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 Post subject: MM-Zero to hero in 42 days. Skukuza half marathon.
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 7:47 am 
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I have toyed with the idea of running the Skukuza half marathon again for some time. After an emotional couch finish to the Two Oceans, I thought :hmz: why not. I was really exhausted :big_eyes: and inspired.

It was a cautious internal debate and in a moment of madness, MM thought, "if I find suitable accomodation the Skukuza weekend, then I'll give it a bash".

Much to my surprise, there was space available. I managed to get 5 nights, starting with 2 nights camping at Malelane. This must be the busiest weekend in Kruger, so I did not expect such good fortune.

Then came a couple of financial shocks :big_eyes: Trusted Beauty needed a face lift and a couple of unexpected children's bills. I shelved the idea and decided that caution might be the better choice.

Then came Mapengubwe.

While surveying this, I was struck by the fleetingness of life, that it really offers few chances before it disappears forever.

Image

Image

I thought of the Kingdom of Mapenguwe and the bones now dried and buried. No longer flesh, they lay immobile.

Would this opportunity ever come my way again? :hmz: MM thought.

This is going to be a journey through my 42 days of preparation. It is also geared towards any other bold or reckless person wanting to attempt the Skukuza half marathon.

I will be giving details of how to enter the race and offer training advice. It will also be a creative look at life, commitment, madness and conservation.

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 Post subject: Re: Zero to hero in 42 days. Skukuza half marathon.
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 9:29 am 
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Matthys, thank you :thumbs_up: If you wish, you could always come as a second :wink:

Hugh, those days are long gone. I have not run seriously for many years and have celebrated by adding 2kgs a year :redface: :redface: :redface: There is a bit of work to be done here.

Chappie, thank you. I do hope that it will be a thread worth following and that others runners will be inspired to jump on board.

There is a very special history to MM's half Skukuza Marathon. I ran it in 2006, also with very little training. But then I was younger, slimmer and blonder. :wink:

I had asked on line if anyone knew how I could entry. This is an extremely hard race to get entry as the runners are limited to 1000 for obvious reasons.

Before some of the readers get concerned, Kruger will not be over run by hoardes of runners, in actual fact, the whole course is run within the confines of the Skukuza Village and one management road.

The one management road is a road that runs parallel to this special hide.

Image

Gwen, who was then a mod, sent me a link to a site giving details of entries. It also stated that there were a limited number of "conservation" entries available. This meant that anyone who was able to raise R750 for conservation could apply for an entry. MM consulted her bank balance and it agreed to donate R750. I did the same this year, but it is now R790.

I am giving these details because it is important for anyone wanting to enter in the future.

My screen is jumping, so let me just give a picture to keep folk interested.

a blast from the past

this was taken a few days after the Skukuza half marathon at the first ever major international meeting. It was taken at the swimming pool at Berg n Dal.

I wonder how many people remember the details of a most memorable night, lost tent poles, search parties and rollicking laughter. :lol: :lol:

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Zero to hero in 42 days. Skukuza half marathon.
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:15 am 
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Matthys, those were indeed memorable times :wink:

Micetta.. :lol: :lol: :lol: take your choice

Chappie, Icurrie, thank you very much :thumbs_up: much appreciated 8) I was thinking of having a fund raising element of a certain amount per kilometer. I was thinking of making it available for the honarary virtual ranger's coffers as they are still starting up and have the potential of doing great things.

Anne Catherine, the day I ran my last race turned out to be a scorcher. Fortunately it was still bearable at the start. By the time I finished, it was close to 30 degrees.

Because I want this thread to be informative for anyone wanting to do the race in future I am just going to talk "entries".

As I have said before, this is an almost impossible race to enter. First in queue are those who have just completed the race.. then there are some entries available on a "lottery" system. To take advantage of these entries you must belong to a running club.

The conservation entries are available for R790 plus admin fee of R10. For this you do not need to belong to a running club and might be suitable for runners coming from overseas. If I think of the cost of joining a running club, buying club gear and paying the road runiing licence, the conservation entry is not that bad... plus it goes towards the upkeep of the Park.

I asked the person I was dealing with for permission to give her details. She was promt in answering my queries, polite and a pleasure to have dealings with.

