Capital City Marathon 2020 – Steve Mkasi

The inaugural Capital City Marathon run.

This past Sunday was the inaugural run of the Capital City 42 marathon in Pietermartizburg. Kwa Zulu Natal is home to a few wonderful and brutal runs and I for one, am very glad to have this new comer for my racing calendar.

Last year we all thought with the end of the Maritzburg City Marathon we will have a gap during February. Entry was relatively easy, but the cost of the run was quite high in comparison to other events that I have entered.  In total it was Entry fee, Chip hire fee, Shirt and service fee totalling up to about R 500. There was 3 distances available 42km, 21km and 10km. It was also a Comrades and 2 Oceans qualifier.

Capital City Picture Facebook

This one had the added bonus where you can choose to purchase a limited edition Puma shirt and a much reduced rate of R 130. This also caused a lot of confusion during collection as there was normal shirts and then then Puma ones, so some athletes were unsure how to collect. I had the same problem but must admit Capital city were very quick to respond with any all queries.

Their social media presence was phenomenal and seemed like they had people manning to answer any and all queries in a quick manner. I especially enjoyed the motivational quotes they had and then the countdown. Even after the race loads of photos and the video highlights were a special touch.

Capital City 42 marathon

Race day one couldn’t ask for better conditions, and there is something special about starting at City Hall, the banner and the excitement is always something that makes my heart skip a beat. Start time is ideal 5am, with generous cut off times. There was a few moans and groans with regards to getting to the start as they were about 2 km apart but there was ample security.

The route itself was really great offering the best of Pietermaritzburg and giving you the opportunity to see parts of the town you will not normally see. Water tables were stocked and the support along the road was great. It was also communicated with signs which roads will be closed for the normal public and the information was available freely on their website.

Capital City 2020 Medals

I absolutely love the design of the medals and they are truly beautiful addition to any medal collection, and there was able refreshments at the end for the extra energy boost after the run.

I have also been fortunate that Steve Mkasi one on the board of the organizing committee agreed to answer some of my questions that we as athletes also get a glimpse into what organizers have to face to get these amazing events to our front doors.

Q. This was the Capital City 42 is the inaugural run, what influenced this decision to bring another marathon to Pietermaritzburg?

Steve: We identified a gap/void that was left by the defunct Maritzburg City Marathon. We also had ambitious to have something unique that would celebrate the Pietermaritzburg as a Capital City of KwaZulu-Natal.

Q.  I don’t think we as athletes have any idea what it takes to organize something like this and to this scale. Can you tell us what the biggest hurdles that you as organizers face?

Steve: Lack of financial Support/resources remains the biggest hurdle. Once you have managed to use the little resources that you manage to raise, you are faced with the challenge of having to get athletes enter the event on time. Not knowing how many athletes will turn up for the event, you plan ahead for a large number and end up with large quantities of unused goods (medals; t-shirts, water, coke and so forth) which by necessary implications means that you are wasting the little resources you have available.

Q. How many people in your team?

Steve: We had different sectors in the committee and a core team. Each sector had its own team and its core team. Therefore the total number would be in the region of 500 but was fused together by a core lead team of 8.

Q. The biggest highlight during the planning and execution phase?

Steve: The undying spirit of the ROC led by our Race Director Sihle Shange. The commitment shown by each and every member of the team, their selfless and desire to serve for no reward.

Q. What is something you have noticed athletes or other influences do that makes events great or terrible? What advice can you give them to make sure we keep having these events to participate in?

Steve: Money is a scarce commodity, however, it would help race organisers to plan and execute their plan better if runners entered races quite early.

Q. How did the logo and the Name Capital City come to light, is there a background story?

Steve:  It represents what Pietermaritzburg is about in our eyes including the City Hall.

Q. Who decided on the route? How many athletes in total participated?

Steve: The team, the core team of 8. There were 4187 runners

Q. We know Bongumusa Mthembu won this race, multi Comrades winner. Any other superstars that participated in the inaugural any international athletes?

Steve: The winner of the ladies race is a rising super star and happened to have been our race ambassador. Sanelisiwe Mbanjwa. We also had great talent in the 10km in Mbuleli Mathanga.

 Q. More about you. What made you personally get involved with this marathon? Do you come from a running background and did you participate?

