Thursday, December 29, 2011


Why did I think a little run up the mountain would be a good idea? Well let me tell you:

Who wouldn't want to go up there?
I love the mountain and it's not every day I have the chance to tackle it from this side, and it's been a year. I could go on to say there is no better way for me to test my fitness than to put the whole body through a 30min workout...

So I parked on Tafelberg Rd at 07h00, stretched a bit and then set off...
1/3 of the way 
Took the picture on the way down, I had no time to stop on the way up... Mr Garmin called it 2.4km with a climb of 644m! So it's a lot of hard work. SAN Parks says allow 2 hours I was wanting 30min!!! It was always going to be close, but with the wind blowing (cable car didn't start working till later) and a pack on, this fat, slow, white boy had his work cut out. The mountain was busy with 100+ tourists walking up and they all needed to be past (yes I'm making every excuse I know).

Those grey hairs didn't help
I was up in 30:24 a little slower than I had hoped for, but it's a start... 

From there I headed to:
The top
Maclear's Beacon...
Watching my step

Love single track
then Echo Valley, and back.

Before heading down:
Past those guys on my way up
Then it was home time...
look at that traffic!

Look at the Q for the Cable car
Good thing I didn't have to stand in that, I was going home, I had been to the top already...


That was a long time ago... but this is what I can remember:
The office closed early on Friday so I went for a midday run, got to get the extra runs in because...

Saturday Morning I decided that since I was going to eat to much later I should run to much now! Now real training only starts the 2nd week of January so till then it's time for a little base work!! The aim was to run for 2 hours, this would be my 1st long run since the marathon...

I break this little run up into 5 parts and today I was only doing 4 of them:

  1. Ran from home to Constantia Nek, 7.4km 186m climb. I wasn't great, but I kept it under 5min/km
  2. From the Nek up the Bridle Path, 5.3km 476m climb. Things were coming right 31:07 (5:51min/km) when I race this I can be 5min faster, so as an easy run I felt pleased.
  3. Around the dams at the top of the mountain, didn't do this leg, not fit enough and not enough time.
  4. Down the way we came up, 5.3km 476m down!!! I didn't race, just kept it easy and was happy with 23:57 (4:29/km).
  5. Home was bound. I would normally head back the way I had come, but after 10min I was toast!!! Ready to curl up under a bush and sleep, I almost mugged a cyclist and free-wheeled home... I don't know if I was ready for a 2 hour run, or was the mountain BOSS!!! I dragged my body home 6.6km dropping 186m and averaged 5:02 min/km (slower than the up run!!!)
I had earned Christmas dinner and the evening we headed to my folks place for Christmas Eve. 

Yes all the family was there about 20 of us, and yes it was a full spread on the table, but what is the first thing one does when you enter my moms house? You head for the kitchen and the crunchy tin!!!

OH dear!!!
Other than that it was a great evening.

Christmas Day was great we woke, walked the dogs, ran, swam, and still got to church on time. 

Then it was time to start lunch! I had a Turkey to cook on the Weber:

Carved and ready to be served
Dawn did the veg and cut a few slices of Gammon and then we were ready to pop the champagne (sparkling wine) and eat...
My plate
 It was just the 2 of us as we had send Dawn's Mom to Plet with her Sister to visit the other sister... (so we've been eating left overs all week.)

December 26 and it's time to remember that if your intake is more than your output, you gain weight... So to help us runners there is the Manor House 10 miler. With no prizes I didn't have to race and jogged with a couple of friends till 5km to go... OK it was mostly down-hill and I can't really help myself!!!

Hope you all have a great Christmas

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Wednesday 21 December 2011:

I headed to work with my running gear in the car, after work I popped down to the V & A Waterfront for the Sundowner 10km race:

Runners arriving
 See the clouds on Table Mountain? Well that means that the wind is blowing... OK it wasn't so bad.

Joining the crowds
Almost 3000 made it to the start!!! Dawn had got a lift with a friend so she was there, not the run but to watch. She had an injury at the moment and isn't a happy camper!!! I'll tell you all about it in another post.

The start was very narrow, so I joined from the front and still ended up 4 rows back. I didn't really want to race, just aim at 38min and hope to "steel" a 3rd place in the 40+. Well I saw Johnny and Graham head out like bullets and then there was Mr Gugs and me... So I went with him and but 3km I had him beat.

I was running faster than I had planned, but it was only 10km and with nothing to lose I pushed on. The first 5km were into the wind which wasn't as bad as other years, but I still found myself doing all the work. (why does that happen) As we caught people I thought about slowing and letting them take the pace, but no!

