Running slow

Humph.  I am not a very happy girl with my running at the moment.  I was doing so well and 5km was starting to be a  really comfy distance with an ever improving time and then something (I still do not know what) happened – my whole body felt like lead and tired, my legs didn’t want to move, my lungs felt like they were working at a quarter of what they should be.  So frustrating!

My times were getting slower and slower and my sub 36 minutes soon became 40 minutes again!  Shock and horror!

Zanzibar tortoise

I feel like this fellow – slow and tired

Not sure there is an exact science with this whole running thing but I have been told there are a number of contributing factors, which I understand but surely they can’t carry on for weeks at a time!

Moving swiftly along from feeling sorry for myself, I have incorporated more biking into my weekly routine until I can get over myself and back on track.

Do you also go through slumps?  What do you do when it happens?

Running and Riding

Pete has been the most wonderful PT Master / Coach with my running and motivates me to keep improving on what I have already achieved.  Just before I decided to get some viral bug of sorts, we did a couple of runs and rides – they were awesome!

First up was a 20km ride which was mostly road riding – it was wonderful to see how my stamina has improved since I started running although not having ridden for quite a while, my derrière was not very happy.

7.54km run

It doesn’t look like much from the picture but these 7.5km were beautiful!

Then we did a 7.5km trail run which took us onto old closed roads, running alongside sand dunes, had us scaling fences and climbing up and over a few inclines.  Best of all was having a family (herd) of no less than 12 kudu ran across the trail a few meters in front of us.  They are quite majestic when they run considering they are such big antelope.  It was incredible to see them.  They were quite interested in watching us run passed with their big ears listening to our every step.  Pete keeps saying he wants to get a GoPro camera – that way I could share with you exactly what we see.

Long beach ride 1

Next up was another 20km ride which started on beautiful old overgrown dirt roads full of spoor and droppings, we assume kudu, smaller buck, no doubt bushbuck and small wild cats.  The winding gravel track led us to what we thought would be a deserted (or possibly private) piece of land with kilometres of private beach.  Lo and behold there were 3 parked 4×4 SUV vehicles with the occupants spread out on the beach fishing and picnicking.

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First prize to the person who can spot what should not be in the picture.

The only way onto the beach was down a very steep set of wooden steps which were easier to descend than I thought with a bike under one arm and camera under the other.  The ride on the beach was magnificent – we were confident we would find more whale bones but alas we did not.

Long beach ride 55

We rode on the low water mark where the sand is it’s hardest and then over rocks and pebbles until we had to walk our bikes over a few dunes back to another dirt road where we have ridden before – I remember the steep hills very well, only difference now is I am stronger and can traverse them a lot easier. Yay.

Last up was a 8.2km run which was just before I realised I had a bug.  It would have been the most brilliant run had I not been so tired.  I didn’t know I was as tired as I was until I tried to keep my pace as with previous runs.

Saddest part is the viral whatever it was (yes, I went to the doctor) kept me from running for a whole week!  It was pure hell I tell you.  I was climbing the walls not being able to hit the road for my run.  I am all better now and back into the swing of things.

How’s your exercise routing going?

Riding along the Addo Border

We really are blessed to be living in such a beautiful part of the country, even though the highway is now incredibly close to our home post the new road works and depending on which way the wind is blowing can make for noisy evenings with the traffic buzzing by.

Onto happier things…  just in case you missed my post on the Addo Elephant National Park, it is a mere 2km drive from our home now that they have opened the south gate, a true privilege!  It used to take close to and hour and a half to get into the park before they opened the new gate and just for interests sake, Addo is now the third largest national park in South Africa. 🙂

Addo border 60

Pete and I went on a bike ride adventure which led us right to the border of the park.  Sadly we didn’t see any wildlife, although there was evidence of Elephant as we spotted loads of dung.

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The Addo border fence

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Good thing the gate is electrified as an ellie could easily push its way through

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Elephant dung just the other side of the electric fence

There used to be a railway station bordering the park in Colchester eons ago evident by how overgrown  the tracks are which will make for a beautiful photo shoot – soon I hope.  Somebody must have known the station will never re-open as when they tarred the road, they tarred straight over the tracks – or were they possibly just lazy.

Addo border 12

Overgrown rail tracks

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Tracks intercepted by a road

Our Awesome 20km Beach Ride

Pete has been talking about us taking our bikes for a walk on the beach where we live for a very long time.  The opportunity has never quite been right, as we would not be able to accomplish our ride if it were high tide.  A couple of weekends ago while enjoying our weekend coffee in bed and watching the weather report,  Pete announced that the times for low tide were perfect even though there was a near gale blowing.  Wind has never put us off before so it was decided, we would finally do “The Ride”.

Pete uploaded the information from his heart rate fitness monitor/GPS thingy and was able to produce this Google image of the route we rode. Must say, it does look very impressive.

I was hoping to take my camera with but realised with the amount of sand that was blowing all around us, it was not a good idea – besides I would want to stop every 3 minutes to take pictures which would have necessitated our having to take an overnight bag too.  Thankfully our mobile phones have cameras so we are able to share a few shots of our adventure.

We left home, took the little dirt road onto the N2 highway until we were over the bridge and hooked a left at the road we know leads to the beach.  Under the barbed wire fencing with our bikes and from here on out was me behind Pete saying, ‘oh “that” would make such a beautiful photograph – we must bring the camera next time.’  We really do live in a beautiful and peaceful part of the country and are very lucky to be able to see so much of it.  We live 2km away from the new gate into the Addo Elephant Park and can proudly say that we are home to the Big 7 – yip 7, the big five, being Black Rhino, Lion, Elephant, Cape Buffalo and Leopard and the extra 2 being the humped back whale and the great white shark.

After the barbed wire fence is a lovely gravel road which leads to the pump house on the beach.  Here we are on the beach ready to ride along the water’s edge all the way to the mouth – not knowing yet if we will get a lift across the river.  Worst case scenario we just turn around and come back the way we came.

What a beautiful ride – the water was crystal clear and the hard wet sand made for mostly easy riding – there was the odd soft section…  Every now and again we would hear a popping under our tyres – still not sure what was under the sand – at first I thought it might have been blue bottles but there weren’t any to be seen so it remains a mystery.

And then out of the blue was the biggest bone I have ever seen!  A whale bone – it is huge and stand well over 7 foot high! Pete and I decided it would make an awesome double chair – there are the perfect seat indentations on either side – we are assuming that they are hip bones with the spine bone sticking up into the air.

I would love to go back with my “real” camera and take more shots of this incredible monstrous bone.  Wish I could put it on the back of my bike and bring it home to use as a feature piece in the garden.

We were amazed to see how the mouth of the river has changed – it has been over 3 years since we last saw it.  Luckily we were able to ride most of the way and only had to walk a short distance where the sand was very soft and took our bikes over the pencil bait covered sand to where Pete kindly asked a family if they would take us across the river – I am convinced they thought we are mad coming along on our bicycles out of nowhere.  They were gracious enough to take us and our bikes to the other side and dropped us at the top end of the caravan resort.  It was a lovely ride through the park to where it exits at the local supermarket and post agency.  Ordinarily you aren’t allowed into the park without a day pass – not sure how we would have explained our being there without having actually entered in the first place.

We stopped in at the supermarket for a quick bite to eat – the apples we packed had not quite done the trick on tiding us over until we got home.  In hind sight, stopping was probably not the best idea as we hit MAJOR wind on the way home and felt like we were barely making any progress against mother nature, but we steadily peddled and made it home very satisfied with our efforts.

This was definitely THE BEST RIDE EVER and I cannot wait until we can do it again!