Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Monday, 19 October 2009

Catch-up - Concert, Racing & Running

I'z been busy!

Last week we attended Griffin's school concert, where he was an elephant in a production of Pinocchio. Quinn and I had such a chuckle while watching that! It was adorable and rather hilarious (a lot of it unintentional - bless!).
Q & EllieG the Elephant

Then on Thursday I was on our Go Karting team for a work inter-department champs event. We have some hard-core competitive and athletic guys here at work, so despite me driving my heart out, there was just no competing with those guys and I was not featured in the final. *sulk* I got the 2nd and 3rd fastest lap times out of the ladies though, so I really wasn't too bad. It is flippen fun. I am definitely doing that again. Totally brings out my competitive side. ;) Afterwards Quinn told me I was driving my car like a Go Kart. TeeHee.

Then on Friday I was off work, and after making plans for the boys and dog to stay at friends for the week-end, C and I hit the road for a week-end away.

We were off to De Rust to do the Meiringspoort Half Marathon. I really should have spent more time training and preparing, but well my excuse is that my life has been a bit chaotic in the past few months, not leaving much time to really focus...

Anyway, the drive there was stunning. Beautiful varied countryside with natural beauty all around. The Tradouw Pass between Suurbrak and Barrydale is spectacular. We had a good look around Barrydale - which is a lovely little town, with great character and a very distinctive style. We also stopped briefly at the 'world famous Ronnie's sex Shop' on Route 62. It's good for a laugh.

We finally arrived at our destination De Rust in the late afternoon. After popping through to the local NG Kerk and checking out the festive 'bazaar' and registering and getting our race numbers we continued on to our guest house, on a farm a few km outside the town. The chosen guesthouse has the unattractive name of 'Die Gat', but what it lacks in name it totally makes up for in appearance. It is magnificent. A truly tranquil, lush and serene oasis. The attention to detail is almost overwhelming it is so thorough.

After checking in and settling ourselves into our really cute room 'Klaskamer 1'. We went back into town to stroll around, make some purchases at the 'kerk bazaar'. Then we sauntered up the road to a newly opened back-packer's lodge with a lovely relaxed pub and restaurant out back - where we had one of the best pizzas I have ever had and some very reasonably priced drinks. This was followed by several free games of pool. (Yes, I lost as usual, but made a few decent shots - much to my surprise.)

Since we had an early start to prepare for the next day we headed back to our lodgings and off to bed at a reasonable hour and were asleep by 22:30 I think. Surprisingly for me, I managed the 5am wake-up call without too much hassle and we were in the town and ready for the race by 5:45. Where we climbed onto the designated ostrich trucks for our long trek up the Meiringspoort pass to the start of the race. (It's an end to end, rather than standard circular route race.) The truck journey was exciting for a few hundred meters, until we all realised we were freezing! So we all crouched down trying to get warmth by huddling/cuddling. The journey seemed endless, and I was painfully aware the we had to run ALL the way back, it really seemed that the truck was driving at least 50km... and not 'just' 21.1km. I was getting rather worried actually. Thinking that I REALLY should have opted for the 10km race instead. Finally we did arrive, and had to coax our now locked-in-crouch-position legs to unfurl and start moving. Not an easy feat at all.

At the rest stop where we were dropped off a small contingent of De Rust NG Kerk tannies were serving free coffee and rusks to the runners. I had not expected to be keen on it at all, but after the cold and stiffness it was very gratefully accepted and I thoroughly enjoyed my polystyrene 'koppie koffie en beskuit' while huddled with everyone against the side of the little stone building trying to escape the chilly wind. We were so focused on warming up, and discussing strategies to dress better next year etc that I totally wasn't focused on the marathon (ok HALF marathon) task looming ahead.

With probably 10 minutes to spare it dawned on me that we'd best get ourselves ready! So I sorted out my iPOD, did a bundu bash to find a suitable location to pee, and did a quick bit of stretching. My feet and hands were totally numb from cold at this point. I bid C farewell, knowing I wouldn't see him again before the end. Him being a seasoned half-marathoner and attempting a PB on this run. And we were off!

It took a good 2-3 km before I could actually feel my feet properly - they were that numb, and I ran with a long sleeve old shirt over my running gear for the first 10km. It was pretty chilly, so I really should have dressed better. But apart from that and being a bit less fit than when I did the Safari Half (which was my first half-marathon) I felt ok. Not super strong but ok.

HenryVorster_Meiringspoort.jpgUntil I got to about 10km and started having niggly stomach cramps. Just enough to slow me down and trouble me. It was annoying because my legs and joints felt fine, and even my lungs were coping. The route is really stunning and the gentle descent almost the whole way should make for a fast and relatively easy run. I should have been able to really go for it!

