Monday, August 26, 2013


After a recovery week last week it was time to up the tempo and get training again, I do after all have a couple of big - long races on the cards and I don't want to leave it to late!

Now unlike so many people out there who think they need 18 weeks of training, I'll settle for 5 weeks. Look it's not like I'm coming from nothing, I'm never coming from nothing. So week 1 looked a little like this:

Monday, I was happy to take it easy and only run 10km on the road, it's been some time since I've run 30km tempo on the road, so I could feel it in the legs a bit!

Tuesday: Like all the good people out there I headed for the track, but the track was under water from the rains we've had in the Mother City, so I took the UCT boy to a road loop we have. It's 2km long and the 1st km is up ish while the 2nd is downish... They are all aiming at a fast 10km when week of my marathon, so while I should have been aiming at 8-10 x 1km reps they were aiming at 6 fast... I was slow on that first one up, but that will happen without strides (only because you asked 3:25).
Number 2 was down and I still had no speed 3:18. The fast boy were just over 3!!!
Back up 3:18, that was better and I had started to catch the weeker boys.
Down 3:06, Caught all the boys, but after shouting at one of them he ame back from the dead and beat me...
Up 3:19, I was working really hard and though I would be a lot faster!!!
3:09, no this isn't working, I'm running far to hard for those times and if I call it a day now, with the warm down I will have 13.5km for the day. It will just have to do.

Wednesday: and another easy run, this time 14.5km ran out of time, was wanting 16km but I had visited a shopping center!!!

Thursday: Track day, but the track is still a swomp and I don't want to mess it up, so it's off on the road again. I have another little loop, this one is 500m long and works well for the 400's... 79.2 for the first one, shoot me, that is too slow. Focus 60sec rest is up and we are off 78.1, 77.8 we are getting there, I thing the rest were all under 77. This running on the road is hard when running fast, I hope the sun dries the track this week. Only 10 400's this week, again to few, but with running back to the club I have 11.5km.

Friday: rest day, so I up at 05h00 for a little run around the block 6km.

Saturday: PUFfeR day!!! A 70-80km trail run from Cape Point to the Waterfront, NO I'm not running, but I'm going to pop up the mountain to see a couple of the guys go by. 2 of my CONTEGO team mate joined me and the 3 of us headed into the clouds. We looped through Valley of the gods around to Macclear's.

It wasn't that cold
This was a check point for the race and the guys were still a long way off. OK there where 25 really stupid runners who had started from the Waterfront on Friday and were running both ways (+_150km Andrie Gie won in 18h30 ish).

From here we headed back to the Nek, our starting point, and as we flew back (that is the highest point of the mountain so it is down hill the whole way (if you believe that you will also believe in the tooth fairy)). The slower "Tuffer Puffer" guys were on the route, but no Puffer guys. it was going to be a lot slower than last year. We were back at the cars park before the leaders came through.

That was 2h13 for 18.5km OK the single track and 1000m climb had slowed us down, I now had 25km for the morning having run from home to the start... was I running back, NO Dawn was fetching me as she also wanted to see some of the guys come through and the dogs needed walking...

Sunday: Now what is on every program for Sunday? A long run!!! So again I set off from home, but this time I was on my own and I tried to stick to the road and run a little faster... Another 25km done thing time 1h55:59 and that would have been a little quicker if I didn't end up on the top path in Cecelia Forest giving me 500m climb!
It was Summer here on Sunday and after 2 hours in the sun I had too:

Yes the water was cold, Yes I needed to rinse my shoes!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


With 3 days of hard racing under the belt it was time for a rest week, OK I don't really rest, I just run less... So even on Monday I popped out for an easy 6km run to ensure that the legs were still mine!

Now with the boys at UCT looking to run well at Cross Country Champs they were on a taper week, so come Tuesday it was time to turn the legs over for real with a couple of 500's. Cape Town in the winter can often through a spanner in the works, and with the bit of rain we've had the field / track didn't look like the right place to run...

Now I am a Coach of many talents and with Ms 310 on my arm, 500m can be 500m anywhere... So in the quiet of the suburbs we have a nice little block to run around. My plan? Race pace, their plan a little faster, and we are all having lots of rest in between. I stopped at 2 and they finished off with 6.

Now I think I owe you the truth, yes my legs still hurt, well only the quads, and that is from flying down the forestry roads on Day 1 and Day 2 of SOX. So I also kept the rest of the week easy and then... after Saturday's easy 8.4km and the legs now starting to feel OK it was time to get back on the road and get a couple of miles under the belt, I do have another 2 big races in September... A 35km trail race that should take 4 hours and wait for it, a marathon the week after!!!

Where was I? Oh recovering from SOX with an easy week, and it was easy, Saturday was only 8.4km and then.... Well it had been our wedding anniversary (15 years), so we had a party!!!

