Reporter on the Run
A marathon is challenging enough without lions, giraffes and elephants roaming freely around you.
Yet this could be what happens when I head out into the African savanna on Saturday.
In my head, the Lion King soundtrack plays while lions bound alongside me, a warthog crosses my path, and a bird called Zazu chatters away.
But the reality could be very different.
Let's start with the good news - I am officially injury free.
Now for the bad news - I am sick and have been for almost two weeks.
So while I could be out running again, getting my legs marathon-ready for Africa (NEXT WEEK!), I have been laid up on the couch.
About 10 days ago I started feeling really sick. Without going into too much detail, let's just say that I formed a close relationship with both the bathroom and a bucket.
My jealously flared up everytime I saw a runner, or worse, when my flatmates went for a run.
Some friends and I recently went away on a running weekend.
Unfortunately, for one of our group it was his first time away on such a weekend, and at the end of it he decided he needed a dictionary to understand what we were all saying.
So, for his benefit, and others who may wonder what the hell I'm talking about (apologies to readers if you've ever been left scratching your head), here's a quick list of some commonly used running terms.
Fartlek: This translates to "speed play" in Swedish. Essentially, it's where the runner uses a mixture of speeds to test both anaerobic and aerobic fitness. I've used this where I've warmed up, run for five minutes at an easy pace, sprinted for a little bit and then slowed down to a slightly faster run than my easy pace and then repeated it all over again and again. If you want it to be truly terrible, combine it with hill repeats (see below).
Chafing: AKA chub rub - where skin has been rubbed raw either on an item of clothing or itself. OUCH. Avoid it. Use Vaseline or some kind of sports lubricant.
Something was going terribly wrong.
I double-blinked. Yes, I usually wear glasses, but I swear I could see a giant penguin in the distance. Was it clapping? Wow, yes it was.
Oh no. I'm about 18km into the Otago Peninsula Challenge and I'm either hallucinating or there is a giant penguin in front of me.
I quickly ate some Gu chomps, washed down with water.
My legs were on auto pilot as I pounded my way up a hill, breathing heavily and wondering if, for the first time, I had hit "the wall".
My run last weekend included the following items: smoked salmon, sauvignon blanc, gelato, and butterscotch chocolate.
No, I haven't suddenly developed the world's most ridiculous running cravings. I was one of several thousand, mainly women, who competed in the St Clair vineyard half-marathon in Blenheim.
I love an excuse to get away for a weekend and combine it with a run. This one in particular I love as its my old stomping ground, and combines tastings along the way (subtext: don't expect your quickest time if you plan on indulging).
The plan had been in place for months. I was entered in the hybrid section to walk/run with my mum, while my friend Anna and her mum, Rhonda, were doing the same. It was going to be a bit of a mother-daughter getaway - perfectly timed with Mother's Day.
Unfortunately, the week before my mum was admitted to hospital. She was discharged last week, but confined to bed rest for the next month or so.
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