Wednesday, July 31, 2013

HBTC 2013

HOUT BAY TRAIL CHALLENGE is one of the big trail races here in Cape Town and like many of these races there is a mad rush to enter, with many people not making the cut and ending up on the waiting list...

I was in...

I was Packed
Yes for a little run on the mountains they make you carry a lot of stuff, but the weather had turned and rain was on the way, so I had rain gear and a warm top, drink and food and a bit of first aid stuff, I was ready...

On the Start line...
The race started at 07h15 and we set off out the harbour and up the first mountain, OK it's a small mountain and took me 35:26 to reach check point 1 at the top 600m climb. I was in the lead, as I had taken the right tracks up, while the others had tried short cuts than weren't! But no-body was far behind and Christian (in a team) was first passed and set off on a kamikaze flight down the hill. Then it was AJ who took off after him.

On the next little climb to check point 2 I closed a bit, but then the 2 of them went into free fall and vanished down the mountain. I was going caught by some kid who I don't know and the 2 of us danced down the rocky banks for a while, then:

See the blood on my hand?
My hand slide down a rock while my shoes NB 1010 (love that shoe) stood still! The kid passed me and danced down leaving me to bleed to death... No I didn't died (just yet) but pootled on down. By the bottom and the end of leg 1 Greg and Andrew had joined me.

Still relaxed
Had time to take a bow!!!
Leg 1 - 74:50 a little slower than last year, but I was feeling good and we running without a worry in the world.

Leg 2 starts at Suikerbossie restaurant and in the first 2.5km you climb 420m, so it's more of a scramble, I managed to get ahead of Greg and Andrew and could see the kid 10sec ahead and AJ 40sec ahead as we climb, Noel was now running for the team and must have just been ahead of AJ without me seeing him. I took my split to the top and good, so I didn't mind that the other were ahead, I was running to plan... Now the weather gods also had plans of their own and the clouds darkened!!!

The next 6km took us to the top of Kasteels and I didn't really see another sole, ok once I saw the lead pack about 2-3min ahead as they climbed Groot Kop. I was still moving so while I could seen the guys behind me I could hear them as I climb Groot Kop. The heavens opened and the paths turned to rivers and if it wasn't for my hat I would have felt the hail on my face. I was loving it, but it wasn't wild enough to slow things down and as I turned onto the old railway path to the dam my time was on target... I now had Greg just behind, but dropped him as we ran round the dam on the road.

The next section was tricky as the paths were still under water and not knowing were you are putting your feet can lead to problems... I didn't fall and turned to the Neck on the path from the top of Nursery. I could feel I was being chased down, but turning to see if there was any-one behind you would only spell trouble. I could see the Overseer's hut and the road down. It was Greg chasing... Andrew also joined us as we took the road down. I look back and didn't see the rest of the chases so with 2 of the legs almost finished it was race on... The single track to the Neck isn't for racing, but the boys didn't know that and dropped me like an old man with a broken leg...

This is also leg 1 with the kid still behind me...

Leg 2 - 1h51:14, total time 3h06:04

Leg 3 starts with 250m road before you hit the last mountain... The climbing started again and there ahead I could see Greg and I was closing...

I should stop my story here as things were going well and I had been having a good run... But like the race I must go on and tell you more! I became light headed and dizzy, and all I wanted to do was sleep, just curl up and sleep... But it was cold and wet and I was alone on the mountain, so I pushed on... slowly over the top I was loosing time but the finish line was all that mattered. One more climb and if I could climb this last mountain it was easy going all the way... I looked back on the climb but didn't see anyone, but I know they were coming!

Yes I was up and now last year I had to walk on this down, this year i wasn't going to fall to pieces, or was I? I crossed the Manganese mines and started down, but the legs were slow and wait I was going to be caught... He was in a team... I soldiered on... Then is happened just before the fort, Derick caught me I was now down to 2nd 40+, but maybe the legs would come back... Down to the cannon and back up to the road, what Nic, the next 40+ guy was also chasing.

I hit the road and took off, but Ms 310 (my Garmin) wouldn't let me run any faster (ok it was my legs) I got to the beach and Derick was off in the distance and Nic was next to me... and then he was gone.

The running was easy and at my slow pace it splash through the river and started the last km I could feel people running me down... I wasn't caught and I climbed off the beach and splashed through the finish line, race over...
Leg 3 - 1h26:54, total time 4h33:00 lost anything from 5-10min on that last leg, but maybe I just didn't have it in me to keep pushing hard after 3h15...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Not much to say:

This is just a short post to say:

I took last weekend off, NO I still ran and one of my runs was a 10km race, but the other day, Sunday, was only an easy 5.5km. Yes I've been taking this week a little easier... I have a big race on the weekend and the thought of start on tired legs isn't will only make from a long day in the rain!!!

Yes we have rain on the weather front for Saturday as we tackle the +_ 38km of the
Hout Bay Trail Challenge
last year I wasn't in the race mentally, long story (read about it here). This year I have not a worry in the world and I hope to be a whole lot faster than the 4h48 of last year, I would like to run colse to 4h15, and I believe I can... (will the weather let me)

Tonight I register and then I have to ensure I have all the gear, water, food, rain gear, first aid stuff, and the list goes on...

The 10km last weekend was far easier, I just pinned my race rumber on the night before popped through to Table View entered and got ready to run. I didn't really race, just set out quickish and then settled into half marathon race pace... I think I had another 5+km in the legs at that pace so maybe by the time I have my half to race I will be ready to race... but that is a story for then.

