3 weeks to go to my first marathon

Actually, I know the title says first marathon, and I know I said I’d do the full Two Oceans ultra next year, but not sure about that right now. I’m not sure I’ll run another marathon after this one.

Right now it seems like one heck of a long way to run.

We’re running the Cape Town Marathon on 18 September.

My plan was to run this under 5 hours. At this point in my training, I doubt that’ll happen. I’ll finish it… and then collapse… but I doubt I’ll finish it in 5 hours. I should finish under 5 and a half hours though, I think 5 hours is just pushing it. And if you’re wondering, the cutoff is 7 hours, but I want to do it in 5 hours as a Two Oceans qualifier.

Flights are booked. Airbnb is booked with friends, and our car hire is sorted. There are 5 of us travelling, and 4 of us running the marathon. The weekend is going to be busy… yet quiet. We’re not planning anything for Saturday to make sure our legs are rested. I actually cannot wait for the weekend away though, it’s going to be awesome traveling with friends again. The marathon, however, will take up most of it. We’d better book a special evening out for Sunday night with loads of good wine 😉

Back to the training..

Don’t ever underestimate the amount of training you need to do a marathon. In the beginning it’s ok, but right now, I’m tired. Getting up at 5am on weekends to run umpteen kilometres is not easy. It takes hours out of your day… and when you’re finished the long runs you’re so exhausted that you can’t do much for a few hours.

We’ve got 2 weekends left, which means only one weekend of long runs left. The last weekend has to be tapering, which means shorter runs.

I’ve now run 30km twice… once in April, and last weekend. Last weekend’s run with Harriers was the most intense run I’ve ever done. If you know Joburg, you’ll know what I mean when I say we ran UP Golf Club Terrace, along Ontdekkers, and then UP Northcliff hill… and then through Linden to get back to Randburg. This is sure getting us the hill training we need… but my word, it was intense!

marathon training

 

The best part of the long weekend runs have been running with friends. Even though it’s tough, I love running with Lance and my friends. The water points are the best thing after running up a tough hill, and I try so hard to have a smile on my face for the camera that I know will be facing me as I get there.

I’ve skipped 2 weekends of training because of our trips to the bush, and thankfully haven’t managed to get sick or injured, and I’m roughly on track according to the training schedule I was following, but I’m still feeling under prepared!  I’m feeling every single niggle, and trying to wrap myself in cottonwool.

And I’m still not running fast enough!! It’s SO frustrating!

My only hope now is the sea level magic 😉

Wish me luck, next weekend I have to do a double 21km… and then start tapering until race day.

 

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Ask me AFTER my first marathon whether I’ll run another one… I’m not sure if I’m keen to carry on with this training regime. To do more and to train for the full Two Oceans would means another 7 months of this! That’s hectic!

 

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A family weekend away to Madikwe Safari Lodge

We went to Madikwe Safari Lodge (at the Lelapa Lodge) for 2 nights last weekend with the kids. It was possibly the best holiday we’ve had as a family… even though it was so short. This was the first safari trip we’ve been on with the kids, so we’d been looking forward to it for ages.

It was, by far, the fanciest place our kids had ever stayed at. In fact, they were in awe from the moment we arrived and our bags were taken to our room for us. They wanted to know if it was ok that the bags had disappeared, and we seemed quite relaxed that we didn’t know which suite we were going to stay in 😉

Between the incredible family suite with it’s outside shower and amazing seclusion… to the 100 odd elephant that wandered past the pool deck… to the incredible food… the interesting eco lodge and the most amazing game drives, we’d be hard pressed to find a better family bush break place for our family to stay.

Madikwe is a game reserve that is close to the Botswana border… and in fact, on a few of the game drives, we drove to the border fences to find animals. It’s in a malaria free area too, which is ideal for family holidays.

We stayed at the Lelapa Lodge at Madikwe Safari Lodge. It’s caters for kids of all ages, and the family suite we stayed in was just perfect for us. It’s the perfect place to go for a  family safari.

Ok on to the photos 😉 isn’t this place gorgeous?!

This was our suite… or rather part of it. There was a private splash pool outside with loungers, and even an outdoor shower!
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The lounge area was where we met every morning and evening for tea and coffee before game drives… and in the background you can see the tables we used for day-time meals.

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I loved these little touches. Each person gets a water bottle to use on game drives… and you get to take them home!

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We got there at lunchtime, so thankfully we got to go on a game drive on Friday afternoon. The first thing we saw was 3 lions who’d recently killed a zebra… and were resting in the shade 🙂 The kids were enthralled! What an exciting start to the weekend!

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After the lioness yawned to wake herself up, she sauntered past the game vehicle to the waiting zebra carcass. The next morning, we went to the same spot hoping to find a few jackal or hyenas eating the bones, but there was NOT A THING left!! Nothing!! Not one bone, just some blood on the branches of the bush. So amazing!

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Then we went to a waterhole and found a mom and her baby 🙂 isn’t this special? I took a Snapchat video, it’s a pity I didn’t save it. You could hear the little grunts and whines of the baby rhino as it was walking around it’s mom.

