Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Yes I've take the last 2 weeks easy, OK not so easy that everyone would call them easy, but easy for me... I did have a very hard January (1st weekend in Feb) which saw me running 5 trail races in the Summer series and 4 Road Races including a fast hard half...

With the rest behind me I'm looking forward to the next 5 week as we build for Oceans and I attempted to do well in the trail race. Now if I plan to be strong for 2 hours of hard, technical, trail running I had better head for the mountains, so on Saturday I met the 'Boys' in Tokai!

Driving to the start
It's not a long drive and I have run there when I was fitter...

We park just behind this house
And yes you are right we were heading up the mountain, all the way!!! We left the car park at 07h05 and headed up the gravel road (yes gravel road no single track going up this time.)

The car park was full, but must on the people in the "mountain" were on bikes and we slowly ran them down... They don't stay on the road, they spend the day on the single track between the roads. We ran together chatting for the first half eating up the gravel road... Then the gravel ends and the 2nd half is tared as we climb from the saddle round the back to the top.

Jayde pushed ahead and I soon followed (make that very soon), now being a man of habit I took a split as the surface changed 31:30, Will, the walking (OK running) calculator, wasn't with us this morning, but I could do the maths myself, 28:30 to the top would break an hour... As I pulled up with Jayde I told him to be careful or he might pop! (He said he was fine...) Ake joined us, leaving Roger, Roger and Richard behind... If you haven't run up to the mast you won't understand how that tar road just climbs and climbs... I kept the tempo up, I want say I was taking it easy but... (I do think there was a little I'm the tank). I soon found myself on my own pounding the tar, focused on the road ahead. I had my pack on with 1.5 l of water, a towel and a few other things. My pack was heavy the right weight for training... I am hoping to get strong. I'm going to have to do a bit of training if I'm going to kick butt come race day... This little run up is just over 10km (Mr Garmin calls it 10.3km) and with 800m of climb it's like something out of the Tour de France!

I reach the top and had to stop
I touched the fence and stopped the clock 59:30. (once I didn't break an hour, so I came back the next day on my own and run up in 58min!!!) So I'm mad...

Ake and Jayde climbing the last section!
Richard was in a rush, and headed straight down, while we turned left at the gate!!! This took us over the top and down to the top of Blackburn. It's a great single track and Roger (one of them) felt a little out of it as the others disappeared over the side, I hung back to take a couple of pictures...

Over we go...

There is a path there!

The view to the see, and Hout Bay.
In the saddle we regrouped for the next leg of this run...

Roger and Roger
Yes that is the mast in the back ground... from here we headed to the dam for a swim, it was perfect there without a breath of wind, in fact it was such a perfect morning that a couple was having wedding pictures taken! I know I should have taken the phone out and caught the action, but I ran on to the other side for my swim. It wasn't a rushed affair, we stood in the water for a while before our swim and the run down to the cars.

Our run was, wait for it, 21.1km Yes that's what Mr Garmin called it and we were just under 2hours running time, so it was a little short, but I did get out on the bike on Sunday for 2h42:21 for a little ride before church!!! Don't worry I don't really call that training so I went for an easy 10.1km run after lunch, in fact that was a nice run, Dawn and I had popped over to join her mom for lunch and then as we left I hopped out the car and ran home in the heat of the day, 30+ degrees. We have a swimming pool, so I was straight in after the run to cool off.

Let the training start...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I had choices to make this weekend: I could run Peninsula Marathon or half on Sunday, or I could hit the mountains on Saturday and cycle with the runner on Sunday... It was a no brainer... On Saturday morning I joined Jayde and Will at the club for a little jaunt on the mountain! I had planned on running the Oceans Trail route. 22 km on Devil Peak and into Newlands forest. Weather man Pete had told us it was going to be hot and windy, but he was wrong, again and the wind was on holiday and as we headed through UCT to Rhodes Mem we knew it was going to be a perfect day on the mountain. OK Will and I knew it was going to be a perfect day on the mountain... Jayde on the other hand had a pair of legs that belonged to someone else!!! And they weren't going to get him up any of the hills (cliffs) that lay ahead... 3km into the run he threw in the towel and left us to the single tracks.

6.8km in, 440m climb done!
 I stopped at Tafelberg Road to take a couple of pictures:

the view of Cape Town
Look the other way you couple see Table Mountain and the path that lay ahead of us:

onward and upward
This is the best part of the route, it doesn't climb much (OK 50+meters is a lot for that 1st km) and follows a "contour" around Devils Peak. The path goes all the way to Kloof corner the other side of the Cable Station, but today we turned and headed up to the saddle between Devils and Table Mountain (Another 161m climb).

Lion's Head in the distance

After round Devils Peak on the upper Contour Path we dropped (357m) to Rhodes Mem.

