Saturday, March 23, 2019

Comrades 2019 and its pitfalls

When CMSA first said sub 4:50 to qualify I basically said that's Comrades  done for me.. I entered Kypie as he asked me to .. Liz said she would only do it if I did.. 4 days after entries opened I relented.  Yes we could get substitutions but how would that really help - rather come up with a plan to qualify..
Over the years my cramping has prevented  me from running but the more I thought about it the more I realised it was the uphill that was causing it. If I just run the downs what will happen, have the dog runs helped..
Liz injured herself at Eersterus 21 on the 12 Jan.. a calf strain / soleus issue, the day before we left  on holiday I did a all fall down front brake stop on my bike  - golf was out so why do we go to 2 golf resorts???  Cycling was not great as my thumb had been hurt when going over the handle bars...   So on the 20th we went to the Fairways in the berg. I had hoped to do some  good strength / hill work, which turned in to cycling as Liz could cycle so Liz cycled while I walked.. As we got closer to my planned attempt at Qualifying I realised some fast (for me) running was needed and we found a nice 5km route in Cathkin Park where we had moved to for our second mid week break. I enjoyed these sessions .

Liz and Kypie had agreed to support me at Sasolburg 42.. I dreamed of the route- this is after all the  marathon route I have done the  most often! I knew the hills, I knew the times I had to achieve. I normally go through halfway at about 2:27 but knew that to satisfy Rowan James I would need to go through halfway in 2:15 or less, essentially making up the 10 minutes in the first half  the race. Which sort of meant I needed to run about 10km   so I needed to run at the start as there are not 10 down hill kms on the route.. I said I would run the first 2km  but felt good so went to 3km as there was a slight decline from 2km onwards which I wanted to utilise. My pacers were not too happy.... Liz fell back but she was nursing her calf.. Kypie hung and encouraged me..  2:15 was achieved now to finish the second lap in 2:32... After running my walking does get slower but I persevered.. Tobie came past and said I looked comfortable and should make it..  Kypie fell back, I was still ahead of Buks and his bus so that was good. At 34 km we get the worst hill on the race.. and I was contemplating trying for a sub 4:40 but  then remembered 2018 when I cramped near the end as there is a good bit of uphill to end with. I knew I was pretty safe so decided to just keep moving when suddenly Kypie reappeared and we finished together in 4:47:08, as we turned around wondering where Liz was .. low and behold she finished 30 seconds behind us.. She had not seen us. Buks finished about 30 ms ahead of Kypie and I having caught me with about 300 m to go..

Qualification done , now I could do a race I always wanted to do..  Delloites 42 ... My first walking road race was Delloittes 10km in I think 2007..  Liz was keen so wen entered.. I was scared of it, knowing its tough is one thing, experiencing it was another. I was hoping for about a 5:08 and wanted a 2:30 ish first half which worked out. going up klapperkop the second time was quite daunting as can be seen below.

 I mostly do not worry about drinking and eating on races as I mostly find there is enough available. I try also not to drink too much so as not to need to pee as that is a waste of time... at about 28km I thought would rather drink at the next  water table...except no water there or the next. I thought Pretoria High School will have... no so going up the road I wet my cap on a sprinkler just too cool down a bit.. at 39km we were told 1 water sachet and as much coke/ creme soda  as you want.   I really wish water tables would do this when they are running short of something. The rule is a max of 2 but I regularly see people taking 4 or more.. We are a selfish bunch. I finished in 5:13 which I was very happy with.

Next up was my favourite event.. Kosmos 3 in 1 This is serious mind therapy and besides it was to be my 5th and as hard  as this event is it is great. I may even continue doing it after my Comrades days are past.. 
So far I have 3 permanent numbers 
AC18 for African Centurion
2497 for Tough One
and now
981 for Kosmos 3in1 

How awesome it was to cross line of the 10km wit Liz and Kypie..

Jackie Gibson 42 is coming next weekend 

Orange below is the gentle Kosmos  elevation gain is 178m
Red is Sasolburg elevation gain is 177m
Green is Deloittes elevation gain is 587m 
Blue is Jackie Gibson.. elevation gain is 676m... 



