Posted in Knysna, Ordinarylife, Running, South Africa, weather

The race that wasn’t

Phew – it’s been a while… Hello.

So my second big race of this year was also a DNS (Did Not Start) and sugar coat it as much as you like that the race was actually cancelled and I therefore could not do it anyway I had decided to bail before the official cancellation came through.

I had been lying in bed listening to the rain and the wind thought there was NO WAY I was getting up to go and run a marathon in that.  Even more off putting than the running though was the standing outside, waiting for the taxi and then waiting at the start in the cold, wet and rain.  For those of you that don’t know the Knysna Marathon starts in the forest and to get there you need to take a taxi shuttle. The shuttles start running at 4:45 but the race is only at 7:00 (marathon) and 8:00 (21.1km).  So lots of waiting!

At about 3:30 and after BBM’ing my running partner who was elsewhere in the house, wide awake as well we decided not a friggin chance and went back to sleep.  To put me to total shame though my mom and sister both went to the start and where turned away – they did not bail.

I am pretty disappointed that I was not able to do this race.  It would have been my first stand alone marathon (not in an Ironman) and I was quite looking forward to it.

One of my friends decided to drive the route later in the day to see if it was actually necessary that they called off the race.  Below is a photo he took of a causeway that we would have had to cross… Yip, race organisers good call…. (Thanks to Mike Brewis for these photos)

Gouna Crossing 14 July 2012
Gouna Climb 14 July 2012
What would have been the finish line Knysna 14 July 2012
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Posted in Ordinarylife, weather

Winter…. Love it or hate it?

I am not the biggest fan of winter, I much prefer summer!  So in order to cheer myself up I have decided to compile a list of all the things I do like about winter.

  1. Boots!  I love boots.  All kinds of boots but especially my brown leather riding style boots from Woolies.  I would love winter even more though if I had a pair of Hunters.  Ahhhh, my dream boot.
  2. Scarves.  I like scarves, especially longer ones, I have this misguided belief that they make me look thinner as they go over my tummy.
  3. Less mozzies.  I would have said No Mozzies but there was one in my bedroom on Wednesday night (why????? – it is winter dammit go away).
  4. Soup! Although this is good and bad because I eat LOTS of it!  But then it is winter so my scarf covers it….
  5. Chilling on the couch with no guilt.  Ok, I do still feel guilty if I just chill on the couch but less so.
  6. Winter PJ’s….
  7. Layers of clothing – yes I’m odd like that, I like layers.  Lots of layers so that I almost feel too hot.
  8. Thick duvets and winter sheets.  I love snuggling into my nice warm bed when it is cold out.
  9. Warm winters days.  They are like an unexpected bonus.  In summer you expect warm sunny days.  When they happen in winter they are special.
  10. Winter mornings, when it is still quite chilling but the sun is up and you are out on your bicycle or running.  Those mornings are the best!
  11. That after winter comes spring… which is followed by SUMMER!  Yay.

 

So what are your favourite things about winter?

PS:  In less than a month the days start to get longer again… yes I am counting down the 21 June.

Knysna on a cold winter's day
Knysna on a cold winter’s day
Posted in Family, Ironman, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, Triathlon, weather

So glad I was not there…

So you know I said I (almost) wished I was there.  As I lay in bed on early Sunday morning and listened to the wind howling and rain bucketing down I was thanking my lucky stars that I was not racing that day.

Oh my word the conditions were bad.  The wind was gale force, it was cold and it rained off and on the whole day and night.  And 1800 people had to do an Ironman.  Each and every single one of them gets all my respect.  In conditions like that to race for as long as they did… wow!  Somewhere out there for 17 hours, it was bad enough spectating and I had a warm rainproof jacket on.

Normally when I watch and Ironman I really wish I was racing and say that I would love to do another sometime.  Not this time. I am now saying NEVER EVER again. There is no way that I would want to put myself through that.  The mental toughness that they all showed not to give up when having to cycle straight into that wind was amazing.  I don’t think I would have that.  I would be the one sitting at the side of the crying my eyes out.

