Tuesday, July 29, 2014

HBTC 2014

So it was Hout Bay this weekend and I found myself on the start line... Now I know I should really have spent the morning in bed, but... 

Was a little injury and a cold... going to do to stop me!!! (being unfit and fat was the least of my problems)


That said I wasn't racing and as we started I found myself setting off with one of the ladies!!! 

A rose among the thorns
Leg 1: I would have loved to run the whole race with her,  but after the first short-cut, once we were back on the road, I pulled away up the mountain. After about 1.5km you leave the roads and hit the trails.  Last year I was setting the pace this year I just sat behind a group of guys watching my HR I didn't want it to go over 160 on that first leg.  (It did, but when I saw it I slowed.) 

The climb up isn't a clearly marked trail with lots of little paths leading to nowhere so one can lose time if you take a wrong turn. We didn't take the best route but walking the steep bits were good for me. At the top we do a little out and back loop to check point 1 and it was good to see the leaders fighting it out, I was in about 15th place.

On the way down I kepted having to step aside the let the guys pass me. Candyce was the only lady to catch me and she was in a relay team so my ego wasn't taking to much of a beating! I was very slow climbing down the mountain, but better safe than sorry, as I heard later that one guy wasn't safe and did his ankle in and had to call it a day! I closed up to Candyce again as we climbed the 2nd bump of leg 1... We finish leg 1 in 87 min her team shot off while I had to wash mud, from the bushes, out of my eyes. I had run the last km with one eye close.

Kane, the race winner climbing up Llandudno corner!
Leg 2 started with the loop round Suikerbossie before the climb up Llandudno corner. I have a split I time up there and while I was walking  most of the up I was walking faster than the guys ahead of me... I must have past 7-10 people on that climb!!! One of them was Derrick, my friend and competition for the 40+ guys! Taking my time at the top I noted that I had made good time!

With the climb behind us it's along the 12 Apostle (back table) to the turning at the dams. I just set an easy pace and slowly closed in on another couple of guys. Nic was having problems and that moved me into 1st 40+ what a bonus!!!

I could talk about the weather but it wasn't that bad it was holding. Yes the paths were wet but nothing like last year, and the rain was holding off. I caught Damian and went past... he then caught me on a little down hill. Oh to be young and injury free! We yo-yoed with me pulling ahead on the ups and Damian catching me on the downs. 

When we hit the dams and ran the service road together till the single track to Nursery, I tried to drop him on the climb, but it wasn't all climb!!! I could only watch as he danced down the rocks while I clambered over them like an old man (wait I am an old man!) Another guy past me and I watched as they hit the service road down and off the mountain. I took a 70 sec time split as they turned taking the short cut on the single track. I stayed on the road and pulled back 5 sec instead of loosing time! 
1h59:23 for leg 2. Dawn was at the Nek to meet me. With 3h27 of running done I had one leg to go.

Leg 3: I've never run this leg well and with only 4 weeks of run easy under the belt Vlakenberg was going to bite. Even with my long stop to chat to Dawn I caught Damian on the first climb. Not wanting to let him back into our little contest I pushed on, but running (if you can call what we were doing running) the short flat didn't work!  My left ADDUCTOR cramped a bit! Lucky it was only a bit and I could walk it out. I would have to be careful!

The single track kicked up again and I was power walking with the best of them over the top. 


oh dear this wasn't good for me and with the adductors still thinking about cramp I wasn't going to be a hero! 

Now only the climb up the Constantiaberg and the manganese mines lay ahead. It wasn't going to be easy as the Cape of Storms was now living up to her name as the heavens opened and the rain joined the wind I had been fighting for the last 4 hours! 

As much as I love running on the mountain it was getting a bit much and Damian past me leaving me to eat chocolates and soldier on alone.

It felt like the turn of Mother Earth was against me and I was running on a giant treadmill getting nowhere! Finally the climb down started and with the fort on Chappies now in sight leg 3 was mine for the beating!  It was nice to saw Dawn in the car cheering me on as I clipped the last check point and headed for the beach. 

stopping to say Hi the Dawn, who was in the car out of the rain!

Not a day for swimming!
5h00:00 I was finished in more ways than one 38.4km with 2000m climb had been hard work for this sick, injured, fat,  old man... but I had come home in 10th place claiming the first 40+ prise!!!

out of the rain!
 The run was good and my injury is still under control!!! a rest / easy week lies ahead of me, I've earned it!

Monday, July 14, 2014

BASTILLE DAY the short story

My injury is still a long way from healed but Franchhoek and the celebration of Bastille Day was calling... A long time ago I had entered the 35km race, but there was no way my body was going to hold out that long, so I downgraded to the 25km race, a run I had done the year before.

Napoleon and his French Maids put on a great race!
On the start-line I looked around and didn't see any of the big names, I was the only big name and I am injured with almost no training over the last 7 weeks... The race was open to the 'pretenders' and the new kids on the block.

No gun, no siren, just a: You can go now!"

I let the guys go, but as I warmed up and start running at a pace I know I could handle I joined then at the front, then on the first climb I passed them. 3 guys stay with me as we headed up the worst gravel road you have ever seen... OK some of it was single track and the rest was eroded! The real climb starts at about 3.5 with the last 200m up through the gum trees climbing 100m (yes that's 50% ave gradient).

We dropped Christo and set off on an amazing single track along the contour to the saddle. I was really enjoying the run there is something about just running within yourself and not pushing it into the red line...