It was a great party with 5 brides still fitting in their wedding dresses, feel stupid now as I didn't take a picture of those as we have in other years... Yes we often have parties like this!!!

Back to training... Well it was after 01h00 when I climbed into bed after cleaning up and getting the house looking normal again. No sooner than I had turned off the light then the alarm went off, it was time to get up and head out to the 30km race!!!

A great race around the Simon's Town Block... Red Hill, Cape Point and the coastal road back. Lucky for me it was just a training run and really just to tick off another 30km long run, so no pressure!!!

Ran over Red Hill with a couple of friends, but lost that bus at the bottom (11km) as I popped into the bushes!!! 5kg lighter I set of to Cape Point after them... No I didn't chase them, in fact I slowed a bit and let the guys behind catch me so I had some-one to run with. The running was easy and with 10km to go it's downhill and easy, so I (we) kept the pace honest. and with 5km to go I again found myself along and chasing the guys in front. I wanted a little bit of running at the end... I am thinking of maybe running a fastish marathon at the end of the year.

I was happy with my run and the fact that my legs still work, now I'm ready for week one of training...

OK I race 2h01:31 (running time 1h59:45) the last 10km had been 38:30, and best of all I bet I had another 5+km in me at that pace, so bring on the training...

Ed Note: I ran a couple of 1km reps on Tuesday and the 30km, well it was in the legs a bit and I really had to work hard to get going...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Southern Cross 3 Day Trail Run

I was down to run this race over a year ago, in fact it was since I run it last year in April with Steady Eddie. We were going back to see if we could improve on our 3rd place. Well a lot can happen in 16 months, and Eddie went and got his wife pregnant, and this week he's becoming a Dad!!! Great for him, but not good for Team Contego...

With everything already planned for the weekend I needed a new partner... Bring in Bernard, OK he's no Eddie, but he's Tall, Black and African... and boy can he run!!!!
  Now I want to say: Oh $hit, I had better get training! So after a couple of training runs I found myself on the start line.

That is us on the start line
SOX DAY 1 (Mountain)

With a simple count down Derick took the lead with Bernard and myself on his tail. His partner, Noel, was just behind us with the other +_ 300 following close on our heels. With this being the 'Mountain' leg we soon started climbing, and with that we took the lead.
the forest road took us higher and higher, till at about 7 km we turned left onto the trail and the start of the first real climb... Derick and Noel were nowhere to be seen, but the Jo'Burg Boys were only 20-30 sec back. Bernard powered up the hill, while I had to do a lot of walking. (yes even the front guys walk!)

If we wanted to keep out lead I would have to come to the party as the lead looked like it was now under 20 sec Bernard let me take the lead as the trail flattened and I took off to check point one. It was rocky narrow and flattish and I was floating over the rocks...

Great Running
Just past one of the overnight huts on the hiking trail we were running we left the contour, and boy did we leave the contour. Not up this time, but down, down and more down... My new New Balance 1010v2 were amazing (thank you New Balance) as I feared nothing, or maybe I feared letting Bernard down!!!

At the bottom we lost a few seconds at the river crossing, but the last 3.5 km had given us a bit of a lead. I don't remember the climb out of the valley being that long, it just went on forever! Finally the contour at the top, now as much as I love racing along contours, this was going to be something else... After last nights rain (yes a good 100 mm fell!!!) It was muddy and as slippery as an ice-rink!!! Again the 1010v2's were amazing as they always found grip. (there were a lot of muddy guys at the finish later in the day)

After a couple more river crossings and the 'undulations' on the so called contour path on the side of the mountain, it was time to head down to the forest roads and the finish. I tried to look back a couple of times, but this is not a good thing to do while racing along a single track on the side of the mountain!!! So we didn't know what sort of lead we had.

Off the Mountain
We were off the mountain and heading down to the finish, 6 km to go. I'm happy with how the body was working, and I hoped the run in wasn't going to be to hard on them...

Team Contego
We finished in 2h34:45 for the 29 km (1345m climb) a good 10 min ahead of the Jo'Burg Boys. I hope the legs still work tomorrow.

SOX DAY 2 (forest)

I spent the rest of Day 1 in my 'Make my legs look Sexy' tights, drinking 'Lifegain' protein shakes. Come 08H00 I was ready for the forest, Knysna Forest...

I don't know why Hano (the race organizer) has us walk 200 m down hill to the start only to run up past a lovely Tea House (I forget the name) which would be our finish some 29.2 km later!

The start of day 2
Again Derick took the lead and we followed with Lucky and Johannes (The Jo'Burg Boys) just behind us, yes Noel (Derick's partner) was in the mix as well. OH Dear, here we go, I found myself taking the lead and Bernard, still fresh from his jog with me yesterday, stretched his long legs and stayed with me, So did the Jo'Burg Boys, but Derick and Noel felt the early pace and kept it easy. The forestry road had a gentle climb and we were happy setting a steady pace.

