SO much has happened since I last blogged. The first and most important is the arrival of the newest edition to the family, Milly who was born on 25th March. Everyone is over the moon that she has arrived safe and well and the boys are delighted to have a little sister (well Finley will be delighted once he has got used to the idea!)
The reason for not blogging for so long is I really wasn’t feeling inspired to do so. Each run I did seemed to feel worse. My ankle although improving was sore making each run a nightmare and really not enjoyable, the love of running and the feeling it usually gave me seemed to have disappeared, I was feeling extremely negative and was turning into a Grumpy old Woman!
I continued to train although not to my full capacity. My training would have me out on two 4-6 hour runs that I struggled to do as everything would hurt 3 hrs into the run. You can imagine my concern as I had the Two Oceans coming up so was in a slight panic that I would miss all the cut-offs. Thankfully by the end of March I had managed a 4 hour run and several other longish runs and although my speed wasn’t up to scratch I knew I could at least finish Two Oceans within the time limits.
HWMBO and I left for South Africa on the 9th April heading first for Johannesburg (JHB). On arrival we were picked up by a friend who very kindly let us borrow her car and we drove an hour outside JHB to Magaliesberg, a stunning location at the base of the mountains, a perfect place for a wedding.
After an amazing weekend of festivities, celebration, drinking, dancing and of course running. We headed back to JHB on Sunday after a fabulous brunch and the following day flew to Cape Town (CT) to stay with great friends who used to live in the UK.
Louise my mad friend we were staying with took me off to Newlands Forest on Tuesday morning to meet up with a group of ladies for a trail run. You can imagine I was slightly concerned about my ankle just before doing a race but thankfully was able to walk over the technical bits (PHEW) so all was OK and I absolutely loved it. Later that evening I put on a screening of Desert runners for our Freedom Runners Charity www.freedomrunners.org The Sports Science Institute of South Africa had very kindly lent me their auditorium free of charge for the evening which meant that all the money went to the charity rather than having to be lost on any costs – fantastic. The evening went really well and there were loads of Q&A afterwards which is always nice. All in all a big success and a great way of spreading the word about the project.
I met up with my marvellous friend Linda Doke (who is one of South Africa’s top female Ultra runners) for lunch and she very kindly introduced me to a friend of hers Eric who had completed the Freedom Challenge – it was fantastic to chat to him and pick his brains about the route. What was really nice was that Eric is also a trail runner so even more interesting in terms of how the route would work for runners.
On Friday Louise and I drove to Diemersfontein, Paarl, the finish of our 2,350km Freedom Run in September – such a beautiful place to finish and an image I will keep in my mind every-time I need a boost. Imagine running up the dirt track and finishing outside that beautiful Mansion house – can’t wait.
Saturday morning arrived, the day of Two Oceans. Louise very kindly dropped me off at the start where I immediately queued for the loos (as one does!) then would you believe it as I was on my way to my seeding pen I bumped into Dick Stubbs a friend who I had run with in the Kalahari in 2006 and 2009, it was wonderful to see him again.
I will go into more detail about the race in my race report but just want to say that it was a great event, loads of support along the route and I was particularly fortunate as I met friends along the way (Loads of hugs of course) and a few people on the route who follow me on twitter and read my blog, how lovely is that, very special for an international runner to be made to feel so welcome by everyone, thank you.
The view coming down from Chapmans Peak is beautiful, it reminded me in a way of the Spartathalon when we run down the hill with the sea on our left, I felt as though I was on holiday – loved it.
Our stay finished with a gathering of other runners for a Braai a perfect way to end our fantastic holiday in South Africa. HWMBO and I loved every minute of it and I can’t wait to go back again in September for 6 weeks!