Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I've run a lot of races this year, and if you look at the numbers, I'm at 41 with a distance of 890.1km, it might look scary. But if you know me and look at the times I've run, only a few stand out as if I had red lined it for most you the way... Yes I will always push to steal a top finish, but sometimes I look around and give up the chase knowing all to well had I am beat... (or have them beat). Running on the trails is very much like that and when you are racing for 4 hours it is really about running within yourself and hoping that your easy pace is faster than the next guys. Or the next guys isn't running easy and he falls apart!!!

On the road I run a lot of my races for fun, running with friends or as a training run looking for a time I know I can easily get.

A couple of weeks ago I raced a half, but I didn't kill myself from the gun, I have run to many races to make mistakes like that and after looking at the log book I know what my body would let me do, and while I was hurting at the end, and for days afterwards, I ran my time...

Now I'm looking for a 'fast' marathon (I could choose something easier than Winelands) and it scares me. A marathon is a long way, and while I know I could just knock off another sub 3 I want to go faster... 2h50, no even faster... I would like to break 2h40, something I haven't done since 2006.

The times I've run over the 10, 15 and half all say I can run that fast, but have a done enough training to last 42.2km, maybe I should run in miles, because then it would only be 26 of them!!! Coming off the back of a good half I know my speed is there and by all means getting the half way in 79 or even 78 should pose no problem, but what about the 2nd half...?

Like any good Coach I have drawn up a great program, but for one problem, it's only 4 weeks long and the 4th week is a taper week, that leaves me 3 weeks of training and half of that is gone already... So the question is... Am I on track? No, Yes, maybe... only race day will tell. The real question is: Am I scared enough? Do I remember just how much this can hurt if I hit the wall? Can I focus on training for 10 more days? Have I done enough the last 10+ days?

Thursday, October 24, 2013


After hammering the Gun Run I was in need of a couple of easy days and like a good boy I backed off for the week...
OK after Monday and Tuesday easy I needed a bit of excitment and headed into the forest for a little 11km run with 450m climb, I promise we took it easy, and a little climb is good for you. Thursday, well we ended up at Rhodes Mem for another strength session ending with 10 min of monster stairs...

After an easy run on Friday morning I was ready to start the 4 week count down to Winelands Mararthon. 3 weeks of hard training to follow and to start with a little mountain run...

I parked at the Nek and headed off down the contour path to the style just below the Block House (above Rhodes Mem.)

This I filmed (hope you can see it) just above Kirstenbosch, one day I'm going to have more than my phone to film with...

I made it to the style and headed around Devil's Peak to the face of Table Mountain and took Tafelberg Road to Platteklip...

there aren't no mountain high enough...
After 90min of running I had Plattekilp before me, 600m of climb to the top of the mountain. I was a great day out...
I like to do the climb is around 30min, but today my legs was feeling the few days of 'strength' I had done in the week... Still I hit the watch and started the climb... I wasn't the only person on the mountain and I must have passed over 100 people making their way up, most of whom would be climbing for 2 hours.

I was shattered at the top some 32min later:

Maybe the mountain was high enough!!!
This picture was really take a couple of km later as I stopped for water at one of the streams, I sat on the little bridge and though about how I was going to get back to the car, but after a quick call to my lovely wife I was on my way down and home.

The run was only 27.3km but with over 1300m climb and a lot of single track I had been out for 3h06...

Sunday i didn't run till late afternoon as in the morning I was helping at out clubs race, I was lead bike... With the race taking to guys into the Vineyard I was only taking them to the farm and then as they come out I would again take the leaders home...

Watching the crowds heading in..

See you later
One of the leader in the 14km race!

It's a great race, and if you are here next October, make sure you enter...

Now a week of real marathon training lies ahead, lets see what I can put together...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Having already run my Clubs Colour Standards for the 10 and the 15 earlier in the year and with most of my trail racing over for the year, I turned my sights to the Half and a 3rd Colour Standard time... 3 Colour Standards in a calendar year, that would give me Club Honours, and something to race for...

