Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Weekend on the Breede

With the 16th/17th been a holiday I took the 14th and the 18th off work to make it a long weekend, note to self here: we need to do this more often:

After a short morning run we packed the car:

All ready to go
and headed out...By lunch we were there:

Parked the car in the shade

And moved in for the weekend
We spent the weekend:

Cheese and Wine tasting at some of the near by farms.
We also did a bit of exercise on the river:

Add caption
Now as we drove there I look out the window of the car and other than the vineyards I saw:

A little hill over the river...

With a little road to the top!!!
Now I'm not very good at looking at a hill without wanting to run up it. So after an easy 10km out and back on the Saturday morning I Started to hatch a plan... But first let me tell you about the 10km run: It was up the gravel "drive way" 1km onto the gravel road about another km then I headed out on the tar till it was time to turn. On the way back I picked the pace up and ran 2 fast km 1st 3:44 and then a 3:19. Was very pleased when that km was over...

Now Sunday morning I left Dawn and the puppies in bed and headed down to the river. I first had to paddle across the river before I could start my run...
It was a 6:15 run to the gate, which I jumped over and headed up... Monster Climb about 300m up in the 2.4km to the top. I gave Dawn a quick call to tell her I was at the top and then the silliest of things happened, I looked at Ms 310 and did a little maths, I would have less than 8km if I just went back, so I decided to go down and up again...

2 Hills would not have looked good!!!
Up 15:14 down 13:05
Up 15:48 down 12:20
Up 15:39 down 11:05

Then I headed back...

I also needed a long run, so on the Monday I set off down the road we had driven in on... it was about 12km to the bridge, which I crossed and then headed back on the other side of the river. 23.5km took me to where I had crossed the river the day before, but the Canoe was on the house side!!! I had to swim the 300m across the river...

Don't worry I didn't only excerise when we were at the house:

Food needed to be cooked!
Then, all too soon the sun set and it was time to pack the car and head home:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pollsmoor 10km race

The wind of the last couple of days was taking a break, and the sun was out!!! It was still almost 30 as I left home on my run to the start, why drive when the race is only 8km away and you need a warm-up

Pollsmoor 10km race, Plan before the weekend was to run 33:59, Like that was going to happen, so the plan changed, I would go out fastish and then run for money... (Nice thing about being old!!!)

On the start line I saw Gugs, none of the other guys were there!!!

See I'm looking to my left at Gugs (all the way on the right with oranje top)
A 1st km of 3:23 had me in 2nd with the 3rd 40+ just behind me. I hear that Gugs went through 1km in 2:55, I haven't done that since the turn of the century  I was pleased he only lasted 3km before he fell apart... (or it would have been me falling apart)

3;23 3:31 3:27 3:43 3:42 17:48
I now know 2nd was mine so I decided to aim at breaking 36min
3:40 3:37 3;34 3:39 3:31 18;03
2nd 40+ 10th finisher

Next story, a weekend in the Breede Valley...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December 2012

Where to start, well let us just have a little look back at were we have come from... OK it was Winelands Marathon, and the rest week, that about sums it up. So with the rest week now behind us it was time to start training again...

After my surprisingly fast half before the marathon I wanted a fast 15km and a fast 10km before the year was over, So the plan was to put in a couple of speed sessions. Yes I can handle the distance, so I just wanted the speed I had from before the marathon...

My plan was good, but the weekend got in the way (remember the long run with Sam over the mountain?) Then role on the 4th and my birthday!!!

What do you do for your birthday?

  • take the day off.
  • sleep in
  • go for a run
  • have lunch by the pool
  • go out for a romantic dinner with my lovely wife
So I put in a days leave and slept till 07h00 before setting off for a run. I was on my own and with the Bakkie parked at the Nek I took off down the contour path again...

