Monday, December 23, 2013

WINTER IS ON THE WAY

With the longest day now behind us, the days are getting short and short. Summer is a thing of the past and Winter is on the way...

Lucky for us here in Cape Town the weather should start to improve with the Summer wind starting to drop off. Isn't this just the best time of year? So many public holiday and half the world is on leave, in fact half the world is always on leave!!! Me on the other hand, I love being at the office over this time of the year, the roads are quiet and the phone almost never rings. So I find I can get a lot more work done and I even get the leave work early for time to time... Enough about work, I'm here to tell you about running!

Public holidays alway shout long run, long run on the mountain, and last Monday was no different. The I listen carefully to the call of the mountain and plan a route as to cover the ground I'm called too...

Vlakenberg was shouting my name, but the truth be told the route I started to think about would ahve killed me, it was up, down, up, along, up, down, up, down, and I would have being out for long over 3 hours. At this time of the year my body is pretty worn-out so I changed the plan to Up, Down out and back, up, down, with 2 hours being the mark. Then I put a call out to a couple of friends and while most had plans (there was another 10km race), one of my star lady runners joined me.
Making it look easy
It was her first time on the mountain and she made it look easy, if I take she up a couple more times she will become quite the trail runner!!!

One of the reasons I didn't run the race on the Monday, was there was another evening 10 on the Wednesday, and 3 10s in week would have just been too much. I was at the Waterfront for the midweek 10 and while I thought I could find myself running hard I wasn't going the aim at a time. While making my way to the startlineI saw a couple of the 40+ guys and with 3 guys who can kick my fat ass any day of the week, and a 4th whom I know would make me run harder than I wanted, I decided to pace a friend...

38:30 was his target, and with wind to think about I set the pace at 19:00 for the first 5 along us to slow in the 2nd half.
1km was easy and while we had start easy we passed the mark spot on and he was looking good, 2km and 3 and he was still there, but I could see he was starting to work a bit.
19:02 at 5km and he was still with me... 6km and while we had caught a couple more people he was not a happy camper!!! By 7km he was toast, but I was still hopefull...
Remember we had a little time in the bag for the 38:30, but now the time was slipping away... and while I know I could pick the pace up it wasn't about me, so I kept hanging back to help him keep going, then with 1km to go I felt him to come home in 39:00 while I fought a bit of wind at the end to finish in 38:40.

Good thing I'm so fat or the wind would have had me!
I was happy with my last km and my friend was happy with the 39:00 he had run...

The week again find me out and about, but this time round it was the slopes of Devils...

My team mate Eddie making it look easy...
It wasn't all sitting around and smiling at the view, some of it was hard work...

It was a long climb...
2hour 20 later and we had covered all of 22km (only 750m climb) and found ourselves back at the cars... 

I have a couple of days of work as the Office closes so any guesses as to where I plan to get my running done?

Have a great Chrismas, more from me in the New Year.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I LOVE RACES

With this Wednesday evening's 10km race being just down the road Dawn and I headed out to Race!!! Dawn loves this race as back in '98 she ran 38:35 her PB, while I haven't run any really fast times here it's alway nice to run hard at the end of the year...

It wasn't a big field as we gathered in the grounds of Pollsmoor Prison maybe 400+. Before we started the field honored the Late President Mr Nelson Madela with a moment silence and the National Anthem!

Then the gun set us off I got into my running, the first 200m was into the wind and I went with the lead group so as not to have to fight the wind, we then turned right and right again... Tanith (Yes Tanith Maxwell who ran the marathon for SA at the 2012 Olympics!) was tucked in behind me, Lenka and Nelson were just ahead, with Rich and Byron a couple of m behind... (was hoping to get a couple of the boys to run a good time)
3:20, fast yes, but it is an easy km as I had warmed up properly...
3:27 Lenka and Nelson still 5m ahead, I think Rich was still close behind, through the joggers path and on to km 3
3:22, I don't think we running to fast, the next couple of km have a climb out of the cycle track and a couple of turns
3:37, we now on Firgrove and it's a long pull up, only Tanith is still with me, we took Nelson and Lenka on the cycle track and they fell of the pace...
3:35 5km 17:24, past the school and still climbing, I take the turn... I'm a little naughty and find myself slowing a touch to let Tanith stay with me. (I don't feel I could catch Nichoals and the 2nd 40+ about 50m ahead and didn't want to run alone!)
3:40, dam need to start working again...
3:32, 500m left till the turn I can feel some-one chasing us. We turn and I tell Tanith if she wants it she needs to use the down hill to make up a bit of time.
3:33, It's VOB's Warren Jeppi, and Lenka isn't far off... 6:50 needed to break 35... I go for it, my pace doesn't really change, They feed us onto the grass just before the turn back into the prison... I find myself closing the gap on the 40+ guy... a left turn in the prison send us up (can't call it a hill, but at the top I catch the 40+ guy, I've dropped Warren and Tanith, and Lenka didn't have the legs to race on.
3:31 it's now 2 old men running together, I think he got a bit of a fright seeing the 40's on my vest. We are now running into the wind, and I am tucked in behind him... I can beat him if I can get to the grass finish, 400m to go and I find myself lossing touch. Why is my head week, where is the fight. We hit the grass, 200m to go... I'm catching again, but the grass isn't really a trail and I've left to much to catch him...
3:27 finish 3rd 40+ man in 12th place with a time of 35:10

Another 10km race under the belt number 212!!!!

