Friday, June 28, 2013


Over the last 25 years I've done a lot of running and most of it hasn't just been running for the sake of running, but training hard in search of fast times...

I've always run to the clock, timed my reps and I know what shape I'm in and can start a session saying today will be 8 x 1km at 3:25, and they will be that!!! OK when I was younger I would gun it and see how many I could do in a set time (too fast for me to aim at 10 x 1000).

What about my easy runs, well easy is just easy, if I was feeling great I could run 10km in say 40min, or if I was tired I would take 50min. No problem.

Roll on 2013 and Ms 310... she not only tells me how fast I'm running and how far I've run, but she also listens to my heart!

Over the years I've had a couple of friends run to their heart rates and some thought it good and others didn't really know what was happening!!!

Now, one of the blogs I read (Miss Zippy) is using her HRM, so I decided to do a couple of runs with the HRM...

Wearing a Bra!
My first run was a "long" (OK not so long) 20km run on the road and flat... I was a couple of km down the road when I look at the HR and it was about 130, so I did a few sums and decided that 140 would be a good max for the day...

Not having set Ms 310 to shout at me when my HR got to high I had to keep looking. This was not good news as one other the other fields on that screen was ave pace!!! (Oh Dear!!!) so I watch the 2 fields and it wasn't till the first hill that my HR started to climb to 137  139 slow down Coach, 142 too late... 139 there we go. It was hard for me to watch the ave pace drop and I had just got it under 4:30, it was at 4:28... I had to relax and pick up the pace on the down hill.

The game I play... down we go and faster we go, that 5:00 km really hurt the pace. But it's about control and control is hard. I lost it one other time, but the road was flooded and I had to throw in a surge to get over the water or get splashed by a passing car, 142 again...

I ended the 20km in 89:48 which was, in my books, nicely done Coach.

Another long run (on the road) had me running 15km flat same pace 4:30 for the 140 HR, then I climb to the Nek and really had too slow to a slowest km of 5:53, but coming down I was running sub 4:10 and my HR dropped as low as 120...

With all this in mind, one of my athletes, who has just gotten a new watch (with HRM), text me and said: what now I have a cold I need a long run, what about my marathon ect.. ect.. ect.. I said: No worries I guess your aren't really sick, but are starting to feel the heavy training and your body is rebelling... So listen to your heart and do the run, but don't worry about how fast you are running, just don't let your RH go over 150-155 (he's a lot younger than me and these number are based on age and fitness, or just the zones on your HRM).

His long run was fine and he even did the session in the week watching the HR working at a % of his max, so, yes he was slower, but he wasn't taking strain and get the session in, BONUS. He didn't get really sick and again is looking good for Knysna.

And that is my story for this week, the Coach has spoken.

PS I'm not a Doctor, so what I tell you is from years of running and listening to my body and watching my "kids" so if you don't feel comfortable doing that talk to a real Doctor...

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Over the last couple of years I have been lucky enough not to have had any serious injuries, in fact I have run every day for the last 560 days!!! I here you guy saying, but Coach you tell us to rest, well guys I do rest, on a Friday I only run 4-8km easy and then other days if I'm tired or not feeling well I will leave a session or a long run and only run an easy 4-8km. I know that if I don't run I feel guilty if I see someone else out there running...

Now I have a couple of friends who can't run, who have been hit by injury or illness and this last weekend I was thinking about them as I took to the mountains...

We have Ryan Sands, who after being sick and not finishing his last race (the one Down Under) was keen too get training again and... after doing an ankle in, is stuck inside for a bit...

 Training on the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill
While me, I've been seen on the mountain's about his house in Hout Bay:

This one is for you Ryan!
The sun was out after a little rain and after running through a waterfall I look back and took a picture of the others I had just run past...

Perfect day on the mountain.
Wait, I happen to know that Ryan has also gotten his feet wet while running this last week.... Dawn saw him Aqua jogging...

With Monday a public holiday I met a couple of friends and we took off round the mountain... This run was for another friend who is sick and has been for a long time now, so for her it was a long run, what is 3 hours and 1000+ meters climb between friends!!!

The top of Kasteels...
It was youth day holiday, so I took the kids with me...
I wish by my running I could make other people fit, but it doesn't happen like that... At least they know I'm out there doing it for them, putting in the hard / high miles, Hope you guys will run a couple for me the day I can't!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

12 out of 24

How long have you been running?

Have you always run races?

And lastly, do you have a favorite race?

I have always run... from the days of asking my Mom to time me as I ran round the house while she worked in the kitchen.

At school I ran Track and Cross Country, and even a couple of road races. Since school and the army the best place to find me has been at the local race... and this last weekend was one of my favorite races!

The Table Mountain 16km

I lined up with the about 250 other runners and set off up the mountain... I know this race well, better than most, with 23 finishes to my name and the start line only a couple of km from home, I've spent a lot of time on the mountain.
From the gun 4 guys took off and sped up the first hill, but the hill doesn't end! After 500m the first of them had slowed and I ran him down... I was feeling good, which was a little surprising to me, OK I had taken Thursday, Friday, and Saturday easy. No not because of the race, but because my calf was playing up after a killer session on Tuesday! So the couple of easy day had worked in my favour and I start to hunt... I love the hunting game, I know they had gone out to hard and they were playing on my mountain. I moved up another 2 places.

