Last Sunday I raced in the Springs Striders 32km. This was the first time that I have done this race and I am really pleased that I did. I travelled with 4 girls from the same athletics club, altho' from another branch and this was a chance to get to know them all a bit better.
We met at Tanja's house at 4:15am for the hour long drive out to Springs. The race started at 6am and we got to see the sun rise about 15 minutes into the race.
We ran to Sharon's pacing chart and finished in a comfortable time of 3:33. I enjoyed running with Sharon and Sally. We kept an easy pace, chatted occasionally, motivated each other when necessary and pushed each other when needed. I am used to running on my own, in silence but listening to snippets of conversations around me, and taking in the surroundings so I found this quite novel and surprisingly pleasant. It was a well organized race with good water points and a reflective jacket given to the first 500 pre-entries (I wasn't one of them). Well worth the early morning and long drive.
On Wednesday night Ian and I travelled to Irene with Norman for the Irene Lantern race. There is a 5 and 10km race starting at the same time and that means a great many people. The traffic flow going in and going out of the area is very slow but we were fortunately there early enough to get in easily and get good parking. The race started 15 minutes late and I think that was because of the number of people who were late. Julie and Linda were there to do their first race of the year. (Hopefully this will be the first of at least 6, for them)
While I was checking out the food stand, Julie mentioned that this is the ideal race after which to drink a beer. So I changed my focus and located the beer tent and got my cash ready to purchase our "after-effort-treat".
A very slow start, making our way around social runners and walkers on very narrow roadways. Again, I was thinking that I won't be doing this race again. The race is run on the grounds of the Agricultural Research council and we run an out and back route past herds of cows. Just before we reached the first of two watering points, the leaders of the 10km were on their way back!
When we finished (in a time of 1:11), we went to buy our beers and chips. The traffic leaving the venue was so slow, we decided to drink more beer ('cos we weren't driving) and chat a little more.
This is a great race to run if you are a "new" runner and are looking for a relaxed 10km. It is well organized, festive and fun but no longer for me. I don't think the time and distance involved is worth the 10km.
The 3rd race of the week was the KFC Valentines Night Race 10km. This was the first time that I have run this race and it was also a lot of fun. The traffic was slow getting there - even tho' it is only 20 minutes from home, it took us an hour because of the number of people taking part, it was Friday evening and it was raining.
Ian and I lined up with Sharon and Sally and met Sergio, a barefoot runner who makes his own sandals. The start was congested but on a dual-carriage-way with lots of space so wasn't so slow. We ran in the dark, with drizzling rain, and a huge thank-you to all the Marshall's, metro police and water table volunteers who supported us with such spirit. We finished this race in 1:05 and received a branded coffee mug for our efforts.
Another great race that was fun to do and I am glad that I have taken part. Not sure that I will want to do it again. (I didn't take any pictures of this run because it was dark and raining.)
This past Sunday, I ran the Pick n Pay 21/42km. This is the third time that I have run this race. It is well organized, pre-entries only, timed with champion chip and you get a fantastic long-sleeve-t-shirt and goody bag!
Like last year, I ran the first lap and instead of carrying on to the finish, I went off with the marathoners on their second lap. At the 24km water point, I turned around and ran back to the finish. This gave me a supported 32km training run.
Just like last year, I was impressed that the clean-up was well on the way when I ran back past the 3km watering point. I did feel awkward when I joined the marathoners in the last 1.5km - it looks like I was running a very good marathon time. I did go thru' the half-marathon finishing shute and my official finish time shows a slow half marathon. After collecting my t-shirt and goody bag, I looked back to the finishing line, just in time to see my dad finish his full marathon - 3 minutes behind me!!!
I was very saddened to hear that a runner had a heart attack and died on the road at the 39km mark. My Thoughts are with his family.
I am undecided about whether or not I will do this race yesterday. Ian says he will definitely do it again – for the t-shirt.