My 2017 Berlin Marathon experience

It’s been 2 weeks since I ran the Berlin Marathon,  which was followed by me being a tourist in Europe that led to this review taking a back seat.

On the 20th of September, I boarded the Emirates flight to Munich with a 3-hour layover in Dubai. I think that the running Gods were on my side as I had all the 3 seats to myself so I could actually sleep (yay) on the flight. I arrived in Munich at 08:30 and had to chill at the airport for 6-hours before boarding Air Berlin to Berlin Airport. I safely arrived at my Berlin Hotel around 5pm. I checked in, messaged my family and friends that I was safe, showered and passed out.

The morning of 21st, I toured the city of Berlin and taking in beautiful architecture and feeling of the mixed cultures that now make the beautiful city what it is. In the afternoon, I went to the Berlin Vital Expo to collect my race number, tracker and wristband for access on race day.  The Expo was filled with different brands showcasing their products from running accessories to running fuel. Races from other countries were also there to convince runners to travel to their races, there was an opportunity to purchase Berlin Marathon memorabilia because that is important. I spent Saturday in bed and off my feet, the breakfast run took place but I was too tired and decided to listen to my body and rest.

I was filled with excitement and nervous on race day. The day I have been training for months was suddenly here. It was raining which meant it was the nice and cool weather but I chafe easily when wet so I was not happy. Hopped on a train to the start area, arrived 3 hours early, I walked around and started to warm up. Met and had a chat with some of the wonderful international runners and took some pictures. When the gun went off, singling the start of my block, I started off slowly, the first 10km was relaxed and slow. I picked up my pace slightly for the next 11km but still within race pace. Reached the halfway mark at 2h44, kept the same pace till the 30th km. I felt the wall and just focused on every 2km, fuelling with half a banana and energy drink every 5km, at 34km, I could feel my quads getting tight and sore, the hard thing about a flat course is that you use the same muscles throughout the 42km. The last 8km is where I lost most of my time, I had changed muscles by walking it out. The last 2 km was the hardest as per every marathon or race, I just left everything on the floor.

Finished the race 05h48, the overwhelming feeling of crossing the finish line while flying my country’s flag brought me to tears. Even more special was that the Berlin Marathon chose to honour marathoner Josia Thongwane by placing him on the medal, he won Gold at the 1996 Olympics.

One of the most important things after running a marathon is to reflect on how you performed and see where you need to improve for the next marathon. After this race, I need to work on:

  • Speed when on tired legs to assist with pushing in the last 6 – 8 km
  • Continue with strength training, focus slightly more on the core

The Berlin Marathon experience is everything and more, amazing athletes, great organisation and great supporters on race day. Thank you to everyone that supported me through the months of training and on the day via technology.

The next step is to get into another Abbotts World Marathon Major. Will keep you posted.

Time to slowly get back into running and go to the gym, it’s been a nice chilled 3 weeks.

See you on the road!!!!!

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It’s Berlin Marathon Week – Mental Check!

It’s Berlin Marathon week, yay!!!

This week felt so far away and now it has arrived.

The Cape Town Marathon took place yesterday and it has definitely motivated me even more, this morning I aimed to run 7km and ended up running 11km 🙂

It was a bit strange to be a spectator at the Cape Town Marathon as opposed to running, but to see my friends and that I was supporting go through the stages of running a marathon, made me sit and start to mentally prepare for Sunday. Running a marathon is always a huge test of physical and mental strength. It always reminds me what I am capable of. Seeing runners crying when crossing the finish line close to the cut-off time of 6h30 and the sportsmanship of runners helping each to the finish line really touched my heart and it will be my turn on Sunday.

I have started to visualise the route, making sure I have the correct nutrition leading to Sunday.  I know that I will go through the “why did I sign up for this” thoughts during 30 – 38kms, it unavoidable, but I will have to go through it and keep moving forward like have done in the last 2 marathons I ran. I hope to achieve a sub 5 but my main aim is to finish and finish strong but also take in the vibe and have fun.

Flying to Germany on Wednesday, long but exciting trip ahead.