There are so many differnt runs I could have done, but with sam we had run slowly. (Sorry Sam) With the clock ticking and the 80's tunes in my ears I set off.I knew I would be faster than the weekend, but most of the time would be made on the mountain, so I was pleased to see the 1st split of 63:51 (2 minutes faster) then the split to Platteklip 23:41 (another minute). Lets call Platteklip 2.2km with 700m Climb!!! I still didn't have any bounce as I started the climb up the face of the mountain, but I slogged on, and then after about 20min I started to become focused and put in a little quad work!!! Stopping the clock on a fast 29:16. My breath caught up with me after 5 min and then I set off. I don't know where it came from, but I was on fire and the tricky sinlge track slipped beneath my feet like a tartan track...

Then 20min later I hit the wall (OK 2h20 on only water will do that) but lucky for me I had my Turbovite and a gu in my bag...

Shattered Coach
It took 10min to kick in and for my legs to start to work again... but by then the running was over I only had 5km to go and it was all down hill... 2h54:34 I stopped at my car, a full 25min faster than on the weekend!!!

The rest of my week was spoilt by a quick trip for work to Pretoria, so I only got in a couple of short runs... Role on the weekend and my 15km race.

I looked at the easy runs as a bit of a taper, so I thought I might be up for a quicky!!!

The wind was blowing and as I tried to push the pace I could do nothing, and with 6km down and the wind behind us I was flat, and was reduced to a jog...

After running like a three-toed sloth with only 2 toes, I headed into Constantia for hills on Sunday after 8 reps of about 1:45 (340m with 30+m climb) I was ready for home and the pool...

With the year almost over it's time to post this blog, as this weekend we are away for a few days and i hope to have tails from a far on my running adventures!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Yes it's week 47 in this year 2012. While we here in Cape Town are still getting ready for Summer, never seems to want to get here...

So what have I been up to in this week post my Marathon:

Unlike all you good guys out there who listen to their Coach!!! who have taken the whole week off, yes just imagine 7 days without running... (my eyes are closed and I'm trying) No I can't!!! I was out running on the Sunday. Now because Dawn had been on the road supporting me I popped on the bike and went for a ride with her, as nice as it was to be out on the bike, I don't really call that exercise, so I went for a little run later in the afternoon. No, I'm not mad it was 5.5km easy.

Monday, again I tried to be clever and sent the boys off on there own easy 10km forest run and I stayed at the track to run a couple of easy laps. I am after all recovering for a marathon. Ms 310, you evil little lady you... I just had a little look at her sleek lines and I saw the forbidden numbers 4:07 / km oh dear!!! I was planning of an easy 5km on the track to stay away for any hills...

Was I really running at 4:07? As I past the 500m mark I look at the time the running time 2:06, so what must a boy do? Up the pace a little and run at 4's... It felt easy as the laps ticked by I was able to 'float' around the track, I really wanted to keep the run easy, so I moved off screen 1 and onto the one that shows my heart rate and it was in the 140's so that was easy enough... I don't know what happened over he next couple of km but the HR was now in the 150's and climb, so I changed screen again and did a bit of maths, I was running to fast (don't you just hate it when that happens?) I was still a long way of 20min, but 5km was approaching all to quickly.

I stopped the clock at 18:01 and walked across the field back to the club house Oops!

Tuesday I got myself back under control with a slow 5km and a quick 500m on the track to stretch the legs.

After Wednesday's easy run 10km on the road I was ready to train again so Thursday saw me back on the track hammering out a couple of fast 400's. No more messing around I want to be fast again...

Friday was amazing and I was up at 05h00 for a run around the block, I'm going to be enjoying these morning runs more and more, its so much easier to get out there in summer than in the cold dark and wet of winter...

Saturday, Can you believe I stayed away from the race, but it was out at Mitchells Plain and I need to get on my Mountain.

