Tag Archives: comrades

Comrades Update: Easing Into Strength Training

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Photo by W_Minshull

It’s no secret that I really dislike strength training.  I find no joy in lifting weights.  I know how important being lean and strong is for runners, but it all feels tiresome and pointless to me.  Where running is The Force, strength training is from The Dark Side.

One of the main pieces of advice I hear repeated by Comrades veterans is that strength training is critical for the down run.  I’m not surprised.  I have run the Boston Marathon four times, and I know that the last four miles (which are a glorious downhill) can be a nightmare on the quads if you’ve gone out to fast in the first seven miles, which are a not-so-obvious downhill.  I can only imagine the quad screaming one experiences in the second half of the Comrades down run.  I want to be prepared.

I have to trick myself into the strength work, though, or I won’t do it.  Although I could easily outline my own program, I know myself well enough to realize that I will have better adherence to someone else’s program.  Why?  Because if I’ve planned a particular exercise or set of exercises, and I just don’t feel like doing them that day, I’ll go off-script and do something else.  (Nine times out of ten, it will be something easier or something that won’t serve me as well.)  But if someone else is telling me what to do, I’m much more compliant.  Thus, I’ve chosen two 30-day programs available free on social media to do for the month of January to ease my way in to regular strength training.

The first is UK-based James Dunne’s Kinetic Revoultion 30-Day Challenge.  In the short videos (available via an email subscription or instagram @kineticrev), James presents two daily exercises.  The body-weight exercises are targeted to runners, so there’s lots of work in the glutes, hamstrings, abductors, adductors, and quads.  What I like about the program is that it’s well-balanced, with core exercises and stretches interspersed into the program every few days.  Each day’s workout takes 8-10 minutes, and it’s something you can do without breaking a sweat.

The second way I’m easing into strength training is with Yoga With Adriene‘s Yoga Camp on You Tube (also available via an email subscription or a pay-as-you-wish download). I’ve had a regular yoga practice for 13 years, but this is the first time I’ve done guided yoga for 20 straight days.  With a great mix of standing postures, pranyama, relaxation days, and challenging vinyasa sessions, the videos (most of which are around 30 minutes) are adding an important counterpoint to my workouts.  I feel more confident in my balancing postures, more supported in my low back, and more appreciative of what my body can do.  I must admit I have a fan-girl crush on Adriene– I love her attitude, and I find the way she describes what she is doing to be so clear that I can move through the entire practice with my eyes closed.    I’ve been doing the Yoga Camp videos in the evenings, sometimes with my kids alongside me and sometimes right before bed.  Either way, I’m really loving the positive contributions they bring into my day.

If you’re looking for ways to sneak some strength work into your workouts, I recommend both James Dunne’s Kinetic Revolution and Yoga With Adriene’s Yoga Camp.  These free programs are worth your time, and they’re led by reputable people who know the body well.  I can’t wait to see how they help with my running when I hit the road for my first 50K in six years at the end of the month.

Good health and great happiness to you!

Comrades Update: Phase II Planning

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Of all the differing opinions about how to best prepare for Comrades, there is one piece of advice that everyone seems to believe: Comrades training begins on January 1st.  Popular opinion also says that training should include at least 1000KMs (620 miles) between January and May.

Comrades offers a training plan written by their official coach Lindsey Parry.  There are options for every goal finish, as different medals are awarded for different finish times.  From what I deduce, this plan will get you to the start line without an overuse injury and will prepare you to finish.  It relies on the strategy of double-blocking long runs on the weekends pretty much every weekend January-May.  Nearly every run is to be done at a slow pace.

There is another popular free training plan written by Norrie Williamson and sponsored by Old Mutual.  This program has more speedwork included, both in the form of tempo runs, intervals, and hill work.  There is more variation in pace for different runs, although the majority of the training is not surprisingly long,
slow distance.

I was surprised that neither training plan takes runners past 50KM in the build up to Comrades.  In my mind, that seems not far enough, as it leaves (nearly) a full marathon between the longest long run and Comrades itself.  I think the logic is that it is better to be underprepared than overtrained (and injured).

Neither training program specifies strength training, although most coaches and Comrades runners profess that strength work is non-negotiable for the Down Run.

So with these two training plans and the seven decades of collective running experience– and a little bit of hubris– between us, my dad and I spent some time over his visit at Christmas to devise our game plan.  We looked at both the Old Mutual plan  and the “official” plan.  We looked at our calendars to determine what races we’d like to use as supported training runs.  We noted when we’d both be in the same city so that we could plan a long training run together.