Suddenly, with a left turn we left the 'road' and started the real climb. I hoped the Jo'Burg Boys would fall off the pace, what pace, I was walking... Mean while, my secret plan had worked, as we reached the day's 'King of the Mountain' first!!!
  With the climbing over it was time to head down... OH Boy... I don't have splits for you, but 'Ms 310', (my Garmin) kept telling me I was speeding. This was a 30 km trail race and I was running at 3:05 - 3:15 / km I can't even do 1 km reps at that pace!!!

We dropped about 300 m in the +_ 4.5 km of downhill that followed, and in this time the Jo'Burg Boys opened a 30 sec gap, but turning off the forest roads was going to level the fields again... or was it?

Real Forest
After Day 1's hard effort in the mountains my legs were heavy, while my partner Bernard, still had lots of running in his! I felt bad holding him back, but he was all encouragement as we run through the untamed forests around Knysna. Up this single track, down that single track. I was still running , but felt I was losing our 10 min lead. Around halfway Hano gave us a split of 3 min, we were still in the game. Till one long climb at about 23 km I had to slow down as my left hammy wanted to cramp. Bernard was great giving me a couple of sweets to chew as a downed another 'Turbovite' it seemed to do the job as I took off down the next hill. After a short stop for a drink at the water table 5 km from the end \i felt strong for the last climb.  Slow but strong, with sore legs, but pain is temporary, glory is for ever!!!

Oh dear Mr Cramp didn't like me running so I had to walk, run, walk, run.... Then it happened Derrick and Noel breezed past as if on a Saturday training run for the next km of the climb, it was damage control time.  At last we were up and I could run again 2 km down to the finish.

2h42:27 only 3 mins behind the Joburg boys and yes Derrick and Noel had taken the win another minute ahead.  29.2 km with 1260 m climb it had been another hard day on the trails.

One day left.....

DAY 3 Beach

Time to head to the beach for the last leg of the adventure with 20 km ahead of us would our 8 min lead be enough?  After listening to the race briefing we planned our tactics to keep our lead.  As to plan I took the lead from the start, I wanted to control the pace on the first single track, Bernard, the Joburg boys, Derrick and Noel all following.

Taking the lead
Controlling the down hill
After about 1.8 km of downhill single track we hit the old railway line and turned left to Wilderness. 4 km of sleepers and rocks later the Joburg boys had a 30 sec lead.  Now last night Bernard had called it; They are from Joburg and can't run on the beach.  He was so right.....

The railway line over the river!!!
After 2 km of beach the 4 of us headed into Wilderness to tackle the board walks, or should I say the slippery board walks.  The Jo'Burg boys tried to push the pace, but one of them hit the deck. (good thing he didn't slip into the water!)  They were pushing hard and on a short road section to link the trails they got ahead, and must have had 30 sec on us as we popped out at the water table.

Leaving the vlei we crossed the road and disappeared into the bush....real single track and wait for it.....the climb of the day.  Knowing this would take up to 10 min of power walking I hit it hard with Bernard behind. As we zig-zagged up Bernard past and pushed hard, he wanted to see if they were in sight.  He didn't get that far ahead when he started to wave at me and point up front..... He had caught a glimpse of them, I now started to run the straights and with a 10 sec gap at the top Bernard let me take up the chase on the downhill. I hear the views from up there were amazing, but while running hard on the twisty single tracks I didn't have time to look, I was in hunt mode....This was downhill slalom and I set off weaving through the bush taking corners at almost 45%.  We were back in the game, I could see them, and then at the bottom I took a gap, jumping over a couple of rocks and threw a tree.  I was back in the lead, I could now control the race till the river crossing.....

This wasn't like any other of the river crossings in this race, the river was wide, and needed to be swum... or there was a boat! OK it was more of a raft, and getting there together was important to save time... Jeff's pictures tell the story:

Team Work
Once over the river it was back into the 'bush' and back to the road...
Still chasing me... 
With the race almost over we hit the road, but with most of the 77 km of the weekend's race almost over my legs were tired and 3:50 - 4:00 / km was fast enough for me, not the Roadies of Jo'Burg... They past us one last time and stayed ahead to take the stage by less than a minute.
OK the legs are tired
Day 3 was 18.3 km with 300 m climb we finished in 1h27:56 race over. 

The win on day 1 had taken the race away from the other teams and with only a 3rd and 2nd on the other days we still won by over 7 min in the end...

Thank you for reading, the story in mine, but the pictures come from Facebook, Hano put together a great team of guys to capture all the magic moments, and I have borrowed a couple to illustrate parts of this amazing race, hope to see you all there next year...

One last thing, CONTEGO put faith in us and got us to the start-line, thank you, They also sent a mixed team, and they have a story of their own...