So to everyone that did the race yesterday – WELL DONE!!! To my brother on his first Ironman and to do it under 12 hours – wow Scotty fantastic.  To my sister – you are amazing.  I knew you could do it.  I always amaze and inspire me.  You are so strong and make me so proud.  Love you both.

Guess who was the one that burst into tears as my sister crossed the line – and it was not her….

Posted in Books, Family, Food, Ordinarylife, weather

A Lazy Sunday!!

I have not had such a lazy Sunday in ages and I LOVED it!  I mostly stayed in bed reading.  I started and finished a book and it was heavenly.  

I did get a burst of energy a couple of times.  First I made breakfast for Mr OL and myself – then buried myself back under the covers and into my book and then at about midday I decided to bake some cookies – yum!  Then it was straight back to the book.  

I think Mr OL must have decided that if he wanted to eat anything else he had better make it himself.  So a bit later I was tempted away from my book by delicious smells of roast lamb……  Hmmmmm!  

It was perfect weather to do this, rainy, miserable, dark!  I could not think of a better way to spend yesterday!

The book I read was the first in the trilogy – Book of Words by J.V.Jones entitled The Baker’s Boy.  I really enjoyed it and now need to get my hands on book number 2.  Let’s hope it rains again next weekend……  (Baker’s Boy… Cookies…?  Do you think there might be connection????)

baker

Posted in Books, Ordinarylife, Running

Plans for the weekend

I am quite looking forward to this weekend – but then I pretty much look forward to every weekend. 

Tonight though we are going to watch another Centrestage show – ABBA – which should be good.  It has received great reviews and should be a good sing along and dance to show. 

I will try not to dance too much though as I have a ½ marathon tomorrow morning.  I am not going to try and break any records, but I am going to see how I do.  It is my favourite distance of a run, hopefully though the weather improves.  I don’t really feel like running 21.1km in the rain.  But I can’t complain.  We really need the rain. 

Then there are also the books that I bought yesterday.  I have started 2 of them so might be rather anti social for a while.  One is fiction and the other non-fiction, so I am balancing out trying to learn stuff with enjoyment.  Although at the moment I am enjoying reading the non-fiction more.  But it might just be because it interests me more at the moment. 

The two books are Seth Godin – Meatball Sundae, which is about marketing and stuff.  The other is Ken Follet’s World without End.  My all time favourite book is Pillars of the Earth, and this is the sequel.  I will let you know how I get on. 

While I was ordering books I also ordered two more of Seth Godins books, Purple Cow and Free Prize inside.  I should have enough reading material to keep me going for at least a week.

Posted in Ironman, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, Shark Rock Pier, South Africa, Triathlon, weather

Photos – Ironman Marquee

Here are some photo’s of the marquee that blew away during the Ironman South Africa run. I am not sure who took the photo’s as I got them on email.

 

Marquee - before
Marquee - before

 

As it was happening
As it was happening
As it was happening - 2
As it was happening - 2
Ironman Marquee - in the sea
Ironman Marquee - in the sea
What was left of the stage
What was left of the stage
The following morning
The following morning
Thankfully nobody was seriously injured, although quite a few people had to get stitches and things.  It could have been a lot worse and I think they were very lucky. 
Posted in Ironman, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, Running, South Africa, Training, Triathlon, weather

Race Day – The Run

After handing my bike to a young guy in transition I ran into the tent.  I was not changing again, except my shoes, socks, sunglasses and hat, but I wanted covered in sunscreen again.   I also needed to go to the loo.  The volunteers in the tents are awesome but besides the sunscreen I did not utilize them that much.  I think I should have let them help me more.  I was so worried about how smelly my socks and shoes were to let them touch any of my stuff.  I felt it too gross to put other people through that. Ugh, they were horrid, especially as I kept throwing water all over myself so everything was sopping wet.