To follow my Berlin Marathon adventures, following blog Instagram @mdlalikazi or my personal account @ma_ayi

See you on the road!!!

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All Glow’ed Up!

Yes, I think that sounds cool.

The neon run is back for its 11th edition in Johannesburg. Its a night time race, because attempting to glow in the day is not cool, kids!

This is not your normal race, its a 5km course and you can tackle anyway you like, you can skate, cycle , walk or run. The aim is to have fun and light up the evening. It doesn’t end there, after the race, stay behind and enjoy the showstopping entertainment from SAs hottest acts.

The neon run is on the 2nd of September 2017 at St Stithians College of Sandton and it’s fun for the whole family, so bring the little ones.

Neon Run (19 of 123)

Phase 1 tickets on sale already, hurry before they sell out!! Ready, Set, GLOW!!

For more information head over to Neon Run website.

 

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Eliud Kipchoge aims to break the Berlin Marathon record

Eliud Kipchoge, one of the best marathon runners currently will aim to break the Berlin Marathon record. I got to know more about this amazing runner when he was announced as one of the 3 runners Nike selected to attempt to break the Sub 2 hour time for a marathon. Eliud along with Lelisa Desisa & Zersenay Tadese ran their first attempt of breaking the sub 2 hour mark in Monza Italy, they finished at 2:00:25 under special conditions.

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Image courtesy of Nike

Eliud won the Berlin Marathon in 2:04:00 despite his running insoles flapping through most of the race. The current record for the Berlin is 2:03:23 and Eliud feeling positive and strong from the sub 2 hour attempt will push to break the record. Berlin Marathon is well known for its fast and flat course so its the best race to attempt a world record.

I wish Eliud all the best in his attempt, it will be amazing to see this live :). Let me just continue to aim to just finish the race

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Image courtesy of Nike

Road to Berlin Marathon! 10 weeks to go!

It’s exactly 10 weeks and 6 days to the race start (time is flying!!!)

I have been consistent with the short and long runs, strength training and speed work. Continuing to focus on my nutrition and getting stronger. With winter officially here, the weather has not been great for hiking but it doesn’t stop the runs.

Travel preparations have also been done, all flights and accommodation have been booked for the race and the post-race tourist activities. Just awaiting the Schengen visa appointment, yay!!!

Since my last blog post, I ran the Slave Route 21km, which is a wonderful race that takes you through all the historic sites around Cape Town, like the Castle of Good Hope, Slave Museum and the slave post where slaves were put on display and sold during apartheid. I also race the FNB 12 km race which is a flat & fast race from Milnerton to lower Bree Street. I used these 2 races as a benchmark to test my pace and speed. I finished 10 minutes faster than last year which is good but some work still needs to be done.

The next 8-9 weeks, I will continue to focus on my run form, speed work, strengthening and nutrition, all while making sure that I don’t overexert my muscles which could lead to a muscle strain or worse an injury. I missed out on a week of running due to being sick and I don’t want to be one of those runners that want to make up by pushing too hard. It is winter so looking after that immune system is key, some citrus fruit for the Vitamin C will help, rest days are just as crucial.

The excitement is continuing to build, I have been watching YouTube videos of runners that ran the Berlin Marathon and reading about their experience. Can’t wait to share the experience but first training, travel to race and race day.

See you on the road!!!

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Race Review: Lion of Africa 21.1km – 4 February 2017

I ran the Lion of Africa half marathon for the first time last year, I went into the race with hardly any running prior and since I had no knowledge of the route, I thought I would be ok……..boy was I wrong!!! This race takes place in Constantia and as any Cape Town runner knows, Constantia has a lot of hills. Last year I regretted not running the 10km with my colleagues instead, the last 5km of this race is the toughest.

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So this year going into the race, I was haunted by the hills and the agony from the previous year. The difference this year, I started my marathon training earlier and I have been focusing on strength training days at the gym as well as the various hikes I have been doing with friends, my legs were stronger.

