Monday, February 23, 2015

PUSHING IT TO THE EDGE



So the question is did I push it to the edge today?  Can I still push it to the edge. .. can I push the body all the way? 

When racing on the track you have to live on the edge, push yourself to the limit.  Running marathons is very different: it's about setting out at a good pace and winding it up till you finish or blow!  Or like me last week... setting out at an easy pace and hoping you can hold it to the end.

I didn't I fell to pieces at 34km and while I held on for a sub 3 it was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Maybe the 33km trail race the week before had something to do with that. 

With the marathon out the way it was time to recover and get ready for the 4th race in the Cape Summer Trail Series. One week wasn't really enough time to shake the miles out of the legs! 

Oak Valley was a hive of activity when we got there at 06h30 just in time to see the guys in the 25km race heading out. 

The hour to our start didn't take long... Dawn set out for her run 15min before us so she would be out on the course to support! 

Tsungai (my 40+ competition) took off like a man possessed.  We let him go. The someone chased and the Bernie and Raydon followed. 

I was 5th with 4 other guys with me. Trails aren't all slow technical climbs some are flat smooth windy paths... the km's ticked by at road speeds and we passed Dawn at 3km before the first forest. 

through the forest
2.5km of single track later we popped out on the gravel road and Dawn was playing marshal! We crossed the road and started toclimb the single track through the grass meadow to the next forest there were only 3 of us left chasing the top 4 (and one was coming back to us). We chewed him up and spat him out on the hill. I was trying to break the 2 guys hanging with me… But, maybe I wasn’t good enough, or maybe I’m just wasn’t prepared to push hard enough!

I had done it one of them broke… before the next open section of trail which took us to another forest section and this was down over the river and up for the climb to the top again I pushed, but not hard enough to break the 18 year old as he only lost 5m to me and once the climb was over I could run away from him.

He wasn’t giving up and even though I opened the 5m gap again on the last hill, I again didn’t capitalize (or couldn’t, too old, injured and slow!) I really needed to be red lining it on the flat run in to the finish. Then with the finish in sight and a little downhill he made his move and was gone! I couldn’t chase I don’t have that turn of speed anymore, Well done Tim!

My team mate Tsungai had won with Raydon and Bernard (another team mate) a full minute behind, and us another 3 minutes down!

40+ guys...

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

NO TIME FOR A SELFIE

Do you get nervous for a race?
Or are you unflappable?

I have a little of both in me...!

Now while I've been racing for over 30 years with something like 1000 races under the belt I know about the pre-race nerves, and I was feeling them on Wednesday before the race! OK maybe I wasn't nervous but a little excited, it would be my 6th race of the year, and the first long trail race. 3 hours of racing (my time form 2 years ago 3h02:48). While with the short trails I've raced I spend the whole time playing catchup and running in oxygen debt, this would be different!

By Friday I was relaxed and because of the early start I was packed and ready for the 04h15 alarm call!

Time to get ready
The start area was busy with people, but it didn't take long to get my number and find my way to the start line... Race on!

Are we ready...
Why do they start so fast? I was 10-15 place back in the first 20m of the race, but then things settled down...

One guy had bolted like he had been drinking jet fuel! but the rest of the field was in a long line with me at the back of the leading bunch. With all of 300m run I decided that 15 places back wasn't the place to be, so I, knowing what lay ahead, started passing people...

Soon it was only rocket man ahead and I had to pick up the pace to pass him before the real climbing started... It was race on with me shaking things up as I hit the front.

Nicholas covered my move as did Morne and Chad... The rest of the field also picked up the pace to stay in touch. The old body didn't feel to bad as we started the climb, I promise I didn't force the pace, but by 3km and the turn to Clovelly and Kalk Bay Peak the 4 of us were away. I was happy with how things were going and the plan was to keep the lead, keep setting the pace, keep control of the race till we crossed Ou Kaapse Weg. I like to lead, it lets me stretch my legs on the climbs and put other out of their comfort zone, I want then playing catch-up when I'm relaxing, I want to see the trail so I know where I hopping over what rocks and how the weave down the single tracks.