 

As I ran out of transition I felt good.  My plan was to run as much as I could, but to walk all the aid stations.  On the first lap I walked a bit more than I intended to, but not so much that I was worried.  I was loving it, but it was still hot.  I was still worried about trying the Infinit but realized I did not really have much choice.  I did not have a sports drink with me, I did not have enough GU’s to keep me going and I don’t like Coke when I run, which was the other drink on offer.  So I grabbed a sachet of Infinite and a sachet of water.  Most of the water went over my head, and holy crap, why have I not tried Infint before?????  That stuff is fantastic!  It was not at all sweet, which after my vial tasting drink on the bike was a blessing.  The flavour they had on the run was lemon and lime or something like that.  From then on at each aid station I grabbed a sachet of Infinit and a sachet of water. 

Me - on the run.  Last lap!
Me - on the run. Last lap!

 

 

By the end of the 1st lap I was running more and settling into a good rythym.  I was watching my heart rate, and if it went up I would slow down.  I ran all of the second lap (except for the aid stations) and most of the 3rd lap. 

 

Once again I was doing calculation in my head.  I could not really work out what my time would be as I could not figure out how fast I was running.  I knew I would beat my 14 hours 30 target though.  I was happy and loving it.  At the point where I had 10km left to run I worked out that I had 1h15 to get in under 13hours 30.  It looked so do able. 

 

Of course I should have remembered from the bike that ANYTHING can happen.  Although I was really not expecting what did actually happen.  This time it was not me that bombed though. 

 

As I turned off Beach Road and headed up Admiralty Drive I was feeling great.  8 km left!  It had cooled down slightly and there was a spectacular thunder storm going on around us, with lightly crashing.  Then out of nowhere this huge gust of wind came up!!!! It blew me 3 steps backwards.  Wow, I know that we are the “Windy City” but that was something else.  I could not run as we were head on into the wind now.  I tucked in behind a guy and tried to walk behind him.  He stopped for a bit, so I found somebody else and tucked in behind him.  We were all walking as it was next to impossible to run into that wind.  All I kept thinking was that as soon as we turned the corner the wind would be behind us which would be great.  As we went into the University grounds and turned the corner there was this HUGE crash of lightning pretty close and then all the lights went out.  I said to the guy running next to me “well this is going to make it interesting”  It was pitch dark and we could not see anything.  A car was coming towards us and it’s lights were so bright in nearly blinded us.  Thankfully once it passed we got a bit of night vision and could make out the markings on the road.  I started running again – and then it started to rain, really bucket it down!!!!.  So PE was living up to it’s reputation – all 4 season in one day!!!  I was run / walking and had just over 2 km remaining and was still wondering if I could make a sub 13 hours 30 when I spotted my husband and a friend running towards me.  They said I had better get a move on as there was talk of the race being cancelled!  WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I only had 2 km’s left.  They could not call off the race.  Apparently the freakish wind had blown the huge marquee tent down and right into the sea!  There were quite a few injuries and they were worried about other things being blown away.  They were making a call to the Met Office to see what the forecast was. 

 

Instead of making me run faster it kind of took the wind out of my sails.  I walked – a lot – during that final 2 km!  They just could NOT call of the race.  I did not really think they would but still.  With about 1 km to go I picked up the pace again.  As I was about to turn into the finishing area I saw my brother.  He said “Pamela, you smoked that”.  After he said that I could not stop grinning.  As I was running down the finishing line I did not look left or right.   I heard my mom screaming but did not at her. All I kept thinking was “I smoked this.  And these people are going to think you are an idiot with this HUGE grin on your face” but I carried on grinning.  I was watching that finishing clock above the finish line.  13 hours 32 minutes and 7 seconds when I crossed under it.  It was the most spectacular feeling ever.  That finish line just has to be one of the most special.  The red carpet, the grandstands next to it, the dancers, and of course Mike saying “Pamela, you are an Ironman!”  What can be better!!!!!!

 

I got my medal, a bottle of water and a space blanket over me.  It was still drizzling.  With the marquee having been blown down spectators were able to get behind the finish line and the first person I saw was my husband.  He came rushing over, gave me a huge hug and said, “I am so proud of you, next year sub 12”  I should have gotten it in writing…. I thought I was not allowed to do it again???