Friday, November 23, 2018

SkyRun 2018

I have not blogged for a bit ....
Liz has dreamed of doing Skyrun for nearly 20 years, last year we tried and we were under trained for trail and snow arrived which nearly delayed the start but it did give us wet feet and Liz got a blister at about 42km in. I sort of gave up after that but we still trudged along to Balloch cave where there is a medical check,. Knowing my Brother and SIL were camping at Balloch and we had stretchers, beer and wine  that made the decision to stop there much to easy.  I had  also put my leg down a sink hole of black mud and realised my reserve shoes were not gonna get me through! The medics were also concerned as high BP indicated dehydration, agreed we could go  .. All in all enough reasons to stop.. You can't keep a good man down can you.

We entered for 2018 and decided to do some better training, we did Wolkberg Trail run which is 40 sat (1800m elevation gain) and 25 sun (800m elevation gain) , awesome weekend, we will be back.  One of our views

A few weeks later we did Mnweni Spring marathon (38km 2133m elevation gain), having done the Autumn  edition in 2009. What a great day! Our time was  9:30 which was about 2 hrs faster than in 2009 , all looked good... Nice profile
Have a look at the route here

And then I got bronchitis on the Tuesday before sky run training camp, I asked the doctor if I could do 100km that weekend at the Skyrun training camp... no response. Then  came the anti-biotics and the cortizone and the pain killers and the cough syrup.. I lost 10 days training.. Not sure the missed training was a problem but the missed training camp was. We seriously needed to do the second half of the route in the light so we had some idea of how to tackle it..  It was not to be.. We did some good training but at the end  of the day how much is enough...

A few days before the Skyrun we hear about service delivery protests in Lady Grey, residents are threatened to not take on visitors, overall an unsavoury event.. BUT Pure Adventures are up to fixing anything , in one afternoon the event is turned on its head and boom route changed start at the finish location no problem about doing the wall twice I mean its only a few kms... There were pros and there were cons. I think next year lady Grey  has missed out on their "biggest income" event of the year. I cannot see this race going back to Lady Grey. Essentially we went back on the route for 33km, which was to a reasonable stream called old faithful and meant we could restock our water. We were forced to carry 3L of water which just about made it for the 22km between water points.
You can watch the route video here  Sky Run fly by

I really don't like running but with 350+ people making a 2km dash along the road I realised a jog was in order. If I run too much i know that my calves will cramp and that will make life quite tough so I took it easy. I walked every incline and was probably about 3/4 back in the field, it was hard trying to keep an eye on Liz as well. Going up the wall the was pretty much single lane congestion, the first cutoff at Ballock 7.7km was 2:30 so we could not dawdle, we go to the top in 1 hr and got to Ballock pretty much on 2hrs.. we gave some jackets and watch chargers to Trevor for storage. A nice 4km stretch along the river included filling up our water before mother in laws revenge.. An idea I had was to put the Powerade concentrate in the bottle to allow a quick mix.

So looking at our profile above , yes we did the out and back section only, that gentle section along the river is actually a reasonable climb , except that straight afterwards you can see people all the way to  the top in front of you... and then some. I really  do not know why but I struggle on these steep climbs whereas Liz just surges ahead.. In the Magaliesberg / Klipriviersberg / Suikerbos I can out climb her, but in her turf in the Drakensberg eish she is tough..  I knew we needed to average better than 15min /km when we got back to Ballock and also knew that  starting with pretty much 25km of uphill we may not quite get it right early on. 

The second cutoff at Skidaw as 4:30 and we made it by 17 minutes, stopping to have a bite to eat we soon set of to reach our highest point for the first time.This leg took 2:03 as we ascended  the dragons back. The views on standalone peaks is really awesome and we treasured the clear skies but did wonder where the predicted overcast weather was. WE started seeing the return runners coming past, a massive gap after the top 4, was followed by an increasing number of tired runners..   

A 1:59  to Snowdon and water plus some food and a find of a full bottle of mixed powerade, was followed by a 2:10  back to Avoca and a 1:57 to Skidaw as the hot wind picked up and the temperatures soared. I tried not  to think too much about the heat but did force myself to drink more than I usually would . We stopped  just after Skidaw for a snack and sort of join up with another group but they took a wrong route, amazing to see the guy teaching his wife the route, only to go wrong and lose nearly 30 minutes on us to Balloch. It seemed every one we met/ passed  or were passed by on this  section had doubts about going past Balloch.

When we got to Balloch our pace was 14:50 /km  so just with our target. We both changed clothes, putting on thermals as the night temps are much lower! We restocked water and food and reported for our out clocking. We spent just on an hour at Balloch which probably was a bit much but was the right thing to do.