Steve: I am the cofounder of Phuma Kzn AC, I have a military background. Planning and precision in execution are military traits that drove me to be part of this team.

I would like thank the team of the Capital City marathon for a great race and look forward to next year. All the small things that happened are miniature in comparison to all the bigger positives.

Kearsney Striders run 2020

Run review of Kearsney Striders run

Kearsney Striders run 2020

New Year new runs, and the first one of the year has officially been completed. I am sometimes very glad that I have 12 months to forget certain routes, and Kearsney is one of those. 

This run offers two distances 21.1km and 10km. They don’t have a fun run available. Hosted by the school Kearsney College its boasts a lot of farm life, like cows and even a chicken farm on route, with students cheering you on at certain water points.

Sunday morning we had an early rise, getting up sparrows fart, where most people would think we are robbers being up this early. It was cold during the morning with loads of light drizzle but it gave you a small sense of maybe possibly clearing up.

We could collect our race numbers the day before, so we had to rush to get our numbers on time as we had a 6am start. As we got near Kearsney we got redirected to the parking area at the back of the school. It was lovely secure parking. I cringed having to take my jacket off as the wind looked like it would blow your shirt off your back.

This is also the first year that KZN licenses were not valid for runs in January. You had to have your 2020 ASA license in order to participate or buy a temporary license. In a lot of countries you don’t require a license to run on the road but in South Africa it is a requirement to pay a fee.  That is why most runners join clubs to get their licenses to avoid paying hefty temporary fees and having the added bonus of having loads of new friends to run with.

We proceeded to collect our race numbers and were thankful we used the toilets that were further away, as the one near the race number collection one the que was very long. I would suggest maybe some portaloos to cater for the influx of people during the race, as I hear the start for the 21km while people were still in the Que.

The route is quite deceptive if it’s your first time running this race.  Starting off with a downhill it lures you into a false sense of security, just for you to climb. It gives your legs a break with some flats and smaller up and down hills. Then the last climb before the end that kills your legs. This run was one of my harder ones as I felt very unfit and walked a lot.

Aaah the top of one of the hills

I was definitely using this race as a reboot for my brain, even though I complained and probably thought I was going to die, when I completed it the rush was amazing. So yes my reboot worked so bring on the rest of the year.

Have you participated in Kearsney before what did you think? If you are in a running slump what do you do to get out of it?

Micro-nutrients and supplements

Supplementation a small guide to vitamins and micro nutrients

Vitamins and minerals

As if normal industries don’t make life complicated, fitness and health industry loves to put products that they think we need for optimal health on our shelves that have little or no value. When you go to the supplement aisle there are so many different supplements where they all promise different results and too be honest, I don’t know what they are for sometimes. So let’s looks at supplements and micro nutrients for athletes.

MICRO-NUTRIENTS

These little miracle workers are only required in small amounts, as the name would suggest in micro quantities. You might only need a small amount but they are essential for optimal health and you can suffer severe consequences if needs are not met. They are required to produce Enzymes, Hormones and other essential substances.

Vitamins

We all want to grab our nearest multivitamin but these are organic compounds found in food. These should be ideally be attained from a healthy diet and various sources of food. There are 13 vitamins that are essential for health and wellbeing.  Most of these vitamins have a corresponding deficientcy and disease linked to them.

Fat Soluble

Vitamins A, D, E and K fall under the fat soluble category. These are stored in the body tissues for a long period of time, but too much of these can lead to toxicity.

Water Soluble

These dissolve in water and are your B complex group Vitamins and Vitamin C. These are not stored in the body and needs a constant supply.

Minerals and the athletic Diet

Certain athletes are prone to more deficiencies depending on their discipline. The same as Votamins its better to obtain these through a balanced diet. Supplementation in excess of requirements have no advantage and it will money flushed down the toilet as your body will only absorb what it needs and excrete the rest. I have an iron deficiency and take supplementation under doctor’s supervision as too much iron can also cause toxicity.

Creatine

This one is a very popular supplement but what is it actually and what does it do. Dietary sources can be found in and meat in fish. There is a lot of benefits one of them is it helps fuel the body during intense activities.

Supplementation boosts levels in skeletal muscle which can improve performance, increase lean body mass and reduce fatigue. There is no evidence of detrimental side effects but can cause weight gain from intramuscular water retention, this may a concern for weight class athletes.  