The front boys were now heading back on the road side of the promenade while we still ran along the sea. I counted the 40+ guys: Johnny, Graham, and just ahead of me AAC, It looked like I was 4th. So I took the turn hard and set chase. 20 sec, 12sec then I had him with about 2.5km to go. YES. I didn't have to kill myself in the last 2 km and I even let 2 open guys pass me.

I crossed the line in 36:20 Happy with the time, but what!!! I was 4th, so who was ahead, and how did he escape my 'eagle' eyes? OK it was Sean and he had chanced clubs, Dam... That was to hard a run for 4th place... Next Year, less 4ths and more top 3's.

Now it's almost Christmas so that is all I'm writing for today.

Marry Christmas to you all.
Coach Dion

Sunday, December 18, 2011


This is a long story, but I'm only going to give the short version:

Friday was a public holiday (Day of Reconciliation) so why not run a race? The race on the calendar was the Guguletu 10km, well I headed off to Khayelitsha!!!!!!!

Stupid Stupid Stupid, well after driving around the township the penny dropped and I raced off to Gugs and stopped with minutes to spare. Don't worry I was stupid again as I didn't jump out the car and rush to enter as I thought I still had time, but the race was about to start...
I didn't hear the gun, but as I got to the start line the last of the back markers had already headed down the road... 
I wasn't the only guy running late and was joined by another guy as I weaved my way through the back of the field. I wasn't racing only running for a sub 40 and points for our club competitions!
At the 2km mark a asked a guy our time, 8:40, Mr. Garmin read 7:37. The race was now on, I needed to break 39, so I kept running people down untill 5km when I was on time 18:44.

Now I should be tell you a bit about this race, it is run though Guguletu, which some-one discribed as a middle-class township, so the houses are brick (unlike half the houses I had driven past in Khayelitsha). The kids all come out to watch and get sweats from the slower runners who run with bags of sweats just for them. A lot of fun.

Mr Garmin kept me moving and I crossed the line in 38:18 as the finishing clock ticked over to 39:20.

Race One finished...

Saturday was Mitchells Plain Half. I wanted to run fast and in years gone by this was a very flat route, so... Maybe I souldn't have run the 10 the day before, but when standing on the startline it's all to late. Today I was racing the clock and not for a top 40+ place, but as I set off I watched the top guys pull away from me and only 3 of them were 40+. I found myself running in no-mans land as we reached the beach road. I was a little fast to 5km 18:10, but I hoped I could hold it...

Race route
So do you see the 10km mark? yes it's right by the sea, and yes we were running on the beach for 1.5km!!! I tried to keep my pace up at the sub 3:50 mark, but those 2 km just didn't happen, and that effort seemed to wack me. That said I caught the 3rd placed 40+!!! I thought it would be a good race heading back, but once back on the road he left me for dead!!! and i was left to fight the miles alone...

Out on the road I don't look at Mr. Garmin for distance, but watch the km boards. Sub 80 was still on the cards, but the 77 I had wanted was left suntanning on the beach!!! (OK maybe that sould say fishing as there were only a couple of fishermen there.)  I worked hard those last 3km to finish with 79:53... 

Need to get training if I want a 77 next year...

Monday, December 12, 2011


I started last week wanting to race (and win) on the weekend, and that would only be as a build up to seeing if I could run a fast time at next weekends half...

Well things started off ok and on Monday we headed into the forest for a hilly recovery run, and with just over 10km done I was happy how things had started.

On Tuesday I took the squad down to Boshoff Ave for our 1000m repeats. We don't always like running our reps on the track, and with the wind blowing the road was calling. It's a 3.5km warm up to get there and then after a little stretching we set off:

3:28  3:26  3:24  3:21  3:24  3:14

Kept winding it up...

Wednesday turned into a special day as Stephen 'Fastfeet' Courtney, one of my students from years ago was in town (out from Perth, or one of the cities from that island down under) to join us for a run. We talked and ran for over an hour through the forest to Kirstenbosch before heading back on the road.

Thursday did not go my way as I was shattered and after a 5km warm up I let the guys run 200m's on their own.
I didn't mind the rest and together with taking Friday off I would be ready to give Saturday a go... Now before we get to Saturday's race, we had our clubs end of year function on Friday evening. My plan for Saturday was to leave Dawn to run on the road and I was going to do a trail race. Now New Balance put on a couple of trial races though the year and I try and run them from time to time. with the fields being small and this being December, I thought I could pull of a win and win me a pair of New Balance shoes. (I already know what shoe I want...) So come Friday night at the end of year party I was lucky enough to win a prize (one of three). Oh wait for it.... I won a pair of New Balance shoes!!!