The morning views were amazing and I kept thinking about what pictures I would be trying to take if I was alone on a training run, I'll have to be back to watch the sun rise from the top of the mountain... back to the race! After Muizenberg Peak there is a flat stretch and the pace picked up 6:04, 4:37, 4:12... Then it was back to the rugged single tracks... and the car park leg 1 was finished!

Dawn was over Ou Kaapse Weg in the reserve walking the Puppies, who were terribly excited to see me. I had finally slowed and the other 3 had pushed on, I had told them to pick the pace up, so maybe I hadn't really slowed. Either way I let them go. By the time they hit the road they had 30sec on me and they were pushing hard. (I don't know why, maybe testing each other and jockeying for position). I was watching them as I climbed the road, Dawn drove past egging me on, but I didn't fall for it I'm not fit enough to keep the hammer down...

With the tar and the gravel road now behind us I looked at the climb and took a split to the boys time to see if I was going backwards or not! 35sec, no worries we were climbing again and I might just close the gab... it did come down, all the way to 10 sec, but then...

They had disappeared... it took me 2km before I would see them again and the gap was now 90sec and the 3 of them where still together! Right turn and up the gravel road then left onto the single track. Time to up the tempo and close the gap!
Nice Coach still only 90sec I'm back in the game, then over the hill I caught sight of them again, no wait it was only of Morne, he had fallen off the other 2, time to chase!!! I glanced at my watch and started the chase...

...but never got to where he had been the route turn right up to Noordhook Peak and he (and the front 2 guys) had stayed on the Amphitheatre Path cutting out 1.4km with 70m climb. (7:30 my guess with the help of Garmin Connect, will get out and run it time to check).

On with my race, I was now in the front and it was up to me to just not be caught from behind, I had no idea as the what the others were doing, I only found out what they had done later. Before I headed down I looked back to see if I was now the target of the 2nd placed runner, I saw nobody. So instead of tearing down the mountain I controlled my pace till I hit the single track, which started easy before turning into more of a cliff face!

As always I was pleased to have that behind me, and now with only about 2km of single track left before I would cross the road and head down to the finish. I was getting tired 2 and a half hour of hard running will do that to you, and a lot of it I had been alone just pushing myself.

Dawn and the Puppies were there to support me as I headed through the car park and off on the last leg of this race. Lucky for us it's only about 5km and mostly down hill... It wasn't all plain sailing as my left leg decided to have a little cramp! It wasn't to bad and a few seconds of walking and a little stretch and I could run home, finishing in 2h59:04.

I ended up 4th over the line, but.... It was a difficult call and not mine to make, but I was involved in explaining what happened and how I saw the race! I could have lodged an official complaint and then waited for the reports form the official checking numbers up at Noordhook Peak, but why!!! I would never have caught Nicholas or Chad... Morne on the other hand was off the pace and only 5-6 min ahead and wasn't running strong at the end...

They gave me 3rd and 2nd 40+ (Chad was 1st 40+) Morne didn't loss out as he was 2nd 20-39...

Chad and I fighting over the Bubbly


Garmin Connect
So we climbed a bit


Monday, February 2, 2015

TRAIL RACING

Wednesday night I lined up for my 40th Trail Series race, and while things on the ground have change since 2008 it's still good to get out there and put your body on the line.. OK not everybody there is running in the red line but up front the "Kids" are turning on the afterburners!

It's had work racing these short races, right from the gun you have to go or get left behind... 100m down the track I'm out of breath and ready to blow! The lead group has opened a gap, I'm not chasing them I'm only chasing the 2nd group. I feel I can beat them all but I'm a long way off my best (20 years) never the less I'm not giving up!