Friday, December 6, 2013

A TIME TO REMEMBER

Over the years I have been lucky enough to have had many memorable runs, but most of them have been races:
  • I can remember running in the inter schools during my last year, the first race of the day was the 3000m and the 3 schools packed the stands, it felt like I was running in an Olympic final, with 1 lap to go there were 4 of us still together, all 3 schools still in it... But with 300m to go I kick and come down the home straight alone... An hour later I lined up for the 1500m again I kicked with 300 to go and was able to drop the other guys!
  • I can remember running the Voet in the same year as Josia Thugwane set the record (1995), I finished 11th with a time of 2h38, good enough to win the race on many occasions.
  • Knysna 1996 will also stay with me forever, as I ran an almost perfect race leading from the gun and winning in would would be my 2nd fastest marathon... 2h33
  • There are other 10, 15 and 21.1km races that I remember well, but not today...
  • it's not often that a non race stands out as a memorable run, but if you run with me I can tell you stories about running in the hail and pull ice out of my hair! I can tell you about running on the mountain as the Cape was in the grip of the storm. Or about swimming in the dams on the mountain in the middle of a long run, but those or all stories for another day...  
  • In the mid 90's I had a group of friends and we met 4 times a week at 05h30 for an easy morning run before work... It was a dark chilly morning on 8th of May 1996 like so many other mornings before, I climbed into my car and set off on the 3km drive to Monica's place... I remember the windows of the car were misted up and visibility wasn't great! (the drive isn't really long enough to really clear the windscreen.) Like most mornings at that time I was still half asleep and then there ahead of me I saw a group of guys walking in the middle of the street... I slowed and had to cross the road, I remember thinking: I hope they aren't up to no good, then as I was past I saw a cop car following them from some distance! Again I only thought it was good to know our boys in blue were keeping the suburbs safe while the rest of the world was asleep...
  •  A few minutes later I was parked and we set off for our run, Chris, Monica, Noo, Nicky, Velda... Up the road and then... There ahead of us were this group of guys, still walking slowly and taking up half the road! Dressed in heavy dark coats I wondered if the police were still around, then Chris (ever alert, and friendly) greeted them, the way he greeted everyone we past: Good Morning Mr President!!! 
  • OMG it was the President, Nelson Mandela was out for a morning walk... 
  •  Over the next couple of month we would see him a number of times, and Bobby who wasn't with us that first morning, never missed a run there after...
This morning at 05h00 when I got up for my morning run I check Facebook while getting ready and the news of his passing was the only thing out there...

As I set off alone this morning down the quiet deserted streets I took the time to remember the life of this man who has change this country for the better...

R.I.P. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

Monday, November 18, 2013

GOING FOR BROKE AND GETTING IT...

Since turning 40 I have been chasing my club colours. Now unlike other club I know VOB has set the standards high and you have to been in top shape if you wish to reach them. Over the course of this year I have ticked off the 10, 15, half marathon times, this was to be the day of the marathon...

One of the things you find yourself doing as a marathon runner is watching the weather as the day of your big race arrives, and to be honest it wasn't looking all that good!

And as Mr Weatherman had predicted the rain, well she did come, and on Friday night it was a little wet... I had climbed into bed listening to the rain beat down on the patio roof, and then at 01h00 Dawn was up to check if the garage was floading!!! It wasn't, but then I decided to get up and check the rain gauge...

FULL
It was full!!! 100mm has fall in just over 6 hours...

Back to bed and then up a couple of hours later, and the rain had taken a break together with the wind, the marathon was on and I found myself on the start line at 05h30...

The weather gods had Wreaked enough Havoc for the weekend, we were in for a great run, so unlike most of the marathons I run I put the hammer down from the gun. I was looking for anything around 3:48/km...

As that all important first km unfolded maybe I should have reassesed my goal!!! the running wasn't easy and I wasn't smooth, but I was going for it and maybe, just maybe, the body would loosen up and I would start feeling great.
5km 18:38, we were in a little group and moving along... I was sitting at the back, but I wasn't chomping at the bit wanting to run faster...
10km 37:27 (5km split 18:48) I was starting to have doubts, so I was hatching a plan... to get me to the end in one piece.
15km 56:58 (5km split 19:31) first hill on the day was crested, and while I was now running alone I was thinking of who I would make it to half way and beyond...
21.1km 81:24 (5km split to 20km 20:07) I had been caught and had tucked in behind this guy who was looking strong. Now on the out and back section to Somerset West we were heading into a breeze, so I let him do the work.
25km 1h37:19 (5km split 20:12) I was feeling better and with my plan now changed to 4:00/km things were looking up...
30km 1h57:21 (5km split 20:01) did I say looking up, I was now looking up to the heaven's for help, 12km is still a long way out! I had moved up into 2nd 40+ guy and had about 1 min lead over the next guy...
35km 2h21:25 (5km split 22:04) we had turned off the freeway, and I was looking for the finishing line and it was still a long way off... I lost my 2nd place, but I though that if I could just keep moving I could hold onto 3rd...

Now this is where I can tell you what has been happening: about 6-7 weeks ago I picked up an abdominal muscle strain, so for the last couple of months I have had almost no core stability / strength, I have not been able to do a single sit-up, (not that I do sit-ups) but to start with my stomach felt like I had done 1000 sit-ups the day before!!!

35km to the end, I was now catching the half marathon runners, but I still felt like the km had turned into miles as they weren't coming fast enough. It was an effort to lift my legs, but I was still in the money so I had to push on... I could see the 41km board when the next marathoner past me, DAM he was also a 40+, I picked up the pace...