With a pair of shoes won I didn't head out to the tail race, but went with Dawn and ran the road race. A 15km .
Around Rietvlei, very flat

I didn't race, but set off at 4min/km and held it there till 6km by then I had lost all the people I was running with so I upped the pace and start to run down the guys ahead of me. It's the longest race I've done in 5-Fingers and running at sub 4min/km made my toes hot!!! I finished with 58:09, nothing special...

Sunday is normally a long run day, but I needed to train, so I decided that Saturdays 15 had been long enough and I was running out of time if I was going to make it to Church on time, so I headed for the hills.

6 little bumbs
 6 hills with the first the slowest and the last the fastest... another thing about this run was the fact that I left in the rain and can back in the bright sunshine!!!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011


YES it was my birthday this weekend, and I didn't take any pictures!!! but never mind I have a story or two to tell you:

1st up Lourensford Half So Saturday morning we were up before the sun and set off on the 45min drive to the start. We left in good time so as to miss the traffic!

I wasn't feeling strong, but I still hoped to be up there in the 40+ field. In fact this race was run on farm roads and had a lot of climbing so it was right up my ally.

And yes I started slow, but as we climb I started to 'eat' up the field!!! was lying 2nd 40+ man at 7km when I saw a dam... I just had to dive in for a swim!!! Some how I forgot I had glasses on??? ended up losing 30sec (+ the 15 sec for the detour and swim) looking for them. (the longest 30sec of the day).

I lost my 2nd place, but was back in the race and with one more hill I caught Seppie. The plan was now to fly down to the finish, but I was finished!!! The legs didn't want to race down to the end. Seppie left me for dead (which I was). I still had a big gap to 4th place, over 60 sec, but I wasn't running the fast km down the hill and was caught 1km for the end. Would have had that 3rd place without a swim, but the dam was shorting my name I had to dive in!!!

That evening I had a couple of friends round for a braai. Now here I want to say it was a quiet evening, and I always have quiet evening, but Sunday I had Family round, 15 of them and well it's never quiet with them!!! It had been the most perfect day, hot and no wind, so the pools was called into duty...

To give you an idea of how good a day it was, I took a couple of pictures on my run up the mountain in the morning:
The long road up...

Me at the top of the mountain!

The view to Kirstenbosch
 Enough said...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Yes we all have dreams, and there was I time when I thought I could get close...

OK I was running down a very steep hill in a mountain race, I was young and flying. I had run the last 5.3km in 14:45!!! But really that was all gravity... My best Mile every run was 4:22 on the Beach Road out at Milnerton (with a South Easter pushing me the whole way!)

That was 20 years ago, back then I spent a lot of time running track, I would run everything from the 110H to the 3000 walk. I wasn't good, but I loved it and wait for it: I still do.

Tonight I was back on the track for the first time in a long time.

I was there to race one of my athletics over a mile!!! Oloff is my age and runs a mean 400m and 800m, I run marathons and mountain races, so the mile seemed to be a good race...

warming up

I was there in good time and left Dawn in the car with the thins and sherry (the wind was cold) while I headed out for a couple of laps warm-up, with the strides done I found myself heading to the start.

That is us lining up
The gun went and I seemed to be the only one left on the line!!! Dawn was on the corner to take a picture:
No you can't see me I'm at the back!
I was last on the first bend... I'm just fat and slow!!! OK most of the field was only as old as my shoes!!! But the race isn't won on that first corner, and I wasn't going for a win I was aiming at the 4 min mile!!!

Round the bend and down the back straight I settled into my running and started to think about catching the 'kids' in front of me. I had not clue as to what speed felt like, I can run a marathon at 4min/km, but to head out at 3min/km...

I look at Mr. Garmin at 200m and he told me I had done well 200m, I had to look again to see my time 36sec I was spot on... I then took the lap at 400m 72.2, (3min/km), maybe I was to slow, hell yes I was to slow, I had to make my move.

I was catching some of the youngsters while running down the back straight. Was I running faster or slower, I was running hard, that is all I know, but my 800m split 2:27.2 told a story. I was now going into oxygen debt!!! It was hard running down the home straight to finish lap 3 I had the wind behind me, but I wasn't running any faster... 75.6.