Pack the bags and get ready for the weekend... Time to race

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Salomon Bastille Day Trail Run

With pictures like this of the 2012 race:

I jumped at the chance of running when my sponsor "CONTEGO" offered me an entry. There are 3 distances to choose from and with a couple of other big races coming up I opted for the middle distance 25km...

Franschhoek, where the race is held, celebrates Bastille's Day is if they were French!!!

The 35+km guys (and girls) set off at 07h30 on their 40km run and I waved them off as I got ready to run...

From the gun, which I think was just a count down by Trevor, I took the lead!!! Yes I wanted to win, but I was really just wanting to set the early pace and check out who was there...

Kane, who is getting ready to head to world champs, Christiaan, who is just back from world long course champs, Nicholas, and a few others who I didn't know... Kane and I pulled away setting a fast pace for the 3km 11:30, then we climbed a bit and Kane kicked. He had said he was going to take it easy with just 2 weeks before champs! Oh to be young and full of energy!!!

km 4 was hard work and the gap behind to Christiaan opened... The road (ok it wasn't really a road) flattened and I could stretch my legs again 3:48. Then Trevor hit us with a single track and a fire break and we climbed 123m in the next km to get on the most amazing single track around the mountain. I want to say I was flying round the mountain but after almost diving off the trail into the bushes below I had slowed a bit and was hugging the mountain side... maybe a bit to close to the mountain!!!

Christiaan had been catching and I needed a mountain to climb to open another gap... but Trevor sent us over the saddle and down... I put in a couple more sub 4's but so was he.... I even almost caught up to Kane who had backed off a little, but after seeing us he put the foot down and left us.

More rocky single track lay ahead of us and I lost my 2nd place in the water!!!

Maybe 5 river crossings!
I wasn't running badly and on the next climb, a gravel road, (No I wouldn't take my bakkie on that road!) I caught up again... The race was afoot...

I was hoping that his race of the other week was still in his legs, and I could break him on the fast trail. BUT he tied and invisible bungee tow rope to me and let me fight the wind as we sped round the mountain. (4:13 4:06 4:09 3;55 4:13) He hadn't broken and his young legs danced down the rocks as we left the trail. I thought I could get close enough on a last little climb to run him down on the road to the finish, but it was to short and with another double river crossing I was left behind...

Kane had won in 1h56:48, Christiaan 2nd and in 2h00:09 with me 3rd 2h01:01, not bad for an old man...

the route

Friday, July 12, 2013


Yes hills are on the program again, what do you mean again, they are always on the program. Living on the slopes of Table Mountain I have grown up running hills and seem to have gotten quite good at them!!! Not only that I love running them...

So as a coach you will often find hills in the program. Now, depending on what we are training for will depend on what type of hill we do, so I hear you ask, what hills are you running at the moment? First up: I am training for a 4 hour trail race followed by a 3 day stage race, so I need to get a lot of running in to ensure I'm strong at the end of these races. Now with that in mind I will tell you that my training isn't what my programs are about. I need to look after the needs of the students, and I hear them say: fast, Coach, we want speed... a 10km in record pace, and then we want to run on the track in the summer.
I knocked up over 50km this weekend (2 runs) with almost 900m climb in Saturday's run and about 350m climb on Sunday... So with a little distance done and enough high meters under the belt during the week I can focus on the "kids".

After a rest / taper week last week some of the guys were ready to get going again, so they were excited about the session that lay ahead. We've done a lot of different hill sessions over the years, but this one is new to a number of the guys. After a 2km warm up we started: 60 sec hard / fast, easy down, (here's the real kicker) regroup at the bottom (to encourage competition) and bang I set then off again 50 sec hard... Then 40 and 30, all the way down to 10 sec. Before heading back up starting with 10 sec again. (you can really run those short ones fast.)

Now I've run lots of hills over the last couple of months, but like most of you I've been lazy, just running them. Not tonight, I hit the hills hard and tried to take the kids with me. I worked hard rep after rep and except for the short reps I was man alone out front. Hope in a couple of weeks the guys get hungry to ran fast!!! With one hill session behind me I hope I can stay focused on the sessions and then kick some butt at the end of the year!!!

Friday, July 5, 2013


I was lucky enough to watch (on TV) a Diamond League athletic's meeting, why am I telling you this? Well I think I need to become a proper runner again... I need to run track, and not just a couple of sessions on the track, I need to race!!!

So with 26 races already run this year, and while I am lucky enough to sneak the odd "old man's" prize, it's not really running... It's slow, I mean have you watched a 5000m track race:

Those boys run at a different pace to us trail runners, last nights 10km took me an hour, they run 10km in 27min!!! So the road I run on is hardly a path and up the side of a mountain and theirs is flat and made for running while my was made by mountain goats! I still dream of running fast. No I won't get near to 27min for 10km, or 13min for 5000m. I can aim at 15min for 5000m (that is 15:59) and I want that 4 min mile (4:59).

The 4 min mile, or should I say the sub 4min mile... first run by Roger Bannister back in 1954 then in 2 week (19 July) is will be 16 years since Daniel Komen ran 2 miles in sub 8 !!!

So I plan, in the summer, to see if I can get a picture of me flying round the track...

But all that said you can expect to see me running on the mountains this weekend, role on summer I have a need for speed!