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Trail Lab – The Weekend Edition!

Trail Lab – The Weekend Edition!

If you have not read my pre-camp interview you can find it here.

The week leading up to the Trail Lab weekender camp I was daydreaming most of the time, trying to picture what to expect and what type of people would I meet there.
What type of experience would this turn out to be? Would I be able to feel comfortable in-between all those good runners?

Friday

Friday rolls around and with a fair bit of bad weather predictions I set off to Pecanwood Golf Estate that was to be our base for the weekend. At the gate I picked up another runner, the weekend has not even started, and we are talking about everything running you can imagine.

Arriving at the villa where we were staying for the two nights, I was quite surprised by how well everything was set up. Michelle and Jack (the Organisers) had probably thought of just about everything!

The little fine touches impressed me, from the name tag to the little notes everywhere in our rooms.

There was excitement in the air as people gathered around the braai, talking about upcoming races and past experiences. I think the Salomon 100km Skyrun was top of the agenda of races to talk about over the course of the weekend.Meeting Landie and Christiaan Greyling was great! We got to know them over the weekend as two fun people that care deeply for the sport.
We all went to bed late but with anticipation in our hearts and legs for the next two days to come.

Saturday

The morning was an expected early start for everyone but that’s nothing new for us runners. Michelle had laid out yet another spread for breakfast with a selection too vast to mention. I was thinking that I would have to slow down with the eating unless I wanted to roll back home after the weekend.

We then picked up the gear we wanted to test on the first run, most people opted for the Suunto Ambit3 and First Ascent backpacks and we were off to the secret running location in the Cradle.
The group opted to run the whole course laid out by Jack together on day one.Clouds were hanging low and it was strangely very hot and humid. There were a few stops on the way where Landie explained some techniques and we then proceeded to follow her example, I had some good laughs…

On the route it was nice chatting to Christiaan about life and trail.He also mentioned something about my running style and I took the advice, immediately trying to impress everyone but I doubt anyone noticed. I was surprised to find out that Landie and Christiaan are also human! We always think that the professionals don’t battle with their running but it turns out they are just like us! Can you believe it?

We ended the run with some group stretching and testing our flexibility against each other. Drinks were provided and we spent some time socialising, chatting about life and everything trail.

One thing worth mentioning about this camp was that the advice you get from the pros and the other runners is priceless. I tried to absorb everything and make mental notes of when I am running Skyrun- not to die up in the mountains, it seemed like the most important tip of the weekend.

After a great lunch and watching the Rugby we sat down for a talk on race nutrition from Kate Tattersal which was very interesting. We then proceeded to bombard her with all sorts of nutritional type questions from GU Gels to Banting, I think we covered just about everything…

Christiaan then took centre stage and talked about the ActivePatch 4U product and started applying patches on niggles we had. Because we are all runners, it seemed like everyone was in need of the patches.

The evening we decided to go for a “Short” run around the golf course testing out some LED Lenser gear.

Now to be honest I can’t see at night and really had to run on faith. After about 6km of our 5km run I started getting worried that we were lost, and strangely running past the same house twice confirmed this.

We all then proceeded to split into 3 groups. Some got lost, some got home quick and others eventually got home, but all in good fun!

Michelle laid out another big spread that we all devoured! Special shout out to you Michelle, you are amazing! Everyone socialised ‘till late which is why we do this. Trail running is a social sport after all!

I hit my bed so hard it put me in a short coma from all the running.

Sunday

Everyone was a bit tired but optimistic about the day. We all chowed down breakfast and headed out to the secret location in the Cradle.

The weather had cleared so the day was perfect for running. There was a chilly wind but the sun was shining.

The run consisted of three groups running various distances. The goal today was to have fun and still learn. Some of the faster racing ponies had quite a battle out on the trail, and everyone was surprised by some of the performances. I really felt bad for our photographer Terence, he really had his work cut out for him.
We ended the run with Johan and James taking it down to the wire with a sprint finish.

Michelle treated us to our last meal and everyone packed up ready to head back home.

But just before we left we had a little prize giving for everyone :)

What a wonderful weekend and experience!
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Pieter Steyn

Founder at Ultrarunner_ZA
Big Dreamer...Loving Husband to a beautiful wife :) Runner and Wannabee UltraRunner! Takes life too seriously.
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Big Dreamer...Loving Husband to a beautiful wife :) Runner and Wannabee UltraRunner! Takes life too seriously.

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