Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Time for a little R & R

Yes even I take time off... well I didn't race, not only that I didn't even run a race! Impressive Coach, even if I have to say so myself!

So let's wind things back a bit and see why I need a little R & R:

- 23 March, raced a 10km on the road, it was hard.
- 29 March, Oceans trail almost 2 hours of hard trail.
- 6 April, Dudleys 15km trail race...
-13/14 April, Mast Challenge 10.5km up! and the VOB 20km trail race.
-19/20/21 April, African X - 3 days and almost 90km of trail with Ian.
-27 April, back to the road for a fast 15km race.
-5 May JMC... 35km of hard trail racing.
-12 May, back on the road for a hilly half. (that was 500m long)
-19 May, HMC 14.5km of trail with 800m of climb.

That is 9 week of hard racing and my body is evidence that you can go on and on for ever...
So what do I do on an off weekend, well we pack the car and head out of town!!! OK it's not that easy as we had only booked to go away Sunday and Monday night's. Saturday, what to do on Saturday, well how about sleeping in (till almost 8, before heading out for a hill session, no racing doesn't mean no training!).

Roll on Sunday, and the winter rains made an appearance, so after another lie in I popped out for a little run before we were due to hit the road. I managed 18km with a little climb up Nursary to see what the weather looked like... the rain was gone, but it was windy in the clouds!!! 2hours later I was back home and ready to pack so we could be on the road by 11h30.
With the wife, 2 dogs and 90 year old mother-in-law packed we headed out of suburbia...

Neatly packed
Stopping at almost every farm stall we bought bread and even had lunch before finally making it to Greyton. Greyton was our destination... we turned right and 7km out of town we found ourselves at the farm cottage we had booked.

Picture me with my feet on the wall and a beer in the hand.
With the car unpacked I opened a beer and put my feet up while the ladies and Peanut went for a walk.
With the mountains in our view just a little far off for an early morning run I found out about the mountain bike trail!!! 25km of mountain bike trail sounded like fun.
So after a night of drinking red wine by the fire I was ready for what ever the "Oewerzicht Greyton Trail" could throw at me...

Not all the signs were clear!
After getting lost in the orchard at the start I found the trail and headed off into the hills.
Look at that, the trail I was running on is also sponsored by my sponsor "Contego". Yes they are also big into mountain biking. It was amazing, I had no clue as to where I was going, I had to keep checking that I didn't loose the trail. I was also on a time schedule as I had told Dawn I would be about 2 hours... With no cell phone reception my phone was only really good for a couple of pictures, so I had to run, and keep running. Short cuts, we only after about 12km did I decide that I would try and cut a couple of 100m off the 25km. I could see a fence crossing off to my right, so I took an animal trail across the field, and yes it was a good move...

The road to no-where

Over the next hill I could see the farm and I was heading "home" 20km was more then even for the start of a rest week...
No sooner had I finished my run then my lovely wife came running up the road, she had spent 40 min running around the river and other accommodation.

The Life
After the day in town I again found myself outside by the fire with a glass of red wine, but tomorrow I would only have time for a short run before heading home, why do we have to work...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

2nd To The TOP

This last weekend saw me head out to Helderberg for the Mountain Challenge, 2 years ago I was in a race against one of my athletes and ended up winning in a time just outside the record, my climb head been good that year...

I was keen to have a good run as I wasn't happy with my last trail mountain run, Jonkershoek 2 weeks ago. From the gun, which wasn't a gun but Sean counting down, some kid in Fivefingers flew down the hill, and had 50m on us as we turned onto the trails and headed for the hills or in this case The Mountains!!!

