Daily Archives: August 30, 2018

2 posts

The 2nd Dimension Of Running

I am going to take a few extracts from Mystical Miles written by Paul Vorwek who is a couch to extreme runner on both tar and trail. The more I read his book the better I understand my own views on running and what makes us runners. It also helps me to coach others in a more holistic way.

” Running begins as physical effort and practicalities: training , stretching recovering; of dealing with injuries, nutrition, sleep and supplementary exercises. This running becomes one of goals and targets; of running measured by achievements, victories, personal bests, training schedules completed and distances run. This is also a world of running filled with technology, gear, gadgets and shoes. Out of this running come all the great athletic events; the races and records, the successes, failures, heroes and villains. 

This first dimension is dazzling, exciting, vibrant, competitive, replete with ongoing achievements and celebrations; a celebration of people their doing and Life.

The second dimension of running is all this and more. This running grows out of the first dimension. This second dimension of running is the running enabled by running. It’s the running inner paths as well as the outer tracks, trails and roads; it’s running the inner and outer into one; it is the running of moon-tan and star -shimmered waterfalls.

The richer miles begin when the body, mind, soul engage with all that lies outside the runner. They grow as the outside world reaches in and engages with deeper parts of the runner, and grow fuller more when the two , when inner and outer become one.

The second dimension of running allows and later requires the uniqueness in each runner, in each of us, to blossom, to let the life in us bloom. It is from running that I learned how rich running can be, how it becomes so much more than just running. While we share some things we are essentially and existentially unique and it is that uniqueness that will colour our running.

In other words: our running, experiences and thoughts will differ, but for all of us they can be incredibly rich.”

” And then,

Sometime in the next day or so I will run. Choose a shirt and shorts. My socks choose themselves, the brightest yellow or green, even if they are a little hole-y. I will tie my laces. I’ll feel a familiar, peculiar, puckering, pre-run feeling as if my skin sensors have been switched on- somewhat like the feeling when the national anthem is played. Anticipation will rush through me as I remember all that running means to me.

I’ll begin. Probably walk a few steps and then lift myself into an easy stride. Step by step, my shoulders, arms and neck will loosen. I’ll know more or less how far and hard i’ll run. My mind will ration and distribute resources, manage the emergency reserve, fill it too if it gets a chance.

Breathing deeper and smiling, I’ll be running real in a real world. If it’s been raining I’ll probably shake the branches of a tree. Will glance upwards and savour stars, first glimmers of sunrise. Or clouds, or the perfect blue.

Most likely, I’ll shout or whoop, or jump on a bench. Unshackled I’ll run faster, feeling the goodness in the day; fostering life, opening myself to love, light, to learning, to experiencing every fragment of beauty and wonder. My legs will churn happily, rhythmically tracing a path over the planet.

Through city, suburbs or across a field, maybe next to a river or sea, welcoming whatever rushes at me, I’ll run. Deeper than any other feelings, will be that feeling fully alive, the enjoyment and satisfaction this brings. I’ll know deep inside that I am satisfied with my life and have a powerful reason to go on.

The road will unwind before me, and I’ll run down it into perfection.”

Read the above extracts from The second Dimension Of Running. Mystical Miles and try to see what drives you to run.

In the beginning it is all about strain and hard work to achieve even a small improvement but if you stick with it you will soon enough find that the joy of running or having a more active lifestyle brings greater rewards than you ever dreamed possible. I know that most often when running I seem serious and focused but inside I am smiling and laughing at myself. I do often write programs for others that reflect what I see inside of them and the possibilities that they might not of realised yet. They say things like I cannot run that fast or cover the distances required, however with a little prodding they surpass even these seemingly insurmountable obstacles and realise that they are better than what they thought.

I also believe that training for an event must be fun otherwise why would we willingly sacrifice so much to achieve something that most times will not matter to anyone else but ourselves. It is when we start enjoying the feelings we experience while training and running that makes us want to carry on with our journey and never actually reaching the end. 

Set what to others seem crazy goals and ideals that are seemingly out of reach and if you do reach them then look for other goals as the journey is most times more rewarding the end goal. Run with others as the company makes hard work feel easy. Run alone when you need to focus on getting through a tough patch or hard session. Run on the road, trail, beach or park to get you motivated to get out the door. When you see that you can survive a tough session while running, you realise that when life feels tough you can and will survive and keep moving forward.