The mad pace has slowed (or have my lungs just caught up? ) so as we climb the green belt to Cecelia Forest I take a few places but want more. I don't know the history of these guys but it's not about history it's about today and my legs seem to be working, the climb in Cecelia is as steep as it gets.  I pass a couple more guys and reach the gravel road still running! 1.5km -2km of climb ahead and a pack of hungry wolves behind!

Yes I turn the corner without getting caught... I can see Tsungai miles ahead and Bernard's out of sight leading the way. (My Contego Team Mates) The legs are turning over at a rate of knots but one, two, three, four people pass me before we leave the forest!

Looking to overtake!

Make that three as I threw caution to the wind on a technical section. .. but he won't drop. I close the door on him a number of times and lead him into the green belt. Like 2 F1 drivers we weaved through the green belt... I was pushing too hard and had to let him pass... with my foot off the peddle and only 2.5km to go I didn't even fight to keep my place to keep my place letting the next guy pass.

But once over a tricky river crossing, Dawn and the Jacks were there to cheer me on, the legs came to life. I was running again and hunting in my own green belt. (We do walk the Jacks here most weekends) I don't know where the energy came from but I pulled back one place, then another. .. was a third possible?

Yes...

I was running fast but could I hold them off I had 3 guys chasing hard... dam why was he running so fast... I need to pick it up... I couldn't and with 30m to go I was passed..

The Start of Race 3

Sunday was race 3 in the Trail Series and while I ran the first half well I couldn't take the down hill single tracks like an F1 driver so lost a couple of places for my worst finish of the series!  Hope to be back for race number 4...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

TO BOLDLY GO WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE

Without a race planned for the weekend I started thinking of where to run, and the mountain was calling, I ran enough road last weekend...

It's been hot this week and my thoughts turned to the dam for a swim. Silvermine or Table Mountain... With so many paths open to me I kept an eye on the mountain as I rode to work and while I sat in the office (yes I can see the Front Table out my window).

I started to think, start at UCT and head up Newlands Ravine, pop over the saddle and follow the contour path across the face of the mountain before dropping down to the Pipe Track which would take me to Kasteels, the Dams for a swim and down Skeleton into Kirstenbosch before heading back to UCT.

On paper it sounded amazing so I mailed a friend to join me, but while writing the mail I thought it might be a little long (4hours + of running) so I mentioned in the mail that maybe a trip up India Venster and then through The Valley of the Red Gods to the Dams... I was getting excited.

I was going to be alone... My friend was running a race: Run The Roodeberg  so I looked it up and thought maybe I should run on a new mountain (To Boldly Go Where I Haven't Run Before...) After an e-mail or two to the organizes I found out I wasn't the only person thinking it would be a nice mountain to run on, in fact the race was full, so I wasn't getting in!

Never might I still had my mountain and I didn't have to race, so I could enjoy the route.

Starting at UCT I looked up:

Early morning sun
That's where I was heading, up through UCT to Rhodes Mem and then up to the contour path...

A bit of flat on the Contour path
15min later it was time to head up Newland Ravine... 1.2km and 380m climb later I was in the saddle!

The saddle is a little over grown in places and as I made my way across to the otherside I decided that my shortened route was still going to require just too many hours away from my lovely wife, so...

I did the next best thing, headed up the Devil! (leaving the other route for another day!)

It only 1km to the beacon at the top, so I hit the split button and started to climb... I wasn't moving like a champ, but more like a three-toed-sloth and it took me all of 16:53 to reach the top (another 314m climb) some 80min since I had left UCT. I wasn't the only person up there and I had to move away from the beacon to get some alone space:

Should have been up an hour earlier to watch the sunrise!
A group of school kids (about 30 boys) had been eating breakfast as I got there and then left before I could, so I sat for a bit to give them a head start before I took off...

Not wanting to have to overtake them on the downhill I stopped at the lower beacon:

Cape Town...
Table Mountain
Cape Town

Then it was time to head down...

