Of the Year That Was 2018 in Running

When it comes to planning and gearing up for a new year ahead, nothing beats a good old retrospect of the year gone by. Compiling a little summary of our 2017 running stats and highlights was lots of fun, so I decided to do it again for 2018.

Dodo Run, Mauritius.

Competitive as we runners may be, one may think that the main goal for 2018 was to go further or longer or higher than I did in 2017. But that wasn’t the case. In fact, I kicked off the year nurturing an unfortunate knee injury that had me abstain from running for weeks, and finally some conservative running with physio well into the year. So not the best of starts. But once I got moving again, I really put an effort into getting stronger, focussing on my knees and stabilising muscles. This got me doing loads of deep sand running and dune repeats, which nearly broke me made the world of difference.

Luckily we have easy access to loads of sand dunes… and the boys also think it is fun!

In addition to getting stronger, I also tried to keep a more regular running schedule, even with a stiff traveling program and a hubs that works away often. Many times this required doing short runs on consecutive days to keep up my motivation, instead of our usual longer every-other-day runs that were sometimes postponed or fell through due to circumstances (or severe exhaustion!)

So without further ado, these were the numbers and how they compared to the year before.

Number of Races: 4

The races we took part in in 2018 included the Ultra Fiord 50 km in Patagonia, the Dodo Run 50 km relay in Mauritius, UTAT marathon in Morocco and the Sandman Triathlon in Swakopmund. And how awesome to say that 50 % of the year’s races we took part in as a family!

The boys with their woodallions after completing the Dodo fun run. Mr 5 with his bird’s nest, an exciting find along the trail!
A DNF for the Dodo Run relay but one of the most rewarding family events we’ve had to date.

The boys did their longest kiddies run to date in Mauritius when they did a 2.5 km loop of the Dodo Fun Run. Later in the year, we all had a go at the mini Sandman Triathlon where they biked and ran in a cool, foggy Swakopmund.

Rearing to go at the Sandman triathlon, Swakopmund.

Total mileage: 1,034 km

Despite a very rocky start, the total distance I covered for the year in 2018 was 1,034 km, very similar to the 1,029 km for 2017. This can all be attributed to the bee that flew into our bonnets circa October 2018, when we decided to run through the desert (twice)! We had SO much fun on these expeditions!

Jam sandwiches at Mile 108.
A running safari through Damaraland.

Total Elevation Gain:  23,691 m

Total elevation gain for 2017 was 20,516 m. And although I trust Strava for most of the data transferred from Suunto’s MovesCount app, I have my doubts when it comes to elevation. But since the 2017 stats were from Strava, I’ll use 2018’s Strava elevation gained for comparison. Even without doing the Otter in 2018, obviously the effort of working on those knees paid off.

Mr 5 waiting for Mamma with a flower at the UTAT finish.

Days active: 168

An improvement here was what I was aiming for, and I was happy to see the final number. Total days active for 2017 was 137, so well under 182, which is ultimately the goal for an every-other-day-runner. Considering loads of traveling and a few recovery days here and there, 168 runs are not too shabby.

Longest Activity: 47.5 km

Some random Strava trivia included the longest run which was the Ultra Fiord, a real life changer for Nico and I.

On the UltraFiord Ultra, Chilean Patagonia.

Hilliest day: 2,891m D+

Another piece of trivia was that the Ultra Trail Atlas Toubkal marathon was the hilliest run for the year 2018. And boy, was it hilly! A whopping 2,891 m climbed (and same descent) across the 43 km. I was thankful for those dune repeats which saw the knees hold up!

Beautiful, beautiful Atlas Mountains. UTAT marathon, Morocco.
The Hubs and his guide after successfully scaling Atlas Toubkal in a day.