We decided on three races to enter so we can practice our race day pacing and fueling: Waco Miracle Match Marathon 50K at the end of January, Ft. Worth’s Cowtown 50K at the end of Feburary, and the North Texas Trail Runners Grasslands 26.2 in mid-March.  We won’t be racing at any of these events; rather, they are long runs that will offer some of the excitement of race day and break up the monotony of solo long runs.

We will also be hosting a DIY 40-miler at the end of April.  Using a super hilly 4.5 mile loop that starts and finishes at my house, I’m planning on running 8 full laps plus a final 4-mile loop to knock out a 40 miler as my penultimate long run before Comrades.  I plan on enlisting the support of my running friends to join me for a loop (or more) as I get nine hours on my legs.  Stay tuned for more info about how you can come join me!

All in all, my training plan will bring me to about 880 miles if I run the four-days-a-week as planned. That gives me wiggle room to hit my 1000KM in case I get sick or injured or just need a mental break one week.

In addition to the running, I’ll ride my FitDesk bike one day a week.  I have one day of yoga-for-runners and two days of strength training built into my plan.  I have one day of full rest each week.  All in all, it seems like a lot of work but in a very manageable way.

I’m going to chew the elephant one bite at a time.

If you’re interested in seeing the excel spreadsheet that details my training plan, leave a note in the comments.  I’d be happy to email it to you.

 

 

 

 

Five “Wins” from 2015

Goodbye, 2015!Thanks for the memories!

One of the best parts of blogging is that I have an easy way to review my year.  I can’t say that 2015 was my greatest year ever, but there are definitely things I’ve learned this year.

5. I earned my certification as a Third Age Woman educator.  As someone who is in the beginning of the peri-menopausal phase of life, this course was educational for both personal and professional reasons.  In addition to confidently helping perimenopausal women in person, I’m busy developing an online course to help other women develop strategies to balance fitness, hormones, and the priorities of life in their 40s and 50s.  Subscribe to my newsletter if you’d like to know when it launches!

4. I’ve undertaken the longest training cycle in my nearly 30 years as a runner.  In June 2015 I started prepping for a 5K on July 4th.  That was the beginning of a training cycle that will peak (hopefully!) on May 29, 2016 in Durban, South Africa at the finish line of Comrades Marathon.  I’ve had a busy fall of training and racing.  The end of 2015 marks the halfway point– stay tuned for what’s coming to get me ready to toe the line in Pietermaritzburg in just under five months.  (You can click on the Comrades tag on the right ————> to find all the blog posts about this adventure!)

3. I made my first attempt at blog post series this year.  The first series was about aqua yoga— I absolutely LOVE aqua yoga, but since I can’t be with all of you poolside, sharing the highlights of this practice was the next best thing.  I also ran a video blog series about How to Do A Pull Up. Looking for an achievable fitness milestone?  Follow the videos and feel the confidence that comes with the strength and coordination of doing a pull up.

2. Even as my business grew this year, reaching more personal training clients and swimmers than ever, I was able to balance work and family.  From the ways kids can help me see the world in different ways to how having older kids is really fun to the occasional night out as a family of five, I’ve enjoyed sharing the stories of my family with you.

1. I earned my certification as a Prenatal Kriya Yoga instructor.  This is a bit of an ironic highlight to my year, as I don’t really teach prenatal yoga very often. However, the certification process was a fantastic education in yoga, and the summation retreat in California was one of the best few days of my whole year.  It was a great reminder that when business growth and personal growth can happen simultaneously, I’m one lucky gal.

Hope your 2015 had some meaningful wins for you.

Here’s to good health and great happiness in 2016!

 

Congratulations to Robyn— she’s the winner of the Leonie Dawson 2016 Shining Life Workbook and wall calendar.  

You didn’t win?  BOO!!!

You can still order a Shining Life workbook or planner for yourself — order a .pdf version, and start filling it out right away!  Go make a great life!

Comrades Update: Enjoying Rest

It’s been two-and-a-half weeks since my disappointing Comrades qualifier at the Dallas Marathon.  As was the plan I set out several months ago, I’ve been taking it easy on the running front.  This break from long workouts was perfectly timed, what with Christmas and three young kids out of school and a husband on a business trip and visiting parents and all.

