Its only a week since we've been back in the big smoke and its been a flurry of race reports, write ups and round ups of our ride. We have decided to re-christen it but that is for another time (when we've finally decided). The problem we're all experiencing is loads of flash back and an extraordinary amount of time spent sifting through photos and reliving the week. In July, I ran the Hout Bay Trail run and have been hankering for more and finally, the trail running series has come to Gauteng. I entered the 12km long course at Hennops and went hunting for my amazing muti - USN's anabolic nitro. I run maybe 2-3 times per week, not a lot and its been a very long time since I ran anything over 10k - even on the road. But I dragged the Garden Godmother along with me so that I could suffer with someone else. A last gasp search the day before netted me some sachets of the energy drink and I felt confident that I would be ok. Amazing what strange beliefs we hang on to. I had convinced GG that it would help her too seeing the last time she ran 12km was part of the 90km marathon called the Comrades in May. So nervously yabbering non-stop, we headed out to the venue which was a pretty shaded spot next to the Hennops river. We glugged the bitter tasting concoction convincing ourselves that the worse it tasted, the better it was and then we were off. We started on a country road which wound around for about a km before hitting a meander next to the river. With this loop over, we set out in earnest on some dusty single track heading back upstream and in short time, we were out in the open with the towers of Pelindaba looming in front of us. I walked the first climb, not wanting to blow too early and then settled into a reasonably rhythmic jog to the base of the big climb at 6km. So far, so good. This climb was about 1k and it was a hike up over rocks and around huge aloes. There was a lot of chatting and cameraderie here as no one could go faster than the next and my legs burnt somewhat. I was fully expecting the jelly to set in at the top but no, we were off again at a good clip and my legs felt fine. My biggest problem was my frozen water which hadn't defrosted as quickly as I thought so I got a few drops every now and then. (Several hours later and its still ice cold - won't make that mistake again). The trick is to stay focused as even the smallest loss of concentration can result in damage and that Pelindaba rock is extremely sharp. All of a sudden, we joined the short course and I glanced at my watch - 12km done already. I was surprised at how quickly it had gone. We dropped down to a rickety cable bridge over the river and we could hear the announcer getting closer. I still felt remarkably strong and hadn't faded at all - just a tad thirsty. I finished in a clump of long and short course runners and it was over. It was the longest and shortest run I had done in a long time. Although the final distance was somewhere between 12,5 and 13km, it felt like minutes since I had started. Time freezes with the joy of running on trails and focusing on the minutiae of placing your feet every step of the way. So where do the 500kms of riding come in? Somehow, to my embarrassment, I won my category. As an average and under trained runner, this was completely unexpected. So I am claiming the riding and the muti as my secret to success. GG ran in a short while later beaming and had also found that her stamina had not waned over the course so she's off to invest in new trail shoes and more sachets. We're probably going to can the road running race next week in favour of another trail run. The bug has bitten.