 

So, that was my race.  I loved it.  I can’t believe how much of it is mental though. To think that at one stage on the cycle I wanted to pull out.  As soon as I got over that I was fine.  Just shows you that your body can do so much more than you think it can.  If I was really battling as much as I thought I was there was no way I would have been able to finish the way I did.  It is now more than a week later and I am still grinning. 

 

My official time was 13 hours 32 minutes and 8 seconds!!!  I am over the moon with that result, it is so much more that I could have ever have hoped for, and I know that I have been saying this quite a bit lately, but who knew that training paid off so much.

 

Me - Finishing!!!
Me - Finishing!!!

 

Swim – 1:14:47

Bike – 6:47:17

Run – 5:09:54

Overall:  13:32:08

Posted in Cycling, Ironman, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, Training, Triathlon, weather

Race Day – The Bike

I got my bike out of transition and headed for the road.  My goal for the bike was to average about 26 km/hour.  The course is 3 loops each of 60 km.  The first section is a “gentle” climb to the highest point on the course.  There is then a very nice down hill, and the rest of the course is relatively flat. 

 

I was feeling great!!!!  The first two loops of the bike went fantastically well.  I saw quite a few spectators along the way that I knew and it was awesome to get their support.  My heart rate was higher that I would have liked, but nothing to cause too much concern.  My average speed for the 1st two laps was just under 30km/hour and I could not believe it.  I had never been that quick before.  I did help that there was NO wind, which in Port Elizabeth is unheard off.  The only problem with having no wind was there was nothing to cool you down and it was HOT!!!!!!  I was enjoying myself though, and was making sure I drank LOTS of water.  At every Aid Station I would grab a bottle of water, drink some of it and pour the rest over myself.  I also had 3 bottles of sports drink on my bike, but for some reason it tasted too sweet?  I did force myself to drink it, because water alone was not going to work.  The drink on the course was Infinite, but I had never tried it before and had heard that if you weren’t used to it, it could cause problems.  I steered clear of it, just in case. 

 

I stopped a couple of times along the way.  The first time was on the 2nd loop.  I pulled over and covered myself with sunscreen again.  The second time was also on the 2nd loop.  My feet were burning!!!  It felt like I had a whole swarm of bees in my shoes and I could not figure out what was wrong.  Eventually I realized that it must be the plasters I put on my toes to stop blisters during the run.  With the heat and stuff my feet must have swollen and now the plasters were too tight.  I pulled over, took my socks and shoes off and pulled of all the plasters – what a relief!!!!!!  The 3rd time was at the Special Needs Station.  I had put a meal replacement shake in my special needs bag so I stopped to drink it.  I am not confident enough on my bike just to grab it and carry on cycling, so I stopped to drink it.  During both of these laps I was feeling confident.  My average speed was excellent and I was starting to do calculation in my head.  What would my cycle time be if I could keep this up?  What would my overall time be?  I did say to myself to calm down, it was a long day, and I still had 60km left on the bike. ANYTHING could happen.  I must just be thankful I am where I am so if I get a puncture or something at least I have time to play with.  I was not really expecting what did happen to happen though. 

 

As soon as I headed off up that hill for the 3rd time I hit the wall.  I had been feeling great and then suddenly I just could not climb.  It did not look like I was the only one though.  I think the heat was beginning to get to most people.  I put my bike in the easiest gear and tried to not to stop pedaling.  All I wanted to do was get off and push but I knew it would not help, and I could not push my bike up that entire hill.  I just kept saying to myself, just catch that guy in front of you.  It did not help that almost every time I caught the guy in front of my he would stop, get off and throw up!!!  I have never seen so many people throwing up in my life.  I think on that hill alone I saw about 8 people.  There were also people lying next to there bikes at the side of the road in every shady bit? 