Will before the last drop to the block house.
From there we climb into Newlands forest for a last loop and then back to UCT...

2h42:16, 22.6km and over 1000m of climbing it was a great moring out...

Sunday was another early morning... Thankfully I wasn't running the marathon, with a 05h15 start I would have been up before 04h00!!! 05h30 was earlier enough. That gave us 30min to walk the dogs and get on the bikes and out the door.

From home we headed to Town on the Main Rd, it didn't take long to before the lead guys started coming towards us... About 3km into our ride we stopped at the 15km mark to watch our friends come by and see how they were doing. Nic had already past (the guy I had been racing in the Trail races) and would finish with a 2h36 (I did get to see him again at 37km). With 2000 people running I felt I know half the field but I wasn't going the hang around all morning watch the guys (and girls) come past the 15km mark, this was more than just a supporters day I was out training for the Argus Cycle Tour. Soon Dawn and I were on our bikes and this time we set of after the race slowing down to chat to the runners as we past them.

Peninsula Marathon follows the Main Rd from Cape Town to Simon's Town, and is normally run into the South Easter...

With no Wind this morning Stef was moaning he was running to fast!!! and a couple of others didn't want to listen to my telling then to take it easy as the really race (Oceans) is only 7 weeks away...

at about 36km
Dawn is cycling with her friend Jana (on her way to 3h18 and a PR), and Maxwell going backwards!!!

We hung around at the finish for over an hour before cycling home and finishing our 60+km ride. It was now 11h40 and 30 degrees, but I still had to run, so before it got any hotter (34 by 14h00) I headed out for an easy 5km around the block. It felt good to be out running after spending 4 hours on and off the bike, a bit like training for IRONMAN, no I don't think I will be doing that again in a hurry...

With another weeks training so it was time to relax in the evening:
Dinner on the patio

Monday, February 13, 2012


My hard training and racing is over for now, I have a couple of 'rest' week ahead, and my legs are telling me I need them. I worked them into the program to coincide with the start of Varsity. (I don't want to scare the 1st years off  with session of 10 x 1000m and 20 x 400m in the first week.)

Not wanting to be soft, I ended the week with a 2 hour 42 min trail run on the back table of Table Mountain. It was amazing and even though we started in the rain it didn't fall for long and it was cool the whole way. I was surprised how the path on the back table has gotten over grown over the summer. In winter the trail races take us on that path a couple of times and it gets used a lot in training.

With the run behind us I headed home to play Husband / Gardener!!!!

 Have a look at the tree outside our front door, it's just getting to big... it was CROSS TRAINING time. So instead of going to the gym, or finding the dumbbells. I got out:

Weapons of War
Yes I took these things to the tree, giving myself an upper body workout 2nd to none...

Then the clean up had to take place and I had to get every thing in my bakkie!!! (that is the picture I'm missing.) But I do have an after picture:

Maybe I'll take more off next weekend

So almost 3 hours later I had earned that beer...

Friday, February 10, 2012


What a perfect weekend Cape Town has had with the mercury in the 30's and no wind (a rare thing in the Mother City). After Wednesday's race my legs were sore, yes I also get sore legs, but I don't let it stop me training! So Thursday evening (in the wind) I ran 10 x 400m, 77ish. I hope to be running these on 72-74 in the next couple of weeks...

That aside I was taking it easy (it didn't feel like it was easy.) I had a big racing weekend ahead of me:

First up was the Lion of Africa Half. I could have taken it easy, I could have run the 10, I could have stayed in bed, but why not race a half the day before the Trail Series Final race!!!

I had to race the half, I'm starting to get a little fitness back and it was therefore time to put the hammer down and see what I could do!!! 3:37 it was a little down hill and I formed a group with Roger, Allan, Will, Richard, Mr Defence (40+), Mr Fishhoek, 3:37, 3:39, and I had to let them go... Will and Richard stayed back with me, but the others went. 5km 18:27, the pace was good, but it was hard work, and this early on in a half it should still be easy, I pushed on dropping Will and Richard... Oh looky here, a little hill to 6km and yes I think I can work my way back into that group. NO not on that hill! The legs aren't really working, so I can 'free wheel' down the hill and all that work is lots. Don't worry all is not lots as we started to climb again, to 9, and then the 'biggy' to 10km (37:07) I kept the work up and caught Roger, Mr Fishhoek and Mr Defence, Allan was also working the hills and he had pulled ahead. I didn't join the group and pushed past. Mr Defence ( my competition for 2nd 40+) didn't like that and he fought back, but I had a gap as we rounded the top of the hill... he chased hard almost catching me by the next hill, this was going to be a little battle!