Running Related Books Read: 0

Oi, not one of the finest stats here, but blame a busy schedule (not really). I have a stack of half-read, awesome running-related books next to my bed, which will see all (most?!) of their pages turned before the end of this 2019. My dearest Hubs have an incredible knack of picking out splendid reading material for me, and he didn’t disappoint in 2018.

The Hubster knows that very few gifts make me as happy as good reading material (and all things running!)

But, just because I didn’t finish a running-related book doesn’t mean 2018 wasn’t an incredibly special book year…!

Firstly, one of my huge momma-dreams came true when I discovered that our boys were big enough to appreciate and enjoy chapter books. Nico and I both read them bedtime stories every night, and since the introduction of chapter books, these special bedtime rituals have stretched from 30 minutes to almost an hour’s reading at a time. Special, special, special.

Obviously, we started with the Big Cahoona, the Ultimate Storyteller, Mr. Roald Dahl. In 2018 we already enjoyed The BFG, The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me, James & The Giant Peach, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and Danny The Champion of The World. We are now on Charly and The Glass Elevator, and there is still a stack of other RD books to look forward to.

And in other huge and awesome book-news, I had the honour of reading two (not one!) books authored by my very own, very talented, mom. These books, might I add, were both written and published less than a year apart from each other, and they sold out as fast as they came off the press. I am so happy and proud of this lady for finding her voice as an author, and so coming into her own, after many years of quietly keeping her beautiful writings to herself. What an inspiration she is to us and to so many of her readers.

Places We Ran

Since we love to travel to run and run to travel, no yearly summary would be complete without a mention of the stunning places we were fortunate to run in.

In short, the year of 2018 saw us running on 3 continents: Africa (home), South America and North America (Nico only).

Torres del Paine Park, Patagonia (Chile).

We ran in 9 different countries: Namibia (home) Botswana, Chile (new), Peru (new), Morocco (new), Mauritius (new), DRC (Nico only), Canada (Nico only) and South Africa.

Within these 9 countries, there were 40 different places where we stayed and got to lace up for some adventure and exploring.

Best Run for the year 2018: Piggy

Of all the runs we ran in all the various places, our daily Piggy runs are by far my favourite. Every night after dinner,  no matter where we are, we have a game of indoor touchers with the boys. Each family member gets a turn to recite the “This little piggy” poem, ending with him chasing the others to catch and tickle them with a “wee wee wee”. Piggy runs don’t discriminate between the freshly rested or the “I just ran a 40 min trail!” family members. If you are home, you run. If you are not home, they wait. Lots of running and lots of (nervous) laughter.  Often tears too, and so came about the one single Piggy rule: no pushing. But running inside in a confined space will inevitably result in numerous toes stubbed on chair- and table legs, the odd crash into a pantry shelf and many a complete, teary wipeout that usually brings that night’s Piggy to an abrubt halt. But no day is complete without Piggy. And of course, why ELSE would parents run and train if not to get better at chasing after boys in a game of touchers?

This awesome dad is ALWAYS up for a good game of touchers.

Here’s to a prosperous and healthy 2019 with many happy miles on old and exciting new trails!

4 thoughts on “Of the Year That Was 2018 in Running

  • 29 January 2019 at 3:25 am

    Wat ‘n fees, Saartjie-blaar! En wat ‘n vreugde om saam te maak so oor die afstand heen! Xxxx

  • 29 January 2019 at 8:05 pm

    PS: Ek het nog ‘n (hardloop-) boek vir jou moet-lees lysie. Skrou as jy klaar is met hierdies! xxxx

  • 30 January 2019 at 7:07 am

    Ai, en is die saammaak tog nie net te heerlik vir my ook nie! Dankie Saar! xxxx

  • 30 January 2019 at 7:09 am

    Hiehiehie, jy kan maar solank laat weet, Serie, ons’n sit mos op die knersvlakte wat boekwinkels aan betref. Moet sewe dagreise onderneem om by ordintlike winkel uit te kom, dis die lat ons in bulk koop as ons kans kry! xxx

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