Charlie's Bird

living the dream with Charlie and Thandi and chirping all the way back to the nest.

Archive for running

A weekend in the garden

…so the weekend was busy, but it came to a delightful denouement with T, M and C’s farewell party. In 3 weeks my beautiful German family are moving back home. We are in a bit of denial – after 5 years we are going to miss them terribly!  It’s also fairly unusual, I think, to make such an amazing friendship in adulthood. My nearest and dearest are people I have known since I was 5, but somehow, this little family, who I have gotten to know only over the last 9 years have become very special to me – and it’s the kind of friendship that will survive distance and years. Saying goodbye is going to be hell!

The party was amazing – hosted at a garden cafe at our local nursery, we ate great food, drank far too much wine (which is why I couldn’t run this morning…) and relaxed under a beautiful canopy of ivy and vines. The tables were decorated with crisp white clothes, protea place mats, glass vases with bunches of proteas. Rather appropriate for a farewell to SA party. Food highlights were bobotie filled mini pancakes and mini peppermint crisp tartlets. Yum!

Now this was my second trip to the same cafe over the weekend – we ran the nite series on Friday night, started there – 5,5km on a stunning single track through the forest area next door. So stunning! My time was not amazing, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! Charlie sweated up a storm and seemed to enjoy it too. Next month we run the next one in the series- we’ll see how that one goes! Yay!

 

Come on summer

…ok, ok, I probably don’t really mean that – I’m not sure any perimenopausal woman ever means that; but given how damn cold my last 2 runs have been, I am very glad that the solstice has come. We can now start to look forward to some more light; some more warmth.

This morning , on the way to my run, through a little dip near the river, the temperature dipped down to 6°C! Yesterday it was 9°C! Crazy cold for my little neck of the woods. Yesterday there was also a sneaky breeze that seemed to just cut through my clothes. After 2 freezing mornings, I think it’ll take me days to warm up again… But, I’m looking on the bright side of things – I am out there, running and feeling good! 2 trail runs are lined up over the weekend – 1 on Friday night, 1 on Saturday afternoon, excited to get out onto the trails again! Yay! Those are nice after a long stretch on roads.

Ok, let’s get this Thursday on the go!

Friends, Romans

…Comrades! Crikey, becoming a sort-of-a-runner has turned me into a freak running spectator! I spent yesterday on the couch and attached to my cell phone – I thought I might break it (the phone, not the couch) I was refreshing the app so often! And what a day it was!

3 of my little running group were there – our heroine came 9th, people, I cannot comprehend quite how fast that is! She ran that race in 7 hours! 7!!!!! Flip! Machine! Then the 2 others ran very respectable races – 1, I know is a bit disappointed that she didn’t make her goal time, but she still ran a pb; the other is smiling for a respectable run!

Then there were all the other friends – the 3 teachers from Thandi’s school; the club members; the friend’s husbands; acquaintances and casual stalkees.

And then there was Runnermom! While I didn’t see her on TV, I watched her on the app – what a machine! She has had the year from hell personally, and has run the year of her dreams! I am in awe! In the midst of all of that horrible divorce crap, she has risen above and run with excellence! Well done, you beauty, you! What an amazing example to Zoe you are!

Moments

..of peace and calm in the midst of my chaos.

So I spent the weekend doing lots of things, it was busy, but I had a few awesome moments. I’ve mentioned how I have really started enjoying sewing. I get that, at the moment, it brings me closer to the memories of my mom, and that is just precious. I have finished up more or less everything I needed to sew for the party – I might need another tablecloth, but that’ll be easy peasy if I do need it. It was really nice seeing everything come together, and I think the stuff I’ve sewn won’t fall apart the first time they put them on!

The Wendy Darling dress for my brunette daughter

The Tinkerbell dress for the blonde friend!

Another good point was my run on Saturday – I’d had my bad day – it was tough, and the night was also tough, but Saturday morning dawned absolutely perfect, so I headed down to the beach to the regular running group there – what a pleasure – the weather was perfect; the running was comfortable; my running partner was chatty (the right kind of chatty); I wasn’t the sweeper and finishing at the beach on that perfect morning was amazing! Was on a complete high.

Yesterday we headed out to our beach house to finalise the planning for Thandi’s and Charlotte’s party – another perfect day on a beautiful beach with wonderful people. So our plans are finalised, we are almost as excited as the girls!

Winter

…is coming (cue the GOT theme music)

Damnit – getting up at 4:30 is getting tougher! I am struggling! Saying that though, I do get a bit of a smug feeling, heading out in the dark, which kind of cacoons one, and getting my run done. Not sure what it’s like in your neck of the woods, but the roads are quite busy at the moment, with all the Comrades runners getting their last bits of milage in. Once June hits, I think the roads will be a lot quieter and that feeling I get will be magnified. But it doesn’t mean that it’s easier to get up in the cold and dark!

gratitude

… after a rough weekend emotionally, I want to show some gratitude.

I went into the weekend in a bad space – heart sore and weary. Weary of a world gone mad. I was tearful knowing that my first Mothers Day without my Dawny was looming. The weather thad turned – it was cold and rainy – appropriate for my mood.

