Monday, October 25, 2010


So what is the question? Well we have to be asking about Winelands Marathon and how is week one of the final block going.

I know weeks don't normally start on a Saturday, but this one did... I had to get back into training and long runs are needed as marathons are a long way!!! So on Saturday I met Jayde at the Nek for a little run on the mountain.
This is us at the top of Llandudno before our trek across the Twelve Apostles (we had already run for 78min and climbed over 700m), but the clock was running... A couple of months ago I had run this route with another friend Eddie. Well my friend Jayde is a little competitive so on we pushed. The concrete road from the dams was just an excuse to pick up the pace, and soon we were heading down the single and all Jayde was saying was: "Are we going to beat Eddies time!"

Well we did beat Eddies time by all of 10 minutes, but we were "SHATTERED MOUNTAIN MEN" and that was only the start of the 3 week block!!!

Now I'm going to let you into a secret on how to recover really quickly... Go home have a quick swim, mow the learn and trim the beard. You will not only look a whole lot better, but by the time you sit down for lunch looking over the crystal clear pool at the freshly cut grass you will feel a whole lot better too.

There was no easing into this week as we had a hill session on Monday and Tuesday we were up at 05h00 for a morning run.

Now for Wednesday I had decided to run the 10km race in Pinelands. I wasn't racing it like last week, I just wanted a tempo run a little quicker than marathon pace. Just under 37min, one of my athletes wanted to have a crack at a sub 37, so he was going to run with me.

Well if you know Cape Town you know the 'Cape Doctor', and he was out making house calls... Yes the 1st km was a little quick, but the wind was from behind, but turning off one of the main roads in Pinelands into the leafy suburbs I wasn't going to be taking the wind so I surged to a group ahead of us to tucked out of the wind. Yes I ran a little faster than I had planned, but I didn't feel any worse for it. I ended up with a 36:05 while Malcolm ran a 37:09 yes he would have maybe made it if I had run next to him the whole way, but some things he's got to do on his own and this was also my training.

So what answer did I get from the wind? Maybe in good conditions I could hold that pace for a half (+_ 78min) and maybe we are now on target for a 2h45 marathon. Yes the last 10 are still a bit unknown, but I'm going for it I've got a couple of weeks left to see if I can pull it out the old bag.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

10km RACE

Yes it is a rest week, but I had penciled in a couple of easy runs and a TT for Wednesday. So come Wednesday evening I lined up for the Silver Queen 10km race at Ysterplaat. At this point I'm going to back track a bit.
Like every other day I left the office at 16h00 and headed home, Dawn was walking the dogs, so when she came home there wasn't much to do but get changed and head out. We were on the road at 17h00 leaving with plenty of time for the 18h30 start. Well the traffic was bad and the 15km trip took over an hour!!! (and that was even after we had covered the 1st 10km in 20min, should have left the car and ran to the start...)
The top 40+ guys weren't there so I was not only lining for a solid run, but a shot at prise money. 1st 40+ was out of the question as Vladimir Kotov had taken off his 50s and was lining up as a 40...
The race started in a hanger out of the wind and with the sound of the gun still echoing around us we took off out the open door and turn with the wind behind us. I struggled to stay with that early pace, but I had to keep in the mix as we were turning into the wind and I didn't want to be left in no-mans land (like my friend Charles). I was sitting in the 2nd group, Kotov was in the 1st group and 1 other 40+ was with me, in fact I was using him to block the wind. I didn't stay behind him for long as he was small and I wanted to be behind the biggest guy in the group. The other 40+ was working hard fighting the wind. Turning down the main runway and having the wind at our backs was great, and for the 3rd km I ran a 3:23. As we turned into the wind again I saw the other 40+ had dropped of our pace. We went through 5km in 17:31 and I was thinking about breaking 35min. That wasn't going to happen as we turned into the wind again at the start of the 2nd lap. I even took the pace a bit to try and speed things up, but was unable to keep the pace. Turning with the wind I thought that km to 8 would be quick, but taxing down the runway I could only reach 3:30 for the km and that isn't enough for take off or to make up the lost time to break 35. I was left to fight the wind on my own for the last 2km and lost more time finishing with 35:39.

I'm happy with the effet and the time, my 11th pace overall was on important, but coming 2nd 40+ was nice as I picked up a couple of bucks...

Monday, October 18, 2010


I know I have only really had the hammer down for 2 weeks, but I feel I need a rest this week or my body might not hold together till Winelands. Since TMC on the 18th of September I have needed a bit of time to nurse the body back into running shape. That first week I did very little as I needed my calves to loosen up and my quads to recover from the race. I ended up testing my body at the Hermanus half just a week after TMC... well if it had been a 15km I would have been a whole lot happier... The last 5km went past as if they were Miles!!!

Anyway I now had a starting point for Winelands and the training had to start. I would like to run a sub 2h40, but that is still a long way off. I'm taking it 1 week at a time and with 3 weeks down it's now time to rest and take stock of how things are going:
Week one was just building back up and trying to get things working well, so after an easy recovery run on the Monday I started with 3 x 1000m on the the Tuesday. Wednesday was 55min on the mountain while Thursday was reduced to just a 5km warm up... Just wanting a bit of time on the legs I headed for the mountain on both days of the weekend. The week was over and with only 66.5km logged I was a little short on the kays, but I was still running and ready for the new week.
The next 2 weeks I was over 90km with 6 x 1000m and plenty of extra km on the track at marathon pace (3:50). I try and run a km or 2 before training or as a warm down to get the body use to running at sub 4 and to notch up those valuable kays. Wait for it I even was up at 05h00 for a couple of morning runs. Last weeks long run was 3h15 on the mountain then this Sunday I took to the road and knocked of 30 in 2h15.