Athletes that would benefit taking creatine are sprinters, weight lifters and athletes that participate in team sports.

Best type of creatine to take is creatine monohydrate. For maintenance 1X5g dose for 12 weeks followed by a 4 week break. Best taken Post work out.

Fish Oil

Omega 3 fatty acids also known as Eiconsapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic (DHA). These complicated named acids help reduce muscle soreness, improve oxygen and nutrient delivery, reduce inflammation and increase muscle synthesis. Recommended dosis 1.3 – 2.7g of Omega 3 fatty acids per day.

Protein

Next to Creatine, Protein supplements are next most popular one. This comes in 2 formats either in a powder or liquid but powder seems to be the more popular way to consume. There is no side effects reported to date but can cause a harmless temporary pink coloration of urine/ stool. It has a high nitrate content that can be found in other vegetables.

There are 4 main types of protein

  • Whey: Amino Acid profile suited for body building, abundant in leucine and is rapidly digested.
  • Casein:  Digested slower, good general protein and helps with muscle recovery
  • Soy
  • Egg

There are so many supplements but here are just some of the main ones. Which supplements do you take and why? I am a firm believer that all of these can be found in a healthy diet, and supplementation should be supervised by a medical professional if necessary. Do you agree with this point of view?

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All images and information on a course did with Shaw Academy.

How to Come Up with a Great Business Idea

In the current state of most economies, we all have big ideas and sometimes no ideas but a desire to start our own side-line or full time business.

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In the current state of most economies, we all have big ideas and sometimes no ideas but a desire to start our own side-line or full time business. This can be a daunting thought if we put so much pressure to be the next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Walt Disney, but sometimes the simplest idea can be the best one for you.

I have wondered many times, how they came up with these brilliant ideas and if I can be bashed with the same good idea rock on my head, if it is that, to come up with the same strokes of luck. Finding a business idea is a personal quest. This will be your business, your income stream and livelihood.

But we can look at some suggestions on how to come up with a great business idea.

Think like an entrepreneur

Being observant and looking at the world around you differently you might see an idea that inspires you.  Find what is missing in the world and create it.

Most good business ideas are problems that needed a solution. Changing perspective and seeing problems that you encounter as possible business ideas instead of a negative hindrance, you could sit with the next big business idea.

Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Find Opportunities in Problems

Have you ever listened to your friends, family or just even random people saying things like: “I wish this better, or if they can only do this”, these are all untapped business ideas. Not all problems might have an immediate solution. Keep a record of all these statements you hear. One never knows if you will the one that comes up with a solution.

One of the biggest things of an entrepreneur is that they love to solve other people’s problems, and if they can make some money while doing it’s a brilliant business idea.   

Have an interest

If you go and search on Google, you will find millions of search results on possible business ideas. These can range from a simple to super complex ideas, but if you don’t have any interest or slight passion for the niche, it will feel like its draining your soul even its profitable. I am a firm believer of working with your skills, if you are a creative type working with numbers will feel like punishment.

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Find your customers

We have a business idea and now we need to see who our real customers are. Sometimes this not as obvious as we would like to believe. Let’s look at these two scenarios.

A mom goes into the super market she buys cereal, she is technically paying for the product which makes her a customer, but is she the decision maker? When I buy breakfast for my kids I can tell you for sure that I am not the decision maker as I would buy them Muesli and they decide on the sugar coated deliciousness. So who would be the real customer?

A man wants to buy a fancy sports car, but what about the maintenance and insurance. Would a sports car be the best decision for his wife and children? He won’t be the real customer till much later in his life when he doesn’t have external factors influencing his purchase decisions. The success of your business idea is to find out who your real customer is.

Keep it simple

Sometimes a great business idea doesn’t have to be new or revolutionary. Having a hobby you are really good at or even a skill that you are good at like researching, can be viable business. There are many of the same types of business out there that does the same thing and they are mostly profitable. Look at your competition and see what you can do better than them. Use that advantage to enter the market.

I am still a firm believer that there are many untapped business opportunities out there. Finding the right one for you is not the hardest part, the hardest part is to get out of our comfort zones and actually just pursuing what you have always wanted too.

