John’s 50th Birthday: Comrades Marathon

What special event do you have planned for your next milestone birthday? I’m still running ideas through my head for my 50th, which will be here before we know it in 2020. For my 45th I ran the Tour de Mont Blanc and for my 40th I hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. I think I’d like to pick another adventure.

This morning I had the privilege of chatting with a friend about how she spent her 50th: building homes for the needy in Honduras. When I praised her for choosing such a generous and charitable activity, she generously and charitably (and wisely) said to me that every person is in a different place at various times in our lives, and we will be called to the activities that fulfill us at that moment.

John’s calling for his 50th birthday on June 2 happens to be running The Comrades Marathon in South Africa. It’s a race he has been interested in for a long time, and it falls just near his birthday, so he decided it would be his goal for his Five-Oh. Who wouldn’t want to run an extremely tough 56 mile uphill race to celebrate five decades of living?!

I’m not sure I would! But I would say this race is a good one to choose and it has a long history. It was started to commemorate the South African soldiers killed during World War I. Since the first race in 24 May 1921 to this year on 4 June 2017, it’s the world’s largest and oldest Ultramarathon, and John has had a singular vision to get there.

One of the many, many things I love about John is his ability to set a goal and stay focused on achieving it. I am so proud of him for his dedication to his training. It is hard to even articulate how inspired I am by him and how proud I am of him. This year he has gotten up every morning at 4:15 or earlier to do a long run before his long workday. That’s just one of the amazing feats he has accomplished. Here are some of the numbers. Let’s see if you’re inspired too.

So far this year John has run 1586 miles in 244 hours.

His longest run was 33 miles at an 8:35 pace with 2211 feet elevation gain.

He ran a 50K race with 6600 feet elevation gain where he came in fourth overall and first masters.

He ran a sub-3 marathon where he came in fifth overall and first masters

He ran the Boston marathon as a training run.

Before his taper, his training peaked at 106 miles in a week.

Even more impressive to me is that he has remained injury free, and in a generally good mood! He’s really in the best shape of his life, and I’m so excited for him to tackle this next big adventure.

Congratulations sweetie! I love you so much.

Sixteen Days to Go

I have wanted to go to South Africa pretty desperately ever since our friends Kathryn and Ole told us about their wonderful trip there, and that was maybe 17 years ago? It has been a long time. So it seems impossible (impossibly thrilling) that John and I are living in the month of our departure date!

I am so excited about all of our slated activities. I have printed out the 42 page PDF with all of our reservations and maps between towns. I use the app TripIt to gather all our movements into one easy package. Here is the general motion of the trip:

  • We are using British Airways to fly direct Phoenix to Heathrow, then Heathrow to Cape Town. Usually we use miles to fly, but since this was a far (and cheap) flight, we paid for the trip to get the massive amounts of miles on the cheap.
  • First we are driving out from Cape Town to Stellenbosch, where we are staying for two nights at Spier Wine Farm.
  • Then a flight from Cape Town to Durban, and we will drive out to Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge in Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park for some luxury lodge living and Big Five game drives.
  • We drive back to Durban where we will stay four nights at the Southern Sun Elangeni Maharani for John’s 50th birthday with a celebratory dinner at 9th Avenue Bistro.
  • On June 4th John will run the Comrades Marathon.
  • We decided on two locations in Cape Town so we get a feel for coast and town. We will stay four nights at Rouge on Rose in the Bo Kaap area, then move to the ocean to Cape View Clifton. We have chosen lots of great restaurants and activities for our stay there. One is Foxcroft. Another is Reverie. Can’t wait!

And thanks, British Airways, for this feature that allows me to plan my movies for the 10 and 11.5 hour flights. I have a lot to catch up on!