Sam joined me and the 2 of us head off from the Nek at 07h30 I do like to sleep in now and again... lucky for us it had rained overnight and was cool with a couple of clouds on the mountain. (We would meet them later.) I had a nice little route planned and we set off round with mountain on the not so flat contour path to the block house.From there it was the gravel road through to the back end of Tafelberg Road. This was meant to be easy, but we were now running into the wind! A wind that had cleared the over night rain, and Sam summed it up well; it's like running on a treadmill!!! and that it was...

The mountain lay ahead of us!
After 1h32 this little climb lay ahead of us, and as we started I told Sam we would meet at the top... I always race the clock on climbs I've done before and it's a good tester to see if the legs are working... It a short run 2.2km with 660m climb!!! The aim as always is to break 30min, but I'm off my game, I'm getting old and fat,
it took me 31;38...

Waiting for Sam at the top
Nearly there...
Yes the clouds had now moved in the the run over the top was cold and wet, did I say cold? Yes Very cold, I bet around the zero mark with wind chill!!!

That's what Ms 310 tells us!
Some 3h21 (28km with 1285m climb) and we were back at the cars, and ready for the rest of Saturday...

With another Cycle and short run on Sunday I was ready to start training on Monday... The aim, to see if the little legs can still run fast!!! (although I might run this route again and have a crack at that sub 30, there is a straight race up with a record of about 27)

Happy training

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


With a 05h30 start out in Stellenbosh the alarm at home went off at 03h45!!! Yes that is early, but in hindsight (20/20 vision) we could have left 5 min earlier... Had said it wouldn't have helped. Let me explain: We picked Jana up at 04h15 set off on the trip out to the Cape Winelands in Stellenbosch. No Problem. Then as we left the N2 We had to stop!!! there had been an accident and the burnt out car was still sending smoke signals of Blue and Red flashing lights into the sky (see 5 minutes earlier could have put us in the accident!!!) The in the little town the traffic was heavy with lots of runners heading to the start line.

Can you see me in my Orange hat?

All that said I was at the start line chatting to my friend before the gun went off and while a couple of guys set off round the tartan track as if it was all they were doing we didn't. It didn't take long for a group of guys to join me: OK let me see if I can remember who all was in the bus as we headed out for the 35th running of the Winelands Marathon:
Coach Dion, Richard, Sam, Stef, Ake, Marko, Seppie, Ryan, William, 'Celtics' x 2, 'Strand', and 1or 2 other guys I couldn't really see, Oh so that was about 15 of us, but in any case it was a nice group and with the running easy and the early km slightly down hill we hit the 5km board in 19:47. Stef was the only one complaining about the pace as I had told him 4:00-4:15... He was nicely hidden at the back of the pack and with it down hill he stayed with us as I guaranteed him we would slow at the hills started.

This is at about 20km
But the 2nd 5km was also mostly down and we kept hitting the pace 19:50. I don't think we had lost anyone till that first hill. Now in my books none of the hills are that bad, but when you are running at your limit those climb hurt, and over then next couple of km we lost a couple of guys. 20:47 and 15km were gone. I was relaxed and enjoying the race (run, my race was later in the day). Sam and I puled a little ahead on the one hill and I had to hold myself back, as you all know the 21.1km mark isn't half way!!! We past this in a little over 85min and then climbed the biggest hill of the day, this would be my slowest km 4:32. This was Richard's first marathon and he had done enough running to go all the way at this pace...but he needed reminding that half way was only at 30km and I lot could still happen.

20-25km took us past the turn-around 20:37. The little climb to 24.5km we ran a little fast and I had to pull the guys back, but then it was a nice down hill, and all I could say was don't let it hurt you... Stef and William let us go, and now the group was maybe only 6 big... I had hoped that 5 or 6 of us could run through to the end together, but had wasn't going to happen.

Dawn (my wife) had been on the side of the road taking a couple of pictures and watching the race, and as we over-took a 40+ guy she told me I had moved into 4th! Those 5km had been mostly down hill and our split 25-30 was quick 19:12, but then we turned of the main road onto a side street for a 3.5km out and back loop. That first little bump (don't even want to call it a hill) dropped the guys Seppie, Richard, Ryan, while Sam and I kept the pace...

