Alan and I made the 7am, 45 minute drive in cold weather to Amanzingwe, near Hartbeesport Dam.
The start area had a little market going with a sports shop displaying shoes, 2 tents offering compression gear, Hammer nutrition and tent offering taping and massage.
I had signed up to try a pair of calf compression sleeves from www.compressport.co.za and collected them at the tent. I was measured up to make sure I got the correct size and told that there are no studies showing that there is any benefit in wearing the sleeves during exercise but plenty showing that if they are worn after exercise, there are many recovery benefits. I did feel a little hot wearing them but that could also be because I had them on under my long NB running pants. I didn’t notice any benefit while running but can report that I had no calf pain the day after the race but Karen did. This really doesn’t mean anything since she is the first to admit that she hasn’t been running much and isn’t totally fit to run an 11km trail race.
Karen arrived just in time for the start and we couldn’t see Val anywhere, even tho’ there were only about 400 runners. It was Karen’s birthday but I was so happy to see her (I wasn’t expecting her to be there) and I forgot to wish her. It was only at about 4km that her mobile phone rang and she answered that I remembered and wished her. I felt really bad for having forgotten her birthday!! I think I made it up to her later when myself and a few other runners, sang Happy Birthday while we were walking up a very steep incline.
My clean feet at the start, wearing my brand new Invisible Shoe 4mm Connects on their first trail run.
The race had a seriously tough profile and was quite technical which had us walking a fair amount of the 11km. Karen and I stayed together and chatted, enjoyed each others company and the beautiful views.
Karen very bravely crossed the wall, she hates heights but had no other way to get to the other side.
Our welcoming committee – Alan who finished in 1:25, Gus who did the 5km and Val who finished in 1:33. They had very kindly waited a half hour for Karen and I to finish in 2 Hours. Definitely my slowest 11km.
Karen, Val, Alan and I at the finish, all happy with the days outing.
My dirty feet, that got clean in a shower.
I did well in my new Invisible Shoe Connects. They are 4mm rubber soles, just like the original IS. I got 5 small bruises on my right foot, 3 in the arch, from landing on large and/or sharp stones. This is not unusual and I was happy with my sandals. I had been thinking that I might order a pair of 6mm Contacts for trail running but there really is no need. I had no scratches or thorns or anything because my feet are open. I am slightly wondering if I would go faster downhill if I had a cushioned shoe but even then I imagine I would go slow for fear of falling in which case my shoes or lack thereof would make no difference. There were parts of the course that had me thinking I might need to look at running in minimal trail shoes but nothing about my sandals had me wanting to change.
Another good trail event, well organised and a lovely route – I will be back.