What lay ahead of us!!!
Yes we were heading to the top, I was doing the 15km race, so it was just up and down... Bernard soon gave chase and only as the hills started did I close the gap, by then Bernard was ahead! It didn't take long to drop the kid and start my chase of Bernard. I thought I was running well and when we left the gravel road of the lower slopes and started the "real" climb... I'm talking about 500m climb in just over 2km it would take me over 25min to summit from there and Bernard would be gone. I climbed well and was dancing over the rocks.
I thought I was moving fast, but the clock doesn't lie, I was slow loosing 3min too Bernard and almost 4 min too my fast summit!!! 3rd place was miles away.

NO I didn't take the pic, but this is the TOP
 I loved the down hill and took to it like an Old Goat, an Old Mountain Goat... I had no problems dancing down the rocky slope... Others were not that lucky!!!

Helicoptor to the rescue...
2 people were air lifted off the top!!!

I was now just running hard and enjoying the way down: Then out the corner of my eye I saw some-one catching me... fast. I held him off on the single track, but the it was down on the gravel road, and he was just to fast. I would have to settle for 3rd, no wait, he was a kid running the 11km loop!

The last stretch home
Finished, Ms 310 called it 14.5km with 880m climb, I was 2nd in a slow time of 92:09, 4:30 behind Bernard and the time I had won the race in 2 years ago, so why when I have been running so well was I so slow?

Well looking at it now the reason is easy to see, but that is a story for another week...

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Before I tell you about Sunday's race I have to tell you about Saturday's run, Yes I did run 20km the day before a half...

So what is my story from Saturday: Well last week I had walked with Dawn and the puppies at the top of Price Drive. Now there are a couple of paths that I haven't run on, and while walking I told my wife I should pop up there and see if the paths take me where I wanted to go...

Price Drive is 1.6km long (yes 1 mile) and you climb 160m, that is over 520feet!!! But it's a tar road, so it's easy up and I was taking it easy... 9:00 later I left the road and hit the trails.

Taken the week before while walking
This is at the start of the trail, in this picture we have just started walking and if you look to the left, that forest is were I was headed...

There is a path...
So I disappeared into the forest, it was amazing... I wasn't moving very fast as I climbed up and down the almost unused paths...

Light at the end of the tunnel
I made it out into clear light and the view was amazing:

Stunning View over the vineyards of Constantia
Then I ran into a little trouble!!!

The path behind me...
The path up had, how can I put it, run out.. and the path ahead wasn't on this side of the mountain, so what did I do?

This was what lay ahead...
I went up a scramble to the top... the 2.6km from the road to when I saw the path on Top took me 39:35, yes that is for 2.6km!!!

the path on top
This path was was great on the top, but then as I headed down the path wasn't always as good:

Yes that is a Path
The Views over the top were just as good:

So much mountain so little time...
Once on the road and heading home I picked up the pace again. My run of 20km had taken my 2h15 (with 30min standing still wondering where to go!)

Sunday's race:
I decided that I needed a tempo run and the Slave run, a Half through a couple of landmarks in the city seemed like a good idea:

Dawn came with and we headed to town in the early hours of the morning... Dawn was only watching and would go for her own little run later as I set off running the race.

My aim, well to not kill myself and dip under 80min!!!  So the 1st aim is 19:00 for 5km, that is about 3:45/km Now I know a lot of you run as per your Garmin, well Garmin doesn't count!!! you have to reach the finish line in that time, so I watch Ms 310 and the km board, well I didn't see the 5km board, but I had time in the bag at 6km (22:30). I needed time in the bag for a monster climb from 9-10 (most of the field walks!!!). With the hill over Ms 310 read 10.3km time 38:30. I had picked up 300m and last 30sec, but that wasn't too bad as I now had gravity on my side! It didn't take long to make up those 30 sec and at 15km Ms 310 read 15.38km 56:49... With 11sec in the bag and an easy run home it was mine for the taking.