No the body didn't respond, and after 5 strides I was out of the race... Then to rub salt in the wounds about 40 year old past me just before the field.
Trying to stay ahead of a half runner!
All that hurt...
Today 42.2km was a long way
I finally crossed the line in 2h52:45 having lost 7min in the last 12km...

I want for broke and I broke... You can't win them all!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

WILL NEW SHOES HELP

With Winelands only a couple of days away I am starting to think about the race, OK maybe I should be saying worry about the race!!!

So while I take a taper week I also look back and the buildup I've had, and ask the question?

DID I DO ENOUGH?

  • Enough for a sub 3, Yes.
  • Enough for a sub 2h50, Yes (brave statement...)
  • Enough for a sub 2h40... This is the question I am asking myself, it's not going to be easy, and I need the running gods on my side...
What does the log book say?
  • This week is easy enough, Good... rest so important.
  • I'll eat enough, food and a bit of this to help build back any muscles I have used...
A little protien
  • Training, is one ever happy? 
  • Sessions, yes I did them, fast enough? would have liked them quicker.
  • Distance in the week? Good, but a couple of morning runs would have been nice...
  • Long runs? This is what scares me, I feel I haven't do enough since my marathon in September!
  • SHOES...
OLD KSO 5 FINGERS
  •  With over a 1000 miles (yes miles) on them maybe not a good choice.
NB MT00
  •  Another shoe with over 1000 miles, they have seen better days.
TREK PRO 5 FINGERS
  •  Only 777km logged in these and I did run my last marathon in them, this could work!
NB MT10
  •  Yes they are a trail shoe, but with 788km logged I now use them more on the road, feel like slippers on the foot.
INOV-8
  • Ran this race in them last year,  only 767km logged, another possibility.
NB MINIMUS 10V2
  •  Ran in them yesterday 7km (only run in them), feel good for a Marathon!
So will new shoes help me reach my goal?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

SNAKES and MARSHALS

It was another hard week of training with my sights set of a marathon in a couple of weeks, while the boys are looking to wind down the year as exams set in, and then before you know it they will be on holiday lossing all the fitnes and speed we have worked on this year...

I had other things on my plate on Monday, so I was unable to join the guys for a last session on 200's, so with my marathon in mind I headed to a hill near where I live and start a little 10 x 500m hill session!!!

Tuesday easy 10km I turned into 14 with 4km on the track, with hte last 2 run a little quiter than marathon pace.

Wednesday had me running 5km warmup before a 10km tempo run at the local race. Well with the rain falling and me on the motobike I didn't get the warmup in and started very cold... In fact my feet didn't want to bend and the ankles were stiff! The top lady of the day sped past me as the gun went and I watched her Olympic body disappear up the road and there was nothing I could do about it...

After lossing time in the first 2km my old body warmed up and I started to hit the splits I was looking for!!! I past 5km in 17:41, and through the rain (yes it was raining, almost) I could see I was catching a couple of guys and hidden in the middle of them was Tannith... I would like to be telling you how I picked up the pace and started to run them down, but I think it was them who were slowing as I closed the gap.

7.5km and she was mine... In passing her she dropped the guy she was running with and set chase, but with the turns and damp on the road, she couldn't hold on as I chased down a 40+ guy. I would catch him on the straight and then he would cut through the flower beds and pavement to put 20m out on me!!! With 500m to go I caught him again, but having run 50+m longer than him in the last 1km I didn't have the energy to out kick him...

Thursday was still wet so we left the stairs to the tourists and hit the road for an easy 15km.

I had planned an easy 10 for Saturday, but Eddie had time off from Daddy duty, so I mixed things up and joined me at R/Mem for a little forest and mountain run... Eddie doesn't get on these trails much, so I took him on a run that he would never forget...

Loop round here and single track across there, then it was Woodcutters and through to Kirstenbosch... Then up what I call Leo's Ladder, well the 2nd half of it... THEN

Can you see him?
He was in the middle of the path and I so nearly stood on him... He was over a meter long and thicker than my wrist!!!

Good thing he left the path...
Only the 3rd big snake I've seen in the 1000's of km I've run on the mountain. Eddie was happy to let me lead the rest of the way...

That said, from the Block house we took the gravel road for the most part and then he almost stood on..

Not so scary!
With 20km and almost 2 hours done it was time for the car and an engine to get me home...

Sunday saw the 12th running of Landmarks half and for some reason I have run them all Sunday I was again on the start-line. With my marathon in 2 weeks and a long run already in the legs I was just aiming at running this at marathon pace...

The first couple of km were hard going, but I had 30sec in the bag before the little hill up to Rhodes Mem. I didn't see the 10km board, but Ms 310 told me that I was now 50 sec behind pace, but the 2nd half was mostly down hill and it didn't take me long to be back on track. I was happy the way I was running and at the 19km board I looked at the time 1h12:02, about 8 min for those last 2.1km should be easy, up the road, turn left and left again... wait why is Mr Marshal sending us straight?
  • Me: Has the route changed
  • Marshal: Yes, straight on...
  • Next Marshal: follow the brick road around the busses...
  • Me: (200m later) *%^$# where to now, we can't finish now #$%&# 
  • Me: finished 20.3km in 77:03, not a happy camper...
I've recorded the run in my recoreds as a 79:59 half and put a note with the problems... it's not the first time and it won't be the last time...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

PUSHING THE LIMIT



I've run a lot of races this year, and if you look at the numbers, I'm at 41 with a distance of 890.1km, it might look scary. But if you know me and look at the times I've run, only a few stand out as if I had red lined it for most you the way... Yes I will always push to steal a top finish, but sometimes I look around and give up the chase knowing all to well had I am beat... (or have them beat). Running on the trails is very much like that and when you are racing for 4 hours it is really about running within yourself and hoping that your easy pace is faster than the next guys. Or the next guys isn't running easy and he falls apart!!!