Her name is Ruda van der Westhuisen, her email address is rvdw@gmail.com. She also gave me her cell number, but I would rather you pm me for that.

My screen is jumping so I will make another posting. In the meanwhile up and out my fellow mites :dance: :dance: :dance:

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Zero to hero in 42 days. Skukuza half marathon.
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:38 am 
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I am going to talk a bit about training.

Firstly, I would advise a longer training period. I know that I am going to do more than a bit of pain on the day. Had I started earlier, it would not have been an issue.

The course starts and finishes at the cricket field.

Image

For those well prepared it is a moderately challenging and enjoyable course. For those, like myself, who are just not that ok, the hills will turn into mountains :(

Because of my loooong rest from running and because I have little time... I have decided to cross train as well as do miles on the road. Cross training allows for cardio fitness without the strain on the joints. I hope that it will stave off injuries.

Meet Molly the Muscle Cruncher

Image

in the background is a picture of cheetah to spur me on..

Unfortunately, I already have my first injury :( :cry: and have not yet used Molly.

Last night I rushed to my shopping area to get something for the cats before the doors closed. I was in such a hurry that I forgot the sequence of actions in closing car doors. My finger remained behind after I slammed the door closed :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

Have you ever noticed how when in intense, unbearable pain, the kind that has you doubled up and purple.. have you noticed that your vocabulary shrinks to one word... repeated over and over and over again, regardless of the status and amount of witnesses :big_eyes:

I now have black left index fingure, particularly around the nail bed. I am left handed and am typing with my finger delicately in the air. Any arm movement last night, other than wiping tears was impossible.

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 Post subject: Re: Zero to hero in 42 days. Skukuza half marathon.
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 7:21 am 
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Chappie, been thinking of you and I do hope that you are feeling a lot better.

Moggiedog, Sylvia, Micetta, thank you all for your concern. Fortunately my nail is not bulging so there was not a need for piercing. Sylvia, I cannot even start to imagine that pain :big_eyes: It is however still very, very tender. I am waearing a big bandage to protect it from bumps, and also to milk sympathy :twisted:

A little story. The first night that I applied my big white crepe bandage, I fell asleep thinking that I would be free from the pain of touching anything during the night. Any touch at that point was excrutiating. :cry:

I woke up in the middle of the night, feeling as though my finger was being held close to a hot poker.. :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes: shocks of pain were travelling through my whole body..

the culprit

Image

Fifa had decided that this white soft thing was the greatest toy that she had ever seen in her life. In actual fact, it looked just like a little white mouse. She was digging her teeth in for all she was worth and trying to kill the beast.

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 Post subject: Re: Zero to hero in 42 days. Skukuza half marathon.
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 7:28 am 
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My screen is jumping. I can imagine the mods saying :naughty: MM, get to the point.

Well this is MM right now.

Image

I will be running a 5km fun run tomorrow, knowing that I will not be flying with the wind. In actual fact I will be far from this.

the ultimate long distance runners

Image

I will however be running with a smile on my face remembering and treasuring the significance of this race. It is about conservation, community and fun.

Another picture of our first ever internaltional meeting, also about concervation, community and joy.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Zero to hero in 42 days. Skukuza half marathon.
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 7:32 pm 
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Micetta :lol: :lol: :lol:

Hugh, Pumbaa.. the little blighter tries to attack anything :wink: she is just so cute though, like a little toddler ever curious, particularly when she detects fish, chicken or raw fingers :roll:

Petra, I will be the one dressed in mobile mountains to protect me from the cold :shock: just look for a moving jumble sale :wink: oh yes, I will be wearing my Angel t-shirt underneath all the heavy protection gear.

I am thinking that I might try the 10kms :hmz:

After Germany's energy today.. what energy, I thought, why not give it my best shot :huh: why not go the extra mile or three :hmz:

after all there is much to be gained ... and I don't mean weight.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Zero to hero in 42 days. Skukuza half marathon.
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:46 am 
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FC, Hugh, Lockie, Micetta, Chirinda :D thank you.

My alarm has just gone off, just in case I over slept :wink: I spent the night dreaming about arriving late at the Skukuza half marathon :big_eyes:

now I feel like this:

Image

I am still undecided on what to run. Common sense says, "build up slowly and do a 5km, you are not yet ready for 10kms", that is the sensible thing to do.