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Soon it was time to stop for drinks. The kids thought this was amazing. We hadn’t explained what would happen, so the entire day was a surprise to them 🙂

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Our game ranger, JP, cooked us sosaties on the gas stove while we munched on the most delicious biltong and other snacks.

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The next morning, we were up really early to go on another game drive. We stopped at this beautiful dam… and there wasn’t an animal in sight! I did love the reflections though.

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After breakfast, we headed for the pool for the kids to swim… and this is what we saw! Seriously… there were herds and herds of elephants that slowly ambled there way to the waterhole in front of the lodge’s communal pool. It was absolutely incredible! A once in a lifetime sight. We reckon we saw more than 100 elephants on Saturday.

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How cute is this little dude?

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While the ellies were drinking water, we played giant Jenga 🙂

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and Connor swam… you can see how close the animals are in this photo

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All these elephant photos were taken from the pool. And if you’re wondering… I use a 70-200mm lens so I wasn’t that far from them!

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I just love all the movement and the chaos in this shot. Dad having a mud shower, teens having a little tussle while the babies try and work out how to get down the embankment to the water.

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The Eco Lodge is between Lelapa and the other lodges, and has got the most amazing array of animal skulls for the kids to explore. We went to a talk on spiders and scorpions done by the game ranger, JP, on Saturday afternoon… and the kids got to touch the resident bearded dragon, and see the snakes and tarantulas that are housed in the lodge too.

The lodge has kids activities that are hosted every hour to keep them occupied between game drives, and so parents can have a rest.

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The highlight of our Saturday evening game drive was the cheetahs. We drove quite far to get to the sighting, and I’m so glad we did. It was a first for us, I’ve never seen cheetahs in the wild before. These 2 are brothers, and the one is collared for research.

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You can see here how close we were. Those are our shadows on his body 🙂

After this little yawn, they got up and sauntered into the shade of our game vehicle so we couldn’t actually see them until JP carefully reversed. Of course that disturbed them and they walked off.

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We then drove to a dam… or rather it was a dam. It’s so so very dry! I just loved the colours caused by the setting sun and the dust from the truck!

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On Saturday night, we were lucky enough to go to a bush dinner set up a way away from the lodge… in the middle of the bush. What a treat with a wine pairing and a 3 course meal 🙂

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On our last morning, we again had an incredible drive. We saw a pair of spotted hyena… actually we watched them mating! The game rangers said this was a very rare sighting, it’s not something many people have seen…

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We also saw a den of brown hyena pups, and one popped his head up very quickly… but it was too far and fast for me and my camera. Such a pity.

The last amazing thing we saw was this pack of wild dogs. Oh man, so amazing! They’re such beautiful creatures.

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If you’re looking for a lodge not too far from Johannesburg to go for a family safari, then you have to consider the Madikwe Safari Lodge.

We will definitely make a plan to get this particular lodge next year… I’ve already been eyeing out the specials on various sites.

Disclaimer: I was asked to take photos of the lodge for marketing… but the blog post is my own doing.

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Win a R1000 shipping voucher with Postbox Courier

It’s a mission to buy goodies overseas and ship them back home to South Africa. You’re never sure how long it’s going to take, or whether you’re actually going to get them. And then, you have some online retailers that don’t ship to South Africa at all… they mark up the shipping costs so much that it’s unfeasible to buy the item you have your eye on!

That’s where Postbox-Courier comes in. They’re a South African company that provides its customers with a personal central delivery point in the New York, London and Hong Kong, to where all their online purchases can be delivered, consolidated into one delivery, and then shipped to South Africa within a 3-5 day transit time depending on final destination.

Postbox

Registration is free and users get allocated personal post-box addresses at all of the company’s worldwide depots. You can then order your goods online or directly from retailers and then track your parcel to your home!

I have 3 vouchers up for grabs to the value of R 1000.00 towards the shipping charges for your purchases from the United Kingdom, Europe, USA or China – which would entitle you to a 3kg shipment from New York, 4.5kg from London or 2.75kg from Hong Kong. (Please be advised that your purchases could be subject to SARS Customs and Excise duties and VAT. If need be, you can get in touch with us for an estimation on your purchases before shopping.) How cool is that?!

So, now’s a good time to update that wishlist you’ve had brewing on Pinterest for some time, and tell me what you’d like to buy to make use of this awesome prize! Just think about all the goodies you could buy on B&H Photo,  Amazon, Etsy or eBay without worrying about shipping!

Here’s my wishlist that I’ve started…

wishlist

To win one of the 3 R1000 Postbox Courier vouchers, follow the instructions on Rafflecopter below

This competition is only open to South African residents.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Post sponsored by Postbox Courier.

 

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We stayed at Lion Sands Tinga for one night

After our night at River Lodge, a ranger drove us to Lion Sands Tinga Lodge… which is only 5 minutes drive from Skukuza Airport (really handy when we left!)