My internal dialog went something like this;  “Just catch that guy, yay, crap, what’s he doing stopping, you just keep peddling!  What the hell are you doing?  You have nothing to prove, you have done this before.  Don’t kill yourself, just get somebody to call Andrew to come and get you.  Don’t be a woes, you can do it.  Just get to the top of the hill.  If you still feel this bad at the top then stop.  Just get to the top then stop.”  At the top of the hill there is a large FNB sign, and I have never been so happy to see one of those blowup arch things in my life.  I got to the top of the hill and pulled of the road.  I put my bike on the ground and sat down next to it.  I got out some food; I had packed a honey and peanut butter sandwich which I ate.  I also had a GU, some of my energy drink (which I think had gone off in the heat as it was disgusting), lots of water and 2 salt tablets.  I also poured two bottles of water over myself and then covered myself in sunscreen again.  I spoke to one of the guys at the aid station and they said they measured the temperature there and it was 38ºC.  BLOODY HELL, no wonder we were all battling.  My average speed had dropped from just under 30km/hour to just over 26km/hour after that hill.  At least I was still on target and the rest of the course was pretty flat.  I got back on my bike and headed off…..  I was VERY glad that I had stopped though.  I think it did me the world of good.  I felt fantastic for the rest of the cycle, and managed to get my average speed back up to just over 27km/hour by the end of the cycle leg.  It did cross my mind at one stage though that if I slowed my cycle down I would not be running in the heat of the day?  It was only a brief thought and I did the cycle to the best of my ability. 

 

So that was 2 legs down and just one leg to go. Once again the internal calculations were starting.  It looked like I would make my goal of 14 hours 30 if nothing untoward happened on the run.  I had learnt from the bike that you just never can tell though.

 

So my time for the bike – 6:47:17

Posted in Cycling, Ironman, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, Shark Rock Pier, Swimming, Training, Triathlon, weather

Trust me, I’m the Weather Man????

So we are in our final week before Ironman South Africa.  6 More days!!!! 

 

And the panicked phone calls, sms’s and Facebook comments about the weather have started appearing.

 

Have you seen the 7 day forecast?  What’s the wind doing?  Oh my word is it true – 32 degrees?  It’s an East!!!!  And such like….

 

Well I was not going to look.  I had decided that there was nothing much I could do about the weather so I was not going to stress about it (just yet). I know the forecast changes by the hour and 6 days is a long time to be on a weather vigil. 

 

But it got to me – I succumbed to peer pressure and went online and looked.  Actually I “consulted” 3 different sites. 

 

So this is what I found out.  It might be anywhere between 28 and 34 degrees maximum.  The wind might blow, if it does it might be anywhere between 7 knots and 25 knots.  The direction might be a South East or North West???  And the weather man knows nothing.

 

The only thing they all seem to have in common is that it is going to be hot, LOTS of sunscreen is going to be necessary, there is no rain forecast and there is going to be a light wind, the direction of which is questionable.

 

I suppose at least the light wind might cool us down….. 

Posted in Ironman, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, Swimming, Training, weather, Wetsuit

Forced to hit the shops…

We had our first taste of winter yesterday and I did not like it one little bit!!! 

 

I am a summer person.  I like the longer days, the bright blue skies and the warmth!  I am a total wimp when it comes to cold weather.  Probably just as well then that I live in Port Elizabeth – our idea of a cold day is anything below 20 degrees Celsius! Brrrrrrr……

 

Today is slightly warmer (thankfully), and apparently the forecast for the rest of the week is good but still, it was a reminder that summer is nearly over and that winter is on its way.  Tonights sea swim might be a bit chilly.  The sea temp on the weekend was 16 degrees C!

It was also a reminder that I need to do some shopping.  Besides my cycle and running shoes I don’t own a single pair of closed toe shoes!!!  Hmm, I am thinking a nice pair of black boots….  I mean they are essential for winter aren’t they????

 

Then in much more important news, my sister gets back from the UK in 2 weeks today!!! Woo hoo, she is here for 3 weeks and I can’t wait!!!!