At about 7.1km we reached the saddle and the guys passed me on a very slippery gravel road as we headed down into the valley they were about 10m ahead as we turned of the 'road' onto a freshly cut path. the 'path' was about 2-3m wide and I found myself on the left side looking for better footing as I can't stretch out on tracks like that... Maybe 250m down I followed the path to the right and then I started to notice that I couldn't see the other guys! and wait, there were no foot prints in the sand, I was wrong or were they?

I was me!!! I had head there was a little change to the route but I thought it was further alone... I'm guessing that they had gone down the right hand side of that new path and see a board telling them to turn. I had missed it and was out of the race. Dam, I was running well and enjoying being out there without the pressure of racing. I slowed down and ran on, I didn't really feel like turning round and running back up 500m or was it 1km!!! Then I saw Christo... he hadn't seen the arrow / marking and had caught a glimpse of me so he followed. I still hopped I was on the right track, but at the next turn (marked for the 15km race) I know I was wrong. But we were on last years route, so if we just stuck with it we would rejoin the race!

12.8km into the my race we rejoined the route, ok maybe it was a little before then, but that is where I stopped to chat to a marshal. We were in the lead!!! and had clearly not only run a different route, but a shorter route!

From here the race follows the Berg River as it heads to the dam. It's not the fastest section of trail as we cross the river 4 or 5 times...

Melted snow from last week
it wasn't all the deep...

My team-mate was winning the ladies!
Mean while at the next crossing was a gorilla jumping in and out of the bushes!!!

Great fun...
Dawn had come out for the day and had taken her only little run round the mountain to watch the race... She was on the other side of the river on gravel road, so I stopped again and told her what had happened before heading off. Oh I also stopped for Hot Chocolate!!!

Christo didn't stop but walked on up the 'road' I caught up and we ran on together round the dam. Then he got tired leaving me to run on... there's one last single track down to the dam and a last river crossing before the last 1.5km to the finish.

The water of the Berg

I was first over the line in 2h07:13 (with 5min chatting time and no racing) about 3 min ahead of the winner, but then I had run 2km short, I was disqualified...

Could I have won? Yes...
Would I have won? I can't say, but 3rd was up for grabs and I really wish I had been there to answer those questions. That said I had a really nice run out there and don't really mind the body had held up and I think I can get over this injury and back in the game.

Friday, July 11, 2014


This in not a work we like to hear, and when we do, we don't believe it...

Now if you think you are bad, I'm worse!!! Oh I don't like the idea of being unable to run!!!

But let me tell you this, you really should listen to your body... My wife says I'm a little deaf, maybe I am, but then again maybe I just think I'm tougher than anyone else. That said here I sit with a broken body doing what I can to fix it and get fit again. (Do note I say: what "I" can, there are others out there who could do more!!!)

Let's first go back to Oceans 1998, yes that is a long time ago, but I lined up with a sore knee and tried to run a silver... losing 15min in the last 8km because my knee was now too sore to run! Do you think I stopped running and saw a Doctor? No, I went on running for 4/5 months.... When I did finally see a Doctor I was booked off running for a couple of months, it ended up being 9 months of 0 km weeks. I had a stress fracture of the patella.

Yes I've had a couple of calf problems over the years, but always been able to run. I like to think that while I run a lot, there are really mad people out there who run twice as much as me. I might run up to 50 races a year, but really I only put the hammer down a couple of times, I don't like pain. I'm good about taking the rest weeks and cutting back the miles...

Enough back ground:

August 20 2013, it was wet and I had a bit of an upset stomach. I remember running back to the club and thinking: these contractions are getting a little close for comfort... I made it back to the club!!! All was fine, that was till I was heading home and I climbed on my bike!!!

I don't remember if getting on the bike was hard, but some evenings after a hard run it's hard to do anything! So sitting there I kicked the stand up and started the bike... Left foot up to change gears, NO THE LEG DIDN'T MOVE!!!

Well almost not at all, it wasn't sore or anything, it just wouldn't listen to me I had no power. I remember thinking, I don't really know how I'm going to change gears. That evening I could do a sit-up, in fact I couldn't lie on my back and the stomach muscle couldn't hold the "middle-aged spread" up, it felt as if it was crushing me! There was something wrong with me, I was injured!!!

Maybe I should have taken the next day off (not running, WORK) and gone to a sports Doctor... but I didn't! It took till May before I went to see a physio and the Sports Doctor!!!

After a ultra sound it was confirmed that I wasn't pregnant!!! but I had adductor tendonitis !

Maybe it was something like this?
OK so where does that leave me? Well I've been resting for 5 weeks (not your resting my resting)!!! I ran short, slow, and flat... Now I'm fat and unfit, but the rehab might be working and I think I might get fit again one day!

So how does something like this happen?

They say it's an overuse injury, but I think there is more to it than that!!! This is my take:
  • Yes I run a lot and maybe there is a bit of overuse!
  • I don't drink water... In a normal day I have a glass of milk with my breakfast, maybe a glass or 2 of coke in the day, run in the evening (no drinking of water or sports drinks, even in summer) home for dinner... I drink with dinner, a couple of glasses of wine. Normally red and up to 3 glasses!
  • upset stomach
  • Now add those all together and I am always dehydrated... and more so on that day!!!
OK we all know that water is good for you, and I think I've been a naughty boy and now I'm in trouble!!! I think of my tendons as dry as biltong, so while I've used them a lot, because I'm dehydrated they were more prone to tear and the micro tears the us athletes cause everyday while training have been taking longer to heal...

I think I'm on the mend now but there is a lot of scare tissue and the tendons are still very tight so I still have a long way to go...