After the marathon, I took off five full days from running.  I enjoyed a massage and some epsom salt baths.  I spent a little more time than normal doing yoga and stretching.  I tried to keep myself well hydrated and get extra sleep.  I didn’t really feel like my body needed much recovery from the marathon, but my mind sure did welcome the break.

On the Saturday after the race, I took my two younger kids to a nearby park.  While they played a game of pick-up soccer, I got in an easy 30 minute run with zero aches or complaints.  It felt great to have recovered so quickly.

In the ten days since, I’ve gone for a few more easy runs.  I’m running when I feel like it, as fast or slow as my body feels like going.  Right now, it’s just about enjoying the feeling of each step.

Perhaps my best Christmas gift this year was going out for a very hilly 4.5 mile (7K) run with my dad, my husband, and our two sons.  It wasn’t fast, but it was a great family effort.  To give my kids the same gift of running that my dad gave me is one of my great joys of motherhood.

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Dallas Marathon Recap

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(aka The Very Long, Sad Story of the Sour Stomach)

For anyone who has ever trained for a marathon, you know what the week before is like: fretting around, trimming toenails, praying that the one sneeze you just sneezed isn’t the start of the flu, hydrating regularly, peeing even more regularly, and checking the weather forecast even more regularly than that.

I headed up to Dallas on Saturday with the plan of hanging out with my family for the day.  In the afternoon, my dad and I drove the race course so I would have some appreciation for what was coming.  We were joined by the USA Comrades Ambassador Pat Kongslip who was in town to chase down a Comrades “B” seeding on the Dallas course.  As we drove, we traded running stories and advice.  Pat and I were fortunate to have my dad’s insight on the course, both as someone who has been running the Dallas streets since 1964 as well as someone who laid out a large portion of the course back in 1983 when he was race director of the Dallas White Rock Marathon.  Having insider information and visual reconnaissance of the course may not seem that important, but it gives a strong sense of confidence going into a marathon.

Overnight I was awakened at 2:10am by pounding rain and driving winds.  My optimism for the day was, quite literally, dampened significantly.  At least I was able to get back to sleep for a few more hours.

I got out of bed at 6, dressed, and took my pre-packed “stuff-I-want-to-have-with-me-in-case-I-decide-I-need-it” bag down to the car.  My dad and I left the house just after 6.40am.

We were in a parking lot near the start by 7am, and then we spent 20 minutes complaining about the rain, changing outfits, wishing the weather would improve, and generally burning nervous energy.   Around 7.20am the rain diminished, and we decided it was time to don our garbage bags and head to the start corral.

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It was about 52F at the start, but the rain made it feel like 48F. The forecast was for rain until about 10am, then winds picking up to around 20mph.  It was a tricky forecast to dress for.  I didn’t want to be cold, but I didn’t want to wear more than I needed to and have it get wet (and heavy).  I had on shorts, a short-sleeve shirt, running hat, gloves, and armbands that were really sleeves cut off an old t-shirt with the cuff on my bicep and hairbands on my forearms to hold them to my arms.  I slid my pace band for my all-important sub 4:00 Comrades “D” batch seeding  under the hairband on my right arm. I felt confident I could run 4:00 comfortably, but I’m terrible at math on the run, so the pace band was there to keep me focused.

Our pre-race timing was perfect, finishing the port-a-potty adventure just as the start corral was collapsing toward the start line.  That meant there was very little standing around time, which was good since it was still raining a bit.  Just as the countdown to the start began, I took off my garbage bag.

Off we went!  I started slowly, as planned, hitting my first mile in 9.30.  I am a slow starter on morning runs, and I knew that going out too fast would make for a long day.  I hit my first 5K in 28.26, which was bang on race pace (9.09/mile). Excellent!

The rain had tapered off, and we were running through Turtle Creek and Highland Park– very residential neighborhoods which afforded protection from any wind.  I was already getting warm.  I rolled my “sleeves” down to my wrists.  By mile 5, my gloves were off and tucked in to my waistband.

I was running strong, feeling great, and clocking off miles ahead of pace.  I hit the 10K in 56:16 (9.03/mile), giving me some cushion for my sub-4:00 finish.  I was worried about the possibility of a headwind for the last 4-5 miles, so putting a little time in the bank now seemed sensible.

