So the Hansa Hout Bay Trail Run is a thing of the past, but the pain remains. Let me go back a step or more. I've had this run on the calendar since last year and when earlier this year, my brother invited me to join his relay team, the answer was a huge Yes. Even to the point of getting a special gym programme together to help with agility and core strength. But the last six weeks fell apart with a couple of niggles and injuries and the most I was able to run was 6km in the week preceding the race. Not a lot of ideal prep. In fact, I didn't dare tell my brother about the last niggle. But I arrived with a plan. I had two sachets of USN's Anabolic Nitro (sorry for Simon - our middle runner) which I had used before and had felt bullet proof, a couple of anti-inflammatories and "muscle memory". I hoped it would hold me together for about 11km of severe trail running around the back of Hout Bay. It was perfect weather. Ian departed on leg one in the faint light of the pre-dawn and I went home to have scrambled egg on toast. Collecting all my gear, I headed off the changeover point at Suikerbossie. As I got there, the front guys came through absolutely flying and I heard later they were on a mission to break the record. They did - by miles. They were runnng twice as fast as me! The Suikerbossie restaurant did itself proud handing out tea and coffee and scones to the runners and I resisted the temptation. Not so much Simon, who after a scone and coffee headed off to the toilet and of course, Ian arrived at that moment. Eventually Simon emerged, took a leisurely photo and jogged off. Ian was over the moon having run strongly the whole way. The thing about running in this environment is that it leaves you on a complete high. Ian missioned around talking to people, eating scones and generally beaming. I also think the USN had something to do with it! Then we headed home again to collect warm clothes for him and wandered off to my checkpoint at the top of Constantia Kloof. There I faced the huge dilemma of what combination clothing to wear. It was sunny but chilly. It was on with the short sleeve top then off again, on with the long sleeve top then indecision. In between, I was trying to decided when to drink my jungle juice. I ended up having it too soon so by the time Simon arrived, I was buzzing and ready to go. A quick handover of the race passport and I headed off beginning my leg with a long climb with lots of steps and then lots more steps. I felt great, partly because of the low altitude but more I think due to my race juice. I ran way above my fitness levels. I climbed the stairs and stones with ease, ran the tricky bouldery downhills, ran the contours, stopped for a photo, chatted to the girl with me, hurt badly on the descent down to Chapman's Peak Drive as it was too slippery to attack the path. It was here that I knew beyond a shadow of doubt, that I would not be able to get out of bed the next day. After the last checkpoint, there was a gaggle of girls running together and we hurtled down the tar section to the beach. The tide was in and the sand was soft and wet. There was also a headwind. My heart rate read 104%. I kid you not. I saw later my max was 180 (the highest I have ever seen was 186 and that was about 10 years ago!) But we pushed to the end and stumbled into the finish exhausted but elated. It was a fantastic experience and I am so envious of the Cape Townians who have this playground out their back door. I am seriously hobbling at the moment and stairs, downhills, downslopes and sitting down amongst other movements are extremely painful. But I don't care. I ran, I felt the wind in my face, I could see forever and I exerted myself in a beautiful place. Thanks Ian and Simon, you were great team mates. Till next year!