OUT and back... I could see Dwarsrivier leading the 40+, but he didn't look good, Andries was strong in 2nd and Nedbank in 3rd, I was 60sec back... I was chomping at the bit but the last 10km of a marathon are a long way and with 60+ marathon under the belt I know a few things.

We had just seen the leading lady before we turn back onto the main road and started the last of the big climbs. I told Sam not to work to hard on this hill but then... but then!!! Dawn was on the side of the road and told us that Dwarsrivier was walking.

Time to go...
The Fun Run was over and I turned into race mode, dropping Sam on the hill and changing gears. It felt good, this is what I had wanted out of the race, to have fun, run with my friends and then be able to turn it up a gear if needed. The 5km split from 30-35 was 20:07, but as I was now a man on a mission chasing 1st 40+ I had upped my game... 19;00 took me to 1st 40+ and the 40km mark.

The Winner takes it All

In fact I was now far enough ahead that I could jog in to get my target time of 2h49:36. 13th over all and 1st 40+. 3 guys from my club were really happy to see me, saying: Mr Dion we knew we could count on you! And with that we had won the team prize!

Winning Team
Now of cause before the prize-giving you have to kill a lot of time, So I spend it drinking with my friends!!!

Alan is on the Wine, I'm on the beer and Shandy Dog is resting after a long morning supporting

Monday, November 12, 2012


Sunday is long run day, RIGHT, but this Sunday past called only for a short recovery run, my TAPER for next weeks marathon has started, and not a day to soon.

Without a long run on the program I had time to cycle with Dawn, water the garden and take the dogs for a walk and all this in the morning before Church. My 30min run would have to wait for midday, it should have been easy and the I should have been floating around the suburbs without breaking a sweat. Why then did my hamstrings feel tight, my calves sore and my quads like some-one had take a baseball bat to them?

So why were my legs sore, I couldn't have been the cycle ride in the morning, as that was slow and only 20km, so maybe, just maybe it was the half I ran of Saturday. But I had also run a half last week, and that was the day after 2h20 in the mountain and I still did an extra 9km after the race and my legs still felt great come Monday. So what was different about this Half. No it wasn't hilly, in fact it was quite flat, so what was it? Money, yes Monday can do that to your legs!!!

In the week I had seen that the prize money in the weekend race was good, and over the 21.1km distance I have a chance of climbing on the podium in the vets (40+). Standing on the start-line I looked around and saw that this was going to be NO LITTLE JOG...all the old men were there!!!


I took the lead at the gun and lead the race out of the car park before settling into my running. First the youngsters streamed past then Shaun and Rasta, Graham was next, and I told him to make then run hard so I could pick up the pieces. When Johnny past me I decided enough was enough and if I wanted to have half a chance I would have to hurt. 1st km was a little over 3:30 as Roger (open) Eric (50+) and Alan joined the bus. Johnny and I set the pace and past 5km in 17:39. We were now on the long West Coast Road and the running was easy (I am really lying to you, running at 3:30 is never easy) we caught and past a couple of other guys and our group fell off the back one at a time. Johnny and I past the 10km board in 35:11 (17:32 for that 5km split).

Ahead I could see Shaun and Rasta take the turn into the golf estate, I took the split, 55sec. With the twists and turns as we ran through the golf estate I didn't get to see them again till we hit on road again and the 15km mark, we had been slow 17:50, but the gap had closed to 45sec and Rasta had opened a couple of meters on Shaun. Johnny was breathing hard and I had been hurting since the gun, so I did what any guy (or girl) would do...

I decided that it was now or never, and I put the hammer down and started to knock out 3:30's again. The gap to Shaun closed fast and as I caught him he said he needed some-one to run with... Now I'm a nice guy and run many of my races with my athletes helping them to better times, but not today!!! I surged as I past him and went in hunt for the Rasta... I tried the same again, but he came with and I couldn't hold it so I eased back to 3:30. That pace didn't last long, Rasta surged and I went with. It was turning into a game of cat and mouse, but I think I had the upper hand, although Rasta was surging faster than me, he was slowing down more. My surges we more just picking the pace back up to 3:30...

