March has been a BIG running month for me having covered a total run distance of 320km and climbed 6696m in elevation. I also completed my first ever stage trail run the Cell C African X Trail Run this month which was a fantastic experience “a must” for any trail running enthusiasts out there.
But the overall highlight of my training this month has been the fact that Warrick and I have been fortunate enough to travel to some really amazing places to run (and climb hills). In addition to running African X in the Cape at the beginning of the month, we had a wedding we attended in the quaint town of Clarens in the Free State. Having been to Clarens before Warrick and I knew that there was some great trails to be explored on the ridge looking over the town. We struggled to find the correct path to get up onto the ridge and ended up bundu-bashing and rock climbing up from the town to locate the path which took us basically an hour to cover 4km’s which wasn’t ideal but once we found the path it was very clearly marked out and had different route markings to follow. Whilst in Clarens we stayed at this wonderful, colourful and quirky-designed B&B called Kalm Guest House which is run by Karen & Malcolm. This was our second time to this B&B and would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Clarens.
In addition to running on the ridge above Clarens, Warrick and I also made our way to Golden Gate National Park which is about 25km away from the town of Clarens. We decided not to run on the trails whilst in Golden Gate as we knew from a past visit that the trails are quite technical and with me needing to do my long run of 27km in preparation for comrades it would be best to stay on the roads. There are two scenic road loops in Golden Gate National Park which formed part of our run route. There is a lot of climbing involved running in the park so I certainly got my fair share of high-altitude and hill training but the views were definitely worth it.
For Easter, Warrick and I went to my parent’s trout fishing place, where they are shareholders, called Three Falls Fishing Farm. The farm is based about 17km from Lydenburg up on the escarpment. For my long run I ended up running 13.5km down the escarpment and then running back up again which was super tough as I was on my own the whole way with not a car or human in sight (ok, Warrick did briefly come to say hi on his mountain bike but left me shortly afterwards). However, although this run was particularly tough it was probably my best run of the month with incredible views.
As this month has been such a BIG month in terms of running I have also noted that my Asics Nimbus 17 shoes have started to wear down quite a bit. With it being 56 days until Comrades I knew I had to make the decision on new shoes now so I can get some long runs in them in April/May to get them settled in. As with all running shoe brands they are always improving their shoes so I have had to get the new model of the Asics Nimbus 18 shoes although I would have probably preferred to get the previous model of the range to match what I have currently been running in. So the lesson I have learnt is that if you find a pair of shoes that are working for you rather buy two pairs of the same shoes at once and alternate running in them to get more mileage out of them over the long run.
All in all, March has been a month of exploring some beautiful places in South Africa and what better way to do so than running. I have been warned that April is the most challenging month in terms of Comrades training so wish me luck!
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