The mad MM says, "go for it girl :thumbs_up: you can deal with the pain tomorrow" :roll:

I think that no matter what, this is going to be MM later today.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Zero to hero in 42 days. Skukuza half marathon.
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 9:58 am 
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Anne Marie, Lockie :D thank you very much :thumbs_up:

Right now I am feeling like this:

satisfied and ready for a nap

Image

I went to the race still undecided about the distance. I thought that I would look and see how many other runners were paticipating on this chilly winter morning and then make up my mind.

What crazey would get out of a warm comfy bed :huh: MM thought..

well over a thousand it seems

so 10km is was.

I decided to runs the downs, walk the ups and enjoy the flats... only there were no flats :shock: There were ups, downs and panics...

At one point I found myself running with a group of elderly people. I felt very disheartened :( then I saw the age on on man's running vest. He was the same age as MM :big_eyes: It is a shock to realise that you are now one of these "elderly people".

a few comments heard on the race:

one female runner to another:
no you cannot take your top off, you will cause a multiple car pile up :rtm:

the ultimate contradiction in terms
a marshall was trying to encourage us:

don't worry this is your last little, long steep hill.

after the race by a very weary runner:

I'll have a coke if I can climb this step.

How do I feel about Skukuza half marathon?

I have sharpened my claws and taken control.

Image

for me this was an important victory. It helped me to believe that I can manage the distance.

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 Post subject: Re: Zero to hero in 42 days. Skukuza half marathon.
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:53 am 
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Hugh, Pumbaa, Lockie :D thank you very much.

Sylvia :lol: :lol: :lol: not to worry. South Africa is just so running mad that I saw an 83 year old walker come in a little after me. She is an inspiration for us all.

FC, spoken like a true runner :thumbs_up:

I wondered how I would feel today. I woke up half expecting to have to hobble around. Much to my surprise, other than a bit of tiredness, I feel remarkably good.

I would not advise a runner without some running experience to progess this quickly to a 10km race. I have many kilometres in my legs from years back and my body has a running memory. One of the greatest risks to anyone's race is too fast, too far, too soon. I have the experience to know how to pace myself.

I learnt many years ago that my greatest enemy was my own personality and a stop watch. I am driven enough, I'm afraid, that I will run myself into injury. For this reason, I threw away my watch and started to listen to my body.

I advise anyone who is wanting to run the race for enjoyment and challenge to do the same. Competitive runners follow different rules.

A lot of running is about finding your rythm. It is about connection to yourself.

Image

for me, running, like the bush, is about joy.

Image

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Zero to hero in 42 days. Skukuza half marathon.
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:55 am 
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Manicwalker, I have held walkers with the greatest respect, even more so after watching how much muscle power walking truly takes.

The walkers and I would pass and chat frequently. I would fly on the downs, they would catch me on the ups. What I realised was the effort on both down and up for walkers. There is no luxury of letting loose and just going.

We are meeting next week for the next ten which is organised by Pirates running club.

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 Post subject: Re: Zero to hero in 42 days. Skukuza half marathon.
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 8:51 am 
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It seems that my bandwidth and my trip report have shared a common fate.. "the intention is there, but the flow is blocked" :wink:

Blame it on the world cup.

I have stumbled through training this week. A few late nights and a couple of Hansa's can sink right into the legs. :hmz:

Maybe it is a good thing. I tend to go too fast and injure, rather than train too slowly and survive. The world cup has provided the perfect distraction during a time when I might have tried too hard.

or that's what I like to think :whistle:

I will be running a 10km race again tomorrow. It is a tricky little blighter. I am aware of the course. All that I can say at this point is that it will be good for the hills at Skukuza.

I am also going to share another tip with you. I was booked into Malelane camping for thursday and friday night. I was not looking forward to camping, taking down my tent and then rushing to Skukuza to run 21kms. :big_eyes: I have really passed that stage of my life.

I kept checking the availabilities for accomadation. At 6:30am, as the lapsed deposits came through, I would look. Remember, there are many people who enter the race on the previous race day. They then book their stay, pay a deposit and will often change their mind. These were the lapsed bookings I was waiting for.

As expected, a month before race eve, at 6am there were cancellations of Skukuza bungalows and camp sites :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: many places available. At 7:30, on the dot I rang reservations and booked my place.