Then with 1.5km to go I went with one of Rasta's surges and held it... he wasn't ready for this and needed to slow. Yes I also needed to slow, but that would have to wait I had a hunger in me that I hadn't had for a long time and I was in race mode. I was now running alone and waiting for the finish line. Up the ramp and over the finish line in the parking lot where I had left 74:36 earlier!!! That had place me 6th and 2nd old man.

Looking back over my records I haven't been under 75 in the last 6 years, So I think I've done something right this year!

Next week Marathon

Thursday, November 8, 2012


What should I call this? Maybe:
  • The secrets to training for a marathon!
  • Tips in getting to the finish line.
  • 26.2 is a long way.
  • 42.2 is a long way.
  • The more you put in the more you get out.
  • Boston here we come
So you are thinking about running a marathon?

Is it your first?

Do you want it to be your fastest?

Or do you just want to finish?

OK so if you just want to finish, all I can tell you is get out and run, the more you run the easier the finish becomes, so read on and then get out there and run...

First up, we need to tick over, so what I call ticking over and what you call ticking over might well be 2 different things, but we will work to get them closer to one idea:

If you were to pick up Runners World or something like that they would throw a marathon program at you which would read like this: Runner's World Marathon Plan for Intermediate Runners (16 weeks). Stop right there, 16 weeks, are they mad!!!

I could never have only one goal for 16 weeks, so I will tell you no marathon plan needs be longer than 6 weeks, yes 6 weeks... But the better you want your marathon to go, the fitter you need be when you start your 6 weeks....

So back to the ticking over: I run 7 + time a week with weekend runs up to 3 hours long, and that is just ticking over without looking and running any real races... You don't need that much. Maybe 3 times a week (45-60min) + weekends of 90+min. (this 90+min EVERY weekend is NB NB NB because as you start thinking about a marathon you need to be running 105-120min and that is so when your 6 weeks marathon training starts you are ready...

OK So let us start 11 weeks out (I know I said 6 weeks, but it's nice to build a bit before you start to train:
  1. Monday: Easy / rest / cross train
  2. Tuesday: Tempo, yes it would be great to head down to the track and run lots of reps, miles / 1000m / 800m or what ever floats your goat, but it's not about that, all you need to remember is: I need to work hard for say 20-30min of a 50min run, and by hard we are only talking of half marathon pace, Now you don't need to run all 30min in one go, so you could run 10 hard 2min easy. Don't run the hard to hard, you want to be running for at least 3 days before you rest...
  3. Wednesday: Easy and Hilly (keep the heart rate down, you don't need a heart rate monitor to track your heart, you can run by feel. Remember it's not about who has the bigest balls in training, it about who has the biggest balls in the races, easy days are there so you can train hard on the other days.
  4. Thursday: Tempo on hills (find a hilly route and run the hills so your heart rate climbs, but only on the hills, the rest can be easy)
  5. Friday; Easy / rest / cross train
  6. Saturday: Marathon race pace (20min of a 50min run (then adding a 3min to the run each week at marathon pace)
  7. Sunday: long (90 and building (90 / 100  / 90  / 120 over 4 weeks)
So after 4 weeks of running TAKE a WEEK OFF, rest... we want to be fresh and ready to train for a marathon, with 6 weeks to go we have 4-5weeks hard with 1-2 weeks taper. Remember: If you have had a good build and REST these weeks of marathon training will start and be very easy for 2-3 weeks before you start getting tired and wanting it to be taper time. We can then work that last week and a half easy to focus for a short time then it's race time.

