Tuesday, 25 April 2017

K2 paddle time trial improvements

For the past few weeks I've been doing our Tuesday paddle time trial at our Likkewaan Canoe Club in a K2 with my friend Sylvi. She's a very good paddler and we'll be doing a canoe triathlon together on Sunday 7 May at Rietvlei in Centurion. 8km paddle, 20km mtb and 5km run.

My first two time trials in the K2 felt quite unstable - not terribly bad but not comfortable either. I hadn't been in a K2 for a long time and not one this fast before either. By our third session, last week, I was a lot more settled and tonight even more so. It is a good thing because we're probably in for a lot of turbulence at the race.

Last week we bettered our time by a few seconds and tonight we took 20 seconds off our first lap and finished 30-odd seconds faster than last week - even with a bit of chatting on the second lap. Last week and this week we didn't have anyone in front of us to chase so we're still chuffed to have maintained pace. Paddling with Sylvi has definitely made me focus more and she's working me over nicely with a fast cadence.

I'm really enjoying our sessions and improving each week in speed and synchronicity is satisfying.

Photo taken after tonight's time trial.
Sylvi and I did a 35km mtb ride together on Sunday afternoon and we had a good ride. We'll be nice and warm for the 5km run on race day.

Celliers will be doing the paddle tri with Ruben, who is turning 9 in August. They rode the 35km route on Sunday too - taking 30 minutes off their time from the week before. The smaller wheels of Ruben's bike on the rough road make it a far harder ride for him than for us - and he was still trying to bounce over bumps near the finish. He should cruise the 20km distance of the race. Ruben is paddling really well too and he loves being in the K2 with his dad. He has also been coming more often to parkrun too. He was only a few minutes behind Celliers this past Saturday. The boys will have a good one.

Hiking with dogs

On Sunday afternoon I hit the Forest Run trails again, but this time with Rusty, my mom Liz and her dog Tansy.

My mom got Tansy almost a year ago when this little dog was abandoned down the road from her house. Tansy was well groomed and had probably only been out there for a while when my neighbour picked her up and went walking around looking for her owner. That's when my mom saw Tansy and it was love at first site. My neighbour took Tansy to the SPCA and my mom phoned first thing the next day to see whether anyone had claimed her. Nothing. Two weeks later, still nothing. My mom then adopted this one-eyed maltese.

Shortly after getting Rusty Celliers says to me:
"I'm not sure whether it is real or whether I imagined it... or if it was a rumour... but I thought that you and your mom were cat people?"
He's right. We've always been cat people. I definitely inherited the cat thing from my mom as I've had a cat in my life almost non-stop since I was born. She always had a cat from when she was a child. Bracken's passing, this time last year, broke our hearts.

There have been dogs that we've liked - like my husky friends Angel and Toscana and, more recently, my dear husky neighbour Kiska (who is no longer with us). But, for the rest, we've been through and through cat people.

Now, nevermind dog or cat, I'm a Rusty person. A total convert. I even kiss her and I don't wash my hands every time after I've touched her. Same goes for my mom. She's a Tansy person now.

I was so impressed with Tansy on Sunday afternoon. This was Tansy's first hike and this little one-eyed white dog with her little short legs proved to be a hiking enthusiast. She walked the entire route (about 5km), scrambled over rocks and under branches and even crossed little streams. Mom carried her across the first stream and after that Tansy did the rest on her own - even hopping across the rocks on her return route. It is a delight to watch the enthusiasm of this little dog with her big heart.

Rusty loves the trails and is an excellent path finder. She doesn't like the sound of the baboons shouting from the hills but she'll get used to it.

Rusty will come out with me next week for four days of trail cutting and clearing in preparation for Forest Run on 20 May. Not long now!

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Rusty on the Forest Run route

Yesterday Rusty came out with me, Celliers and our friend Marinus for a lovely hike on a section of the Forest Run route. We start cutting the trails for Forest Run in two weeks so it is nice to keep an eye on how the area is looking before I have to jump in.

Rusty is only two-and-a-half weeks after her sterilisation op so I am very cautious of doing too much with her. We kept a leisurely pace and she loved it. I took her off lead and she was such a star. She stayed with us - never going too far ahead so that she could look back and see us. She is an excellent trail dog.

The first part of the route that we did isn't on the event route. We took an old track that has recently been opened up to the top of the hill. Great view!

We then headed off the hill and onto the Forest Run route. This is a section that only the 30km and 46km routes go on.

What was so amazing for me was to see the streams running. I knew there was water here before the drought but this was the first time that I've seen the streams with water - it was magnificent and I fell in love with the area all over again. Rusty enjoyed a drink and a splash in the first stream we came to.

We then went on to the Red Donga Trail, which I always enjoy. It was even better than usual as it looks even more like a place you'd find fairies and elves. Lots of green undergrowth through the donga.

We stopped for a quick break and snack.

I couldn't believe the amount of water flowing across the road at 'Butterfly Alley'.

We then popped into the Venterskroon Inn, my start/finish venue for Forest Run, for a colddrink and snack (they make divine chips!). Rusty had a snooze under the table.

I look forward to taking her out here more ;)

Forest Run comes up on 20 May 2017. Entries are open until 6 May. Come run - forestrun.co.za

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

A fine Sunday

Weekends whizz by too fast and all too often they slip away with too few adventures. Despite living a block from the Vaal River and 25-minutes from the Vredefort Dome, I get out too infrequently to play.

I had a good Sunday this past weekend. After nailing some work in the morning, I met my mom and her dog Tansy to talk Rusty for her first post-sterilisation operation walk along the river. She loved being out and although she is not allowed to run or jump yet, she was energised by just being there.

My mom and me.

with my Rusty girl

This route is part of our Parys parkrun route. When she is all recovered Rusty will be coming to parkrun.

My mom's dog Tansy.
In the last afternoon, Celliers and I climbed on our bikes to ride a super 35km loop on the Vaal Eden side. It felt good to get out, which I haven't done much of lately. The cosmos flowers are all over the place. I didn't see any game - of which there is a good deal in the area - as I was too busy watching the road!

I need more weekends like this.