Half marathon training: Week 1

So Week 1 is done and dusted!

The training program we’re following started off nice and easy, with relaxed 30 to 40 minute sessions.  We covered just over 17 kilometers in four training sessions, with a total training time of about two hours.  With winter just about in full swing in Johannesburg it is getting a bit dark for early morning runs outside, so we put in most of our time on the treadmill, except for one run during the weekend. Not quite the same thing as running out there in the real world, I know, but a convenient training session is better than no training session at all.

Well, looking forward to another week of training!

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Training for my first half marathon

So here I am, armed with a training plan courtesy of the guys at FitTrack and ready to start running. Goal: complete my first half marathon. D-day: 12 August 2012. Event: Old Ed’s Half Marathon, Johannesburg.

I’m petrified of failure. The idea of attempting an event like this and not being able to finish (or having to walk a substantial part of it) is really scary. So I figured a three-month training plan should be sufficient to get me more or less ready.

My usual training buddy has agreed to attempt the race with me and she will be joining me for most of the training sessions. Nothing like a good friend by your side for motivation and a few laughs!

I’m not the world’s fastest runner, so I’m aiming for a sub 2:15 time. My last 10km time was around 1:04, so I think my goal time is realistic, provided I train properly.

To help motivate me (and possibly motivate other beginner runners) I’m going to (at least try to) do regular posts on my training and progress building up to race day.

Any advice or words of encouragement will be appreciated. Training kicks off this week!

Race report: iLUMiN8 Avianto Trail Run

Yesterday morning I kicked off my winter trail running season with the iLUMiN8 Avianto Trail Run in Muldersdrift just outside Johannesburg. For those of you who don’t know Avianto, it is one of the many wedding and function venues in the area known as the “Wedding Mile” north-west of Joburg’s northern suburbs. In fact, yours truly got married there just over five years ago.

At around 5°C it was quite a cold start to the morning, but nothing better to warm you up than a refreshing run in the scenic Muldersdrift countryside. For us city dwellers a trail run is just the best excuse to escape from the city and spend some time closer to nature.

The Muldersdrift countryside.
Arriving at the Avianto Clubhouse.

My hubby and friend joined me for the race. The more the merrier!

Ready for a run.

The smell of fresh coffee and the pumping music at the Avianto Clubhouse woke us up and got us in the mood for the race despite the cold.

A little pre-race stretching.

The short race was about 5.5km and not very technical. But a couple of serious hills made it sufficiently challenging. At two sections of the trail the route markings were a bit confusing if not altogether missing, which unfortunately caused quite a few runners to lose time unnecessarily. But otherwise a pleasant and pretty fast trail.

I started out strong but during the second half of the race I was struggling a bit. Possibly pushed a bit too much early on during the race, not having been running that often lately. Or it may have had something to do with my dinner of popcorn and red wine and not much sleep the previous evening… This lead to me spending quite some time on the heels of a little guy of about 7 or so, and boy, did I have to fight to keep up! After a kilometer or so of my ego being bruised by the little bugger, adult endurance and bullheadedness prevailed (or he just decided to spare the tannie‘s feelings) and he fell back. Well, I suppose the fact that I have to move around about five times more weight than him is a fair excuse…

Anyway, I finished in 36:34, which was, according to my Garmin stats, my best average pace yet for a trail run. So all in all a successful race.

Race completed and medal earned!

My venture into the world of running

Photo courtesy of http://www.onegreenplanet.org.

I started exercising on a fairly regular basis during 2010 (after a decade of sitting on my butt and getting fat).  As part of my exercise routine I did some running (or rather slow jogging) on the gym treadmill.  I still remember quite vividly the first time I jogged non-stop for an entire five minutes.  I thought I was going to die!  But once the dizziness, breathlessness and other borderline heart attack symptoms passed, I was quite impressed with myself (I had not jogged for five consecutive minutes since my early high school days).

Participating in the Sasol Cross Triathlon Series 2012 at Emerald Casino, Vanderbijlpark

As time went by, I got fitter and stronger (to a large extent thanks to Adventure Boot Camp, that really helped me push through a fitness plateau I was stuck on for some time).  In June 2011 I completed my first trail run.  That lead to more short distance races (both road and trail) and today I can actually do a 5km run in under 30 minutes (okay, the route has to be fairly flat but still…) and I set a personal best of 1:04 in a 10km road race last Sunday.