OK 6 weeks to go:

So we are looking at putting together 5 weeks of hard running with 1 week of taper (OK the taper starts the weekend before the race) now let us have a look at a week:
  • Monday: easy run (we like those don't we) 45-60min (keep it easy!!!)
  • Tuesday: week one 2 x 5km (20-25min) hard, 2 min rest inbetween, you can warmup for 10min and warm down for 10 min. (by hard, I just mean hard, but remember you have to do it all again... Now I could say run at 10km pace, and because you are resting for 2min between the reps you sould be fine, some people might want to run a little slower... So hard is hard!)
  • Tuesday: week two 3 x 3km (10-12min) hard (same pace as last week, if not a little faster), 2 min rest... ect
  • Tuesday: week three 4 x 2km (7-8min) hard, 90sec rest... ect (see the rest is getting less, and you are still warming up and down, the rest can be a slow jog if you want)
  • Tuesday: week four 6-8 x 1km (3-4 min) hard 60 sec
  • Tuesday: Week five 6-8 x 800m (would nice to be on a track) at marathon pace (so if you want a 3h30 marathon, you run 3min 30sec, rest 60sec Yasso 800's
  • think of ME at the club, I run 5km warmup, then 8 x 1km, then 2km warm down... that gives ME 15km for the day, and half at pace... TICK distance, TICK speed.
  • NB do not run to fast, to hard, you need to finish the sessions...
  • Wednesday (took us a long time...) like the runs we did in the forest, get out there and run 7-12 miles easy, you want to recover from yesterday and not end up tired for tomorrow.
  • Thursday: Now this is where it gets dificult, because I don't know you well enough to say run 400's, run hills, So look at it like this: you need 50-70min for the day, hilly and like the building weeks just work the hills and get the hart going. Yes we would have you running 400's 200's or hill reps, but lets not go there today...
  • Friday REST (for me that means 4-10km easy, for you it could mean sleep / swim / cycled / dance)
  • Weekend: This makes your marathon easy or not...
  • MP (marathon pace) over the next 5 weeks (30min / 45min / 60min / 30min / 15min (week before the race)), warm up and warm down...
  • Long runs (2h10 / 2h30 / 2h30 / 2h00 / 1h00) (those first 4 weeks run easy and only pick the pace up for the last 10-20min to MP) if your marathon is going to be 4-5hours the long runs need to be longer, but I wouldn't go much over 3 hours, you will just get tired...
  • Weekend is 2 days, so use both of them... or some of the guys I know like to rest on one of the days, so it's long run on the Saturday with the MP at the end of the run a little longer, so sort of running the 2 days in one!!!
Now some of you might end up dead if you train this hard, so just cut back...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


With the easy week after the OTTER / RETTO a thing of the past, I started with my marathon training...

OK where does one start with marathon training, in fact where do you start with your training for anything? You run a TT to get some idea of where you on the fitness scale. I was in luck, there was a 10km race on the Saturday, so I found myself on the start-line...

I've run this race many times over the years and know the route pretty well, so I set off at a good pace from the gun 3;27  3:28  3:29, Ms 310 (my new Garmin, the old 205 didn't like the rainy winter we had here in the Mother City) was reading the km a little short as per the km boards. The 3km had a little climb and then the race climbs to the high point just after the 5km mark. My time at the 5km board was 17:50, so I knew a sub 36 was going to easy, just how much faster could I go?

I was flying down the hill, I Ms. 310 tells me I knocked off 3km in a row under 3:20!!! I didn't even know my legs could move that fast... At each km board I was doing big maths and working out my projected finishing time. Then I turned the last corner and saw the finishing clock, no more maths, the clock stopped at 34:50!!! My fastest 10 in over 4 years!

So I have a little speed left in the old legs and something to work with for my marathon:

After only and easy run on the Sunday and Monday, Tuesday saw the hard work start with the hard work, 3 x 10min hard with 2 min rest... The week was now well under way now and after a 15km run on the Wednesday it was time to raise the heart rate again! I had a nice little session planned for the Thursday: 5km, but we were running hills, up at marathon pace, and down fast. I was running just under 2:00 for the 500m up and down in 1;40ish. With the warm up we did and the cool down back to the club I logged 14km for the day.