The race ran down Greenville Ave, a street lined with bars and restaurants.  Despite road construction and potholes filled with water, this was a great section of the course. There were supporters lining the streets.  I thanked every police officer at every intersection, knowing that keeping things positive always helps me run better.  The aid stations were well stocked and staffed, and I was doing a great job getting the water and gatorade down every chance I had.

By 15K, I’d dropped my overall pace to 8.59/mile clocking in at 1.23.48.  I knew then that I was well ahead of pace.  I had the idea that maybe I should have walked a bit more early on, but I was feeling so great!

Somewhere between Mile 11 and Mile 12, I started burping gatorade.  It was really unpleasant.  I didn’t think much of it at the time, but in hindsight I know this was the beginning of the end….

I got pumped when I saw Mile 12, knowing that my husband and kids, and my mom, and my brother and nephew and niece would be on the course in a few minutes.  They were in a great location where I spotted them from a block away.  I was still cheery enough to wave my arms and enjoyed watching them wave and clap as I approached.  This is the first marathon since I ran Boston in 2002 when I’ve had family on the course for support– it’s always much appreciated!

Just after I saw my family I ran/walked over “the Dolly Partons”– two hills of moderate challenge that are an iconic part of the race course.  I got a good chuckle out of the guys wearing wigs and fancy dresses with balloons inside who were handing out water (and other beverages) as Dolly Parton tunes blared.

Feeling buoyed by my family and the fun on the Dolly Partons, I ran well through the half-marathon mark.  I was at 1.58.14 (9.01 pace), so well under where I needed to be for a sub-4:00 finish.  And I was halfway done!

But any marathoner knows that the halfway mark is really at 20 miles.

And never has this been more true than for me last Sunday!

But I’m getting ahead of myself….

As I ran around the road adjacent to White Rock Lake, I was able to see runners ahead of me who were running on the path and were already on their way back to downtown.  Around 13.5 miles I saw Comrades Pat and gave him a shout– he was running really strong.  It’s always a lift to see someone you know on the course.

Running out to the turnaround point, I kept my focus on staying hydrated and keeping the Gu going down.  My stomach was starting to turn a little nauseated, so I really had to give myself a pep talk at each aid station.

By the turnaround (about 15.5  miles), my stomach was really sour.   Every time I tried to push the pace– my legs felt strong and my breathing was totally in control– I felt sick.  Not one to push through, vomit, and get on with it, I chose to back off.

I didn’t enjoy the stretch of the course along the path by White Rock Lake as much as I should have.  I know this path really well, having trained on it regularly for my entire running career.  The only fun part was seeing my dad as he was on his way out to the turnaround.  We shouted encouragement at each other and shared that we both felt sick.  I’m sure the people around us appreciated that.

I was able to get into a little better, more smooth groove on the very slight downhill between TP Hill and the Katy Trail.  It helped knowing a) that it *is* a downhill, and b) that my family would be at the start of the Katy Trail.  I repeated the mantra “My body is healthy. My mind is strong” for about two straight miles.

By the time I saw my family again I knew I was going to fade.  I just couldn’t keep the pace I needed without feeling sick.  I was happy to see them and hear them cheering for me.  A few high-fives with my kids did my spirit good.

The next two miles or so were pretty desperate.  I started to feel the wheels come off.  The Katy Trail is concrete, and I could feel the pounding in my legs.  It didn’t much matter, though, because I couldn’t make my legs go fast enough for it to really hurt.

I hit 20 miles in 3:04:31, a super slowdown to 9.14/mile pace.  While I was able to do the quick math to figure out if I could just run 9s all the way in I could still meet my goal, the logical part of my brain said: “If you could just run 9s, you’d already be doing that!”

Fortunately, right after that negative moment in my brain, I registered that there were people cheering me by name.  It took me until I was about two feet in front of them to realize it was my cousin and his wife.  I offered for her and I to switch places, but she politely declined.  Again, a little fun and friendly banter lifted me spirits for a few minutes.

I was surprised to see them again at Mile 21– those punks knew a shortcut!  I offered again to trade places with my cousin’s wife, but again she said no.  My cousin offered the wise truth that I was already a mile closer to the finish than I was when I last saw them.  Fair enough.

I took my last Gu around 21.5 miles, wincing and gagging as I squished it into my mouth.  I was still taking Gatorade for fear of adding cramping to my already bad situation.  My stomach was a mess.