On the road I run a lot of my races for fun, running with friends or as a training run looking for a time I know I can easily get.

A couple of weeks ago I raced a half, but I didn't kill myself from the gun, I have run to many races to make mistakes like that and after looking at the log book I know what my body would let me do, and while I was hurting at the end, and for days afterwards, I ran my time...

Now I'm looking for a 'fast' marathon (I could choose something easier than Winelands) and it scares me. A marathon is a long way, and while I know I could just knock off another sub 3 I want to go faster... 2h50, no even faster... I would like to break 2h40, something I haven't done since 2006.

The times I've run over the 10, 15 and half all say I can run that fast, but have a done enough training to last 42.2km, maybe I should run in miles, because then it would only be 26 of them!!! Coming off the back of a good half I know my speed is there and by all means getting the half way in 79 or even 78 should pose no problem, but what about the 2nd half...?

Like any good Coach I have drawn up a great program, but for one problem, it's only 4 weeks long and the 4th week is a taper week, that leaves me 3 weeks of training and half of that is gone already... So the question is... Am I on track? No, Yes, maybe... only race day will tell. The real question is: Am I scared enough? Do I remember just how much this can hurt if I hit the wall? Can I focus on training for 10 more days? Have I done enough the last 10+ days?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A LITTLE RECOVERY NEEDED!!!

After hammering the Gun Run I was in need of a couple of easy days and like a good boy I backed off for the week...
OK after Monday and Tuesday easy I needed a bit of excitment and headed into the forest for a little 11km run with 450m climb, I promise we took it easy, and a little climb is good for you. Thursday, well we ended up at Rhodes Mem for another strength session ending with 10 min of monster stairs...

After an easy run on Friday morning I was ready to start the 4 week count down to Winelands Mararthon. 3 weeks of hard training to follow and to start with a little mountain run...

I parked at the Nek and headed off down the contour path to the style just below the Block House (above Rhodes Mem.)

video
This I filmed (hope you can see it) just above Kirstenbosch, one day I'm going to have more than my phone to film with...

I made it to the style and headed around Devil's Peak to the face of Table Mountain and took Tafelberg Road to Platteklip...

there aren't no mountain high enough...
After 90min of running I had Plattekilp before me, 600m of climb to the top of the mountain. I was a great day out...
I like to do the climb is around 30min, but today my legs was feeling the few days of 'strength' I had done in the week... Still I hit the watch and started the climb... I wasn't the only person on the mountain and I must have passed over 100 people making their way up, most of whom would be climbing for 2 hours.

I was shattered at the top some 32min later:

Maybe the mountain was high enough!!!
This picture was really take a couple of km later as I stopped for water at one of the streams, I sat on the little bridge and though about how I was going to get back to the car, but after a quick call to my lovely wife I was on my way down and home.

The run was only 27.3km but with over 1300m climb and a lot of single track I had been out for 3h06...

Sunday i didn't run till late afternoon as in the morning I was helping at out clubs race, I was lead bike... With the race taking to guys into the Vineyard I was only taking them to the farm and then as they come out I would again take the leaders home...

Watching the crowds heading in..





See you later
One of the leader in the 14km race!

It's a great race, and if you are here next October, make sure you enter...


Now a week of real marathon training lies ahead, lets see what I can put together...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

BEATING THE GUN

Having already run my Clubs Colour Standards for the 10 and the 15 earlier in the year and with most of my trail racing over for the year, I turned my sights to the Half and a 3rd Colour Standard time... 3 Colour Standards in a calendar year, that would give me Club Honours, and something to race for...

Not leaving anything to chance I put in a couple of hard week training and then, while still training this last week I made sure I hit the good stuff:

building up the tired legs
So with the legs feeling strong it was time to think about what to run in... Well it's a road race and after the blue and white stripes of VOB I was thinking shoes... Now on the trails I run in my New Balance, and I have a couple of pairs I could run on the road with, but I decided to to go old school!!! I was bringing out the old racers, a pair of Nike Air Zoom from 1997:

MY "MAKE ME FAST" SHOES

With the start and finish being about 2km apart I parked near the finish and jogged through as a warm-up. The drive in had lead us to believe that the weather was perfect, but on the Eastern Seaboard there was a bit of wind...

18 000 people is a lot, but lucky for us only about 5 000 were running the half! I didn't even look back to see how far back the runners went, I just joined from the front!

Then with a "BANG" from a small cannon we were off... Passed the Soccer stadium around and to the Waterfront. First up, 21.1km is a long way to be out there running on your limit, so as much as I had to run fast I needed to feel relaxed and watch the clock. I was after all 'gunning' for a time!
When I was a younger man I would go for it putting the body on the line from the start, but not any more. Now I read my "Log book" and it tells me what time I can aim at and I run for that time...
Having looked at the race route I knew I had to go out a little faster so I would have time in the bag for the long hill.

A lot of people started fast and while I know the perils of going out to hard I also know what pace I can come back from 3:19 for that 1st km, and while I was still passing people I wasn't running any faster. The running was easy and I was feeling good, so as the 2 and 3km boards past and Ms 310 (aka Garmin) showed a time of 10:04, it was now time to watch that speed, so I slowed a bit running the next 2km in 7:00. 5km down in 17:04. Game On...

