Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ultra Trail Mount Moodie

OMG! I'm almost beside myself with excitement. I haven't done a race like this for way, way too long. It's an 80km trail ultra - the new Ultra Trail Mount Moodie - in the Sabie area, starting from Misty Mountain on the Long Tom Pass.

This is just a quick post because I'm packed and ready to walk out the door - and I'm leaving my laptop at home.

I decided to go through early and to break my trip by staying at a place near my Forest Run venue. I've had too many late nights so I'm looking forward to no laptop and no connectivity to just get some sleep so that I'm race-ready for Saturday.

Sooo... 80km of forests and Mpumalanga wonderfulness is what I'm into on Saturday. How long it will take?  Dunno and it doesn't matter really because I'm mostly there for the journey... and of course to see how well I can do.

I've got my camera and so I hope to show you some of the splendour of the area next week.

Until then... byyyeeeee.

Monday, January 26, 2015

A need for speed

I haven't focused on speed work for running for well over a decade. Sure, a few intervals here and there but nothing consistent.

parkruns have definitely changed this because each time I do a parkrun I want to better my time set at that venue previously and, if possible, to set a new overall 5km PB.

PBs (Personal Bests) are funny things and I think they should established on an annual basis. It can kill your confidence to consider and compare yourself to overall PBs, which you may have set yonks ago.

I'm 14 years older - and far better at distance running - than I was when I set my Best Ever times on 5km, 10km, 15km, 21km and my one-and-only marathon - all very respectable times. Back in those days I mostly ran short and fast distances with a lot of short, high-intensity training and then mostly half marathons on weekends.

On Saturday morning I did parkrun at Woodlands again. Two weeks ago I took almost two minutes off my previous time set in August last year. Yesterday I took another 13 seconds off despite having to work through queues of walkers on the second lap.

589 parkrunners were logged at Woodlands yesterday - their biggest number I think! And these are the people who are timed. There's a good dose who are just starting out and as they only do one of the two laps in the reserve they do not get timed.

The other fun aspect of parkrun are the overall results. Yesterday I was 31st overall, 3rd woman and 1st in my age group. Whoop-whoop! My time is nothing special though (26-mins) and I'm yet to crack sub-25 on any of the parkrun courses.

I'll be back in Parys in two weeks where I hope to improve yet again on this course, which is currently a minute faster for me than Woodlands.

This morning (Sunday) I did the first of the Urban Series orienteering events. It was held at Golden Harvest Park. I ran nicely - could have done better / ran faster in some places (as always). I took second place - yay! I haven't been this high up the rankings for a while. OK, so Sarah, Tania, Michele, Jess weren't there... It's still cool.

parkrun and the Urban Series events are certainly proving to be motivation and incentive to pay more attention to speed and to put in some sessions over the coming months.

Will it be possible to claw my way to the times (like a 21-minute 5km) that I was running 14 years ago? I draw inspiration from some older running friends who are clocking faster times now than they did 10 or 20 years ago... so there's definitely hope for me too.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Oh golly - events and activities in abundance

I've so had my head stuck in an orienteering flag these past two weeks!

Some events I'm involved in whole-heartedly, like my new Checkpoint Challenge Schools League, which I hope will become a super-fabulous schools league template for us and other countries. This has been a big learning curve already and it hasn't even started. I'm still a little involved with the long-running Orienteering Schools League.
Other events I am involved somewhat, like our AR Club Summer Series events (three Wednesday evenings starting next week).

And yet others I have peripheral involvement (PR, design, media, public liaison), like the orienteering Urban Series, which kicks off on Sunday with the first of the 10 events.

With two websites (that's five separate pages that need updating and maintaining), various Mailchimp lists for comms, four-plus FB pages, twitter account and a host of media (website, magz, event listing sites)... I totally see why I feel a bit all over the place!

There are so many really good events happening and the best thing about orienteering events, especially, is that they're family friendly. In this community there's no such thing as too young or too old.

Monday, January 12, 2015

More Summer Series events

My club, Adventure Racing Club, has three weekly Summer Series events coming up; the first on Wednesday 28 January 2015.

I organise these events with friend and club-mate Garry.

These are really fun one-hour events that take in the beauty of Delta Park, a wonderful open parkland expanse in the middle of Johannesburg.

Although we often vary the format of each of the weekly events, the general idea is that you get a map at the start and on the map a bunch of checkpoints are marked. You either have to locate all of them or a defined number of checkpoints (in any order) within the one-hour time.

What this means is that people run like crazy chickens all over the part, each person choosing their own route and which checkpoints they want to visit in any order. Navigation is pretty easy so no special skills are needed.

This is a family-friendly event and I look forward to seeing more children (they get free entry!) and newcomer adults at the events.