Long gone are the days when long weekends used to represent rowdy late nights and lazy lie-in mornings filled with nothing much in-between. I’m not sure what happened along the way but somehow my long weekends now consist of early nights and even earlier mornings with lots of sweating, exercising and massaging sore muscles in-between.
This past long weekend saw me run two races, one on Sunday morning (the third in the Cape Winter Trail Series) and the second the Women’s Day Challenge in Bellville. I was a bit apprehensive about running two races on consecutive days since my legs usually need at least one day to recover. But it was worth a shot, right?
Anyway, if you live anywhere near Cape Town you will know that Sunday morning was not what one would call ‘ideal running weather’. I woke up and it was pouring with rain, it was pitch black outside and the wind was howling like a ghostly mad woman. Yet when we checked the Trail Series website there was no mention of the race being cancelled. (Of course not, those mountain goats don’t fear a little Cape winter weather!)
So off I went to pick up Aimee and we headed out to Kuils River to Mooiplaas wine farm. This is what the weather looked like:
On the way there, still smiling.
When we’re there, smiling’s a little more difficult..
There weren’t too many people there, a lot less than I think had actually entered the race. They were no doubt still snoozing in warm beds at home, cuddling up to their common sense and ignoring the dirty looks from their conscience.
As I was going to be running a race the next day and given that I am generally a rather clumsy person when I’m not running up and down muddy slopes in the freezing rain and gale force winds, I opted for the short route. I’m not sure what distance it was since the venue and thus the route had been changed on Friday afternoon, but I think it was about 7km’s.
It was a hard run though because it was mostly uphill (which I battle with since my calves are always so tight they really don’t like climbing undulating hills for any amount of time) and oh yeah, did I mention IT WAS RAINING? Normally not such a big deal… but rain during a trail run means slippery, muddy slopes – and when dozens of mountain-goat-runners have already stampeded their way through it, it’s like running up a hill of muddy slush puppies.
However, despite the driving rain and aching calves it was actually still fun. Trail runs always are. This time I even stopped at the top of the hill to take a picture, I reckon it’s the only shot of the sun peeking through the clouds that happened that day. What jolly good luck I was there to catch it on camera!
Here are some other pics of how muddy it was…
My poor car! Ellie and Aimee – Aimee is a freakishly clean runner!
That night I decided to sleep with the compression socks Second Skins gave me to try out (*read the review here) as they’re supposed to help with recovery. And man, did they work! I got up on Monday morning and as I gingerly swung my legs out of bed I winced in preparation for the ‘einahhhh’ that usually follows… and nothing happened! It was amazing! My calves were actually fine! Hallelujah!
HOWEVER, my joy was short lived for two reasons… firstly because it was 6am and it was raining AGAIN. Yet because the women’s day race was a road race that meant tar, which meant no mud, so at least it would be slightly easier than the trail run.
‘Twas not to be though. Ten minutes into the run I could feel my calve muscles starting to tighten and it got to a point where I wasn’t even sure I could carry on. It’s VERY frustrating and I wanted to scream I was so annoyed. Anyway, I ended up walking the first kilometre until I realised that if I ran very slowly it hurt ever-so-slightly less than when I was walking, so that’s what I did the rest of the way. And slowly but surely I got closer to the end.
And in a weird turn of events, as soon as we finished the race, wet and dripping for a second day in a row, the clouds parted and it was clear blue skies for the rest of the day. All that remains of a very wet and full weekend of exercise are wet and muddy clothes and slightly sore calve muscles again.
The point remains however that I did it. I ran two races in one weekend and while my times could have been better it’s still something that two years ago I would not have even contemplated doing. Plus I got another medal! Woo hoo!
Not ENTIRELY sure what I’m going to do with them now, but still, no matter how old you get, there’s always something FAB about getting a medal!
Another medal! A girl’s gotta have bling..
One pair muddy, one pair wet