The 6th km was full of turns and we lost focus and with that a couple of seconds, but 7 and 8 I was back in the groove with 2 x 3:20. The 9th km was out and back and Dawn, who had been cycling with the front runners decided to now, was there on the side of the road. She had spotted me down the road, my Orange cap stands out. With her in my corner I now not only was running for time, but for MONEY, I was in 6th place (40+). With the out and back behind me 3:28 I had already moved into 4th.

Another 3:28 took me to a 34:37 for 10km and I now had also caught the 1st lady, and the 3rd 40+ wasn't far ahead as we headed down Beach Road to the turn at 12.2km... At this turn we climb UP to Kloof Rd!!!

Not wanting to explode I took the hill easy, but still dropped the 40+ guy, I had now caught, and the 3 other guys I had been running with... Dawn on her bike also fell back. I wanted to switch into hunt and destroy mode as I past the 13th km mark 3:56, but sanity prevailed. The last bit of the climb wasn't the steepest, but we now had wind to contend with as well and I ended up running my slowest km of the race 4:07!!! I had lost a full minute now but the hill was over and it was now time to drop back down to Beach Road and head back to the finish.

3:20 and 3:15 took me to the turn and then it was home time... I was running on my own with the wind behind and Dawn on the bike shouting at me!!! Some-one was catching me, Dawn was cracking the whip egging me on. While I wasn't slowing she wanted me to speed up and hold onto my place, but I didn't really have much left and with the clock now on my side and the guy catching me wasn't in the 40+ age group... I just had to hold it together!!! 3:19 and a couple of 3:30's took me to 20km. 1.1km to go, I was ready for the race to end as I counted down the distance 100m at a time. (Thank you Ms 310)






Working hard
With the sea to my left I crossed the finish line in 1h14:26 to finish taking 25th place and 3rd 40+, Mission accomplished

So with the 10km (33:26), 15km (51:51) and the half times now achieved, do I see if 3 weeks is enough time to train for a Marathon and give 2h40 a go?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

ALMOST RACE TIME

With another week of training behind me and this week running out I had better be ready to race...

Yes this weekend I will once again put this old body on the line, I will line up with the masses and see what I can do... I'm a number kind of guy and I normally line up knowing what I can run, The Log Book doesn't lie!!! So the other week when I lined up for the marathon I knew a sub 3 was going to be easy, I had run lots and the legs had recovered from the trail race the week before.

This weekend is Gun Run, and while I don't normally run these "Fun Runs" (races aimed at getting the non runner to run) I am looking to run a fast half before the end of the year and the months are running out.

I can't say I have had the perfect build-up for this race, I would have liked 4 weeks to focus on half marathon training and a week to taper... My build-up has looked like this:

  • Since I ran a marathon on the 22nd of September I needed a bit of time to recover, I took 2 days! (I hadn't raced, but just used it as a long run, if I had raced I would have needed a couple of weeks)
  • I've now had 2 weeks training and by training I mean training while focused on the half. In fact one of my training runs was a half on a similar route, this was run at Marathon pace and felt easy, but I couldn't have run the time I'm aiming at now.
  • So what has change, I have put in a couple more sessions and I will be rested.
  • Have I done enough? Only time will tell!
Now one last story about this last weekends long run:

You may have picked up that I hadn't been on the mountain or trails for a couple of weeks, so decided I needed to get out and my aim was the Mast at the top of Tokai forest. I was planning a simple up and down... But than I saw my New Balance 1010v2 and I just had to take them for a spin!

The trip to the mast is +_ 5km forest gravel roads and the +_ 5km tar road to the top... The 1010v2 is an amazing trail shoe, so I turned off the tar and head off through the Manganese mines and up Blackburn, before turning left and up again 283m climb in 1.3km... The shoes loved it I loved it, but I can't show you any pictures as was the plan, because I was up in the clouds and rain...

Let the weekend come so I can race!!!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

TTT (TIME TO TRAIN)

With my Trail Season as good as over for the year I am ready to take up the rains as a road runner again!!! So with another Marathon under my belt as a last long run it was time to change gears and look forward to the road and maybe a fast Half Marathon and the Full... It's been a number of years since I have gone for a time in a marathon, maybe now is a good time!!!

Lets have a look back at last week and see how the training has gone...

Having just run a marathon I took it easy on both Monday and Tuesday. (Remember not everyone runs marathons as training runs and you might well need longer to recover!)

Wednesday was TT day, I had the boys/girls and everyone else racing, while I was not ready to race I would use it as part of a session. The TT was due to start at 18h00, so with a short warm up from the club 1.5km I was at the common 22min early... More than enough time to run the route at half marathon pace. I would be running along, but 5km at half pace should be easy. With little or no wind on the flat course I ticked of the km and finished at the start line as the masses were lining up... 17:45 15sec faster than required...

It was now 18h00 and time for the TT and I let the fast boys race the clock, while I was aiming at another sub 18min 5km. The 1st km felt easy 3:35, and with Byron on my shoulder looking for a solid run and a couple of meters back the first lady I had to keep going... After a couple of 3:30's there was 1km to go. Byron was still there and the 1st lady was only 10sec back! Way do I do it... I upped the pace knowing that if I could push that last km and Byron could hold on we would run 17:30! 500 to go and the clock was looking good, another 100m down and Ms 310 was telling me that it was on.

I crossed the line in 17:29 with Byron on my tail. (the winter training has really helped him, and he ended up running a half on the weekend in 80:50, a 3min PB).