After 3km and 300m of climb I caught 'Admire Rushika' a guy from the Nedbank running club. He surged a couple of times to try and stay ahead, but the surges got slower and slower and then from pulling ahead they changed to catching up. I took the next hairpin in the lead. Years ago I had the ability to put the hurt on people, but now I have to just hope what I am doing is enough to hurt them I had about 15m on him as I took the last hairpin and started the steepest part of the climb to the bridge. Dawn had walked up with the puppies and was there to cheer me on. I was still running and feeling good, 'Admire Rushika' was walking, I had to push home my advantage... Over the bridge the road flattened and these young guys are just so much faster than me, so on the hill I had to push hard.

The King Of The Mountain was mine... 26:47 almost 60 sec slower than my fastest ascent!!! Now the race goes around one of the dams and back down. I thought I was running fast, but I was been caught, and Admire past me on the dam wall.

19:11 around the top and back to the King of the Mountain (another 75 sec slower than my fastest) only the down lay ahead... 
Have you ever race down a mine shaft?
Have you ever put your body on the line?
Have you ever ran so fast that if you didn't run faster you would fall on your face?
20 years ago I would fly, I could run people down, I had no fear... 
That was then, now I just don't have it, that need to win, yes I will fight a bit, but pain and I are no longer friends... I looked over my shoulder and couldn't see anyone, so I guessed I was safely in 2nd. Admire was still in sight, but a good 30-40 sec ahead. 

It was good to still be running well as I crossed the finish line 63:47, a long way off my best time of 58:55. I had lost most of the time on the down hill to the finish (17:45 was a full 3 min slower than back in 1995).

Getting my King of the Mountain prise
It was nice to have the ladies record holder to hand out the prises, Monica is a legend.

I have a long history with this race and coming 2nd is part of my history... now with 24 runs under my belt I have 12 second places!!! to go with my 2 wins and 2 3rd places...

Next year I will train hard...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

FAST and FLAT 10km race

5 weeks ago we started a program for Knysna Marathon or half, a race lots of the guys like to run. Now the 1st 4 week we hit the track and worked of our speed with the aim or ticking off a fast 10km before the 2nd half of the training started.

Last week was easy, a rest / taper week planning of leaving us refreshed for the next 4 weeks of hard training, and putting a little spring into our feet for the 10km race this weekend.

Friday night was amazing weather, but it was the "Calm before the Storm"!!! Yes the Cape of Storms was about to live up to it's name... A clod front was rolling in and bringing with it weather form the South Pole.

I pined my number on my vest on Friday evening, I was thinking about running, it's always good to line up for a fast 10km route. No I didn't think I could match my time of earlier in the year, but I had a group of guys who had their eye setting fast times and it would be good to support them. I was hoping for the good weather to hold, but no such luck... The alarm went off while it was still dark and I was up, but after a turn in the bathroom I climbed back into bed! I didn't need this... OK it wasn't that bad, but I could hear the mountain calling, she was covered in dark cloud and promised excitement.

I climbed back in bed.

The weather wasn't bad at 07h30 when the gun set the runners off and some of them ran well (other stayed in bed!) But 08h00 it was light enough to head for the mountain, so parking my car of Constantia Nek I set of for MaClears Beacon the highest point of the mountain.

Wanting a hard run I aimed at getting there in under an hour, and after the first 25min I was on pace... But then I hit the single tracks and the going slowed, it had rain over night and the path was wet, the rocks were wet and, can you believe it I didn't really want to get my shoes wet!!! I danced over the rocks a puddles moving at a nice pace over the down routes into Kirstenbosch (Nursery and Skeleton)...

Skeleton ahead

Before the rain

The 'nice' weather of the morning was gone... Newlands is one of the wettest places in South Africa and I was now heading over the mountain in line with Newlands. I was back in the clouds and my lovely easy run on the mountain was about too become an adventure... I was now running slowly as I had to stay safe and only reach Maclears in 61:15...

didn't stand still for long
I hit the rain and the puddles became rivers, the single tracks disappeared under icy water as I ran into the teeth of the storm with no mountain to protect me. I turned left at the top of Platterklip and headed to Kasteels though the Valley of the Red Gods.

It was hailing and raining and an amazing day on the mountain, I just don't understand why I didn't see another sole up there!!!

Hail on the side on the road
Yes it did stop and after 2h20 I was back at the car with 18km and over a 1000m of climb under the belt, tomorrow would be flat...

Sunday was flat and I only got to run late, I had spent the day watching Comrades (someone else's story) so at 17h00 I took a gap in the rain (and more hail) and popped down the road for an easy 20km. I like to mix it up on the weekends with a long run on the road and one on the mountain...

Thanks for reading