And so the month of May crept upon us, how is it even possible?! Amidst the excitement and preparation for the 3rd annual Brandberg Rhino Run and Ride, training and preparation for our goal events for 2017 is underway. If all goes well, we will once again find ourselves in Europe late June/July this year. On 25 June I will line up for the Marathon du Mont-Blanc, while in July Nico will once again humour the mountain gods of The Matterhorn and we trust that they smile upon him this time.
After a long waiting period and lots of motivational letters (by my very tenacious Hubs!) I was very lucky to be drawn as one of only 2000 athletes with a spot in the 2017 Marathon du Mont-Blanc. This trail marathon starts in Chamonix, France, and forms part of an entire weekend of running, including probably the most popular ultra trail in the world (UTMB), as well as a vertical mile, half-marathon and several kiddies runs (all above the minimum age of our boys, sadly).
Nico will attempt the Matterhorn again in July, after conditions during his 2015 attempt turned unfavourable for summiting. He is also entered in the 2017 SkyRun in South Africa in November, so he is piling on base miles for this ultra mountain trail as well.
I have about 7 weeks of training left before race day on June 25, and I am satisfied with how my training is progressing. Not that I am following any sort of marathon (or sky marathon, for that matter) training program. I did have a look at a few, like the years before, but realised they all required way too many hours on the road and too few hours for sleep, play or drinking wine. So I just make it up again as I go along.
My weekly training includes a decent amount of hill repeats and a long run. Sometimes “long” turns into “longish”, like this weekend after our entire family came down with a stomach bug and with a four-day pukathon. As per usual it hit at night. There goes sleep and the long run.
Depending on how the day went and how much energy I have left once I get to running I try to manage some sprints or a tempo run. Nobody said I have to win the thing. I am going for the medal and the experience. And try to keep our kids happy and/or alive throughout the training bit. Also fed and semi-clean, if the stars align.
Both Nico and I are currently running in Salomon Sense Pro 2, which we really love. It seems to hold up very well in the rocky terrain that we are mostly running on, and is quite sturdy, durable yet still very light. I am alternating my Sense Pro 2s with a newer pair of S-Lab Sense 6 Ultras, which I am very satisfied with, too. The Ultras have an 8mm heel-to-toe drop where the Sense Pros only have a 6mm drop, so the former has more cushioning on longer runs but I do feel more in tune with the terrain in the Sense Pros.
After almost a year of using the Suunto Ambit 3 Peak I suppose now will be a good and safe time to report that I LOVE this watch. After many years of being a loyal Garmin fan my Front Runner died on me just before the 2016 Two Oceans Ultra. Not being one to rush into a big buy I shared Nico’s TomTom for a few months., but the battery could barely oulast a standard long run, so it wasn’t ideal. After he did a lot of research Nico then got me the Suunto Ambit 3 Peak for our anniversary (we are runner geeks, surprise!) and I have never looked back.
Not only is it the funkiest looking sports watch out there, but it has a battery life of note. It lasts for weeks on a charge and I can run for more than an hour on 1% battery life. The Suunto picks up GPS signal in a jiffy, and has excellent barometric altitude measurement. Nico and I now both have one (guess what he got for Christmas) and we are really happy with it.
Damaraland is finally cooling off a bit and we are enjoying spending more time outdoors (also actually out of the pool). We look forward to some camping trips to the base of the Brandberg as some of us will start to include mountain runs in our training programmes. Ahemmm. More on that in a bit!