Thursday: One of the boys had asked why is Thursday's session on 4-10 x 60 sec hills! Well I bet your legs will start feeling the hills if you ran hard in the TT and then 4 will be enough before we call it a day. I pushed on to 8 before it was enough for me, but a couple of the boys kept pushing and finished a full set. (PS the guy who had asked about the easy session was the first one out... but he had run the fastest TT)

After a couple of easy runs I had been planning on running 20km with a couple of km at Marathon Pace, that was before the weather was perfect and a friend from Jo'burg was to be in town, so I met him at the morning's half and we ran together at MP. It turned out to be a bonus as I picked up 2nd 40+ and a team prize.

I think I can tick that week, lets hope the next couple get ticks as well, but like it always is We take it one day at a time!

TICK

Friday, September 27, 2013

CAPE TOWN WE ALSO HAVE A CITY MARATHON

I had no need to be nervous, scared, or even excited about this race... But I was, with 63 marathon under the belt and nothing riding on this race I don't know why I felt like a novice or some-one gunning for a time...

OK maybe I was a little worried due to the fact I had raced a 39km trail race the week before, and would the 4 hours on the mountain still be in my legs... Well yes of course it would be in my legs, but this marathon is flat and I am have got a couple of OK weeks of training under the belt.

I joined the crowds and pushed to the front (42.2km is far enough as it is), there was only seeding for 50 elite athletes! I looked around for my friends, but couldn't see any of them and ended up chatting to a Belgium guy. He was looking for the pacing flags... wanting a sub 3 I told him there wouldn't be any flags for that pace, but to hang on me... I wanted 88 for the first half, and then I would take it from there, he was in...

I didn't like the new start as we had trees to dodge on our way to the road, but without the stress of racing I was still in one piece as we hit the road. It didn't take long for a couple of other guys to join me... The early km were passing by without any trouble and after the stormy weather for the week (Snow on Table Mountain on Friday) the weather gods had lied on a perfect day!

We passed 10km in 41:19 and my wife had now joined us... No she wasn't running, she was on her bike having cycled from home to watch the race unfold. As much as I would love her to follow my race, she just waved and headed on to see how her other friends were doing. At about 12km she was back to let us know that the race behind us was going fine...

15km 62:19, I looked around and we were all still happy and I was feeling good, but for a marathon that is early days. That was really the end of our happy little bus... We lost a lady who had been running with us and then I noticed that half the guys were no longer there!!!

Half way in 88:16 was easy for me, but I think the 2 guys with me didn't like the idea of no rest. Dawn joined us again but didn't stay long, just long enough to ask if I was still OK... I was feeling great and with the near perfect weather I half wish I had been in shape to give it horns. 20-25 was our slowest 5km split 21:18. Dawn was now cycling with us and for about 500m we chatted about her plans for the rest of the race... No she had to head home soon as we were having people round for lunch and she still had a lot to do. One last time she sped off to see the lead ladies.

My running parnters were now starting to take strain, so I left them... But as I picked up the pace (from 4:15 to 4:00) my stomach spoke to me!!! After a 90sec pitstop I was back!!!

The running was easy and the km ticked by 30-35 19:50, only 7 km to go... ok I forgot about the .2!!! 28:48.

Finishing in 2h54:24 had been easy, last weeks race hadn't taken it out of my legs, but I bet if the route had had any hills I would be singing a different tune! And if I had set off at 4's from the gun I think my legs wouldn't have played ball...

Now with that behind me, it's time to look forward and start to race again, I want a fast half before the year is out, and if that comes easys I might give Winelands marathon a bit of a go...


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

RUNNING WITH LEGENDS or RACING RYAN

This weekend I was racing on my mountain, it was time for one of the biggest trail race in the country. It's crazy time!!! Yes the Table Mountain Challenge 2013 had rolled around, and after an easy week last week I was ready to Rock and Roll, or should that be Splash and Freeze... Mother Nature was visiting the Mother City and a Cold Front had rolled in!!!!!

At the start
Then Trevor counted us down...

Still Talking as I take an early lead

Don't believe every thing you see in pictures, it was perfect running weather and as much as I wanted to put the foot down and build an early lead I didn't want to blow and leave my body all over the Twelve Apostels on Leg 3.

Leg 1 is 9.5km 330m climb with most of it run on the gravel roads on the lower slopes of the face of the mountain. I took the lead from the gun. I was surprised at how easy it was to get away from the field as we set of into the light rain. I was happy with how the body felt and I think the taper week was working.

It was nice going and I looked over my shoulder to see if anyone was chasing... I could see Bruce Almighty (Arnett) and Ryan Sandes. Ryan had started slow and had really only lost time to me taking of his jacket and gloves... Through Deer Park Trevor had changed to route just a bit to bring in a little single track...

Ryan still chasing me!!!
As much as I would have loved to have kept that lead it was down to 2 sec as we checked in at the end of leg 1...

Leg 2: 11.6km 370m climb. After I had checked in just below the Bolck House I headed off down the Contour path to Constantia Neck with Ryan right behind me... Now with youth on him side I was running to slowly for him and moved over to let him pass. I feel I could have kept up, but why kill yourself for a couple of km, it was still a long way to go and I had plans of running well to the end.

With a 15-20 sec lead I could only see him through the trees on a couple of the turns... Then we hit the boardwalks, smooth under foot an flattish, coming from a track and road back ground I thought about closing the gap, getting into my rhythm and flying... Ha Ha Ha... with all the rain they were as slipery as a bar of soap and add to that the turns and the tree you had to duck under, the gap grown!

So just how wet was it:
One of the river crossings
This wasn't the biggest crossing, and while I secretly hoped I would see Ryan hanging onto a tree down river (Sorry Rayn, but it was the only way I was going to beat you) I didn't... While it was scary for a couple of the smaller ladies nobody ended up being washed down into Kirstenbosch!!!