(At the time I was blaming it on the Gu.  In hindsight (and realizing I had this same problem at the NYC Marathon last year), I think it is drinking the full-strength Gatorade that my stomach doesn’t like.  I use G2 (Gatorade’s less sugary sister) when I train, and I’ve never had stomach issues in training….even when running at much faster paces.)

There was, indeed, a headwind at this point of the race, but I wasn’t running fast enough for it to be an issue.  I walked a lot on the uphill stretches through La Vista, moving along only because I knew right where Mile 22 was, as I saw it on the opposite side of Swiss Avenue when running outbound.  That was an important point for me: in marathon training, a 4-mile run is a short run…and easy day.  Getting to 22 miles means I have only an easy run left.

I can’t say it was easy, but I can say I was resigned to the fact that I couldn’t hold on to the pace I needed to break 4:00.  It was so frustrating!  I knew my fitness was there to run the time I needed, but I just couldn’t hold it together.

I made it in to the finish in 4.06.40 (9.25/mile), my slowest marathon ever by more than seven minutes.  It was disheartening.  Yes, it’s a Comrades qualifier.  But I’ll now be starting TWO batches lower than where I’d hoped due to a special seeding bracket for folks who have 10 Comrades finishes in between sub-4:00 and 4:00-4:19:59.

Mostly, it’s disappointing because my muscles feel so great post-race!  I’m a little sore, but not really.  At this point, I just hate my guts!  I know that if my stomach had cooperated, I’d have had a better result.  Alas, this is the cruel reality of marathoning…..months of effort go into one day, and there are lots of things that can go wrong.

(In better news, Pat snagged his “B” seeding, finishing in 3.17 and change.  And my dad finished in 4.54, safely under the 5:00 time limit needed for a Comrades qualifier.)

I’m taking a few days off now to recover, stretch, and receive massage.  I’m still confident I can have a strong Comrades finish in May.  But there are a lot of miles to run between now and then.

 

 

 

 

 

Comrades Update: Taper Crazies

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I’m twelve days out from my Comrades qualifier, the Dallas Marathon. The taper always makes me crazy.  That means I’m trying to find ways to spend all of my running time since I’m not running much. I’m also trying not to drive my family crazy with my thoughts, about 80% of which are marathon-related right now.

Luckily for me, I have a middle schooler who has a jazz band dinner concert fundraiser next week, and it just so happens I got volunteered volunteered myself to make the decorations.

I have been knee-deep in donated vintage sheet music, trying to papercraft as many of the decorations as possible in an effort to keep costs to a minimum.  Once I decided on a “star” theme, I scoured Pinterest for inspiration.  None of these ideas is original.  I’m not a true creator, but I sure can execute other peoples’ ideas!

For dinner table decor, I have two different centerpieces: one with greenery and one with an LED tealight.  I hope it will be a nice balance of color and light.

One of the benefits of having a preschooler at the same time as a middle schooler is that I still have friends who have babies.  I’ve dressed up baby food jars with sheet music and die-punched gold stars plus a little twine.  My local Christmas tree lot donated the cuttings.

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I learned how to make paper bags, and used the sheet music to make luminarias.  I’ll be dropping a LED tealight into the bottom of the bag, and it looks so pretty coming out of the star-punched holes.

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For the serving and drinks tables, I have about 200 meters of paper chains.  And I still have more to make.  This is a great project for The Stowaway (age 4) to help with.

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We’ll hang these super cool 3D stars from the ceiling.  Add some white fairy lights around the room, and I think it’s going to be a stunning look.

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While I love running, I’m glad that the timing of my Comrades-qualifier taper has freed up some time right now.  Making these decorations has been a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to see how fantastic it all looks at the dinner concert next week.  I’m grateful I can support The Bear and his amazing band of talented musicians– did I mention they were voted the top middle school jazz band in the country by the National Music Educators Association?– by spending my taper time getting my crafty on.

Good health and great happiness to you!

Comrades Update: Travel Planning

Original image from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/iancvt55/6314700070/in/photolist-aC1uk9-7cYPhE-fAyY4o-jKFePi-ZXab-6QEB4N-6SQ7xD-6SQ7nT-d5ucD5-76QjnX-5ow5kw-fAyXyw-66Sjgb-5FuGyS-7vNP6P-m5b95-nnnEQk-6mHAFT-e2QeAZ-e2VTTu-oRAFkR-5A31TT-fAkg52-63ftaU-9pYeeN-9s5We-rG94fu-63fmdw-4ACyTV-6mMLaQ-9wyE74-8eC3Cs-4iM16r-5vzsQS-74grSb-pGEjMR-rSqcgQ-82vDDR-f5hqhY-nvpRHk-67ocDp-4yySQ-6hqjby-oLEPqU-NzbD8-fAu4Kq-r5Q2ZV-4phHeA-ff1Aq9-pPyM6

Comrades running training is going well.  I’m less than a month until my qualifying marathon, and despite a few annoying not-quite-injuries-but-not-quite-right issues I’m dealing with, all signs point to a decent qualifier.