Then at about 17km we ran a little dog leg, out and back, 17 had been right as Garmin (Ms 310) called it 17.38km so I was thinking we would finish with about 21.5km... I looked for the 18km board at 18.3km (on Ms 310) nothing, in fact nothing till about 19km!!! Oh sh...t, hope the board is in the wrong place and we hit 19 soon...
Again it was almost 20 when I saw the board... Same with 20, but wait there was hope, the last km could be short, down Darling and to the finish I would be happy, but no we ran up past Darling and joined the 10km race (stupid idea to have fast half guys running through walking/jogging 10km masses!!!).

I was a little upset as I finished in 80:55 with 22.0km on Ms 310... I'm not saying if you would measure the course we ran with a Jones counter and all you would get the 22km, I would guess 21.6km about 500m long, now at my pace that is 1:50!!!

So who got it right? Me or them!!! Do things like this also Piss you off? Trail, Cross Country, can't get it wrong, because it's not about distance it's about route.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

SA Champs Jonkershoek 2013

What lay ahead
SA Champs, yes "they" have decided to have SA Champs in Trail running now that I'm old and slow, I was always going to run Jonkerhoek Mountain Challenge, but now I had to run well. With African X a couple of weeks ago I had a little distance in the legs and then with last weeks 15km I know I had a bit of speed...

It was a strong field that stood on the start line on Sunday morning:

And we were off
No I'm not in the lead, I let then go I think it was 6 of them, then cam the chasing pack Derick, Jock, Lympson , Charl and Myself. I looked at the guys the group and decided that I should take them all... Derick was setting the pace as we climbed the first hill to the single track, Lympson and I followed, I didn't want to work that 1st hill I still had a long way to go... Derick was running hard and would blow, I would make my move then, or if he didn't I would wait till 10km and the climb...

Was he running fast, was I running slow, but I had to let him go, my plans of an attack would have to wait... Derick, Jock, Lympson, Charl got to the climb about 60 sec ahead of me, so I had a bit of work to do, and work I did. Over the next 2km we climbed 424m (10:27, 11:46 km splits) I passed them all and had 60 sec on them as we reached the top.

The front 6 were about 5min ahead and now I had to get into my running so as to run down anyone of them who would falter...

No that wasn't going to happen I was still running slowly and one by one Derick and the boys started to pass me again... Then a couple of others guys also caught me... Andrew was one of them, he was going well and would catch 2 of the front group. I've run in heavy rain and with the mountain covered in snow, but today in perfect conditions my trail running body was on leave.

But all was not over another climb and I took a couple of places back only to loose then again... Now I know you all like a down hill, well how about one with 194m drop in it... No it's rocky and slippery and as I didn't have my trail legs on I was slow (8:16 for the km). I could still see Derick and as I hit the contour I got into my running and set off after him.

No he wasn't coming back he was still flying (maybe he's been training).

Now the boys at the front of the field were had the hammer down and from what I hear Kane, Mike and AJ had got away. I think AJ was leading on that single track, but once on the gravel road Kane, sill feeling good made his move, while 3-4 mins back Thabang turned on the gas...

I was just running and enjoying that fact that I could have a bad run and still run, not have to walk (this has happened before.) The road went on to the finish, but we turned off the road onto another single track through the forest on the side of the mountain. After a couple of km we joined a mountain bike track and then hit the down hill another 2km 244m drop, but this was runnable and I should have been flying, I wasn't, I was hobbling like an old man!!! Then and old man passed me!!! Oh dear... 3rd 40+ now (ok Noel is 50+ so I was still 2nd).

The last couple of km were a great way to finish the race... Now 25min earlier the front boys had passed in a cloud of dust, Kane had run out of legs, leaving AJ to make his move down the hill with Mike hanging on, While all the time Thabang had put his body on the line and even with a couple of tumbles he was closing...
Mike says the lead had change a couple of times over the last 2km and then he had the lead, that was till a fly Thabang took them both in the last 100m... Their time: 2h59:56, 2h59:58 and 3h00:00 yes it was down to the wire... Kane was about 2min back. Then in 17th place was me in 3h27:32. (last man home was about 7h00:00)

Last 50m