Unfortunately it wasn't my day. I had to stop and walk a few times, and kept having to re-motivate myself mentally, because I started wanting to give up. Even the energy gel I had taken along, in the hopes that it would give me a bit of extra energy and oomph, didn't help and just added to my discomfort by making me feel quite nauseous.

Eventually I decided to just jog down at MY pace, because well that's all I could do I guess. Also, because the views en route were so lovely I focused on those and just enjoying where I was. I mean just look at how beautiful it is! So I forgot about trying to be fast and just plodded onwards in the hopes that the end would come before I died. :) Rust - Meiringspoort

Soaring cliff walls with spectacular rock formations line the 25 km tarred road which winds along the floor of the gorge, crossing the Groot River 25 times. Entry to the poort is via Klaarstroom, 55 kms east of Price Albert en route to Oudtshoorn and the coast. Hardy plants, including indigenous
pelargoniums, cling to the precarious rockfaces while birds, baboons and smaller fauna abound in the projected kloofs and crevices. Among the most scenic spots is the waterfall tumbling into the dark pool which, legend has it, is bottomless.

Meiringspoort has been flooded several times in its 140-year history - 1885, 1968 an
d 1996 were devastating - and so the idea for building a high road over the mountains was born. The Swartberg pass was opened in 1888. A drive through this famous poort, the inspiration for generations of South African painters and poets, a traveller is enchanted by scenery with a kaleidoscope of ever-changing colours, depending on the light and time of day. It attracts the plant lover, bird watcher, geologist, photographer, hiker or biker and even the lazy driver who goes there to be part of its beauty.

About 2km before the end at the last water point I was really suffering. I decided to take a last glug of coke. I kidded with a cute little coloured girl on the side of the road that she could finish for me. She didn't take the bait though. I started running again and as I passed a man who also seemed to be giving up I muttered under my breath 'Ok let's finish this damned thing'. The last 2km is quite steeply up hill (after almost 19km of gentle downhill) and it hits hard. I was determined to finish at this point though, and even though it felt like I was running on the spot I made myself keep running, as we snaked through the roads of the town on the last 1 block and steepest uphill C was waiting and chatting on the corner. As I passed him I yelled out 'OMG call the paramedics!', then turned the corner very grateful that it was only 1 more block and a steep downhill at that. I took off and flew down that last block passing a few people, and finally I was finished! YAY! I again couldn't find the damn timing clock but it was confirmed that I finished at just on 2 hours - so 4 mins slower than my Safari time. Oh well. All things considered I am happy with that time.

C finished in an impressive 1:39! It really is a wonderful race. The whole town gets involved and the bazaar was in full swing at the end. We feasted on curry & rice & pancakes and a couple of drinks etc while listening to lekker boere musiek. LOL.

Meiringspoort Half Marathon week-end by you.

The rest of the day we strolled around the town, popped in at the pub for lunch, drinks and some rugby and then relaxed on the farm, explored a bit, and read. Sunday breakfast was spectacular and really delicious. And then it was time for the long but scenic drive home. This time we stopped on the Tradouw Pass where we had a lovely little picnic lunch.

It was a really awesome week-end. It's a lovely race, and although it is really far away it is well worth the trip. I'm definitely planning to go back next year. This time I'll prepare properley and try to get a better time too.

The official results are out already They are HERE:
  • Winner: 1 F Maans M 27 Adidas 01:07:11
  • 1st Female: 24 L Bright F 27 Elite 01:21:35
  • C: 150 C Lane M 43 Harfield 01:39:53
  • me: 456 J Weideman F 35 Temp 02:01:07
Total of 905 finishers


  1. Noid and I enjoyed the world famous Ronnie's sex Shop in December. :)

    It sounds like a really fabulous trip. I wish!

  2. Congrats on the race! A great update...was wondering when we'd hear from you.

    Stunning pix as usual too.

  3. well done for pushing through, some races are just not fun. I really need to get back to my running.

  4. You are such a natural runner Jane. Well done on your time. You aced it!!!

  5. Jane
    Thanks for the report. THe only part that I did not like was that I had the most spectacular run at around 3 minutes faster than you and you complain about your 2hours which most of us would have been delighted to do.
    You must be from CT going through the Tradouw Pass. We have two daughters there probably around your age (from your photo's). We often go that way when we go to see them. THere is a Half from B/Dale down the pass and back. Good luck with your running. Peter. 20.11.2009.