Head to turn back for my phone!!!
The down hill took another 16min I wasn't taking any chance as I was alone and safty come first! I wasn't going to drop straight down Newlands, the way I had climbed up, but I turned right and headed round the Devil on a couple of the path I will be racing on come Oceans Trail.

Last picture
From there it was on to the King's Block House and down to my car at UCT...

OK so lets see what Garmin said about this run:

Distance:           15.14km (not long for a long run!)
Time:                 2h20:57 (that's not very fast!) I also spent another 65min taking pictures and sitting around!
Elevation Gain:  1540m

P.S. I ran a flat 15.5km on Sunday that only took an hour!

Monday, January 12, 2015

LEGS CALLING FOR A REST



The weeks roll into months and the year is over... so while it's been an easy year I might have picked it up just enough to earn a rest week. 

Let's look at the last three weeks:
Saturday 20th saw me running up to the dams and I knocked off another 17km on the Sunday... this set me up for the week ahead:

Monday could have been an easy 10 but after 5km we did 10 x 6sec steep hills (I call it a plyometric session), then it was back to the track for 3km at marathon pace...

Tuesday... this was big, in fact the session was so scary I shortened the warm up to only 2.5km. So what scared us... 25 x 400m...  We had to earn Christmas dinner!

Christmas dinner with the family was filling my Christmas eve so I only had time (and legs) for an easy 8km before work...  Yes I was still at the office! 

Christmas day... just like any other little boy out there I was up at first light, but not to look under the tree, I was fitting a run in before church. Nothing to big just up the Green Belts, up Cecelia and up Nursery ravine! 8km of climbing had taken me to the top of the back table and now it was time to head back!

Santa's on his way...

After the 9-o-clock service it was time for me to cook Christmas lunch... I had lamb and chicken on the weber, and the weber under an umbrella (it was raining)!!!

With Christmas over I met some friends at Constantia Nek and popped up round the dams to burn off Christmas pudding!

Saturday and I thought I had better do a bit of running instead of climbing the mountain for a 3rd day in a row, so I run a rather undulating 19km!

Sunday long run... No Dawn and I went for a cycle!

The end of Chappies
 So I went for my run at midday! 16km easy...

So I left the road again!
Monday, the office was closed, so I took Dawn out for Breakfast... But we needed to run first!

I also have a beach to run on!
Tuesday 30 With the year running out of days I headed to the tack for a last session...

Another 25 x 400m
Wednesday so how does one end the year? I thought Lion's Head would be a good idea, and it was, but even at 06h30 there were to many people with the same idea.

While sitting there I saw the Table was set...

So I popped over and headed up India Fenster!
Only 16km, but 2h25 and 1300m climb...
     Oh if that wasn't enough I still ran the 8km race in the evening with Dawn!

Thursday and the start of a New Year... I headed out from home and up Skeleton. I was really slow, but after a quick swim in the dam I headed down Nursary.

Working on my tan!
Friday, my friend Mark met me and we went for a little cycle... Well it was a little cycle for him, 80km seemed a long way to me!

Saturday... I run ran 5km to ensure the legs still worked (they didn't which didn't bode well for Sunday!)

Sunday, and the first Race of the year, Bay to Bay 30km... Maybe I went out to hard, but it was very hard work after 15km and I wasn't flying when we hit the down hill to the finish...

The legs were calling for a rest!

So I have listened and taken this last week easy only 3-5km a day.

 (that was till Saturday when I hit the mountain again...)

Friday, December 12, 2014

LYNO

OK so if you have been reading this blog for some time you will know that I'm injured and have been for a long time. So I can run, but not the way I want too, I can't come into the home straight and kick for the finish... "Cross Training": I might be up for a waltz, but there won't be any "Murder On The Dance Floor".

Clear the dance floor I'm on fire!
Back to the injury, I look at it this way:

You get 2 types of injuries...
  • Acute injuries, like when you twist an ankle on the dance floor!
  • Overuse injuries, Like what I have...
Now if you run perfectly you really shouldn't ever get an overuse injury unless you do something stupid like run 1000 miles on a camber!