We stayed at this magnificent luxury lodge for one night too. This lodge is also on the banks of the Sabie River, and has the most amazing views from the main deck. We sat there for a few hours on Sunday morning watching the birds, and the impala come down to the water… and we also spotted a leopard in the distance too!! Seriously… from the deck! Not something you see every day while you’re having a cup of coffee.

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Again, our suite was incredible. This lodge only has 9 suites, and they’re completely private and even have their own private plunge pools!

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After a 3 course lunch, a rest and then a spot of iced tea and snacks, we went on the afternoon game drive. Our rangers at Tinga were Mark and Emanuel.

We saw quite a lot of skittish giraffe and impala and heard a cat… but unfortunately didn’t see one on this game drive. Instead, we saw such a cool troop of baboons! Most of them had little babies… it was so awesome to watch them for a bit.

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This is the same mommy that was crossing the road, getting a hug from her little one. Pity about the stick across her eyes, or else this photo would be awesome! I still love the feeling of it though.

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Then we came across this hyena, he’s been resting in the road before we came along. There was also a really strong smell in the air, which Emanuel said was a dead hippo. Gosh, I loved the light!

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After that excitement and seeing another troop of monkeys, we headed off for the Sand River bank for sundowners. The guy with the gorgeous big lens was taking photos of a hippo that was grazing on that line of grass just across from the dried up river.

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Yet again, the spread of drinks and snacks for sundowners was incredible!
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On our way back to the lodge (where the beds had been turned down… how amazing are those mozzie nets…), Emanuel spotted a marshall eagle resting in a tree, and also a scorpion on a tree trunk!! So incredible how quickly he spotted them in the scanning torch light. We also saw quite a lot of scrub hares too. Wish I’d had a bigger lens to be able to take photos of everything we saw actually!

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Our dinner setting on Saturday night was next to a roaring fire… so amazing!

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At 6:30am the next morning after some coffee, tea and muffins, we headed off again. The morning light was just beautiful with the cloud cover, and there was the gorgeous smell of rain in the air. Just as we left the lodge we spotted a hyena, but he disappeared as we got close.

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Mark and Emanuel spotted buffalo tracks as we crossed the river so they went off to see if they could find cat tracks because the buffalo had been running.

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They didn’t find anything there, but a while later we heard a leopard call, so off we went in the direction of the sound. Emanuel spotted this leopard and we raced off to get close to it… and WOW!! It was such an incredible experience to be so close to him. This was the leopard we’d seen in the distance on the first evening’s game drive. Isn’t he just magnificent?!

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Then as we sat there watching him slink into the bush, Emanuel turned around and softly said BLACK RHINO!! What?! This was the first time I’d seen one. I couldn’t get a clear shot, because as soon as we got close he walked into the thick bushes… but OMW what an amazing experience to see. There are less than 2500 left in the world… so this was uber special.

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How cute is this baby giraffe playing peekaboo with us?! 🙂

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After all that excitement we stopped for our coffee break on the banks of the Sabie River

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This was such a special trip. Truly out of this world. Proper bucket list material.

And we didn’t get to see any lions!! Oh well, but the leopard and rhino sightings were more than special. Once in a lifetime.

Disclaimer: The photos were commissioned for marketing use by More.

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One night at Lion Sands River Lodge

We went away for the weekend to experience the Lion Sands Private Game Reserve. Lion Sands is part of the Greater Kruger National Park, and there are 4 lodges to choose from on their property. On the first night of our amazing weekend, we stayed at River Lodge. It was a bucket list kind of stay, […]

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A morning at a Pokemon hunt

We drove to Walter Sisulu gardens this morning to go to the Pokemon hunt that I’d spotted being advertised on Facebook. So did hundreds of other Pokemon GO addicts… and the gardens clearly didn’t get the memo, because they did not staff up the entry gates! LOL! We stood in a long queue to get […]

A date with Connor

Bradley went to a friends house to watch a movie marathon (Harry Potter), and Lance met a friend in the afternoon… so Connor and I went out for a date. He absolutely loves these alone times with me. Our plan was to find milkshakes in Parkhurst and then to go Pokemon hunting at Delta Park. […]

A day trip to Pilanesberg with the kids

I took the day off work to take the boys and their friend Ewan to Pilanesberg National Park. It’s school holidays and we haven’t gone away and they needed a break from FIFA 😉 It was such an amazing day out with them. We got to the park at 9am and left at 4pm! A […]

On the hunt for a new camera bag

I haven’t bought a new camera bag in ages. The Kelly Moore bag I bought a few years ago is a little worse for wear now, and desperately needs to be replaced. Now, I’ve been randomly looking for one for a while, but really, I cannot spend money on the ugly camera bags available in […]

The boys in black and white

I had planned on using these headshot type photos I managed to get of the boys yesterday afternoon, for another double exposure experiment today… but it really didn’t work out. So, a quick conversion to black and white… and I have awesome shots of them!! If you’re wondering, I made them stand on the pool […]