After a 5km recovery run on Friday I was ready for the weekend... I saw Saturdays 15km race as a nice chance to get a little training in, so I planned a tempo run with a little warm up to the start of the race and a warm down back home... 32.5km later I was home and a little SHATTERED!Maybe the weeks training was catching up with me...

Now as any self respecting distance runner know, Sunday is long run day, so I meet a couple of the boys at the club and we headed out for a little run across the face of Table Mountain...

The running was easy and with the sun at our backs we just jogged along...

It was warm and when we stopped to regroup we waited in the shade:

After 11.5km of running we reached Tafleberg Road (the hairpin on the right) our route then took us up the road to the next hairpin before a short climb to the top of Kloof corner, 1.2km 190m climb!!!

But at the top we were on the contour and it would be flattish all the way back!!! But before we headed back, Sam (all the way from the USA wanted his picture taken)

Richard and Sam
 Ran run back was easy and we just jogged along the single track to Devils Peak before heading down to the club.

The run was only 22.5km (750m climb) and had taken us 2h13:08, but since the 2nd half was all single track and the 1st half had plenty of climb in it we had done OK.

Week one of Marathon Training done 115.5km and now let us see if I can put together another good week before the marathon...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

OTTER / RETTO harder than you think!

Back in 2009 I was luck enough to get to run the 1st OTTER trail race, I didn't have a good run and after swimming the river I spent the rest of the race cramping...

Roll on 2012, with a little more training and a year without injury and again found myself on the start line of one of SA's favorite trail. OK we weren't in the Tsitsikamma National Park at the start of the Hiking trail, we found ourselves on the beach at Natures Valley, the end of the trail... We were running the RETTO, the OTTER in reverse!!!

An early morning gathering of the best of the best...
Let me just side track for a bit, The Otter Hiking trail is a 5 day hike along the coast, and with a waiting list of up to a year, it's a must hike for all hiker, but why hike when you can run.

The count down started and off we shot, OK not quite we had to plant our 'dibber' (the timing chip) before we could head off... The really fast boys were right in front and took off like they were running a track race!!! I took my time and soon found myself passing a couple of people on the beach heading for the first climb of the day!!!

NO I didn't run up those stairs, I walked and at the top I found myself in the 2nd group of guys, the quick boys were gone, and heading for DISASTER!!!

OK this is where I need to tell you another thing, at the start I turned Mr. Garmin on, and he turned himself off!!! I tried again and again, but nothing... I had charged him the night before and for the prologue he had worked just fine... I want to say I don't know what happened, but I think as I unplugged him from being charged he turned himself on (he does this some times, but I normally see this and turn him off) and ran the battery dry over night. So I had to run the race watchless!!! Now for a road race that is no problem, because km for km or mile for mile you can see how far you have run and how much longer you are going to be out there, Not so in the Otter!! First hour or 2 it was OK then but then hours 3-5, I just didn't know how the clock was going, was I need the finish? Just how much longer did I have to run / walk for? was that last hut the last hut, or was there one more!!! I had no clue...

I'm getting ahead of myself, After that climb it was "flattish" till the climb down to the last hut on the trail (our first hut of the day.) I was 2nd in our group behind Greg (who would end up 3rd on the day). My race was going well and when we reached to bottom Ian (the eventual winner) past us on the beach and danced over the rocks as if it was a dance floor. To let you know just how tough this race really is that drop was over 100m and after a short run on the rocky beach past the hut we climbed up the other side... (another 100m climb our 2nd of the day and we had only been at it for 40min...)