I know I can't keep this up without breaking down, so it's rest week time... Now taking stock I can tell you that if the race was next Saturday I would aim at 2h50. I might end up wanting in the last couple of kays, but that is what marathon running is all about. So the question is can I get there, I just don't know. I will give it my all and taking it one week at a time I'll give it a crack.

Monday, October 11, 2010


So I think I should invest in a Garmin or something. Not one to buy on instinct I've started looking around. I see the 205 is still out there, then there is the 305, and the new 310XT and the 405 and who know what else?
So what should I look at? I don't really like heart rate monitors, so I leaning towards a 205. I like the look of the 405, but I work for the State, and I don't think striking for our increase will give me enough money to afford a 405...
Now all you gadget people out they is there anything else on the market I should be looking at? The rand is strong so there are bargins to find.


Yes Winelands is in 6 weeks and I hope to be on the start line with more than only couple of weeks of good marathon training. My first week of training is a thing of the past and I can call it a success. I got through all the basics like:
2 sessions 6 x 1000m and some hills,
a long run of 30km (picture take at the top of Platterklip 2 hours into the long run.)
and a couple of km in my easy runs at race pace.

With my milage for the week at 90km I know if I can keep this up I will be in sub 2h50 shape. But I must take it one week at a time, for now we are aiming at sub 3. Next week we can call it again.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Back in January '10 an ex athlete of mine, down from Jo'burg, popped into the club for a run. I had seen him briefly the day before at the 30km race. Why am I telling you this? Well it was the first time I had really seen a pair of VIBRAM FIVE FINGERS, and as funny as they looked I wanted a pair. It wasn't till my old coach sent an email telling us that he had got a pair and was never going to take them off that I looked into how I could lay my hands (feet) on a pair. To cut a long story short my brother in the USA sent them to me.

The wait almost killed me, my wife had never seen me so excited, but she didn't see me on our wedding day till she walked down the aisle. They couldn't have come at a better time as I was only just starting to run again after an injury and a big race. So like a boy with a new toy I almost went for a second run that evening, but wearing them around the house would have to do. No I didn't go to work in them but once at the club I was transformed into a gorilla, and with my big black feet I was ready to take on the world. (Just a point here, I do run a bit of track bare foot.) So into the forest we went….. Okay I was running slowly and only did a short loop, but boy was it fun.
Now they aren't only a running shoe they are a way for us old farts to run around barefoot like we did as kids.
It was now a long weekend so we packed the car and headed off to Stanford and Hermanus for a few days. Friday saw us walking around the village and going beer, wine and cheese tasting. That evening, after spending the whole day in my new Five Fingers I could tell that they are good for your feet as my feet were tired from having worked all day, Five Fingers have no cushioning or heel raise to allow your feet to rest.
After a couple more runs from the club this last week I was ready to take on the mountain. Come Saturday morning I headed up through the Green Belts to Cecilia Forest and the Contour path. A right turn took me to Nursery Ravine so up I went taking the single track at the top across to the Overseers hut and the concrete road. I headed down turning off at the single track back to Cecilia Forest. 1h 58:03 I was home and I had even been running sub 4min/km at the end.

So what can I tell you about running with gorilla feet…..
If you haven't done any barefoot running TAKE IT SLOW (and short) or your calves won't take kindly to them.
On grass they're great, especially for us "softies" who can't run barefoot anymore.
Those first 2 points are a bit obvious, so let me go on to tell you that as funny as they look, they are really comfortable and not too many people look at you funny if you just wear them out casually.
Now onto the important stuff, you can run anywhere in them. I haven't run much on tar but I've done a couple of km.
On the flat I find I am running a little softer on my feet. I won't say I'm running any slower or faster, just a little different.
Then on the uphills things get easier and faster as normal shoes are a lot heavier.
Now since I had come down the bridle path from the dams on my long run I can tell you that I was slow. (But I think I will get faster as I get stronger and more used to the Five Fingers.)
Now let me leave the road and tell you about the trails. Every trail is different and I have found myself watching the ground ahead a little more carefully. Maybe this is a good thing
On the firm sand/clay they are amazing but if you are running fast and relaxed along a path and a single stone sticks its head up you are going to know about it (that is if you' stand on it) but no worries.
On tackling the long down hill from the block house the other day I felt the hard gravel road, maybe if I was fitter and running hard down there it would be better. You don't want to be using your heels to break as you go down. (I could feel the road under my feet)
Through the style and the rocky single track takes you down to the car park. Now on terrain like this I think the more you run it the better your gorilla feet will do. I had to take this quite slowly.
I found that those endless forest stairs were causing me a little problem on the downs. You see if you try and land your whole foot on the step you could end up catching your heel on the upper step, so I always like my toes striking just over the edge of the step. Now you can feel that through the thin rubber sole but its okay for a couple of steps but for 100+ its just not pleasant.

So where to from here? Do I race in them? Not at the moment but maybe in the months to come.

Lastly I want to say if you enjoyed being barefoot as a kid and thought that is when you ran best, what are you waiting for….. go and get a pair.