Monday, February 18, 2013

JUST HOW LONG IS A MARATHON?

On paper or on the road a marathon is 42.195km or 26.2 miles, Mr. Garmin might call it a little longer, but anyway you look at it, it is a long way... This is my story of the weekend:

With marathon day fast approaching it doesn't matter how silly you have been in your training there is always a time in any marathon program when they start to look the same, so if it's your first marathon and you are looking to finish in under 6 hours or if you are a real hot shot aiming at sub 2h10, or some-one like me who runs marathons for fun, those last 2 days of training always seem to be as easy as rest! So for me rest is an easy 6km on the Friday and the Saturday was 5km easy. Sorted, ready to run...

No, running a marathon is never that easy, you need to register, no problem I picked up my number from the New Balance shop in Diep River. From there I drove through to Simon's Town, and the end of the race. Peninsula marathon is a point to point run and Yes I had talked my lovely wife into getting up at 03h50 to take us to the start, but there is no way she was going to drive in the race traffic to fetch us... She is more amazing then that she was going drop the car off and join us on her bike.

OK so having dropped my car off I hopped on my bike and cycled the 25km home... With Cape Town's famous Cape Doctor making house calls I was blown home in no time at all!

The wind she is blowing!
The wind blowing me home was good, but we needed the wind the drop over night or it was going to be a long hard day on the road.

The 05h15 start was cool and the wind was still asleep, so with the crack of the gun we set of down the road, I took about half a km to catch Stef and the 2 of us set about getting to Simon's Town before 08h15. It took us 3km to get the pace right, but the 30 sec in the bag wouldn't cause it to break!

The Main Road out of the City is as flat as it get on the side of a mountain, and if the wind was going to play ball we would be OK...
5km 19:32 perfect for running
5km - 10km 20:13 slight climb and a bit of wind, but we were still moving well.
10km - 15km 20:08 a bit down and a little climb, no more wind Stef starting to warm up, and Dawn meets us on the side of the road.
15km - 20km 20:08 easy down, Dawn waited to see the ladies and then passed us looking for the front guys...
We hit half way in 1h24:24 4:00 on the button!!!
20km - 25km 19:52, Stef is now moaning that this is too easy...
25km - 30km 20:19, the wind has picked up, and I'm the sucker taking the pace through Muizenberg
We reach 30km in 2h00:13 and with only 2km till Stef is due to back off all is well...
30km - 35km 20:44 Stef backs off at 32km at I drop the group who are caught off guard, I was setting the pace into the wind with Stef behind me and then 2 or 3 other guys along for the ride... Stef slowed to 4:30's and I kept going. After the little climb out of Fishhoek I hit the wind again, it's not bad, but enough to slow me a little..
35km - 40km 22:12 Dawn is back on the bike and trying to find out how I'm doing and if i can catch the other 40+ guys, but I'm lying 6th and the legs are tired (listen to your Coach) so I've slowed...
40km - 42.2km 10:07 last 2 climbs and then the drop to the field...

2h53:18 29th and 6th 40+

So now the question is do I run Oceans, there is only one 2Oceans, it's not a half or a trail run, is 56km! Yes I'm running the trail race on the Friday, the day before, but what is 2 hours on the mountain? As i finished, or even in those last couple of km I was thinking not a chance, but... I did jog down to the car to fetch a top and it was easy, so maybe, I've got a couple of days.

What do you think?

Monday, February 11, 2013

LISTEN TO YOUR COACH

IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED, LISTEN TO YOUR COACH 

 I read that once and it's so true, That said I'm pleased I'm my own Coach because... well it's more a case of do what I say and not what I do... Why I'm a telling you this? Well next weekend I run a marathon, and I hope to be running with a friend and the 2 of us should both sneak under 3 hours... So as you all know and the "marathon" gets closer and closer, you cut back the miles and watch what you race!

So lets just have a look at the last 10 days or so: On the 2nd I ran that hard half followed by the 10.7km trail race on the Wednesday, then come Thursday I could feel my legs and sat out the hill session (I listened to the Coach). But and this is the big one, there was this new trail race on the weekend...

Silvermine XXL (extra extra long) Owen call it 34km, but Ms 310 measured it as 32.5km with 1000+m climb. Was I really going to stay in bed when I could be on the mountains...

So it was an early morning and I found myself on the start line with about 500 other guys (and girls). Now I wasn't really watching the clock and I was helping a friend with her number when the race started... Naughty boy Dion... I wasn't going to be right at the back, so I darted with the bush and passed half the field, but then the trail got to narrow and i just had to follow...