But now that we’re t-minus six months from heading to South Africa, I’ve turned a lot of my attention to putting together my travel plans.  Fortunately, the whole reason I’m going is to do this race with my dad, and he was a travel agent in a former life.  Long ago he acquired the nickname “Suntan Steve” thanks to his love of travel planning, so I’m not exactly going in to this trip blind.

After a lot of discussion, we’ve decided that I will meet my parents in Johannesburg, and from there we’ll catch a flight up to Zimbabwe for a few days at Victoria Falls.

The local name translates as “the smoke that thunders”– and I cannot wait to hear the roar of the water.  (For those of you new here, I am a water person.)  While we are at Victoria Falls, we’ll do some very easy hiking around the area to take in the natural beauty.  We also have a helicopter tour planned.  I’ve traveled all over the world in all kinds of planes, trains, and automobiles, but I have never ridden on a helicopter.  I’m only the tiniest bit anxious about it.  But to see the Falls from that vantage point will be absolutely spectacular.  After the view on high, we’ll enjoy a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River.  There’s also a daylong excursion to Chobe National Park in Botswana for a safari.

I am so excited about the prospect of seeing Africa’s “Big Five.”  I have no doubt that I will be awed by the imposing grandeur and power of these animals.  I am looking forward to this portion of the trip because it will be a totally new-to-me set of experiences….but it should be thrilling without being exhausting.

After these four days of natural wonders, my parents and I will fly to Durban.  My dad and I need a few “down days” before Comrades.  We’ll hang out at our hotel, visit the Comrades Expo (before the locals arrive), hopefully meet some of the other American Comrades I’ve been chatting with online, and basically just hang out.  I haven’t decided yet whether I want to do the bus tour of the Comrades route (and potentially lose whatever small amount of confidence I have managed to muster) or if I want to go into it with only the excitement of the day to carry me through.  I have a while to decide.

My husband will arrive in Durban on Saturday, May 28th.  I will try very hard not to go Pre-Race Crazy on him.  He will, after all, have just spent 40 hours travelling after a week of solo parenting.

Sunday, May 29th is race day.  It starts early, with at 2.30am bus departure to the start in Pietermaritzburg.  The pre-race festivities start around 4am, and the cockrell crow start is at 5am.  That’s when my 12-hour time limit starts.  I hope to arrive back in Durban under my own power before 4pm.  I’ll hang around the stadium, cheer on the other Comrades, and then waddle back to my hotel and sleep.

We are departing Durban the day after Comrades, and I’m wondering if I’ll regret this decision.  Obviously, I won’t be moving very fast.  But I’ve also read that a lot of the international runners meet up for a brunch Monday morning.  I’d like to stick around for that, and then we’ll grab a flight to Cape Town Monday afternoon.

We’ll spend a few days in Cape Town, taking in the sights.  I’ve heard the city described as a cross between San Francisco and Honolulu– sounds good to me!  I want to go to Robben Island, to see the site where Nelson Mandela was held captive and launched the South Africa we know today.  We’ll see if I feel up for hiking up Table Mountain.  Doubt it!  Pray for good weather so we can ride the cable car.

We’ll head out the Garden Route and spend one night at a game reserve.  While some reviews liken these parks to glorified zoos, I wanted my husband to have some experience of African wildlife during his stay.  Also, I wanted to drive the garden route anyway, so it makes sense to combine this journey with a stay at a lovely lodge.

After that we’ll make our way to the Cape Town airport and head home.  All in all, my trip will be 16 days.  This will be the longest I’ve been away from my children ever– when my husband and I went to Peru, we were gone 8 full days (plus the night before).  My husband will be gone 9 days inclusive of travel, so everyone is comfortable with leaving the kids for that length of time.

Not that we know what we’re doing for childcare yet, but I’m still trusting it will all work out…

 

 

 

 

Image from Ian Halsey