For business owners I would love to hear how you decided on your business what was your deciding factor? For the entrepreneur what is holding you back from following your business ideas. I would love to hear from you.  

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FNB10K Surf City Run 2019

Run review for the FNB surf city run Durban held 13 October 2019

What happens when one of South Africa’s biggest banks decides to host a run? You land up with one of the most exciting run your city series, hosted by First National bank and other big sponsors like Total Sports and Puma. This year an amazing 9000 participants sprinted off from the Blue Lagoon in Durban.

FNB 10k Route

I have now participated in quite a few runs and none communicate as well as the FNB run your city series. Long before you will receive and sms to remind you those entries will be available online soon. Entering online is always easy. Entries are a bit on the more expensive side, R185 gets you in excluding a temporary license that is about R30 for standard package.

FNB Run your city Durban Pack

What makes them different is that if you feel like splurging you can pay between R850 and R880 for a VIP package. You then have access to a whole range of extras. You get all that is included in the standard package but then there is tents pre and post race. Think massages, refreshments and tog bag collections.

This year’s shirts are really nice and the socks was a nice add, different to the normal head gear so this stood out for me, hopefully we can get tights soon too, just an idea. The plastic free run movement with them was really awesome. With previous complaints about litter along the beach front I am very pro this movement and the instructions were given in advance to bring your water bottle for the refill stations along the line.

Rules for the run

To be honest I am normally super prepared with these things, where I have studied everything from the beginning to the end. But with a range of personal issues, I have not done that with this race but found that the website was great. I went online and could find all the parking information and road closures while in the car. This run was for me all about having fun while working up a sweat.

View walking to the start line

One concern I had was that while walking from the casino, where we parked to the start of the run, there was a stretch where some drunk people decided to have a fight. The one actually took a bag of glass bottles, picked it up and tried to bulldoze his competitor in the altercation. I know this is a public space but hopefully as a general concern that the municipality will maybe add additional security at all times to keep people safe. Thankfully we as South Africans can find humor in even the most random of situations.

This race they start in batches. I am not sure how they really decide if you are not a contender. My friend and I put the same best time and got put into different batches, maybe they take the previous years’ time? Both way the build-up was quite nice with the national anthem and the pumps to get you excited to run.  

Excited, nervous and amped

The run itself is a lot of fun, with a lot of entertainment on the way. This is the highlight for me with various musical stations from traditional, bag pipes and an orchestra. The weather conditions were also perfect for the run, it was overcast with places where the breeze hits you. Running in the city is also a nice the general routes for Durban is always along the beach front. There is something about the combination of city and sea that speaks to me.

I was little sad finishing but there is always next year, they only have the one distance only 10km but that is what makes it nice also. The winner if I am not mistaken took it home in 27min. Maybe one day I will be able to do 5km in 27min. I really enjoyed this run its one of my highlights of the running season just because it’s so well organized. 

What was your thoughts of the run if you participated? Anything you would have changed? Highlights and low lights?

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Hydration and Athletes

We all know that we should drink water but how does it affect athletes when they don’t hydrate and how much should they be drinking.

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TERMINOLOGY

Euhydration – State of Water Balance

Hyperhydration – Positive water balance

Hypohydration – Negative water balance

Dehydration – Excess loss of fluid

Rehydration – Fluid replacement

Hyponatremia – When there is low sodium concentration in the blood, detrimental to health.

BODY WATER & ELECTROLYTES

We all know that the body is mainly compromised of water. Approximately 45% – 70% is water.  Water in our body isn’t just plain water, so the idea that we can drink gallons and all will be well is very incorrect. Our body water also contains a wide range of electrolytes. Electrolytes are salts that are dissolved into the body.  

This magic combo helps regulate the fluid balance in our bodies, keeps the acidity of the blood in check and also assists with muscle function. So it is a good idea to clock up the cups of water during the day.

Our body and water

HYPONATREMIA

This is can be a real problem to long distance runners, I am talking here ultra-runners but even shorter distance runners if they don’t hydrate adequately. This year with all the water problems that we experienced with races this one hit quite close to home.