Again I pulled ahead, around the Green Belt and down... I thought for a short moment I had dropped him, but he wouldn't lay down and died!!! He was back on my tail, the race was on again... He stayed with me as we climbed the next hill, and I think that is where he lost the race!!! Because we went down together, then I pushed was flat and I pulled ahead opening a gap on the next climb. (15km 55:14). I nailed home the advantage by trying to run fast down the next hill. 16 to 17 was all up hill and I head the advantage already, I felt the race (for 2nd 40+) was mine!!!

I now turned my attention to the clock and started doing a couple of sums, well at sub 4min/km my maths goes out the window... but I was able to figure out that I couple dip under 78min if I kept pushing. So with the clock ticking I left any chance of a good trail race (to be run on Sunday) on the tar and beat the clock finishing with 77:53!!!! My fasted time in 4 and a half years... a 40+ PR

I woke up early on Sunday and my legs were still shattered from Saturday's half, but that never kept me away from a race!!! I tried to talk the guys into a slow easy start... but that didn't happen!

What lay ahead!
We left the sports fields at Oak Valley for the last race in the Trail Series, with only 4 to count both Nic and Alan weren't on the start line, but the rest of the field was there. (they had already won the series, open and 40+) I was already coming 2nd, but I when I race I race to win, so I wasn't just there to loosen my legs after yesterdays half...

I didn't take the lead from the gun, but let the other set the pace, Derick and Ake took the lead with Eddie myself and a youngster... I promise I wasn't toying with them, but for the first couple of km I could do nothing, but then we started to climb, really just a bump in the path, by Derick slowed and Ake went past...

Like a Tour De France cyclist I covered the move taking Eddie and Derick, but then the path flattened and I found myself in the lead, so I kept the effort up. at the stage, our 15km route joined the XL 25km route, and with people to chase I took my chances...

We crossed a Dam and then the real race started with the path climbing up the mountain bike tracks on the farm. For the next 3km we didn't climb much, but we weaved through the 'forested' gullies. I was running at 4:00/km and pulling away from the chasing guys, but it wasn't till the hill to 7km and then to 8.5km that I really got ahead. I looked back and took a split, 45sec... with it being mostly down to the finish I know I still had a bit of work, so I pushed every flat or bump and cruised the downs.

At 13.5km  I could take see a guy on the XL route about 60 sec ahead, so as I past where he was I looked back, taking a split on Eddie who was chasing, a full minute back.

the finish, no that's not me coming in

The race was mine, the head work was over and yes I would pay for it running hard 2 days in a row, my legs were shattered till Thursday.

Guess what, no races this weekend!!! so what will I do, run on the mountain, tell you about it next week.

Friday, February 3, 2012


It was a windy Wednesday and I had taken my running stuff to work, there was no time to head home first, this race was out North. (OK it wasn't really out north, but it was in the Northern Suburbs).

The ride (Remember I'm on a motorbike) out there was simple, down the N1, take the turnoff and the about 3km up that road follow the signs to Tygerberg Nature Reserve... The Reserve is at the top of the hill (people were parking half way down the hill and walking up) with amazing views of Table Mountain,

(OK it wasn't so good today)
but I wasn't here for the view, I was here to race:
Now I would like to say: We jostled for a spot on the front row, and then all to suddenly the shot broke the eerie silence and we were off... But it was nothing like that, we where all still chatting when Owen said 10 seconds and then GO...

I was off, with my 40+ win last week I know if I could pull off another victory today I would have a shot at the series title!

the start
Yes we had 300m of tar at the start (and finish). That is me in the yellow trying to get a lead before the down hill. as we crested the top I had some young upstart with me, then over the top he let loose... Then Ake also came past, also flying. Just a point here I was running at 3:10 /km this madness ended after 400m and things returned to normal! I ran down Ake and the young upstart, but Nic also pulled up to the front, as did Allan (my 40+ competition) Eddie and 2 Zimbo's... I was working hard really pushing the the next couple of km's. Yes it was still down hill, but if I let them get ahead I might never make it back into the picture.

We were now running along a single track on the side of the "hill" (it's not really a mountain), I could see the leaders, now 10-15sec ahead, but the it wasn't going to stay that way, we had to get back up... One by one they fell, the Zimbo's and Eddie, Allan had put in a walk, and then I had Nic... He didn't stay with me as I just kept running (OK it was jogging, that km from 4.5km to 5.5km had taken me 6:27, and I had climbed 141m). For the 4th race in a row I was in the lead at half way, I crested the top and took off, I was pushing, but I had no speed. Nic soon joined me and together we weaved down and around to the dam at the bottom of the course. I could hear Allan catching and the 3 of us rounded the dam together. With just the climb to the finish left I thought I had a chance, but the gradient wasn't kind to me and the 2 of them ran away from me leaving me in 3rd (2nd 40+)

I need to get fit....