I lost a little ground on that climb, but Ian was a man on a mission! At the top I didn't rush, we were less than 10km into the race and with 4hours of running still to go I wasn't worried. Then between 10 and 11km we hit the Mighty Blaauwkrantz:

OK So this is the swim!!! yes we had to swim about 30m before we could stand. That is Ian coming out of the water with Will behind him. The blur at the top right is me about to start my swim, Yes I was still in it...

the rest of the field
The water was beautiful

Straight after the swim, it's up the other side...

OK this climb was 10km further on, and although it looks like another swim, we had crossed the river higher up and it was only knee deep for 10m. If you look carefully you can see the huts to the left of my head and the the path leading down to them. The race doesn't drop to the huts, but follows around the gouge before dropping to the crossing point. just before I started the descent I could see 3 or 4 guys crossing the beach of the river and it looked like Ian, Greg and who knows... So at half way I was still there and there about!!!

But the 2nd half is what sorts the men from the boys, and in my case the young from the old!!! With only 20km to go the front of the race was hotting up and I was cooling down, the endless up and down was taking it's toll. I think I caught another glimpse of them at about 27km the next big river crossing, and in fact as I crossed the beach Mike, the early pace setter was heading back looking to pull out, I think there was blood on his head and his spirit was also broken. He had set out to break 4 hours!!! Since you can't really just pull out he did end up finishing the race in about 6h40!!!

I was still moving, and I caught one of the English men, and together we headed on. Then with about 10km to go (this is all guess work!!!) I had a little crap in my left quad!!! I stopped and walked a few steps down!!! and it went, the English men was gone... I potted on hopping that we were almost finished.

I think I was mentally tired and the legs didn't really want to climb any more. I was walking strong and kept going. Then it happened, Bruce Almighty (Arnett) passed me and like a Duracell Bunny he bounced up the stairs ahead of me... He would beat me by 15min.

The last hut and the race home, I now knew it wouldn't be long now before we hit the rocks and the waterfall and that would signal 2km to the tar... my footing was bad and I lost time as I had to walk more than was needed and although I had caught the English men again, he got away. A couple of other guys also past me, and I know I really should be beating them, but today was not my day. I reach the tar with John and Victor, and the 3 of us jogged the last 1.5km to the finsh together finishing 15, 16, and 17th. 5h09:16.


Yes that is a good time for 42km of single track with 2500m climb, but I feel I'm better than that and could have a 4h30-4h40 in these old legs, but that is a story for another day.

Now I really wanted to end with the picture of the 3 of us finishing together, but that is out there for me to show you guys...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


A pestie fly buzzed at the window breaking the silence, ok it wasn't quiet as the sound of the waves could be heard crashing on the rocks below. Don't get me wrong the sea wasn't rough but in the little Sea side "town" of Vleesbaai there wasn't much else to be heard. 

Shandy, my little Jack Russell, lay in her basket feeling sorry for herself after a walk on the beach. We think she was stung by a blue-bottle.

Peanut Boy was on the couch resting... 


The 4 hour trip up was without incident, for a drive in AFRICA... We headed up the National Road and had to stop to take pictures of ELEPHANT!!! Yes from the National Road we could see Elephants...

Soon after that we left the highway and headed for the coast, our eyes now peeled on the bush... We didn't see any other game, but did have to leave the road to let a heard of sheep go by... (sorry I didn't have the camera out.)

It was a good choice to take an extra couple of days off work and spend the time on the drive up and down. The truth be told our neighbor has always said we should visit his little beach house, and with a view like this, why not...

The next day it was on to Plet, party town to the rich and famous... I was able to put in warm up run on the beach before the prologue on Friday. I drove through to Stormsriver and the race venue on my own, leaving Dawn and the puppies behind. 

The prologue was a little 4km jog through the forest... some 22:36 I was finished. It was twisty and turny through the forest and I had run hard enough to place in the top 25 (18th) and that placed me in the front group of the race... With the main event being single track from almost the gun (just a short run across the beach) they wanted to seed us. With my seeding done I headed home for the night.

OK this was home for the weekend...

 Tomorrow was the big race...