Enjoy the running journey and all the rewards that it will bring.


A short runcation: Langebaan Half Marathon Race Review (2018)

Dialing the pace of life down, and the pace of the run up

We are at that point in the year when time is told in relation to the start of the December vacation. The tell-tale signs are everywhere and Whatsapp groups are flooded with memes of cute puppies reminding you that there are only 17 more Mondays until Christmas. The truly exhausted among us have already Googled and bookmarked a Christmas countdown clock telling the exact number of days, hours, minutes and seconds until holiday bliss. Honestly, 17 more Mondays is a long way off and adulting prevents me from taking a vacation right now.

Thankfully we runners are blessed with the opportunity to sneak in a short runcation to rejuvenate the spirits. Runcation is listed by Merriam-Webster as an obsolete word meaning “The act of weeding by hand”, but some creative runners have taken to using the word runcation to mean the type of vacation that involves a running event. My perfect opportunity for a short two-day runcation came in the form of the Arcelor Mittal Athletic Club Langebaan Half Marathon. This annual half marathon starts and ends at Club Mykonos Langebaan, and was held on the 25th of August 2018. 

You could imagine that on a runcation one turns the pace of life and your run down a notch. In my case the battery of my heart rate monitor died somewhere between race day and my last run, so I decided to forget heart rate and run my heart out! I paced myself according to perceived effort – a steady 10km, a harder 5km and then all guns blazing until the end. Disclaimer, this strategy was not advised or approved by any coach – but it was an utterly enjoyable run. Below is my Langebaan half marathon race review.

The end of trolling for profiles and routes, well at least partially

I decided it would be useful to add two additional elements to my reviews, (i) a screenshot of the route profile from Strava and (ii) a link to an interactive route map. I find myself trolling the internet and stalking stranger Strava profiles to find route profiles and maps far too often, since these are not always available on the race website or social media feeds. Having access to a route profile and map help me get my mental game ready, it borders on obsessive, but I have made my peace with obsessive. So, now you have the chance to experience this route vicariously on my review, and next year when entries open I can revert back to see what I am in for. Unless they change the route, and then, well, back to trolling and Strava stranger stalking. 

Route profile Langebaan 21.1km

As noted in my review, there is that not-so-little hill at the end of the course, and then after coming down from that, an ever so slight bump in the road before the finish line.  The route profile, unbeknownst to me at the time, lent itself well to my race strategy, with enough energy preserved for the second half of the course where the difficulty picks up quite substantially. 

What cannot be seen on this route profile is the large number of twists and turns this route takes. Several times you loop back to and through places you have passed earlier in the run. Just by looking at the route map it is pretty impossible to “get” which way you would be running.

Luckily we have many fancy sports apps that can help with that. Click here to access my Garmin Connect activity and press the black play button on the bottom of the map to “watch” the route. 

What else to do on a runcation in Langebaan?

Weather predictions for the weekend were not optimistic, and surprisingly the predictions were pretty accurate. On the upside, the rain (mostly) stayed away till after the runners were done but it came pelting down shortly thereafter. Stormy and grey conditions prevailed for the whole weekend, but it was just right for fireplace conversations, post-run massages and just plain laziness. The Coetzees were celebrating Dries’ entry into mid-life and booked into the historical Farm House Hotel which has majestic views of the lagoon, delightful staff and a must-try Americano. 

The 8am start of the race allowed “sleeping beauty” some extra snooze time on race morning (big plus point for this event). This start time also allows for those not on runcation to leave the Blouberg area at a reasonably humane time. For a full overview of the pre- and post-race ratings, have a look at the official reviews below. 

What to expect before and after the Langebaan 21.1km

Back to reality with a slightly elevated level of enthusiasm

Just a breather away was enough to add some va-va-voom back so as to get me through these next 17 weeks. I was reminded again this weekend of the innumerable benefits of running. In this case, the benefit of being able to combine (soulful) rest and racing in a 48-hour space just up the road from home. 

I am pretty sure many West Coasters have taken runcations over the years, some may be planning their next adventure as I write. What is your favourite or dream runcation destination?