I was nice to be back there and it seemed like fun, maybe I should just take it easy and yes pass a couple of people, but don't stress about it, after all I have a marathon to run next week... So I took it easy passing a couple of guys, but the flattish start was about the start climb, so I decided to move up a couple more places and settle in for an easy run behind some-one.

The 2 guys were moving well and it was OK back there, but on the climb the guy stepped a side and let me pass, I passed them both and caught up to the next guys, who also let me pass on a rocky bit. Then just before the top on than first climb (+_3km) I pull up to Allan who asked if I wanted to pass as we hit the flat bit at the top. I told him I was happy for now, Ms 310 was telling me I was running more than fast enough. For about 500m he took me round the mountain, but with another climb I sighed and told him I think I had better pass... I also caught 2 more guys and took them. Now ahead I could see another group, maybe 7 guys strong, and wait, that was the lead group...

Eddie was the first guy I passed, then I decided that if the guys weren't gunning it, it would be me in charge of the race, so I left the rocky single track and passed the lot of them and went to the front. We were still climbing and it was the perfect place to make the move...

Now with this being a 30+km race with over 1000m climb and a lot of the race on technical single track it was going to be a long day at the office, and to be honest my legs weren't really up for a race. Listen to me, here I am at the front of the field saying I'm not racing... Well I took the lead at about 4km and for the next 6km I set the tempo, it felt a little like a Sunday long run! But it was on Saturday and around 10km the single track turned into a jeep track for the 2nd time... The first time was a short stretch and I had upped the pace to keep the lead, this time 4 guys passed me and for a bit I went with them... before coming to my senses and settling back into my pace.

With me slowing up Rohan joined me and the 2 of just hit the next climb together. I thought we had really dropped the other guys who had been in the early pack, but on the steep down hill Dom joined us and the 3 of us went through CP 1 together. 13.5km down, a long way to go...

We crossed Ou Kaapse Weg and after a short gravel road we hit the tar, 2 full km of tar, and all of it up hill... Dom was blown off the back and Rohan kept fall back a bit, I slowed a bit to let him catch up and then near the top I opened up another lead, which I kept, so I caught walk a rocky single track climb! We were back together shortly after that... The leaders were far ahead and as I looked back I could see a couple of guys chasing us. We ran together till about 19km when I pulled ahead, this time I stayed ahead and kept going, it was time... and at 20km the down hills started. I turned at the top and headed down, as I turn I saw a guy catch Rohan 100m back, I ran hard for a bit on the gravel and then it was back onto the single track with over 2hours in the legs I thought i was going OK, but I was caught!

This Guy just bounced over the rocks and through the Vynbos, it was OK he was running the relay!!! On the next long straight stretch I looked back, but didn't see anyone coming, so I just kept my pace to CP 2. From there it was about 5km to the finish.

I was still running nicely as I rounded the last turn and run up to the finish 3h02:48, 6th over the line, less the 2 teams to put me 4th and 1st 40+...

It was a great ran and although I didn't run a step in anger I didn't really take it easy, 3 hour over that route isn't bad... The winner had finished in 2h47:?? with 2nd 1min back, while 3rd was 2h55.

The best I can do as a picture is the route from Ms 310:

Ms Garmin 310
So why Listen to your Coach, well you shouldn't be racing 32.5km around the mountain the week before a marathon, you taper should have started... maybe I'll take this week easy, after all I don't have any races on this week, only 42.2 come Sunday.

Are you racing / running this weekend?

Friday, February 8, 2013

TIME TO REST...

OK it's not often that I think it's time to rest... but a few days before a planned rest week I am ready, in fact I've been ready since the weekend and the half marathon.

After the 30km of Saturday I only need an easy 16 on Sunday to round off the week, and while it was a lot slower than I would have penciled in the program (programs are always in pencil so I can change them.) it was easy and that was all that was needed. It fact it felt great and I didn't feel tired or board and if the program had called for another 10km I wouldn't have had a problem...

After Monday's easy 10km it was time for track, and Tuesday called for... 10 x 600m now I guess I should be running these in under 2:00 but the legs weren't up to that... I started with a 2:05 and then after 4 at 2:02 I called it a day. 5 was more than enough I did after all have a race to run on the Wednesday evening... Trail Series number 3 Tygerberg hill, and unlike the other races it's down and up and down and up, and down and up.. or something like that..

I got to the start early straight from work and with the wind blowing I took a couple of moments to rest before the race...

Hiding from the wind!