Hyponatremia occurs when blood sodium concentration falls to an abnormally low level, prompting a rapid and dangerous swelling of the brain that can result in seizures, coma, and death. Although hyponatremia is often associated with prolonged exercise, it can also occur at rest when too much fluid is ingested too quickly. Excessive drinking is a key risk factor for hyponatremia, but it is possible for hyponatremia to occur—without excessive drinking—in dehydrated athletes during very prolonged exercise as a result of large sodium losses in sweat.

Hyponatremia

The risk of hyponatremia can be reduced by making certain that fluid intake does not exceed sweat loss and by ingesting sodium containing beverages or foods to help replace the sodium lost in sweat. For most athletes, dehydration remains the primary challenge to physiological homeostasis and performance, but hyponatremia should be recognized as a possible threat to those athletes who drink more fluid than they lose in sweat.

SWEAT LOSS IN EXERCISE

Now that we have look at worst case scenario, how do we actually loose water during exercise? When we are active, by running or other physical activities, our bodies create heat. When our bodies are hot we sweat, the evaporation of the sweat cools down our bodies. Failure to regulate our temperatures can be very bad for athletes, they lose up to 3 litres of water an hour during intense sessions.

Try this if you want to see how much water you can lose during a training session. Get your butt naked and weigh yourself before and after exercise. During this session do not hydrate to get a more or less indication of how much water you have lost. For every 1 kg you lose (or 2.2lbs) of weight you lose it means you have lost approximately 1 litre of fluid from your body.

DEHYDRATION

We have all at one point in our lives experienced dehydration if various degrees. What is it actually? The most basic definition our bodies loose more fluid than what it takes in. This impairs some of our body functions, as you can remember we run on water, our blood volume decreases and places extra strain on our other organs. Dehydration as low as 2% can impair sports performance.

HYDRATION DURING ACTIVITY

We know it’s important to hydrate but how much should we hydrate before we exercise? Here are some recommendations. 5 – 7 ml of body weight (2-3ml per lb) at least 4 hours before session.  I hear you when you say what if you fall out of bed and then go run. Hydrate when you wake up as much as possible without making you uncomfortable. For an average person it’s about 300ml of liquid.

During exercise replace losses from sweating. If you drink a sports drink and not just plain water it can be a source of energy during to help you push a little extra. Aim to replace 80% of losses whilst exercising.  

After exercise and hour or more will likely result in dehydration. This is so important to rehydrate after those long runs. What I like to do is drink something that will replace some of those electrolytes that we loosing during intense exercise. I use to get such headaches and since doing this it has helped so much.

Hydration needs for athletes

I would love to hear from Ultra runners and other long distance runner’s do you have a hydration plan when you run or do you just wing it and hope for the best. I have learned so much about what my body need hydration wise in the past couple of years. Let me know if I have missed something.

If you want you can join me on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SpookyBooZoo/

A lot of information is from the Shaw Academy sports nutrition course.

Martin Ngwenya – Athlete and Coordinator

Meet Martin Ngwenya athlete and Sports Coordinator at Mr Price Sports

Behind every great athlete and team there is a person that coordinates it all. This is where Martin Ngwenya steps in as running coordinator and athlete manager for Mr Price Sports. He is not only a very humble person but also a great athlete in his own right. I am very thankful that he has taken some time to help us get to know him better and give us a glimpse into his world.

How did you get involved in sport and managing athletes?

Like any young township kid I started my athletics career at school in early 90’s. I was also an sponsored athlete. Through my discipline, dedication and willingness to learn other parts of running, that’s how I end up managing athletes. 

If someone wants to follow in your footsteps and turn their love of sport into a career what would you suggest they do?

You need to have passion, discipline and respect, most of all you have to stay focused in your training.

Martin With the Mr Price Comrades Team

What is your top 5 Road runs that every South African should participate in and why?

It is very hard to specify races. It depends on which events an athlete specializes in. If a runner is a middle-distance runner I would choose following races

1-Sanlam Cape Town 10km race

2-Two Oceans Half Marathon

3-FNB 10km in Durban

4-any Spar races for ladies

5-Soweto 10km.

For a Marathon and Ultra runner

1-Sanlam Cape Town Marathon

2-Soweto Marathon

3-Two Oceans Marathon

4-Loskop Ultra Marathon

5-Comrades Ultra Marathon

Why these races? It’s because there are very competitive and well recognized.

What is your favorite race that you participated in, why was it special?