Not leaving anything to chance I put in a couple of hard week training and then, while still training this last week I made sure I hit the good stuff:

building up the tired legs
So with the legs feeling strong it was time to think about what to run in... Well it's a road race and after the blue and white stripes of VOB I was thinking shoes... Now on the trails I run in my New Balance, and I have a couple of pairs I could run on the road with, but I decided to to go old school!!! I was bringing out the old racers, a pair of Nike Air Zoom from 1997:


With the start and finish being about 2km apart I parked near the finish and jogged through as a warm-up. The drive in had lead us to believe that the weather was perfect, but on the Eastern Seaboard there was a bit of wind...

18 000 people is a lot, but lucky for us only about 5 000 were running the half! I didn't even look back to see how far back the runners went, I just joined from the front!

Then with a "BANG" from a small cannon we were off... Passed the Soccer stadium around and to the Waterfront. First up, 21.1km is a long way to be out there running on your limit, so as much as I had to run fast I needed to feel relaxed and watch the clock. I was after all 'gunning' for a time!
When I was a younger man I would go for it putting the body on the line from the start, but not any more. Now I read my "Log book" and it tells me what time I can aim at and I run for that time...
Having looked at the race route I knew I had to go out a little faster so I would have time in the bag for the long hill.

A lot of people started fast and while I know the perils of going out to hard I also know what pace I can come back from 3:19 for that 1st km, and while I was still passing people I wasn't running any faster. The running was easy and I was feeling good, so as the 2 and 3km boards past and Ms 310 (aka Garmin) showed a time of 10:04, it was now time to watch that speed, so I slowed a bit running the next 2km in 7:00. 5km down in 17:04. Game On...

The 6th km was full of turns and we lost focus and with that a couple of seconds, but 7 and 8 I was back in the groove with 2 x 3:20. The 9th km was out and back and Dawn, who had been cycling with the front runners decided to now, was there on the side of the road. She had spotted me down the road, my Orange cap stands out. With her in my corner I now not only was running for time, but for MONEY, I was in 6th place (40+). With the out and back behind me 3:28 I had already moved into 4th.

Another 3:28 took me to a 34:37 for 10km and I now had also caught the 1st lady, and the 3rd 40+ wasn't far ahead as we headed down Beach Road to the turn at 12.2km... At this turn we climb UP to Kloof Rd!!!

Not wanting to explode I took the hill easy, but still dropped the 40+ guy, I had now caught, and the 3 other guys I had been running with... Dawn on her bike also fell back. I wanted to switch into hunt and destroy mode as I past the 13th km mark 3:56, but sanity prevailed. The last bit of the climb wasn't the steepest, but we now had wind to contend with as well and I ended up running my slowest km of the race 4:07!!! I had lost a full minute now but the hill was over and it was now time to drop back down to Beach Road and head back to the finish.

3:20 and 3:15 took me to the turn and then it was home time... I was running on my own with the wind behind and Dawn on the bike shouting at me!!! Some-one was catching me, Dawn was cracking the whip egging me on. While I wasn't slowing she wanted me to speed up and hold onto my place, but I didn't really have much left and with the clock now on my side and the guy catching me wasn't in the 40+ age group... I just had to hold it together!!! 3:19 and a couple of 3:30's took me to 20km. 1.1km to go, I was ready for the race to end as I counted down the distance 100m at a time. (Thank you Ms 310)

Working hard
With the sea to my left I crossed the finish line in 1h14:26 to finish taking 25th place and 3rd 40+, Mission accomplished

So with the 10km (33:26), 15km (51:51) and the half times now achieved, do I see if 3 weeks is enough time to train for a Marathon and give 2h40 a go?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


With another week of training behind me and this week running out I had better be ready to race...

Yes this weekend I will once again put this old body on the line, I will line up with the masses and see what I can do... I'm a number kind of guy and I normally line up knowing what I can run, The Log Book doesn't lie!!! So the other week when I lined up for the marathon I knew a sub 3 was going to be easy, I had run lots and the legs had recovered from the trail race the week before.