I also decided that if I was to change one night, I might as well change two.

So, my plan..

my first night will be at Tambotie.

Image

Image

The next night Skukuza

Image

Image

Please remember this tip Never give up :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Zero to hero in 42 days. Skukuza half marathon.
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:44 am 
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My second 10km race today and I am feeling rather anxious. A combination of pre-race nerves and world cup excitement has meant that last night was one of restless tossing and turning.

It was also an invitation to Fifa, the kitten, to see if she could stir up a game.

It is nipping outside, so I am grateful to have found my running cap. I just hope that there are no weekend bad cold spells before the half marathon. :pray: I do not manage cold well.

I am telling myself that by 9am it should be all over.

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 Post subject: Re: Zero to hero in 42 days. Skukuza half marathon.
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:15 am 
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Chappie, Pumbaa, Petra thanks sooo much :thumbs_up:

Micetta, its never easy with performance anxiety, is it :wink:

wbevents :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: well done :thumbs_up:

I was very silent the rest of sunday, this is rather a tale of ... :hmz:

Well the day started with a MM blonde moment. I like to arrive at least an hour early for races. This is mainly becuase of parking and not liking to queue too long for a race entry. I can then sit back and relax, usually in my car listening to music.

I arrived at the venue.. and .. it was pitch dark :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

I cannot be this early, MM thought. It was by now almost 6am.

I pulled up to the side of the road and scrambled in the darkness to find the pamphlet. It was the right time, the right venue, but the wrong day. :redface: :redface: :redface: :redface:

oh dear, oh dear, oh dear... more scramble and I found another very inconspicious pamphlet giving details.. the race was on another side of town :big_eyes: but fortunately only at 8am 8) .

I made it in good time and entered.

The race was in rather a hilly part of J'burg.

One thing that I know about runners, they are not like Persians,

Image

that will stay close to the ground and find the quickest route from A to B.

They are much more like Siamese, forever going up and over.

Image

This was very much an up and over course :big_eyes:

I was dissappointed in myself. My legs felt like lead, no my whole body felt like lead. :( I hoped that it was just due to the restless night and general tiredness. Even my mind seemed numb.

Eventually, after what seemed like forever, a very, very tired MM entered the sports ground. Even my sense of humour had gone :evil: Then I heard the music blasting forth. As I came onto grass it started.

When I get older I will get stronger,
they'll call me freedom just like a waving flag
.

I did not run in, I flew in, I flowed in, I sailed in.. I was on fire. All the exitement of the past while inspired some very tired and sore legs.

Image

I collected my medal.. and then it started, wave after wave of nausea. At first I thought that it was just low blood suger, but I soon had to realise that I had picked up a nasty little tummy bug and that was the reason for my immense tiredness.

Spent most of the day in bed. I did not even manage to stay awake for the final world cup game.. but I did see Madiba and have my moment of flying all over again.

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 Post subject: Re: Zero to hero in 42 days. Skukuza half marathon.
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:17 pm 
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Chappie :D thank you :thumbs_up:

Gavin, if you are fit Skukuza is not that hard at all. It is undulating and a lot of it is through the village, going up and past the golf course. The hills are never too long, but it is one race where you don't want to be last. There is, or was, a bit on a management road that looked stalking ground for Leopard. There are rangers on the more bushy sections, but I still don't want to be last.

Micetta, running in South Africa is mad, rally really mad. We have races throughout the year that compare to the best in the world. Most clubs attract people to compete by offering medals, and/or T-shirts for a succesful run within a specified time. Skukuza is offering a free beer 8) Some people will run for anything.

Those coming in the top usualy get gold, the silver medals go to another good and elite group.. and then there is Joe Soap and MM :lol: :lol: :lol: affectionately known as the "back markers". We keep the spirit going, sometimes a little too much spirit :roll: .

We are divided into age categories.

J.. just starting
a.. almost there
s.. seriously mad
v.. very persistent
m.. magnificent
g.. greatly magnificent.

MM falls into the M category and the bronze macho mouth medals. We are noticed by our war wounds and stumbling gait :wink:

I have lots and lots of medals. They serve as paper weights, key rings, childrens toys, and so the list goes on. It is more an indication of persistence than talent.

Anne Marie, I have had to learn to laugh at myself :roll: .

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