With very few injuries over the last 30+ years of running I would say I run OK, so why the injury now? I can't answer that but there are a number of things that could be the cause and I'm not going to get into that now (it could turn into a blog on it's own!), the question now is where to from here?

On Facebook I saw that Benita was hosting a LYNOTHERAPY course and was looking for models (imagine me on the catwalk!) to be assessed... I put my name down!

Think of it like this: your car has one wheel that is wearing flat on the one side, now you could just change the wheel and drive on, but the wheel will just wear again, so what do you do? You take it for wheel alignment and your problem is solved, RIGHT? So why not with your body!

OK so if you were standing/sitting in front of a physio, you would be telling them where it hurts! While with Benita things are very different! While knowing where you hurt is important, it's not what she's interested in! She looks at you, she bends/moves your legs and arms to see how your body moves! (There are also a couple exercises she makes you do!) Each movement she records on her clipboard so she get a full picture of how unbalanced you are!

Then the treatment starts... I read the theory like this:

If your left leg only bends 90* while the right leg moves 115* you have a problem and she will aim at getting them the same...

Look there is a lot more to it than that, but that is the simple idea, so with the "wheel alignment" fixed the injury will come right!

If you want to know more about it have a look at her website:


Then get your running back on track!

Running off into the sunset!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

BIRTHDAY 2014

Some people sleep late on their birthday, me on the other hand... I was up at 05h00 to meet a friend at Constantia Nek. Last year Ake had joined me for 3 hours of mountain trail running... This year I didn't have that sort of time as the day was full, in fact the weekend was full and it was only Thursday!

While I had asked a couple of guys if they had wanted to join me only Katya found the time. (It could have been the early morning or the fact that it was a week day, I don't know!)

It was such a perfect morning we could have met at 05h00, the mountain was ready for us... We weren't the only ones up there as we caught someone else venturing out before the rest of the Mother City woke!

the first bit of sun!

The top was deserted and full of morning magic, will have to do this again...

I would have love to have spent 3-4 hours exploring every single track again, but my day was not ending there I had places to go and people to see...

Katya took the picture...
By 09h30 I was home after fulling the car with petrol and a case of beer! That is not all the bags were packed and I was infront of the PC...

Entries for the Two Oceans trail opened at 10h00 and in order to get an entry you need to be sitting there waiting for the site to open.

With the entry confirmed we packed the bags and the dogs and headed out to the wine country for a few days...

Vineyards forever...
We only stopped at 4 farms before reaching Mcgregor the little town we were staying at for a couple of nights.

Hurry up with the key
Since it wasn't a hot evening, and with the cloud cover and few drops of rain had cooled it down enough to really settle in for the night...

What more could a man want?
The next morning started like any other morning which doesn't include work...

Running on the mountain
I had to go looking for trails to run on and I was lucky to end up on top for the mountain... it wasn't a long run, but just enough to stretch the legs and shake out the cobwebs befor we hit the wine farms again...

Let's go wine tasting!
7 wine farms later it was time to head back to our little cottage...

OK I took this as we were leaving in the morning
Come Saturday mornng and it was time to drive the 200km home so there wasn't time to explore the other mountains around Mcgregor. Don't worry I did have time to head out for a run, but the the sun rising and the thermoneter heading to 30*c I didn't want to be out there for more than an hour... I stuck to a gravel road and after a couple of km decided that since we had a couple of friends coming over that evening I had better earn the right to eat... So I upped the pace and ran 6km tempo before taking a single track back to the cottage!

It was after 13h00 when we got home (maybe we shouldn't have stopped at another wine farm!) and with guests arriving from 18h30 there was no time to sit around... While Dawn hit the shops for a few things I headed for the kitchen!

Remember I had bought beer before leaving? Well other than needing a couple of beers to drink I also make a beer bread...

It didn't last long