Mr Price 10km in 1997 it was a two lap’s race in Bloemfontein. What made it special was, it had the whole cream of the crop of South Africas top runners. It was won by Meck Mothuli which only class of the 90’s will know.

Why is it exciting to be an athlete in South Africa?

Apart from living healthy lifestyle is socializing with other people…

What is the best piece of advice you’re received that inspired you?

I can achieve what I want to achieve, if I just put focus and energy into it.

For any new athletes wanting to take up running what advice would you give them?

They must start with basics (5km, 10km and 21km) most athletes, especially in KZN, all want to become Ultra distance runners but for young athletes my advice will be to start with Track and Cross Country before they do road running.

Martin Ngwenya

What are the most common mistakes you see runners do and any advice?

Athletes start running without warm upping.  

If I had to take a peek in your gym bag what would find?

Running shoes

How do you prepare for race day?

Speed, endurance training and gym

Rising stars for us to look out for? 

Nkosikhona Mhlakwana he was position 11 at his debut Comrades Marathon.

All I can say is we are blessed in South Africa with good weather for running most of the year, and we have amazing athletes do a lot for the sport. If there is anything else that you would like to know about being a sports manager, or anything else about Martin drop me a comment.

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Mental Imagery to improve sports performance

How Mental Imagery can improve sports performance and injury.

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We have all heard the quote from William Arthur Ward, “if you can imagine it, you can achieve it.” How many of us truly believe this? I was listening to a short course recently on how to outsmart yourself by Prof Peter Vishton, it’s a good one on how to manipulate the brain with certain tasks.

He had one whole segment dedicated on how mental imagery can improve sports performance. Our minds are truly capable of amazing things. Have you ever wondered how your performance might improve by incorporating mental training with your physical training?

The Shackell and Standing Study

One of the best studies done to show this remarkable power of imagery was done by Erin Shackell and Lionel Standing. They took a group of study participants and tested the strength for of their hip flexor muscles. Once a baseline was established, they were randomly assigned to one of 2 types of conditions.

The group was split into those who had a physical training program to go and strengthen their hip flexors and, the mental training group was taken to see the hip flexor machine and how it works but did not use it at all. They had to imagine using it, doing the same exercises that they physical training group had to do.

After two weeks everyone had to return to the gym for the repeat of the strength test. The results will blow your mind. The physical training participants increases their performance by 36 pounds. Participants in the mental training group, without even touching the weight machine, improved their flexor strength by 32 pounds.

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The Science behind the Study

Consider how your brain controls your muscles. Contractions of a muscle is caused by continuous train of signals sent from the brain via the spinal cord to be the efferent nerves embedded within the muscle tissue. As these neuronal signals arrive, muscle fibres contract.

The overall power that the muscle produces is a function of how big the muscle fibres are and how many muscle fibres contract. When you use physical training to enhance muscle strength, you increase how many fibres respond, and you enhance the size of the muscle fibres.  When you fatigue and damage those fibres during physical training, the body responds by repairing them and making them a little bigger than they were initially.  Physical training makes the muscles bigger.

Mental training, by contrast, doesn’t change the size of the muscle fibres very much. Imagery, however seems to increase the strength of the signals sent to the muscles. After imagery practice, when you make the an actual movement, your motor cortex will become more active than it otherwise would be. A greater number of action potential is conveyed to the muscles, causing a greater number of muscle fibres to respond when your brain calls them do to so. The result is that more force is generated by the muscles.

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Imagery Practice

Now let us get into the nitty gritty of how we can actually use these techniques to help us with our performance.

  1. When you lie in your bed, or sitting in your bed, it is suggested that you imagine it from a first person perspective. If you are running, you should mentally view it from the perspective of your own eyes.
  2. Imagery should be as detailed as possible including several different modes of activity. You want to stimulate all the senses, even those that you don’t seem directly relevant to performance.  
  3. Imagery should be precise. If you are using it for running, imagine every single detail you can think off, if you know the route. Imagine the smell in the air, the wind breeze, the sound of the gravel as your fit hit it. The sound of your breathing, every detail that you can think off.
  4. Imagine succeeding when you perform the task. Running the personal best you want. Mental images not only activate the sensory and motor processing areas of the brain, but they also activate the sematic processing. Sematic information is associated with labels, such as success and failure.