It wasn't friendly out there, so I didn't do much of a warm up and when the gun went off I took off like a bullet, but not one been shot from a gun, one on the back of a donkey card pulling scrap metal through the townships!!!

The Start
 We started with a short up and then, I wish I was 20 years younger when my running had a freefall gear... Today my body doesn't let me run fast, so I was lossing time and I took a split to Johnny, 45s I don't know my early place, but I was only racing Johnny and therefore I had a bit of work to do. I overshot the turn at the bottom but only lost a few sec and 1 guy passed me. This was a good thing, as the next km or so was flattish and I let him set the pace. Then on a rocky down hill bit of the flat single track he slowed, so I went past, my timing was good as shortly after that we hit the big hill...

I think you need to see the profile now:

Yes it was that steep
I saw Johnny ahead as he started the climb and took a split 40sec, but he was walking now... I made the turn and started the climb, (I wish I had rested a bit more before the race) it was slow going, but I passed Johnny and 2 or 3 other guys! Now to build a lead before the down... Love this down it was rocky with lots of turns and if you wanted to do a bit of bush diving just run to fast!!!
Near the bottom I caught a guy, but couldn't get away from him and maybe my legs were now feeling the first big climb, but I was the guy slowing and he got away.

I finished in 47:30 a couple of seconds slower than last year. I think I was 7th across the line, but it wasn't about that it was about the 40+ guys, and I bagged myself another win...

The legs are shattered and with a 34km trail race this weekend and a marathon the weekend after I need to find a couple of days to rest...

Let me try and leave you with a video of how windy it was at the start...
video

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

HARD WORK

This weekend I lined up with the Cape Town masses, well the running masses... and then maybe not all of them, but in my books anything over 1000 is a big enough field. It was the Lion of Africa Half, there was a 10km as well, but I'm trying to get fit and am after the longer runs, so 21.1km it was...

With the ran only a couple of km away from home I decided to run to the start, and Dawn would jump on the bike and get a training ride in for the Argus. Like every other day that starts so early in the morning we were running a couple of minutes late and I had to run a little faster than I had planned, and then I didn't really have time to catch my breath at the race start.

So with 5.5km under the belt I was hot and sweaty as I lined up on the front line. I wasn't racing at the sub 80 I was aiming at should keep me honest but leave me with enough energy to run home...

The gun set us off down the road and the masses took off like a bullet, I asked Richard, who was looking to break 80min for the first time, were he was off too? Yes it was down hill (only a little) and 3:40 was plenty fast enough for me... It didn't take long for the race to settle and for us to catch the "rabbits" and a small group of guys to start using me to help them along... I took a split at 5km and we had been on the button 18:40. Then the gentle hills started and on the climb to 9.5 km Richard fell back a little and I slowed to let him catch up and together we climbed back into the group!!!

Now don't tell anyone, but I felt that a little and I knew it was going to require a little more work than normal for me to keep the bus together. The next 2 little bumps the same happened, but both times on the down Richard pulled us back. passing 15km in 57:00 by all means we were spot on, but the last 5 (6.1)km of any half is going to be hard work. Now having just made up a bit of time we had lost on the hills it was flattish all the way home...

Flattish my foot, it might be flat if you are out on a Sunday jog, but the climb 16km - 17km was the slowest of the day 4:03. Nic left us and kick for home with 5 to go (he was taking it easy!!!) 17km down and now behind the clock... Down past Peddlars On The Bend, and all I say to Richard was: If you want it you have to come with me...

Down the hill Richard hanging on and Rupert also still in the mix, ahead I could see Will he was also struggling in the last bit of the race, but it didn't look like we could catch him with only 4km to go. The Moroccan on the other had was there for the taking and I caught him as Dawn came back for me.

First up she told me about how exciting it was cycling up front with the leaders and how fast they were, when she started to scream at me (some might call it cheer for me) so with Rupert on my tail we passed The Moroccan. I really thought I had them, but with Dawn yelling from the bike and trying to tell me about an Avo she found while cycling up front the 2 guy also dug deep and were back in the mix...

Dam it was not over, but with my tired old body I could push no longer it was my day and I didn't really need to race them I was safely 2nd 40+ guy and my sub 80 was now in the bag... Having 3:37 and 3:35 for the last 2km we had dropped Richard who ran in in 80;20 (another PR for him, next time sub 80!)

My morning wasn't over and after a long wait for prize giving (with many beers) I ran home... Lucky for me I didn't have to run 5.5 km home as Dawn had long left and was in the green belt walking the dogs, so I headed here.

I will need a rest week soon...