With over 300m of climb the contour path is all but flat with most of the climb being made up with the climb over the Aloes, and the Rooikat Ravine past Cecilia Waterfall. While I think I took these climbs well I was still thinking about the last leg and coming into the check point I heard Ryan was now about 5-6min ahead. I don't know what lead I had on 3rd, but I'm guessing a couple of minutes as I couldn't see any-one chasing down to the Neck.

Leg 3: 17.7km with 800m climb, and this one goes over the mountain. While the weather had started off looking exciting the clouds had lifted and the storm was on hold, best I get my bag checked for a rain jacket, cellphone, and some munchies to go with the space blanket. (don't worry we weren't heading into the thin air of space, the mountain isn't that high!)

Having run this leg and trained on the route I have a number of split times in my head for the different sections of the leg...
1st we head down on the gravel road into Orange Kloof to the fence 2.6km, then it's over the style and through the forest up to the contour which takes you to the turn up Llandudno Corner (3km). Back in 2005 this path is unused and a 2km fight through fynbos... This year it was great trail running and even with over 2 hours in the legs I was moving well.
The climb... up, across, up, up... around and then up... Up the river and to the fence, 1.6km, (call it a mile) but the scary thing about this mile is the 385m climb!!! The exposed rock and the rivers you climb.There was no sight of Ryan up front, but I could see the relay boys chasing, they had started 15min behind us.

Once on top it's a dash along the top to Kasteels, 5.9km, and if anyone evey tells you Table Mountain is flat, they are very wrong... The Twelve Apostils are anything but flat... Now while many a would be champion has crumbled and even taken a wrong turn that was unlikely to happen to Rayn as he powered to an easy victory... Me on the other hand still had a lot of running to do and now with 3 hours on the legs I could feel the 30km of road from last Sunday (Why did I let Roger talk me into that?). The teams started to pass me...

Bernard was first... Yes my teammates had a team and the win was going to be theirs. The Kid from HBTC was next and then Andrew. What was happing in the real race (sorry relay guys). Just keep moving Coach just keep moving. 47:03 to the turn OK it was to slow.

Kasteels, 1.4km long and no more climbing, this time you drop 390m to the pipe track... Now with the mountain still wet I took it easy so as not to fall and kill myself!!! 14:28...
3.3km of pipe track to go and most of that would be run at 5min/km it had been an epic trip around the mountain and I had held off the rest of the field to take 2nd and win the Old Mans Race!!!

Ryan had won by 20min, and if I want to beat him next year I will have to be 15 years younger and train twice as much...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

FEELING OLD (TIRED)

I've got a couple of hard / big weeks behind me and now I think I need a break!!! Now that break has been planned and is part of the program... While most of the guy I coach are still training hard this week with Cape Town marathon only on the 22nd. I have TMC on this weekend. Already last week I was feeling it, well OK it wasn't the training getting to me to was my health as I caught a little bug, and, and, and...

I am also running Cape Town Marathon and since I was taking this week easy I thought I would put in a little 20km trail / mountain run on Saturday followed by a short flat easy run on Sunday!!!

Saturday was amazing without a breath of wind, and while I did ask a couple of friends to join me I ended up alone, They seem to think I would kill them, really now I don't have time to hide a body on the mountain!!!

I started of slowly as I headed up the road section I wasn't really in a rush, that was till I turned onto the single track and I thought I was running fast enough to take a crack at breaking an hour to Maclear's.

Top of the World (61min up)
I looked around and there wasn't a sole, I had the mountain to myself...
Low cloud/mist over the suburbs
Now it was onto Platteklip, then left to Valley of the gods / Echo Valley heading to Kasteels...

Love that view, will be running there in the evening in the summer...
I wasn't alone anymore, I bumped into Brian running his own loop, and across the valley I could see Mike and his group... I had in fact just decided to set chase after Mike (I didn't know it was him but guessed). I would have caught them, but I spent 5min chatting to Brian.

2h13 later and 20km with 1000m climb under the belt I was back at the car had heading home. Remember I had told you I wanted a short easy run on Sunday, well Roger had other ideas...

He's running Berlin at the end of the month and wanted a lost long run, so I ended up meeting him for 30km out to Simon's Town and back.

Hope my legs recover this week as Saturday's race is a biggy with 3 of us old men taking on the kids... over 37+km and enough climb to make Table Mountain seem a lot higher than it really is!!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

RACING BERNARD

After a long run the other week, the one I ran with Eddie and Bernard, Eddie asked me if I could give Bernard a lift to the race this last weekend. It was a 20km trail race out at Botriver and the last in a series that Bernard was leading and he needed to run in order to win. No problem!!!

I had a week of training to get through first, and as much as I wanted to race hard I had to still train as I had bigger races to focus on!!!

After a recovery run on Monday the program had a set of 1km reps on, but.... It was windy and raining and I could still feel the 50km I had clocked up on the weekend so I sent the boys off to train for their 10km race, if the coach talks they listen!!! And I headed into the forest for a little bit of trail, my big race is after all a trail race and I always need a bit more trail. My run wasn't all trail, I came back on the road and put in a couple of tempo km's to keep the speed up.

Tuesday was the start of the winter!!! OK winter started months ago, but on Tuesday the clod fronts started to roll in... It was wet on Wednesday and only Mark was out, he was hoping I wouldn't turn up so he could head home to find his warm bed! I said NO, can you hear that? The forest is calling...

OK the first river was a little full
This river is normally only half a meter wide! Mark didn't want to hold me up, so while he went flattish I headed up to get some real single track running in... or should that be river track running in?

