Saturday 15 July 2023

The crown is mine

Two days ago I got a notification from Strava that someone has beaten my time (by about a minute) for a segment on Strava and that they now had the course record. What? I didn't even know that I had a course record on anything.

I logged in.

Strava segments are "portions of road or trail created by members where athletes can compare times".

The segment in question is a section that I haven't done for a while. I've done parts of it - linking to other trails - but not the full loop that makes up the segment. The trails on the segment are some of my favourites for the very steep ascent, runnability, great scenery, fynbos and good views of mountains and George.

I started to use Strava regularly from about 6 months ago to log the George Trail Running (GTR) challenges. I log the Monday social runs and time trials too so that I can compare my improvements. I don't log my casual outings with dogs. I have a lot to learn about the functionality of this platform.

What I have learned is that it flicked a competitive switch and I needed to get my course record that-I-didnt-know-I-had back. 

I took Rosy out with me this afternoon. We had a nice warm up with a warm-up ascent to the start of the segment. I was feeling good for the climb, which I hike hard, not run.

I started the section at about 16h03, eating up the climb (I took three protea photos because they were just so beautiful) and really focusing on the descent. 

I got on to flatter trails at 16h29. This meant hard running for the next 3.5km. A couple of tree falls lost me a bit of time but fortunately there were no serious blocks.

As it turns out, my previous time was 50:08. I must have been messing around photographing fungi, fynbos and insects. 

I had it stuck in my mind that the time I had to beat was 43 minutes. I knew the overall leading time was 33-odd minutes

I ran 36:20. Strava declared that the crown is mine (in the women's ranking). Hip hip hooray

Even more satisfying is that I am in 2nd place overall. Now I'm looking at how to pull out 3 minutes...

These segments are superbly motivating. They entice you to go out to beat the person that beat you or to improve your ranking for your gender or overall.

Now to see what other segments I'm on and good at... 

Friday 14 July 2023

Out with the new, in with the old

At an optometrist visit not long after I turned 40, I saw ne optometrist. Just the standard every second year checkup. My optometrist said that at some stage I would find my distance vision to improve and my close focus to deteriorate.

It took a few years but the process is in play and I recently had a check-up, my second since I've been living in George. Where my eyes had been stable for many, many years, they are changing. This was now my second prescription downgraded. I've gone from a -2.75 to -1.75 in about 3.5 years. 

I used to just wear my same prescription glasses for everything - close and far - even though I've always been able to see fine close being short sighted. Two years ago, I got a second pair of lighter prescription lenses for computer work. These are still good. I don't wear glasses for close-up. 

On this recent appointment, I needed to get a new pair of distance glasses at a weaker prescription.

Optical frames are expensive. I wasn't crazy about my last pair and wanted something similar in size and shape to the glasses I had two before. These I must have gone through three optometrist visits, keeping the same prescription and frames again and again. I took them along to try to match up with something new.

I tried a few frames but the upswept styling on the corners of the ones I liked and tried didn't do anything for me.

I ended up having new lenses put into my old frames. The benefit of this is a saving of at least R2,000. It can cost this or more for optical frames - on top of the fees for lenses, and appointment, which amounts to a lot.

For the next two years, if not longer, is out with the new and in with the old - I've got new-old frames again. I'm glad I hung on them.