The race starts nice and flat, the first 3-4 kms is easy, then the hills start coming, I was pretty surprised at how the hills were not difficult for me and that I pushed through each of them at a nice pace and with not too much effort. My legs didn’t feel like jelly at all, I only used one pack of my USN Vooma energy gel at the 12km mark. By the time I reached the last 5km which has 3 hills, I still had enough energy and I could still push all the way to the finish line.

I completed this race in 03:00:56 in 2016 so I was really chuffed with myself to finish in 02:44:11 this year, 15mins faster J . Progress is an amazing motivator, so I will keep up with the training and keep tracking the progress. I am hoping to finish the next 21.1km race in 02:30:00.

This was a good race to check the fitness level, since the Berlin Marathon is a flat race, the hills are going to help me have a great pace in Berlin.

The next race will be the Cape Peninsula Half Marathon taking place this Sunday, 19 February

See you on the road

Will you be joining the RYC Celebrity Crews

adidas South Africa revealed four South African celebrity crews participating in the highly anticipated Run Your Crew, the unique, inner city crew run, redefining the way of running.
The four celebrity crews consist of some of the country’s most beloved TV, radio and online personalities:
The City Sixers
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The City Sixers are captained by two of SA’s favourite sons, Maps Maponyane and Lunga Shabalala. Both TV presenters and models, Maps also finds time to fill his days as an actor, designer, businessman and philanthropist. Joburg born and raised, these stylish gents have built their profile by staying busy and knowing where the best parties are at.
So if you miss the guys on the route – you’ll know to find them at the Block Party because The City Sixers run together and The City Sixers party together.
IOL (In Our Lane)
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Amanda du Pont, a well-known actor, television host, voice over artist, model, MC, businesswoman and long-time friend of adidas has taken up position as head honcho of IOL. Right beside her is Mapule Ndhlovu, Woman’s Health Next Fitness Star Winner 2016.
This crew of health-conscious fitness enthusiasts are ready to push their energy limits at RYC. They train together daily, to ensure RYC is more of walk in the park than a run in the city.
The Stripes
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This power crew is made up of 5fm DJ, Tumi Voster; fashion and lifestyle bloggers, Twiggy and Lulama; Instagrammer Lindiwe; NYC based fashion writer, Kenny and fashion blogger and vlogger, Keagan Carlin.
A team of very well-connected, like-minded women you’ll no doubt be seeing and hearing a lot of social noise from on the night of RYC.
#LetUsRun
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SA biokineticist, Survivor SA Maldives runner-up and adventure enthusiast from Joburg, Letshego Zulu, captains #LetUsRun, a crew in peak physical condition for RYC with 2 extreme trail runners, 4 Comrades runners and 5 Two Oceans Ultra Marathon runners, RUN is exactly what they do. This crew is all about adventure and the idea of not knowing the route before the night of RYC is exactly that.
RYC Block Party
Run Your Crew has a unique format which requires you to choose your running crew, and on the night, choose your distance of either 4km, 8km and 12km as well as your route. As long as you start together and finish together. Participants can look forward to running alongside the above mentioned as well as global crews.
With all crews finishing together at a block party hosted directly at the finish line, runners will be welcomed by a festive and engaging experience which takes them from the run to the party. The impressive live acts and DJ line-up includes: DJ Zinhle, Desmond & the Tutus; Plaat Japie, Khuli Chana, Petite Noir, Kid Fonque, DJ Kent, Da Capo and DJ Lag.
Join the adidas Runners community and the RYC celebrity crews at Runbase, Braamfontein, during the month of November for weekly night runs followed by social crew evenings on the Runbase deck. Follow the schedule on Facebook.
To register visit runyourcrew.com, or follow @adidasZA on Twitter / Instagram and use the hashtag #WHYIRUNJOBURG to join the conversation.

WOMEN’S NATIONAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE – SOUTH AFRICA

There has always been a struggle to gain support for women’s basketball, it’s always as something that will only happen if the Men’s competition is successful. If you look at any professional leagues around the world, like the NBA , which started in 1946 but the WNBA only started in 1996, 50 year wait. Terrible!!!