Long term Benefits of Mental Imagery

Nothing sucks more than injury or experiencing physical fatigue that prevents training. With mental imagery the brain doesn’t get as tired as our actual muscles. This will be the perfect time to get your mental training in place. There is good evidence that metal imagery, used three to four times a week, can result in improvements in a wide range of different physical activities.

Imagine you can use imagery to recover quicker from injury. The same principles can be used to imagine your injury healing. What have you got too loose from trying?

Portions of this article was take from the Great courses Plus, How to outsmart yourself. I would really suggest signing up for this course or read up on the suggested reading, if you want to learn more about mental imagery.

Is this something you have incorporated in your training or have tried? I would love to hear your thoughts and input on this topic.

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Suggested Readings

Doidge, The Brain that Changes Itself.

Finke, Principles of Mental Imagery.

Capital Climb 2019

Race review for the Pietermaritzburg Capital Climb 2019. A grueling climb to the scenic Mountain View.

There are runs and then there is the Capital Climb. This year the Capital climb fell on the 1st of September which is the Spring day in our part of the world. This is my 3rd year participating in this run, first year was the 5km fun run, last two years was the 15km run, I am not going to lie, its dreading and forward looking at the same time.

Online registrations were a bit tricky, we struggled to enter normally on the laptop but managed to enter on the phone much easier. It took a long time to register as the page took long to load and we didn’t want to refresh as it was taking so long. We registered for 4 people with different cell phone numbers and email addresses however none of us received a confirmation email to confirm our entries.

Collection went smoothly seeing that you only collect your race number and temporary license. They don’t have goodie bags but offer you a shirt at the end if you complete the 15km run. They only have two distances for this race. There is a 15km and a 5km fun run.

What makes this run so special and terrifying at the same time is the 6km climb to Worlds view. From the start point it’s just uphill, climbing and climbing. After the gruelling 6km there is some relief for your legs with downhill runs to the end. One portion of the run is in a forest which is really beautiful before you hit the tar again for the descent.

Both years that I have participated in the 15km run, there have been two fire fighters that complete the course in full gear. We all struggle and reach deep to complete this route and for them to do it with a smile and be fully kitted is amazing. 

Even though I felt much stronger this year than last year, my time didn’t improve as much as I would have liked, but there is always next year. I am asthmatic and I find normally I can control it quite well even with the long runs but every year with this one I struggle. I am wondering if it could be all the dust in the air or the actual climb, I won’t let it stop me.

This run starts and ends and Voortrekker high school. As you enter the school the relief you feel is amazing because you know the end is near. Every time I wear the Capital climb shirt I feel like I truly deserve it, this is one of the shirts I can definitely say I wear with pride.

There was adequate refreshments on route and the photographers are always a nice touch. I am waiting for the day where they take a photo that I don’t look like I am at war. I might be mentally at war however would still like to look great on the photos.

The physical strain on your body you feel. I don’t normally feel the effects of a run but on Monday my bum and legs felt it. I definitely will need to incorporate a lot more hill training next year before we tackle this beast of a run.

I would love to hear about your most challenging run, and what makes it so. I am sure we all have a love / hate relationship with that one run.

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Mandela Day Marathon 2019

The 8th Year of the Mandela Day Marathon. It always seems impossible until it’s done. -Mandela

It always seems impossible until it’s done. – Nelson Mandela

While sitting with a mild chest infection after the Spar Pietermaritzburg run, I was not sure if I was going to be able to participate in this event. The Mandela day Marathon is one of the more popular runs due to the legacy of Nelson Mandela. This is a very tough 42km route which is an early qualifier for the Comrades marathon.

This year is the 8th running of the iconic marathon. This marathon boasts not only the road runs on the Sunday but also catered for the trail runners, mountain bikers and also a triathlon on the Saturday with an impressive amount of entries of approximately 21 000 athletes for the 2 days. That is a large amount of paperwork and planning.

An event of this magnitude will not be without its share of concerns and problems. There is a lot of planning, coordinating and mistakes that can happen with any project of this magnitude. We as the end user only see what has gone wrong instead of applauding what has gone right. If you have to think of the logistics of catering for 21 000 athletes, and four different types of events, there will be problems which are out of ones hands.