Races I have completed to date:

        • Gauteng Winter Trail Series #2: Hennops River (5 – 8km) – 12 June 2011
        • Gauteng Winter Trail Series #3: Segwati (5 – 8km) – 26 June 2011
        • Gauteng Winter Trail Series #4: Pelindaba (5 – 8km) – 3 July 2011
        • Amanzingwe Wild Winter Trail Run (5 – 8km) – 31 July 2011
        • Hi-Tek Quagga Trail Run (5 – 8km) – 28 August 2011
        • Hi-Tek Miners Revenge Trail Run (5 – 8km) – 10 September 2011
        • Gerald Fox Memorial 10km – 11 September 2011
        • Hi-Tek Waterfall Splendour Train Run – 2 October 2011
        • Spar Women’s Race 10km – 9 October 2011
        • Gauteng Summer Trail Series #1: Mountain Sanctuary Park (5 – 8km) – 16 October 2011
        • Gauteng Summer Trail Series #2: Pelindaba (5 – 8km) – 23 October 2011
        • Gauteng Summer Trail Series #3: Ihlanti Lodge (5 – 8km) – 30 October 2011
        • Roodeplaat Ramble Trail Run (5 – 8km) – 29 January 2012
        • Randburg Harriers Valentine’s 10m Night Race – 10 February 2012
        • SA Pork Kwai Challenge 10km – 13 May 2012

I also completed three sprint distance cross triathlons during March and April this year.

Of course, running, like most things in life, is better attempted with some good people by your side.  My husband is my trail running and triathlon companion and one of my best friends is by my side for most of the events I participate in.

Having a recovery drink and snack with my hubby after a sprint triathlon.
Running has certainly changed my life.  It challenges you in so many ways and the feeling after completing even a little short distance race is awesome.

I’m hoping to do quite a bit more running this year, to improve my running times and to complete my first half marathon.

I’ll keep you posted…

On pets and how we became a family of four

A life without pets is truly a sad and empty life. It may be a life of clean houses, pristine carpets and sleeping peacefully without someone jumping on you and sticking a tongue in your ear, but it will be sad and empty. Well, it would be for me.  I suppose the same could be said of kids but since pets are generally cuter and fuzzier, don’t talk back, are never embarrassed of you and don’t need expensive education, I’ll stick to the pets, thank you very much.

As students my husband and I had two dogs, Shirley the Basset Hound and Murrin the Scottish Terrier.  A stint in Europe as exchange students and the commencement of our legal careers in the city brought about that Murrin and Shirley made a permanent move to our respective parents.  They’re still there today, almost ten years later.

So after a few years of it just being the two of us, I finally convinced my husband that it was time for some pets.  After some deliberation, we decided on dachshunds.

And so it came about that during July and August 2012 we got Meg and Jack…

Meg is a wire haired dachshund and Jack (little mow-hawked accident that he is) is a wire/long haired cross.

Meg and Jack’s favourite things:

  • all people
  • almost all dogs
  • our bed, preferably with goose down duvet and Egyptian cotton bed linen
  • the fireplace in our TV room
  • the Parkhurst doggie park.

For those of you who were wondering, yes, they were named after Jack and Meg White of The White Stripes (my husband was in a White Stripes phase when we got them).

Well, you’ll be seeing a lot more of our babies on this blog.  I just can’t get enough of them!

Everyone needs a project

I believe that everyone needs to have a pet project at all times. Something to keep you sane (provided of course that you haven’t yet lost all of your marbles) or possibly to help you regain said lost marbles. Something that you have a passion for or that will improve your life in some way, or just something fun!

I’ve had a few of these projects during the last few years, including a few “almost” projects that never made it out of the day dreaming phase (studying interior decorating). Some I simply did not (yet) have the guts to actually implement (opening my own restaurant/bistro/cafe, although I did complete a six month chef certificate course) and sometimes I just lost interest very early on (bit of a habit of mine, that). Others have been more successful and longer lasting, like my venture into running and other sporty and adventurous activities that I have been trying my hand at during the last couple of years (you’ll probably read a bit more about that in some of the future posts).

Since I was a child I liked writing, or at least the idea thereof. I always wanted to write a book (and as a kid I was probably more capable of actually writing fiction – age and adulthood tend to lessen your creativity). Today I actually write for a living to a large extent, although drafting agreements and legal opinions is not quite what I had in mind. And if there is one thing that ruins your creativity and any semblance of a normal writing style, it is legal drafting and just generally being a lawyer. So bear with me, people…

Anyway, lately I have been thinking again about writing a book, one day when I have time and can actually come up with a story idea that may intrigue someone. These thoughts generally come up in my “i hate my job” phases (occupational hazard for a lot of lawyers…). I was faffing about on Facebook one Saturday and saw a post by Gretchen Rubin on her blog, The Happiness Project, on a new book by Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess. So I ended up spending the afternoon reading Jenny’s blog (for those of you who don’t know it, she’s really funny! Go check it out). So that got me thinking about starting a blog. It seemed to be a good way to hone my writing skills on topics a bit more exciting than my day job requires and to share some thoughts, ideas, things that I enjoy and have a passion for and other cool stuff.

So here I am, writing my first post. Let’s see where it goes from here…