Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 140, April 2021 Apr 2021 | Page 19

CORNER kalmer ’ s corner by RENÉ KALMER
Our Modern Athlete Brand Ambassador ’ s Blog


CORNER kalmer ’ s corner by RENÉ KALMER

First Things First !

I recently ran my first race in more than a year , and it turned out to be a day full of firsts for me , including one most unexpected bonus .
Images : SMacPix & courtesy René Kalmer , Christine Kalmer

Firstly , I want to congratulate Gerda Steyn and Irvette van Zyl on their phenomenal runs in Italy this past weekend , in Sienna . Gerda smashed Colleen de Reuck ’ s SA Marathon Record , which had stood for more than 24 years , stopping the clock at 2:25:28 , while Irvette smashed her PB by more than three minutes to qualify for her third Olympic Games . Well done , ladies , what a great day for SA womens ’ running !

First Race Since Lockdown
Meanwhile , many of us in SA can barely remember when we last pinned on our race numbers . ( My last race was the Johnson ’ s Crane 21km way back early in January 2020 .) Our license numbers have been ‘ hibernating ’ during the lockdown period , and this past Sunday I hit a frenzy looking for my 2020 license numbers the evening before my first race since lockdown , as the 2021 numbers are not available yet .
I was one of the few lucky athletes that were able to participate in the Central Gauteng 10km and 21km Provincial Championships this past weekend at the Germiston Stadium . It was great getting back into competition mode , as the races gave athletes the opportunity to compete and qualify for the National Championships . It was also very special to travel with my sister Christine to the race , while both our hubbies were on babysitting duties . Andre had to take care of our two kids , while Christine ’ s husband , Aiden , had to take care of their new addition of furry kids .
The 10km and 21km races started at different times , following strict COVID-19 protocols , with separate starts for the men and women ’ s races as well . Well done to all the race officials for doing an amazing job ! With an 8:15am start for the women ’ s 10km , it was also nice not having to get up in the early hours of the morning , although midway through the race I did regret not having an earlier start as the temperature picked up as the race continued .
First Race Postpartum
This was also my first race since giving birth to our son Ivan at the end of November 2020 . Compared to my comeback after my first pregnancy , my return to running has been a lot easier this time around . I ’ m not sure if the reason is muscle memory , or perhaps just being used to sleep deprivation ...
I still apply the same principal though , taking it really easy and listening to my body . At the moment , my training is still pretty low-key and consists of morning runs with my sister Christine , who is almost halfway into her own pregnancy . My biggest stress before this past weekend ’ s race was leaving Andre with enough milk for Ivan , while Christine and I hit the streets of Germiston . With two small children , there was hardly time to think about strategy , pace or placing for the race . My main goal was to get a benchmark run to gauge where I ’ m currently at with my training , whilst Christine was hoping to complete a 10km without any ‘ pit stops .’ ( Expecting mom ’ s will understand ...)
Both of us crossed the finish line with huge smiles , as it felt so good to once again be able to do what we love . I was more than pleased to stop my Suunto watch on 41:25 . That was seven minutes faster than my first race after my daughter , Karli , was born . My next goal will definitely be to dip under 40 minutes again !
First Race as a Veteran
It was also my first race as a forty-year-old , and I can tell you that I pinned those ‘ 40 ’ age category tags to my chest with very mixed emotions . At the time of receiving the tags , I was not very impressed with our club secretary , Anastacia , who gave me the age tags as a birthday gift ! But they came in very handy on race day …
All the mixed feelings flew out the window when I received an envelope for being the first Veteran over the finish line . I ’ m now rather excited for this new running journey as a proudly 40-something . As they say , age only matters if you are a cheese or wine , and I am looking forward to this new chapter in my running career .
About the Author
René Kalmer is a two-time Olympian , having represented SA in the 1500m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and in the marathon at the 2012 London Games . She has also won more than 40 SA titles in track , road and cross country at youth , junior and senior level , in distances from 800m to the half marathon .