The forest was quite and after leaving Mark I didn't see another sole as I headed up to Woodcutters:

Rivers were wild and crossing them was FUN
Woodcutters is heavily covered with trees so it was dark and taking pictures didn't really work. from there I headed up again onto the contour path, I though I should pop up there and check out the path, it does after all form part of my race in a couple of weeks!

I couldn't hang around as the night was closing in... and the water was still all around! me as I tacked the next level of the mountain!

Yes I had just crossed that!!!
The run had taken me a little longer than normal, and it was dark as I head the road for the last km to the club, but it had been well worth it.

After a couple of 400's on the road (track still water logged) Thursday evening, I was up in the rain at 05h00 for a Friday morning run, and yes it was cold, in fact the coldest morning for some time.

Now, while I was off to work, those trail runners who are luckier than me headed for the mountain!!!

Up Platterklip
Wish I was there!
That my friends is was the top of Table Mountain, and I was stuck at the office with a race to run the following day...

I was up early on Saturday to pick Bernard up and drive the 100+km to the start. We had to drive over the pass in rain so heavy that I had my wiper on double fast!!!

We were lucky to catch a break as we started the race!

I took the early lead
Blue sky, hadn't see that for days! Bernard soon joined me up front, and the 2 of us set about taking the field to pieces. The truth be told there were a couple of other races on the go that weekend and with the weather so bad the field wasn't to strong or big.

After a couple of flattish km on the farm lands we crossed the road and headed for the mountain!!!

That is would we crossed the road!
Once on the single tracks of the mountain Bernard turn up the pace and I fell back, we had a lead over 3rd, but I kept the effort up as it was magic up there! Even when the rain and wind returned from the snow covered peaks that we couldn't see because of the clouds.

I wish I had photos of the waterfall and some of the other views we had, but all I can show you is one of the river crossings...

Told you it was fun!
Bernard was about a minute ahead of me and with 3rd place now over 10 minutes back I didn't kill myself of the way in.

Now if I can find it I will include the picture of Bernard and I that appeared in the Sunday paper...

Monday, August 26, 2013

TIME TO TRAIN

After a recovery week last week it was time to up the tempo and get training again, I do after all have a couple of big - long races on the cards and I don't want to leave it to late!

Now unlike so many people out there who think they need 18 weeks of training, I'll settle for 5 weeks. Look it's not like I'm coming from nothing, I'm never coming from nothing. So week 1 looked a little like this:

Monday, I was happy to take it easy and only run 10km on the road, it's been some time since I've run 30km tempo on the road, so I could feel it in the legs a bit!

Tuesday: Like all the good people out there I headed for the track, but the track was under water from the rains we've had in the Mother City, so I took the UCT boy to a road loop we have. It's 2km long and the 1st km is up ish while the 2nd is downish... They are all aiming at a fast 10km when week of my marathon, so while I should have been aiming at 8-10 x 1km reps they were aiming at 6 fast... I was slow on that first one up, but that will happen without strides (only because you asked 3:25).
Number 2 was down and I still had no speed 3:18. The fast boy were just over 3!!!
Back up 3:18, that was better and I had started to catch the weeker boys.
Down 3:06, Caught all the boys, but after shouting at one of them he ame back from the dead and beat me...
Up 3:19, I was working really hard and though I would be a lot faster!!!
3:09, no this isn't working, I'm running far to hard for those times and if I call it a day now, with the warm down I will have 13.5km for the day. It will just have to do.

Wednesday: and another easy run, this time 14.5km ran out of time, was wanting 16km but I had visited a shopping center!!!

Thursday: Track day, but the track is still a swomp and I don't want to mess it up, so it's off on the road again. I have another little loop, this one is 500m long and works well for the 400's... 79.2 for the first one, shoot me, that is too slow. Focus 60sec rest is up and we are off 78.1, 77.8 we are getting there, I thing the rest were all under 77. This running on the road is hard when running fast, I hope the sun dries the track this week. Only 10 400's this week, again to few, but with running back to the club I have 11.5km.

Friday: rest day, so I up at 05h00 for a little run around the block 6km.

Saturday: PUFfeR day!!! A 70-80km trail run from Cape Point to the Waterfront, NO I'm not running, but I'm going to pop up the mountain to see a couple of the guys go by. 2 of my CONTEGO team mate joined me and the 3 of us headed into the clouds. We looped through Valley of the gods around to Macclear's.

It wasn't that cold
This was a check point for the race and the guys were still a long way off. OK there where 25 really stupid runners who had started from the Waterfront on Friday and were running both ways (+_150km Andrie Gie won in 18h30 ish).

From here we headed back to the Nek, our starting point, and as we flew back (that is the highest point of the mountain so it is down hill the whole way (if you believe that you will also believe in the tooth fairy)). The slower "Tuffer Puffer" guys were on the route, but no Puffer guys. it was going to be a lot slower than last year. We were back at the cars park before the leaders came through.

That was 2h13 for 18.5km OK the single track and 1000m climb had slowed us down, I now had 25km for the morning having run from home to the start... was I running back, NO Dawn was fetching me as she also wanted to see some of the guys come through and the dogs needed walking...

Sunday: Now what is on every program for Sunday? A long run!!! So again I set off from home, but this time I was on my own and I tried to stick to the road and run a little faster... Another 25km done thing time 1h55:59 and that would have been a little quicker if I didn't end up on the top path in Cecelia Forest giving me 500m climb!
It was Summer here on Sunday and after 2 hours in the sun I had too:

   
Yes the water was cold, Yes I needed to rinse my shoes!