Monday 22 May 2017

The magic of Forest Run

The 5th edition of my AdventureLisa's Forest Run took place on Saturday and we were blessed with the most perfect weather and a field of friendly and enthusiastic runners.

It is never easy out there - the Forest Run route is fairly technical and challenging. And as the day warmed up, the runners felt the heat.

What certainly makes Forest Run so very special are the people. The marshals are mostly made up of my friends and family, sometimes past runners, current runners' partners and sometimes strangers who hear about Forest Run and offer to volunteer.

In order of appearance on the route my magical fairies and elves this year included: Liz (my mom), Celliers (my fiance), Penny, Tersia, Sylvia, Andy, Maggi & Marcel (photographers), George & Joan, Sonja, Sarah, CP, Hugh & Taryn, Louise & Jan, Fred, Lizzy, Martie & JP, Karen, Tanja & Jacques, Warrin, Sharin, Duncan, Isaac & Lloyd (medics).

Martie made the delicious date squares this year. We've all eaten too many of them!

My mom Liz always puts in double-time on Forest Run, especially in the week before the event when she prepares meals for marshals, lunch packets for marshals (assisted this year by Martie) plus the food for the aid stations. It is a lot of work to shop, prepare, organise and pack everything and she does it so beautifully. She is also in command of the finish - recording the runner numbers and times as they reach the finish.

Celliers is my right-hand on the day and he keeps an eye on the waterpoints by dropping off marshals and driving through to check on them. We have little cell phone signal in most places of the route so it helps a great deal to have him doing the rounds.

Karen has helped me hugely this year with trail cutting and trail marking and she was out on the far side keeping an eye on the runners. We had a few issues with baboons taking down boards and markers in the week and as she knows the route as well as me, it was reassuring to have her keeping an eye on the spot where we know the baboons have been.

My marshals themselves... Some have been at Forest Run before - not just here but when it was out at Lakenvlei. They all have event experience - either from organising or a lot of participation or both. It so helps to have a team of people who have been at events before - who have been at this event before. With limited comms out there, I need people who can make decisions, deal with situations and who are adaptable to any situation that develops. They give me the freedom to stay at the finish to welcome the runners in.

Various marshals sweep from their points to collect the boards and tags that we put out. Sonja, Sylvi, CP, Sarah, Fred, Lizzy and Hugh cleared the route as they worked their way to their exit points. There is only one short section that doesn't connect with start-exit sections, which I'll clear this week.

Maggi and Marcel are my magical photographers and they'll be posting their photos on the Forest Run Facebook page in this week.

I left my fairy skirt at home on race day - in my hurry to leave the house I left it hooked over a chair. Nothing that some fairy wings didn't sufficiently remedy, but I did miss my skirt.

At the finish with two locals - Gerhard and Sean.
And then the runners. I'm sure Forest Run has the nicest collection of runners ever! This year I gave telephonic entries a try and many entrants went for this option - so I felt as if I knew many of them by the time race day arrived as we'd already 'met'. In addition to the usual email-entry-form entries, I also had entries by sms and whatsapp and Facebook Messenger! It was a bit of a juggle but actually worked really well.

For now I've got the results to type up, a report to write, runners to email, landowners to thank and a date to set for Forest Run 2018. I'll post a selection of my favourite photos later this week.


Friday 12 May 2017

How about a Moo Igloo

Aside from two very full weeks with Forest Run trail preparations, our new product - the YOLO Moo Igloo - is in production and our first order gets dropped off at our local dairy Wynn-with Dairy Farm on Monday.

About a year ago they approached us about making calf hutches for them. We didn't have an oven wide enough at the time. Towards the end of last year we picked up the conversation and as of now we're able to make these beautiful calf hutches.

We've called our calf hutch a YOLO Moo Igloo and this is what it looks like.

