Sunday, 16 July 2017

Test run of AdventureLisa's Ultra Fun Run & Relay in September

I first had the idea for this event in 2003 after running the 80km Tussey Mountainback relay ultra in Pennsylvannia, USA with my friend Bob. It took me years to get around to doing anything about it and when I started scouting at Lakenvlei I realised that the plantation wouldn't be able to support this concept - and so Forest Run was born. But I didn't stop thinking about potential locations for a relay ultra - I have a few half-plotted routes on Google Earth!

After moving to Parys and exploring the area, I knew that I had what I needed here but it took some friends and some arm twisting for me to get around to measuring out the route and look at dates. And that's about as far as I got. With time whizzing past, I knew that presenting the event this year wasn't looking likely.

Until Hazel, suffering from Washie FOMO, asked if she could come and test run my route - just for fun. She came through last weekend, with her friend Deon. I so loved having them here.

Full of a cough and a cold, I didn't run with them, but Celliers and I did do support - meeting them out on the road. I so loved being out there at 01h00 under the moonlight that I decided to go ahead with a test run of the event on the date I'd pencilled in for it - Saturday 9 September 2017.

A test run of AdventureLisa's Ultra Fun Run & Relay is happening.

I've got an awesome 120km route.

There's no entry fee. There are also no bells & whistles.

I'm looking for a couple of entrants in each entry category - solo, teams and run-bike pairs - to come out to enjoy the area and the route. My aim is to get an idea of how long people take on the sections (splits), whether the checkpoint locations work, any route errors that happen, what kinds of route markings are most effective and logistics with support crews. And also total running times.

Although I love a relay ultra (I've done three 1 x 80km in a pair and 2 x 160km in a 4-person team), the one category that I'm very excited about is the run-bike pair.

For this, the pair has one bike and at any time one person is cycling and one person is running. They alternate. The cyclist is not in anyway allowed to assist the runner (no pushing, pulling or lifting) and the pair also does not have to stay together - so they can do a rolling relay. I am very interested to see what strategies the teams will employ.

There's no time like the present and so I jumped in this weekend to work on graphics and to work up a website and get a Facebook page going. And there we have it... I've got a bit of planning and mapping and recruiting to do - and then we're go.

If you're keen, please drop me a note. I'd love to have you out here.

Discovering the Rietpoort hiking trail

I've lived in Parys for over 18 months now and there is still so much to discover in the area. All of the properties around here are privately owned so many you'd only access if you knew the owner or were staying at the venue. 

This afternoon I headed out with my friend Karen and my mom and our dogs (Rusty, Rocksie and Tansy) to a nearby place, Rietpoort. I've seen the hills and tree and big white farm house from the Potch road and they've always caught my curiosity. At the entrance gate to the property they have a big cement horse sculpture and a newer one of a guy sitting on the wall (I think). I usually see them as a I drive past. Inside, there are a bunch more animals and a guy with a gun.

Karen has been out here a number of times so she knows the routes.

Arriving, the place is enchanting. There are a bunch of charming and interesting cottages and a load of old farm equipment that decorates the place - in a tasteful way that brings a sense of history and authenticity to the farm.

We bundled out of the car and set off on the 'red' trail. The trails are very clearly marked with coloured plastic tags.

This wasn't a route for little Tansy with steep climbs and lots of rocks. I carried her on these sections. 

For the rest, the area is stunning with great views from the ridge, a number of small dams and an abundance of trails. 

The aloes are in flower; they're beautiful.

If you do every loop of every colour of trail there is 6km in total (I found a map on their website). There is a lot of scope to really mix it up and to play around. We did the red route and part of the yellow and purple. I've seen a lot of bits that I want to go back to explore further. Fortunately for me, this great property a 10 minute drive from home.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Defending my doggy

Two weeks ago I defended my dog; and she defended me. We were sitting on a bench next to the river chatting to a neighbour (who had one of her young and unruly dogs on a lead). Her other dog came out of the yard to sniff me and Rusty. She went for Rusty's shoulder. I pushed the dog away and picked Rusty up - 22kg of lovable dog in my arms.

Our neighbour chased her dog off. We sat down.

She (the dog) came back and went for Rusty again. I picked her up and we walked off, getting out of there quickly.

During one of the two 'attacks', I got my hand between the dog and Rusty, preventing the dog from biting her. While carrying Rusty I saw blood; it turned out not to be hers. The dog had bitten my finger. Fortunately her teeth connected with the joint so it didn't rip flesh. Two weeks later and it is almost healed - just the 'core' of the tooth punctures is still sensitive.

It was only a few days later that I realised that I'd injured a finger on the other hang too. I must have slammed it into something (the bench perhaps). It has been very swollen, so probably a bit of tendon damage. It too is healing and should be better within the next week or so.

What I realised from this minor incident is that I would do anything to protect my dog.

Rusty has been in my life for 3.5 months and I can't imagine being without her.

She is getting fitter and running so beautifully. She especially loves running on trails and visiting my friend's place - Otters Haunt. It's a few kilometres from home and there I can let her run off lead ahead of me. She never goes too far away and always keeps me in sight.

We went to Otters on Sunday afternoon for a run. I've had a cough and cold for a week so my lungs weren't yet up to standard - but it was good to get out with her. For most of the past week we've just been walking with light jogs. We both need the running.

She hasn't run parkrun with me for a while as I've been Run Director quite often. But I'm off the hook on Saturday so we'll be participating. This will be her 3rd parkrun. I'm going to keep count of her runs so that I can make her a parkrun 50 tee.

After being pet-free for over a year, having a dog around requires a good deal of thought and consideration and, sometimes, planning. But it is totally worth it to have Rusty in my life.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Handing out beanies at Mponeng Primary

Yesterday afternoon I went to Mponeng Primary to drop off the handmade beanies and to help the school principal Rene and the teachers to place the beanies on each child's desk. They took time to consider each child and their preferences to choose the right size and colours. Judging by the children's expressions this morning, I think they got it right. Children who were not at school today will get their beanies when they next attend classes.

These colourful beanies were made by me, Abigail, Elaine, Brenda, Denise, Diana and Penny. Thank you kind people. xxx

We have leftovers of some very small beanies - for babies - and a bunch for those in the 3-8 year old group. I'll pass them on to an organisation here in Parys that has involvement with pre-schoolers in the township.

Here are some photos from my visit this morning.

These are the sweet pre-schoolers.
These are the next younger grades - 1 to 4.
The children in grades 5, 6 and 7 in the school's dining room. For many of the school's children, this is their only meal of the day.
Some children in a classroom.
And in celebration of the lovely handiwork that went into making these beanies... Here are photos of some of the approx 140 beanies!

Some of Denise's creations

A few of the gems from Abigail and her mom Elaine

These bright colours are me - with thanks to my friend Sylvi who gifted me some balls of yarn

Bren's combinations are delighful - I had to keep our children away from the ones with the lovely fuzzy yarn

Some of the 76 loom-knitted beanies made by Di and Penny in Cape Town.