The BNL (Basketball National League) has been running for the last 3 years and there’s been no sign of the women’s competition starting. The Sports Minister, Fikile Mbalula, stated that the Women’s BNL will start in 2015 when he launched the BNL in 2013. He also said that “ if we (women) want to play professionally, we should play netball”, this coming from a Minister shows where women are seen in sports that were previously male only.

So imagine my surprise when I turned on the TV  to watch the BNL final and saw a women’s final playing, I have not seen South African women’s final on TV in years, I was intrigued and thoroughly enjoyed watching the game. I did have lots of questions though, for example:

  1. Does this mean National League for women is starting?
  2. If this is the final, when did this league start?
  3. Why are they showing Gauteng games only?
  4. Are the players being paid to play?

I am sure that a lot of players from different provinces had lots of questions too.

Well just to give you the thought/idea behind the Women’s final.

There was a committee that pushed to have the Women’s BNL started but the biggest issue is the funds. The Department of Sports Recreation had committed to 3 year sponsorship deal with BNL, after which it had to be self-funded. Now before you start thinking, if this 3 year deal was for men only, then the next 3 years’ funding should be for women, unfortunately that is not the case. The 3 year deal was for basketball as a whole, the Sports and Recreations Department would cover everything for the 3 years to get the professional league on it’s feet and then BNL should be self-funded. The BNL exec should have then split the funds to benefit basketball as a whole (men,women and youth). Unfortunately, the only people who have benefited from this deal are the men, the women and youth will be put in the back burner as money has “dried up”. Some of the BNL teams have striked during the 2016 season and refused to play due to not being paid.

Going back to the questions I asked earlier regarding the final, see below answers,

  1. Women’s BNL is not starting yet, this was a pilot to show case women’s basketball and hopefully lead to a Women’s BNL League.
  2. There was no real league, it was just 4 teams that played (Fierce Angels, Sturdy Stars, Bona Fide Rocks and Lungi Giants) and
  3. No, the players were not paid.

I would like to thank all of those ladies that played in this 4 team tournament for starting something, it’s now up to all of us in our various provinces to start thinking and coming up with ideas of how the women’s BNL will start and how it will work. Unfortunately it will always come down to finances but I know when women come together things happen. We will have to fight to get things started, which is frustrating but that has never stopped us before.

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Congratulations Sturdy Stars. Image courtesy of BNL

If you would like to send any suggestions, email mdlalikazi@gmail.com and I will send all the suggestions to our Johannesburg sisters.

Dlala Mdlalikazi, Ball is life.

New York Marathon 2016

The New York Marathon, which happens to be one of my bucket list races, took place yesterday.

Mary Keitany of Kenya comfortably took the lead from the 16km mark and had a huge gap, running to her third consecutive victory, finishing in a time of 2:24:26.Sally Kipyego of Kenya, placed second in 2:28:01, and Molly Huddle of the United States,placed third in 2:28:13. Keitany is the first woman to win three in a row since Grete Waitz won five from 1982 to 1986.

20 year old Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, made history as the youngest and only Eritrean citizen to win the New York City Marathon finishing in a time of 2:07:51, beating the experienced favourites. Lucas Rotich of Kenya placed second  in 2:08:53 and Abdi Abdirahman, a Somali-born American finished third in 2:11:23.

Congratulations to everyone that completed the race, I hope to be one of them in the future.

Images courtesy of NYRR

BreakPoint Challenge – 26 November 2016

The inaugural BreakPoint Challenge is taking place at Bloemendale Wine Estate, Cape Town.

The BreakPoint Challenge is a trail run for all athletic and fitness levels to enjoy! Exhilarating obstacles,water obstacle,fitness events, music and an amazing festival area. The entry categories cater for a variety of fitness levels: elite athletes, runners of all abilities, kids and families looking for a fun experience.

If you are looking for a challenge, this event is for you. You can enter as an individual or grab your friends and enter as a group.

Tickets are selling fast so book now.

Visit http://breakpointchallenge.co.za/ for more information or http://qkt.io/Cpxo6v to purchase your ticket. Also follow the BreakPoint facebook page for updates.

Hope to see you !!!