Running

Running in the forest

My in-law’s house in Krakow is on the border of the Ojcow national forest. It is a small yet beautiful forest, full of trails, steams and wildlife. So of course I spent as much time as possible exploring the trails in the forest.

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Running along the trail

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One of the many rivers; I found many otter dams on this river, and lots of trees that the otters had cut down (yes the otters quite literally cut down the trees to use as dam-building material)

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A most-covered tree; when you get deep in the forest it gets very earthy and wet. You can smell the earthy smell of the decomposing plants on the forest floor

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I even found an old castle in the middle of the forest

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Running uphill – the forest was suprisingly hilly – they were plenty of good climbs

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Finally, here is the route I ran – about 14k. If you’re ever in the area I highly recommend a run through the forest.

Running in the forest

Last weekend I went for a run in Cecelia and Newlands forests. It is such a privilege to have since amazing forests in my back garden. It had been pouring with rain for most of the day, so everything was wet and had that crisp and clean smell you get after the rain.

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An old tree reflecting in a puddle.

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The silver leaf trees on the jeep track. These trees literally look somebody has spray-painted the leaves with sliver paint, and they glisten with an almost mystical sparkle as you run past them.

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Running up – there was plenty of running up, and of course running down on this run.

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I’m convinced this trail was created for hobbits, or just for really short people. I had to bend over and just about crawl my way through the vegetation.

It was an excellent day out, and you don’t need to be a runner to enjoy these trails. There are plenty of walkers and families going for shorter strolls in both Cecelia and Newlands forests at the weekends.

Muizenberg Monster Beach Run

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Wednesday was the second Muizenberg Monster Beach Run – a 20k “there and back again” dash starting on Muizenberg beach. Only about 45 or so peopled entered, and I ran it in 2:01, with a very respectable position of 22nd. But it was tough running on the beach – even though most of the sand is hard, there are still soft spots, and you are always running on a slight camber.

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The start line

My trail shoes were so full of sand by the end that I had to wash them with the hose-pipe afterwards. But it was amazing running on the beach as the sun slowly rose, and the sky went from almost black, to a golden yellow sunrise, and then into the day.

I will be back next year!

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One of the water crossings

Table Mountain dams

If you are feeling energetic, there is a lovely walk from Constantia Nek up the mountain to the dams on the back of Table Mountain. While it is only around 7km or so, it is very steep.

The dams were built in the late 1800’s so have historical value for Cape Town.

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Woodhead Reservoir

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Woodhead Reservoir wall

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Woodhead Reservoir sign

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Part of the mechanism of one of the dams

If you are keen to do the walk, here is the route I took (but I ran it).

Two Oceans Marathon

Pretty much a year ago I completed my first Ultra-marathon – the Two Oceans Marathon, the world’s most beautiful marathon. A gruelling 56km run through Cape Town, including over 1000m of climb. It was a brutal yet exhilarating experience. It is difficult to explain the conflicting emotions between joy and pain that I experienced during the last 15k or so.

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At around 40k – I was in a lot more pain than I was showing

Well, I am running it again this year. Tomorrow to be exact. 10999 people will be joining me on my run, and another 13000 will be running the half-marathon.

But the route is amazing. You start outside the brewery in Newlands, run down to Muizenberg (almost past my house), down the coast to Fish Hoek, across to Noordhoek, then over Chapman’s Peak. This is the first big hill and where some say the race really starts. Then into Hout Bay where you hit the marathon mark, up Constantia Nek (the big scary hill), and then down about 10k past Kirstenbosch Gardens to the finish on the UCT rugby fields.

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Crossing the finish line last year

Last year there was a course diversion over Ou Kaapse Weg – a brutal 7km climb, so in theory this year’s route is a little easier. I hope I am ready; I have certainly done the training. So here’s hoping for a great run.

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