Archive for March 25, 2009

Running Strategy

Ostriching is the term I use for the strategy I followed last year with all my races.  For those of you who can’t guess what it involves (probably due to your lack of knowledge around that flightless bird, the Ostrich), here is my definition:

Ostriching (Aus.tree.ching) is the term used to describe the tactic of going into a race (can be running or cycling) having actively avoided looking at the route so that you don’t scare yourself out of taking part in the race all together, or bursting into hysterical tears while standing on the starting line.

Derived from the Ostrich which is a bird about as big as a horse which can’t fly, has very few predators and a brain so small it would sneeze it out of it’s nose (if it could sneeze).  The Ostrich, when confronted by danger is known not to flee (it is after all one of the fastest birds on the run) but to put its head in a hole in the ground – why??  Because what it can’t see can’t hurt it…

Now, last year this tactic actually worked quite well for me but this year I’ve decided (since I’m an evolved human being and hopefully will never sneeze my brain out my nose) to actually research my races and if I can, train on them.

So Sunday had me running up Constantia Neck with Nicola, Shaun and Jess (who I’d conned into running with me) a notoriously horrid hill 42km into the 2 Oceans which is so close I have the unbearable urge to find a head shaped hole…
It went surprisingly well actually although I do have to bear in mind that I ran the 14km’s on fresh legs, not 42km old legs.

What strategies, if any, do you follow?



Running Route Series – Part 1

Chapman’s Peak Drive is a spectacular piece of road which hugs the side of a mountain and is quite regularly closed due to rock falls, which is actually the best time to run on this road because it means you don’t have to compete for your little piece of tarmac with any cars, although cyclists do put up a pretty good fight…

The road from end to end is about 18km return, it also offers ups and downs which is great for training.  The following images were taken from above the road while on a hike in the area:

First half of Chapman's Peak

First half of Chapman's Peak

Second Half of Chapman's Peak

Second Half of Chapman's Peak

Confessions of a Runner

I have a small confession to make, it seems I’m suffering from writers and runners block…

For the past few months, trying to motivate myself to run has taken every trick in the book and trying to write about it has been even more difficult.  So today while on one of the best runs I’ve had in ages I decided to just have fun and stop putting so much pressure on myself.

Last year I remember having so much fun because everything was new, this year it definately feels like I’ve been there and done that which is certainly effecting my running and ultimately my writing.

So, in the interest of trying to rekindle the enjoyment I used to get out of running and writing, I’m confessing my feelings in the hope that it will get me out of the motivational doldrums I’ve been in…

Anyone else know what I’m talking about?

Running Shoes – Prized Possession…??

On Tuesday night I was unceremoniously dragged out of bed at 1:30am by police sirens and a rather panicked voice over a loud speaker announcing that they were evacuating the area that I live in.

Scrambling out of bed I woke my house mate up and after peering out my bedroom window at the inferno which was engulfing Devils Peak about 100m behind my house, we decided that we should pack some things and head to a friend.

The smoke was so bad that you could see it swirling around inside my apartment, and that was with my windows closed… Anyway to bring the story back to why I wanted to write this post in the first place, I was standing in my room trying not to look out of my window at the raging fire, deciding on what to take.  As it turns out my most treasured possessions (according to what I managed to grab before heading out) consist of the following:

  • Laptop
  • Running Shoes
  • Passport
  • Sleeping bag
  • Pillow
  • Bath towel

Now I’m sure a psychologist would have a field day with this, but I’m intrigued to know what you would have grabbed, and if running shoes would have been near the top of the list, as it quite clearly was for me…?

Check out the pictures which were taken that night!

View from my Bedroom window

View from my Bedroom window

Letter to the Running Photographer

Dear Running Photo Guy

I really appreciate the fact that you are out in the heat (or cold depending on where in the world you are), dodging runners – to take our pictures so that we can have something graphic to remember our races by – but please, PLEASE I’m begging you – next time you take my picture, take the following into consideration:

  • I must be in the air, mid-stride NOT as my foot is striking the ground sending ripples through my usually toned thighs, making them look like a pair of Shar Pei puppy’s (or like I have a flesh eating disease).

Shar Pei

  • Please don’t take my picture if I’m doing one of the following:
    • Throwing up
    • Peeing on the side of the road
    • Crying out of frustration
    • Attending to the chafe on my inner thigh
    • Looking more tired (read: haggard) than the rest of the bunch
  • If I am looking at you and smiling it means ‘take my picture now!’ not when I look away or blink resulting in me being tagged as the “slightly retarded girl who took part in the race”.
  • Running photo guy, if the wind is blowing and I am looking like Cameron Diaz from “There’s something about Mary” – please don’t take my picture.

Something About Mary Hair

  • If I look like I’m having a bit of a battle making my legs move, don’t stop me and ask me to smile, because I won’t and although it might look like I’m too tired to move, I won’t have any trouble kneeing you where it hurts.

So in conclusion Running Photo guy, I won’t hold it against you if there are no pictures of me for that entire race, just don’t take any horrid ones, which still appear online for anyone to browse through, please!

Kind Regards
Reluctant Runner

New Charity for 2009!

For those of you who have been with me from the very beginning, you will remember that last year, in order to motivate myself to do the training involved with running 89km’s from Durban to Pietermaritzburg, I decided to raise money for a charity – kind of reverse psychology-ing myself into feeling like I had to run now because people were donating money…

Last year we raised about R6 200 for Reach for Recovery (you can read about it here), this year with all my new social media skills, I would like to see if I can exceed that amount.

This year I will be raising money for 2 pre-schools in the Red Hill informal settlements, just outside Simonstown here in Cape Town.  The money raised will go towards sponsoring school fees for some of the most destitute children and to buying school books to help bring the literacy level up to what it should be, for children who range in ages from 1 to 6 years old.

The poverty cycle is perpetuated again and again with education being one of the only things which has the potential to break the cycle.  It is imperative that these children stay in school, which is why helping those families who can’t even afford the R645 per year it costs to send these children to school, means a lot to me and can change lives.

I will be creating a new page with all the details and information on how you can donate, so keep an eye out for that.
Here and here are some of the creative pledges and donations people made last year:

This is the summary of how much money we raised last year and what is possibly my favourite post to date



I’m NOT a Short Distance Runner!!

Last night I did the Men’s Health 10km.  I did this race last year and had the most shocking ,so this year I was hoping to improve on my time and try enjoy myself – the conclusion I came to after the race…  I am NOT a short distance runner!!

It seems that on anything shorter than a half marathon, my brain and my body engage in full-on warfare while I standby and make sure neither wins.  I’ve never particularly enjoyed the shorter distances (in races, not while training), and I have just put it to other exterior factors like the heat, the fact that I might be getting a cold, sore muscles – anything really, so while I was struggling towards the finish line (along a really beautiful route I might add) it dawned on me that perhaps I should just stick to what I’m good at – the marathons!

To be fair I did do a personal best coming in at 50minutes and 6 seconds but to say I enjoyed the race would be a blatant lie, a more accurate description would be that it felt like the last 2km’s I was dragging my full body weight with my fingertips towards the end along the gravelly raod– of course this wasn’t what was really happening it just felt like it…

Anybody else out there feel the same??