This weekend is Gun Run, and while I don't normally run these "Fun Runs" (races aimed at getting the non runner to run) I am looking to run a fast half before the end of the year and the months are running out.

I can't say I have had the perfect build-up for this race, I would have liked 4 weeks to focus on half marathon training and a week to taper... My build-up has looked like this:

  • Since I ran a marathon on the 22nd of September I needed a bit of time to recover, I took 2 days! (I hadn't raced, but just used it as a long run, if I had raced I would have needed a couple of weeks)
  • I've now had 2 weeks training and by training I mean training while focused on the half. In fact one of my training runs was a half on a similar route, this was run at Marathon pace and felt easy, but I couldn't have run the time I'm aiming at now.
  • So what has change, I have put in a couple more sessions and I will be rested.
  • Have I done enough? Only time will tell!
Now one last story about this last weekends long run:

You may have picked up that I hadn't been on the mountain or trails for a couple of weeks, so decided I needed to get out and my aim was the Mast at the top of Tokai forest. I was planning a simple up and down... But than I saw my New Balance 1010v2 and I just had to take them for a spin!

The trip to the mast is +_ 5km forest gravel roads and the +_ 5km tar road to the top... The 1010v2 is an amazing trail shoe, so I turned off the tar and head off through the Manganese mines and up Blackburn, before turning left and up again 283m climb in 1.3km... The shoes loved it I loved it, but I can't show you any pictures as was the plan, because I was up in the clouds and rain...

Let the weekend come so I can race!!!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


With my Trail Season as good as over for the year I am ready to take up the rains as a road runner again!!! So with another Marathon under my belt as a last long run it was time to change gears and look forward to the road and maybe a fast Half Marathon and the Full... It's been a number of years since I have gone for a time in a marathon, maybe now is a good time!!!

Lets have a look back at last week and see how the training has gone...

Having just run a marathon I took it easy on both Monday and Tuesday. (Remember not everyone runs marathons as training runs and you might well need longer to recover!)

Wednesday was TT day, I had the boys/girls and everyone else racing, while I was not ready to race I would use it as part of a session. The TT was due to start at 18h00, so with a short warm up from the club 1.5km I was at the common 22min early... More than enough time to run the route at half marathon pace. I would be running along, but 5km at half pace should be easy. With little or no wind on the flat course I ticked of the km and finished at the start line as the masses were lining up... 17:45 15sec faster than required...

It was now 18h00 and time for the TT and I let the fast boys race the clock, while I was aiming at another sub 18min 5km. The 1st km felt easy 3:35, and with Byron on my shoulder looking for a solid run and a couple of meters back the first lady I had to keep going... After a couple of 3:30's there was 1km to go. Byron was still there and the 1st lady was only 10sec back! Way do I do it... I upped the pace knowing that if I could push that last km and Byron could hold on we would run 17:30! 500 to go and the clock was looking good, another 100m down and Ms 310 was telling me that it was on.

I crossed the line in 17:29 with Byron on my tail. (the winter training has really helped him, and he ended up running a half on the weekend in 80:50, a 3min PB).

Thursday: One of the boys had asked why is Thursday's session on 4-10 x 60 sec hills! Well I bet your legs will start feeling the hills if you ran hard in the TT and then 4 will be enough before we call it a day. I pushed on to 8 before it was enough for me, but a couple of the boys kept pushing and finished a full set. (PS the guy who had asked about the easy session was the first one out... but he had run the fastest TT)

After a couple of easy runs I had been planning on running 20km with a couple of km at Marathon Pace, that was before the weather was perfect and a friend from Jo'burg was to be in town, so I met him at the morning's half and we ran together at MP. It turned out to be a bonus as I picked up 2nd 40+ and a team prize.

I think I can tick that week, lets hope the next couple get ticks as well, but like it always is We take it one day at a time!