers, South Africa, Trail Running, Training, Training, Triathlon, Two Oceans, Work

November – quite a month

So, its been exactly a month since my last day of official employment and BOY OH BOY what a month.  I have never been this busy or this excited or this stressed.  And I have loved it!

It started with me trying to get ready, not only for the Dryland Traverse but also the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge Expo.  The timing was not good as there was no cell phone reception at the De Hoek camp site where the Dryland was based, but thankfully they had set up Wi-Fi, if a bit temperamental at times.  I was going to be away for 4 days and then back for only 1 day before leaving for Johannesburg, so I needed to get everything done before I left for the run.

I was also worried about driving from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg by myself and then concerned about actually driving in Johannesburg.  Both of which were fine.  It took me about 80km to remember that I LOVE driving on my own.  I turned the music up to the max and had a blast.  I did get a few odd looks at some of the stop and go’s with my music rocking the Kombi. Not sure if it was the volume or my dodgy taste in music though…..

Thanks to Firefly for the recommendation on a accommodation as it was less than a kilometre from the Coca Cola dome and very easy to find when coming in from the N1.  No problems there.

Then the expo – I was not sure how it would go.  It was totally foreign territory to me.  I did not know how much stock to take, if people would buy or just want info.  I just hoped I sold some…..  which I did.  Not as much as I would have liked but the interest was high and as custom orders are our biggest seller most people wanted info to order later.   Which thankfully a lot have done.  That has totally exceeded my expectation.  In fact I am bouncing around on Cloud 9 at the moment.  I know a lot of the medal hangers ordered are for Christmas presents so January will be really quiet, but considering I have only just started I am ecstatic.

Here is a photo of the SA Medal Hangers stand at the expo.  What do you think?  As it was our first expo, I learnt a lot of stuff.  I will do the stand slightly differently next time, I will take less stock but have more staff and hopefully I will be a lot less stressed…….. Our next major expo is at the Cape Argus Cycle Tour in Cape Town in March and I can’t wait.

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Then, did anybody spot SA Medal Hangers in a few of the magazines……  We got write ups in the Runner’s World and the RIDE SA magazines .  I had sent them the info but had no idea they would use it – happiness is

SA Medal Hangers Runner's World  Gear New Stuff

So, what can I say! This has been one heck of a year.  My work goal for the year was by the end of 2013 to go half day in formal employment and to try and to have found something else on the side, which hopefully by the end of next year would be enough to take over.  Being retrenched kind of kicked that goal out the window, but it was replaced by something so much bigger.  My word for the year was DO and I think I have done just that.  2013 has one month left and I am excited for it and then even more excited for 2014!

Posted in Family, Medal Display, Medal Displays, Medal Hangers, Medals, My New Business, Office, Running, SA Medal Hangers, Swimming, Trail Running, Training, Triathlon, Work

Last day!

Today is my last “official” day at work. I say official because I have only been popping in and out over the past week (trying to get used to unemployment 🙂  )
I must admit that I am quite sad to leave this job. I have been working here for the past 6 years, which has been my longest stretch at one place. Before that my longest was 3 years. I have met some amazing people and have learnt a lot. People have had confidence in me and I have changed positions in the company a couple of times with my latest one being Compliance Liaison Manager, a position I enjoyed and nothing like I have done before.
But, I am also excited to leave. Although it was not my choice it is most definitely time. I have known for a while that me working full time and Little OL being at the school she is at just does not work. The days are too long for her if left in After Care and although I could fetch her at lunch and take her home which I have been doing for the past few months it is far from ideal.
Now I will be working from home, so get to spend the afternoons with her. My hours will be more flexible (set by myself) and it is something that I am passionate about. I LOVE sports, and I get so excited by what others have achieved. It is awesome that I get to see the medals that people have earned and that they are telling me the stories behind them. It also great that I am getting to be creative with the designs of the medal hangers. (can you tell I am excited about this…… lol)
So, today is a mixture of happiness, sadness and excitement. Another chapter begins!

Here are a few photos of customers hangers that they have sent me.  I love seeing them!

SA Medal Hangers
SA Medal Hangers

SA Medal Hangers
SA Medal Hangers – Table Mountain MTB
SA Medal Hangers - Triathlon
SA Medal Hangers – Triathlon
SA Medal Hangers - I LOVE MEDALS!
SA Medal Hangers – I LOVE MEDALS!

 

And I agree – I lOVE MEDALS!

Posted in Comrades Marathon, Duathlon, Family, Ironman, Ironman 70.3, Medal Displays, Medal Hangers, My New Business, Ordinarylife, Running, SA Medal Hangers, South Africa, Swimming, Trail Running, Training, Wetsuit, Work

An achievement and a giveaway!

I know I have said this before, but I have been blown away by the support I have been receiving for SA Medal Hangers – and I know it seems weird to say, but I am stupid proud of them. I have one up on my wall and I stare at it all the time. I am not sure which I am more proud off, the medals that hang from it or the actually hanger.
I also know it is early days, I know I still have far to go and I know that having a full time job has been a huge cushion for me in starting this business, but I am really proud of myself for taking what could have been a blow and trying to make it a positive.
Before starting this I did keep most of my medals, but they were hanging on a broken clothes hanger in the back bedroom cupboard. I would not look at them, but just add another medal as I got it. It was actually Mr OL’s suggestion that we display them but could not really think of a solution and then I found this idea.
Now that the medals are up and I can see them I realise just how far I have come. I started running again in 2005 and did my first Ironman in 2007. In the past 8 years running and triathlon have become a huge part of my life and I love it!
I know that not everybody wants to display their medals, and a lot of people don’t even take them at races, but since putting them up on the wall I have started seeing them not just as the metal and ribbon, but as something more than that! As an achievement – and something I should be very proud off.
To give somebody else the opportunity to feel that sense of pride and achievement I have decided to run a giveaway on SA Medal Hangers’ Facebook page. The details are all there, so please go and have a look. You could win a 65cm triple bar medal hanger of your choice! (Sorry – Open to South African Residents only). CLICK HERE for details.

SA Medal Hangers

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