One lap to go.. 400m I had nothing left to fight the wind down the back straight, I felt as if I was going nowhere, it took an eternity to hit the 200m mark and the last bend. Some kid who I had past on the back straight then past me and if I was standing still, how did he do it!!! 76.3, 9 meters to go... It was all over.

I looked at Mr. Garmin 5:00.99 I had missed the 4min Mile by 1 sec. A sec I bet I would have had if I was in spikes, a sec I would have had if the wind had stayed away, a sec Mr. Garmin said I wasted running wide. (OK he thought I had run the whole race in the 8th lane he measured it as 1.699, 90meters to long!!!)

When is the next MILE? I don't know, but I do hope to run another track race.

Friday, November 25, 2011


So what have I been doing this week to recover from this:
Yes it was hot at the end of the marathon!
Like a good boy I took Sunday off, Dawn went for her morning run (she had taken Saturday off to support us.) So while she ran I took the dog for a walk.
Now on Monday I was back at the club, and once I had sent the other guys off for an easy run I walked down to the track. Yes a lot of you would have said an easy run would be OK, but I think a little track helps stretch out the legs... So I did 10 x 50m. It wasn't about running fast it was about getting the legs working, and yes the last 3 were under 8.5sec down from 11.8!!!!

Tuesday I took the guys to the hill and let them run 10 x 60 sec, while I ran 10 x 10sec. I must say I was running nicely and was please the way they turned out.

Still not wanting to just get out there and plod, on Thursday I headed here:
Rhodes Mem
Yes I jogged up to Rhodes Mem for a couple of STAIRS!!! There are 49 stairs, but I don't run up the little ones, I head up and down the big ones!! (about 25 of them).
So I ran up, looked at the view:
The View
And run down, only to do it all again, 22 time!!! Each loop takes between 46 - 43sec.

Come Thursday and I was almost ready to start training properly again, so after the 5km warmup I joined in the sesion of fast / slow 200m's. I ran the fasts in just under 36sec (I would like to think that is my mile pace), and then took the slows very easy +_5min/km pace.

With the week now behind us I am ready for the weekend, and then... next week I race a MILE.

Steve took the picure of me and I found the pictures of R/Mem on the web.

Monday, November 21, 2011


With a 05h30 start out in Stellenbosch it was always going to be an early start... The alarm rudely went off at 03h30, it was still night but we could lie around we had to pick Dawn's friend Jana up at 04h05 and hit the road. Arriving at Coetzenburg at 04h50 left us enough time to pick up our race numbers and stand in that morning Q!!!I went straight to the front of the 1000+ strong field and found Damian who was running his first Marathon, I planned to go out with him at 4min/km.

100m in and Dawn missed me!!!
We left the track and head down the road, Yes those early km were a little fast, but we were running down hill and we could all ran at the pace. Mr. Garmin called 5km in 19:00 (road marking at about 15 sec slower). Things had settled and we had a nice group of people running together.
knocking of 4min/km
Don't know if you can tell, but that's the first lady with us. We went through 10km in 38:55, pace was spot on and all was well. I had been counting the 40+ guys and I counted myself in 11th place (ok 3 of them were running with me.)

At about 11km Damian and I pulled away from our group and the race was on... No we didn't pick up the pace or anything we just kept it at 4's - 15km in 58:53. We had climbed our 1st little hill and Damian had slowed a bit but was still about to stretch his legs on the flat and down hill. I was feeling fine at 17km when we turned of the 'back' roads onto the R44. Up that first hill I was feeling strong, yes we lost a little time, but made in up over the next couple of km. We past half way in about 83mins still nicely on time. 

I pulled away from Damian on route to the 22km mark as we climb a hill. At the top I slowed to let him catch me but decided that his 2h48 wasn't going to happen and if I wanted mine I had to now run my own race. 

Running on my own I set my sights on the guy in front of me and set off... We had already caught most of the 40+ guys and on my way to 30km I moved into 3rd place!!! That 5km split was 19:10, ok there was a bit of down hill involved, but my legs felt fine only 12 to go. At this stage was had a little out and back bit, and I held on to 4min/km till 34km then we climb a bit of a hill 4:33. 35km down, and I remember seeing the km board 2h20:00. (Mr. Garmin had me running through the marker in 2h19:03).
I'll have some water.

With 7.2km left that 2h48 was still on the cards, but now my legs were getting tired and my right hamstring was getting tight... Not wanting to cramp of pull it, I had to control the run in and I lost a couple of seconds/km... I thought I could still break 2h50 with 1km to go, but that last 200m was just to long and I finished with a respectable 2h50:23. 18th and 3rd 40+