Registration is always an easy procedure online with costs varying from R130 – R190 excluding temporary licenses if required. Some of the errors and problems seem to have started with race pack collection. There was two collection points, one in Durban and the other was in Pietermaritzburg, to make it easier for the Durban athletes not to travel all the way to Pietermaritzburg.

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Mandela Day Marathon 2019 – Shirts 

Athletes stormed to social media to start complaints about the shirts. Some didn’t receive shirts at all and the sizing is way off. I personally do not like the design of this year’s shirt however it grew on me when I saw all the athletes wearing their shirts on race day.  They are very small cuts and even in Pietermaritzburg they didn’t have the bigger sized shirts but we kept going back to get the correct size. They only had the very small sizes available.

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Mandela Day Marathon 2019 – ABSA inspirational wall 

ABSA had a stand at the collection venue and handed out stickers for people to write a motivational message and stick it on route. I would have loved to see the end product with all the good luck messages. The rest of the collection went very smoothly.

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Mandela Day Marathon 2019 – News Paper Headline 

Other problems pre-race day was that contractors which were supposed to set up stands got threatened with being shot. Locals were unhappy with regards to the contracts being given to outsiders and not using the local businesses that could do the same job. It was all over the front page of the local paper. I am not sure how this was resolved but well done to those involved in resolving the issue. Having it postponed or even canceling the event would have been a real blow for this run.

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Mandela Day Marathon – Route 

I was fortunate enough this year to have been dropped off at the starting point and collected at the Capture site. The road runs all started in different towns, the 42km started Imbali, 21km started in Hilton and the 10km started in Howick. Communication was a bit unclear with the regards to the shuttle buses taking athletes to and from the venues. What would have been ideal, maybe for next year, is if the event coordinators send out an email with all the pre-race details, maps to parking, shuttle information and other useful information required pre-race.

Thankfully I was only doing the 10km race. Race day in the morning was very cold, however there is always something magical in the air, like an anticipation starting and seeing what your body is capable off. Previous years there was television coverage with the SABC but this year there was none. The start of the run was supposed to be at 6 am but we started about 10min earlier.

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Mandela Day Marathon 2019 – Staying warm

Later it was stated that the race started earlier due to safety reasons, apparently the transformer next to the starting point emitted smoke which led to the start being earlier, via a response on social media. Some athletes were still warming up when the start gun went. I was surprised I didn’t see a timing mat when we started so assuming they timed gun to mat.

I knew from the start I was not going to be able to push under doctors’ orders but just love the route of this race. Some of the views are spectacular past Midmar Dam and finishing off at the Mandela Capture site. There was adequate water tables, which supplied water, Powerade, Coke and some tables even had fruit. Reading, some of the longer distances ran out of water but they had the energy drinks and coke available.  The mess on the roads were horrendous but saw the post clean up photos and the roads were spotless! Kudos to the cleaning team

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Mandela Day Marathon 2019 

I feel like I really have to mention to all runners, I felt sad for the longer distance athletes that had to shout at others to keep right so they could let them pass. They have been running for 20 or 30km already and to have the slower walkers block them must be so frustrating from my point of view. At one point there were ambulances and taxis blocking the left lane, walkers on the right, leaving a single file for the longer distance athletes. There is an unwritten rule – keep right let them pass, don’t jump and run to congratulate them. Let them run, and allow them to get their time.

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Mandela Day Marathon 2019 – Medals

I really love the route of this race, however it’s very busy with so many participants running into the capture site, makes you feel so important. Loads of runners and supporters at the end helping to cheer you on. The medals this year, the design was the same as previous years, however more tin like and less solid. A lot of people were complaining about the quality but I thought it was fine. I will hang the medal on my wall with the others.

Walking up and out to the end you receive a little goodie bag filled with a coke, powerade and packet of crips in a lovely draw string bag. It is quite a satisfying feeling when you complete the race, having that medal hang around your neck with that feeling of accomplishment.

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Mandela Day Marathon 2019 

Yes there were problems, this whole year most of the races had some kind of hick up causing a lot of unhappiness. I think for the most part, for the size of the event and the amount of participants, the different disciplines, it was a well-executed event. The problems can always be resolved in future events.

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. – Nelson Mandela

Tell me what is your thoughts of the run, if you participated? If you were and event organizer what would you suggest that could be done differently.

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