Sunday, 12 July 2020

Seven day personal running challenge

Last Saturday, I ran the Kopjeskraal road. I enjoyed the distance and being out. Just running. It is a simple one-direction route. I hadn't done that for ages. I wrote at the end of my post that I was thinking of making it into a personal challenge... Well, I did.

Starting on Monday, I ran this 10.5km route every day - alternating the direction each day. I have my mom to thank for either dropping me or fetching me - and taking Rusty for walks while I was out running. On Tuesday I got a lift home with Celliers after joining him for a walk up the hill. The run downhill shook my legs out perfectly.

I had a good week of running. I actually cannot remember the last time I had a 70km week. Or a 60km week. Or even a 50km week. And, I ended the week feeling better than when I started out.

I ran pretty evenly all week - my best and worst time varying by five minutes. Conditions ranged from warm to cool to cold and from a light breeze to very, very windy. Some days I may have had one brief walk; on others I enjoyed two or three brief walkies.

My friend Karen joined me for a section on most of the runs. Her house is 20 minutes from mine on the out route and 40 minutes on the return. Today she cycled a stretch with me.

My friend and old neighbour Andrew ran with me on Thursday. Andrew and his daughter Tara are training for next year's Comrades Marathon. It will be Andrew's 60th birthday. He is a very good runner with past Comrades finishes under his belt. This will be a special one for him to run with his daughter. Tara got trapped in an online meeting on Thursday so she made it through for Friday afternoon. They decided to make it their long run for the week as the cold front was expected the next day. Andrew and Tara ran from home to my start point, met me there, and then turned around to head back to town. A good 22km in the bag for them.

Yesterday I had the pleasing experience of doing a good deed. 15 minutes from home I noticed a white horse in a field. It looked like the horse was holding its leg out. Reeds obscured my view and then I saw its tail blowing in the wind and figured that was what I'd seen. I then got a better line of sight and saw that the horse was holding its leg in an odd way - out to the side and then lifting or lowering it. I stopped and decided to crawl under a fence to take a better look.

I'm glad that I did because the horse's lower leg was caught in a twisted piece of fencing wire (not barbed, fortunately!).

I crawled under another fence just next to the horse. She didn't even flinch and allowed me to work on getting the wire loose. She did not even try to struggle at all. I suspect that she had not been caught for every long and thankfully there was no damage to her skin or leg at all. There is no way she would have been able to get out of it on her own as it had tightened above her ankle and took a lot of manipulation by my hands, with their useful fingers, to work it loose.

After I got the wire off, she stood for a moment looking at me - and let me give her a pat on her shoulder. Like a thank you. That felt really good. I slithered under the fences again and resumed my run.

There is a property that usually has wildebeest, springbok and zebra milling around within sight. I saw them most days.

I needed this challenge to tie me down. To focus on. To get myself to commit. I needed to be reminded how I enjoy longer distances than the 5-8km that I hit most days. I needed a kick. I needed it to channel my motivation, which has been low overall.

I'm chuffed to have finished these seven days with 73.5km in the bag.

This week ahead I'll be doing shorter sessions. It is time to focus on some speed sessions to get myself back to where I was pre-lockdown.

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