I also miss drive-thrus. Can’t believe after working at Exit41 for so long that I would miss a drive-thru but there you have it! Actually I saw I think the first one, on the way back from the race on Sunday – a KFC! But I certainly wasn’t going to stop there. But on the way to the race, I really could have used a drive-thru Dunkin Donuts or something, although considering that I wound up getting there about 10 minutes before the race started after a 500m jog from my car, perhaps it’s for the best that I skipped the coffee.
So when I woke up on Sunday at around 6am it was pouring rain. Pouring. So what did I do? Pulled the covers back over my head, laughed at myself for being such an idiot, and went back to sleep for an hour. When I got up, the rain had abated … a little bit.
The race was at Kaapzicht winery, in the Bottelery Hills (actually, quite close to where I taught when I was here last year). The race didn’t have quite as steep hills as the ones we had encountered but there was a LOT of consistent uphill climbing. Happily, my legs did not tire out 100m into the first hill, but they were definitely tired: this was the first time my legs tired out before I reached my VO2 max (aka before I got so out of breath that I couldn’t continue). Nonetheless, I still managed to pass a bunch of people on the hills.
I actually like running in the rain and today’s run was good fun. It was through the winelands, and the wine vines were all bare in the winter, and there was some crazy fog. At one point the fog cleared a bit and you could see down a hill to a pond and then what I think was east towards Stellenbosch but since I couldn’t see the mountains I was a bit disoriented. Anyway it was breathtakingly gorgeous, the little of it I saw when not looking down at my feet to avoid flying forward onto my teeth! A little later the trail went very off-road and we were running with the fynbos whipping at our legs, the rain whipping at our faces and hair, and it was all I could do to try and notice the wild blooming calla lillies while trying to avoid spraining an ankle or doing a face-plant! I actually nearly did eat it at one point, on a straight-away happily, and I skidded about 10 feet before regaining balance – felt like I was surfing on mud! But the downhills were very hard – VERY slippery.
On this course the short and long course overlapped for a good portion. I was running along with this group and then came to a dividing point and went on the long course way, only to hear the guy say on his walkie-talkie that the #3 female had just passed the marker. I was thinking at about this point that if I actually ran a short course I would probably finish in the top 5 or 10, because a) all the good competition is in the long course and b) I don’t do long distance very well! Although today’s result translates to sub-10-minute-mile times for nearly 8 miles in very taxing conditions and considering that I was moving very slowly on most of the downhills and couldn’t even run some hills due to mud imagine what I could do in a road race! The last race in the winter series is coming up next week and I am really going to miss it, although not so much the tiredness it creates … guess I need to find someone to go trail running with occasionally!
Anyway near the very end there was a puddle so big that it was unavoidable, so I guess this counts as a shiggy trail perhaps? Oh it was really cute after this point there were a bunch of kids who probably lived on the farm out in the middle of the road giving high-fives to all the runners on the short course who were coming back in at this point. I was happy for this because it gave me a TON of people to try and kick ahead of at the end of the race. I think I passed like 8 people in the last 500 meters! It’s just fun to have a target to shoot for, and I beat everyone in sight so I was happy with that.
One of the other girls from CCF had her camera on her and managed to get a good photo of my muddy, uhm, posterior. But at least I had a grin on my face … until I cooled down, and realized I had some blisters and didn’t want to run back to my car. So then I walked back and got sprayed with mud by every car passing by … it was a messy day, and it took me literally hours to warm up.
So I got home and saw that the video of our prowler adventures had hit Facebook. Like I really needed to be reminded of that humiliation, well, clearly I didn’t go hard enough since I not only walked but ran 24 hours later!
I think one of the hardest things to get used to here is shopping, simply because I don’t know where to go if I want something. Back in the States, if I want plant pots and soil I know to go to Home Depot or Lowe’s. Here, there is Builders Warehouse which is kind of the same thing. But I also wanted an immersion blender so I could make some soups, and I am sure I probably pay get the best price for it but bought it at the first place I found it. Well, this is something you learn over time I suppose. I also really wish things didn’t close so early on weekends (if they are open at all on Sundays). I mean, who has time to shop during the week anyway, really? Geez. I guess nothing’s perfect… you take the good with the bad, and there are so many things that I like about being here that the rest is certainly manageable.
Monday was National Women’s Day. This is one of the very interesting things about living in a different country – all the holidays are different! No Fourth of July, Memorial Day, or Labor Day, but we get Youth Day and National Women’s Day. I guess you don’t realize just how much you track progress throughout the year based on when holidays come and go, but changing that up is quite enjoyable.
The winter weather continued somewhat unabated … I woke up around 7am, saw that it was still raining, pulled the covers over my head and went back to sleep. But eventually I couldn’t sleep any longer, and besides the weather had cleared so I got up, enjoyed some tea on the balcony while checking the horses on Signal Hill (still not sure what the deal is with them, I need to walk over there one day) and got ready for my friend to come pick me up.
We had planned to go to Fairview farm just south of Paarl on this holiday for a couple of weeks but like idiots didn’t think to call in advance to book a table. Oops. So instead we started with wine and cheese tasting and I must say that this is quite the combination; beats the heck out of wine and olive oil. I just really enjoy cheese, little though I eat of it anymore, but I do have a housewarming party coming up and people need to be fed. You can justify almost any food purchase with a party.
Since we couldn’t eat there we proceeded over to Franschhoek (which I can finally spell!) for lunch. Actually the lunch was so huge that we both had a bit of a difficult time with the workout a couple of hours later, but c’est la vie. Boy I had a hard time with that snatch today; can’t really blame the food but something was off. My head wasn’t in the right place for some reason. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow! Anyway I had a fantastic time on the holiday and the weather even cooperated aside from a short bout of rain while we were wine tasting.