Running

Running in the Tatra mountains (part 1)

One of the things I wanted to do in Zakopane was to go running in the mountains, so I make sure to pack my basic trail running kit (hydration pack, first aid kit, space blanket, compass etc). It was pouring with rain for the entire day before my run, so I knew that the trails would be wet, but it was far more wet than I expected.

It started very civilized. The trails were wide, flat and well-maintained, and on the route I encountered groups of tourists & families going for morning walks. It reminded me of a very wet Newlands forest.

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The beginning of the trail. There are loads of trails on the Tatra mountains (you can even cross the border into Slovakia if you go all the way), so I just picked a random route up beforehand and started running. By the way the trail maps are excellent, so it was easy to figure out a rough route and avoid getting lost.

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Everybody was hiking in their winter clothes – jeans, thick jerseys and sturdy hiking boots. I was running in my usual running gear. A technical short and lycra shorts.

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The rivers were flowing fast, and there were plenty of sturdy bridges crossing these small gorges

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To be continued…

Grape run

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The Constant winelands

Last Sunday was one of my favorite races in Cape Town. The Grape Run is a half-marathon (21.1k) race through the vineyards of the Constantia wine farms. The scenery is spectacular, and for a total elevation of over 420m, for a half marathon it’s a pretty tough run. Note I say run and not race. While of course you can race it, this is an opportunity to enjoy the route, take a few photos, and of course stop for the mid-race wine-tasting. Yes you heard correctly. There is a 10k wine table, serving Klein Constantia wines.

While you almost never get wine on a race, this particular wine-tasting is a Grape Run tradition, it wouldn’t be quite the same without it!

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Running around one of the farm dams

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At least the farm dams still have water, so if we run out of water in Cape Town we can still drink Constantia wine

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Mid-race fuel

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Because its on the farm roads, there are almost no supporters, except for the occasional overprotective cow and calf.

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

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