By Saturday afternoon I was virtually catatonic on the couch – everything felt like way too much effort. I couldn’t even join in the superficial banter on my running group’s chat. I knew a run would help, but I couldn’t motivate myself to reply and commit. BC picked up on my reluctance and mood – and arrange to fetch me, so I was in, whether I wanted to be or not – it was raining, I very reluctantly got dressed, and am so glad I got out there and ran, got a bit drizzled upon, but no real drama – ran more hills than I like to, and a while after – quite a while, the sun started to shine (albeit weakly) in my soul. So thanks BC for not accepting my reply, forcing me to get out there and damn well run! Which did make a big difference!(And thanks to the accountant for running with me, and keeping me distracted from all those damn hills!)

 

The Two Oceans Marathon

…ok, so here goes. If you aren’t a runner, you can look at the pictures and look away, it’ll be painful for you to read through this.

My race day dawned on Saturday, 15 April. It was also my brother’s birthday, but that’s an entirely different story. Since my qualifying marathon I had tried hard to stick to my coach’s programme, but I’d found it tough and I’d been exhausted. Had I done enough? I was anxious. And taper week had made me super grumpy. (Apologies to Charlie, Thandi and the Germans.)

I woke up early – before the dawn in fact, so that I could eat breakfast and ablute timeously. The things us runners worry about – will I poop properly before my run? Will I need to go during the run? (some of the lesser spoken about parts of running) Anyway. Suffice to say that all went according to plan – the breakfast of champions (or rather, just finishers) was a hot cross bun, an apple and some yoghurt, chased by coffee. I put on my kit, and cursed the lack of a throw away – it was colder than I had anticipated; and before I could really think about what I was about to do I was out the door, walking down to the start with Charlie.

After a wait in the shadows, it was time for a quick good luck kiss and to head into my seeding corral. It’s a scary and lonely place amongst 11,000 other runners, knowing only about 10 of them, and knowing that I would be running on my own for the day. With my big brother’s advice and pacing chart fresh in my mind, I queued up, sang the anthem, and all of a sudden, the starting gun was fired and then the slow struggle to cross that start line began – 4 and a half minutes is what it took for me to start running. Bearing in mind that it’s a gun to gun race,  it is a tough ask for those of us in the E seeding (the end of the starting line up) who will cut it close to the wire to sacrifice 4+minutes to get going. Oh well, them’s the rules.


Conditions en route were quite tough – it was quite windy – not Argus cancellation windy (thankfully) and quite cool, but in the end, the wind blew in the right directions, and kept us cool, so that things like dehydration were not high priorities.


The first 20km went according to plan – flat, cool fairly easy running. I went through the half marathon mark in about 2:15, so I was definitely holding back a bit, as I was warned. Turning towards Muizenburg the wind was a lot tougher, but once we turned to run next to the coastline it felt a bit better and the beauty of the sea was possibly a little distracting. I found the stretch from Fishhoek through to the halfway mark at the base of Chapman’s Peak a bit of a struggle. I think I was so focussed on the challenge of Chappies, that I was impatient to get to it. Once I was there I was surprised at how the hill was manageable. I was able to walk/run it, and I was very happy to see the summit! Thankfully I had been warned about ‘Little Chappies’ with it’s false summit, so I wasn’t surprised to have to continue climbing after a welcome little descent. The descent from the peak down into Hout Bay was tough, I was starting to feel a little sore, so I was able to heed the warning not to go too fast down that hill.

From the base (on the Hout Bay side) through to the marathon mark seemed interminably long. I really felt like it was never going to arrive – again, I think the anticipation of Constantia Nek was getting to me – I just wanted to run the beast now, and get onto Rhodes Drive. Anyway, as I went up that hill, again using a run/walk strategy, the 7 hour bus passed me, and my heart sank. Surely this wasn’t how it was going to end? I studied my watch, looked at my splits and my pacing, and just continued to believe I had it in me. It was at this point that I heard a little chant happening behind me – 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-1, ok, let’s go, run 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, ok walk – and so he went, I decided to try his strategy and it really worked – sometimes I ran more than the required counts, sometimes I walked a bit less, but I made it up, and felt like I still had something left in me. as I crested this hill I was a bit shocked to see people collapsing into the gutters, frozen in cramped poses and vomiting up all their nutrition. I was also rather relieved it wasn’t me! I managed to find a once rhythm and get going again – I ran some of my fastest km’s here in fact. (and passed that 7 hour bus agin!) Rhodes Drive is beautiful – the forest on the left, the homes and then more forest on the right. Coming up to Kirstenbosch, with another lovely leg stretching downhill and I knew I was going to make it!

Then that damn turn onto the M3, with it’s little hill that felt like a mountain – rude, I tell you! But with 2km to go, nothing was going to get me down. I so badly wanted some company at this point, but there was no one to really talk to, no one to share the line crossing experience. But, as ran down the little slip road into UCT and hit the grass none of that mattered anymore – I heard the triumphant shout from my family, Charlie had Thandi on his shoulders, so I could see her and with arms raised I whooped with joy and made my way down that grass to the finish line!

In an incredible feat, I had done it – 6:48! (less 4)

A coke, some water and a lie down on the grass, big hugs from family and friends,  followed by a delicious Flying fish, and I was ecstatically restored. And so special to see all my friends achieve their goals – a gold medal for SS, a sub 6 for JD and a finish for me. I’m still battling to really comprehend it. I did it!