A calf hutch is like a very large dog kennel for calves. The 'kennel' has an attached fence that makes a 'garden' and the calf lives in its own hutch-and-garden for up to three months, until its immune system is strong enough for it to join an outdoor living group. Hutches are spaced about a metre from each other so the calves can chat to each other.

These individual hutches are beneficial to the calves' health as they have their own food and water, their health can be easily monitored (easy to see if they're not drinking or eating and if they have diarrhoea) and the spread of diseases is limited - think runny nose in a nursery school. Of course the hutches provide shelter from the sun, wind, rain and cold.

We weren't initially going to make the pens, but then the dairy suggested we go for it as an option for farmers. Some farms will have existing pens that they can just attach to our Moo Igloo, but those expanding their herd may prefer just to get this pen from us together with hutches instead of making their own fencing. The cool thing about our pen is that it pivots to tilt upwards so that the hutch with pen can be dragged by a worker to a new spot. Being easy to move is a great feature - our local dairy moves their pens every week so that the calf has fresh grass under their hooves and to lie on.

There is a BIG agricultural show next week, NAMPU, and Wynn-with kindly invited us to have our YOLO Moo Igloo on their Valtrac stand (farming equipment). We're going through for the day on Tuesday and are so excited about being there. Just over a week later is the Royal Agricultural Show in Pietermaritzburg and our calf hutch will be there too. We'll plan to go along at least for a day too.

If you know any people with calves, sheep, goats, chickens or very big dogs, please direct them our way. 

Our range of YOLO products is slowly starting to grow. We've got the YOLO Compost Tumblers in our YOLO Green (garden) category and now this YOLO Moo Igloo in our YOLO Yellow (agricultural) range. Very exciting!

Monday 8 May 2017

41 Days of Running begins tomorrow

Seven years ago I started a pre-birthday tradition of running every day for the number of days of the age that I'm turning. Every year the start date gets earlier... Tomorrow is my 2017 start date for "41 Days of Running".

I've got a very full plate with Forest Run coming up in two weeks and I'm quite certain that one run I may not get around to is on Forest Run day. Nonetheless, the challenge is on. This year I also have an energetic doggy companion, Rusty, as an added motivator.

Since having her in my life I have found it far easier to get out for runs because even when I'm bogged down with commitments, where I may not prioritise myself to get out for a run for me, I'll get out for a run for her. She is very good for me.

She did her second parkrun on Saturday and set a new PB of 30:35. Together we're still slower than me on my own (by 5 minutes), but as her fitness improves she'll be pushing me!

The combination of Rusty and this annual birthday game should be an excellent combination for my fitness improvement over the next 41 days.


First canoe triathlon

Yesterday I did my first canoe triathlon with my friend Sylvi. It was hosted at Rietvlei Dam in Centurion by TrailAdventure (Shane Gouldie is the organiser). We entered under the name "Parys Poppies" hahahaha

The event started at 07h00 so we slept over in JHB to have a quick drive to the start. We got there just after 6am. Very early! It was around 10 C, so not too cold. By the time we started at 7 I was in short sleeves.

The paddle
Sylvi and I have paddled four time trials together in her K2 and we're rocking. We had to paddle four loops of the course - around buoys. When we set off there was mist above the water - very pretty. We had an excellent paddle and were one of the first boats off the water.

Neither Sylvi nor I bike very often but we were game for this 20km bike ride. It was just right for us with a bit of jeep track, dirt road and not too much technical. We lost our lead in the women's race to the pink pair, who were way better mountain bikers. 20km is a really great distance for a short and fast race.

The run
The final leg was a 5km run. This was on a grassy track cut into the side of the hill. It wound and meandered and made up the distance. Not very exciting but not terrible either. We took it very chilled and rocked in at the finish.

We clocked in at 2:39 for the course and were the second women's pair.

We didn't take any photos and thought we'd find a few from the event. Nothing up yet. But I did see this on FB -  a pic taken by a supporter of the pink pair. I'm hiding in the shadows; Sylvi is next to me.

Thank you teammie - that was fun!