Immediately on starting the ascent of the Wall I felt knackered, Liz powered ahead with Hendrik who was the last person to finish in 31hrs:13min, I just had no oomph. The 65km sweep came cruising past me, told Liz to rather go to  the top and wait for me and bolted up. I asked Liz to wait as I caught up with her and we then set off upwards..  I guess the body is tired after 60km and 17hrs of exercise .. Then the 100km sweeps with the final participants caught us Fred Richardson was trying to encourage us all by saying the rest was easily doable, but I remembered the facts, about 1% do negative splits , Adrian never said it was easy. Liz and I changed our minds about 10+ times on the way down the Wall to the road. It really was tempting but we just felt that maybe it was too much, we saw how difficult it was navigating ion the dark. Your torch only really lights up your immediate path, yes we both had torches that we could change focus and brightness but every stop costs time.. We may still harbour doubts but we made the right call...        

Guess Skyrun is not to be.......

           The Start

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Comrades 2018

I have been very slack blogging lately..Skyrun was not the greaest weekend albeit an awesome experience.
Eventually on my 4th attempt at qualifying I succeeded at Irene 48.
Sept last year at Vaal River 42 I was great to 21km but lost it in the second hals with wind and ....
Feb I did Sasolburg 42 and just felt I was too slow at 21.. and at 32 felt I was a few minutes slow. I had Tobie encouraging me but just had nothing to give. He finished in 4:59 having left me with 1200m to go.. I even started cramping the last km and just felt flat..another bad day at the office.
Mar we did Kosmos and I really dont know I thought I was going fats enough but my watch said otherwise. With 10km to go I needed sub 7 so slowed down and allowed Kypie to catch me and we ended together. He had qualified at Vaal river so had no pressure.
Apr my last attempt was Irene 48 and never having done the route has advantages but also disadvantages.. I had a great race to 38km.. Once again Tobie pulled me through a rough patch. The last 10km are tough hills.. I nearly cramped to a halt at 46km but walked just fast enough to finish.. 5:55 got me in to Comrades... My latest qualifier yet!!

So this year is a bit longer normally on the down we say that 8/km is fine for a finish! This year I reckon on my GPS I need sub 7:45/km  to finish in time.
Below I took the official mat distances calculated my estimated GPS distance at the mats..Using the exact cutoffs I calculated the pace required on exact and gps(est) distance.
Mark Dowdewell a maths professor has analyzed Comrades results and the stats seem to show that one needs to beat the cutoffs by 30 minutes. the two graphs below show this to be the case. 30 mins before cutoff the chance of finishing is in the 90%. it rapidly drops off from there.. 

For my 3 down Comrades I have done 11:52 then 11:45  then 11:40. My goal this year is 11:3X which could be hard with the longer route but I think if I plan correctly I can achieve it. Kypie Liz and I will start in CC  batch which means we save about 6 minutes at the start , this almost makes up for the extra distance.

I am on 1198km as of today so will be close to 1400 again this year, which I think is an adequate training for the 5 months.   All this seems to bode well for a successful Comrades
Walk well

Monday, September 18, 2017

2017 Update

After my "disappointment" at Comrades  - it was just a bad day at office or maybe just an over ambitious goal of sub 11, I needed a new goal.  This came with our Entry into Sky run (look here a whole new experience is to be had!

A goal I have had for X years is a sub 3 at Rustenburg Mountain race (25km) having missed it by 24 and 18 seconds over the last 2 years. Well thanks to Kypie and Liz pacing and encouraging me I managed a 2:29:12 but I really felt and paid fort he effort..

I suggested to Kypie that we do Vaal River City Marathon as an early qualifier for Comrades to get that out of the way. He came back with ok if you help me on AGN 21km championships the day before- who can turn down a challenge???

In my 2 weeks walking since Rustenburg my times have been about 30 sec/km too slow. My legs felt heavy... I could not let Kypie down, so not needing a real fast pace as competition was no that great, we achieved our goal and Kypie got Bronze.. Well done.

With my slow pace over the last 2 weeks I had really thought about not doing Vaal but we had pre-entered and I NEEDED  the distance as Liz and I are now in Sky run training mode.  I could not let Kypie down and felt good about my slightly improved pace on Saturday..I even got Tobie to walk with hoping it would give me an added incentive to achieve my qualifier.    Giep also joined us. I had also been asked to give a fellow Runner Lucas a lift to the race... All these early mornings and poor sleep don't help a night owl.. getting up at 3am is WAY too early.

Needless to say we got to the start line with a really cold wind blowing and butterflies flying around my stomach.. Some Biltong helped a bit ( also helped prevent Nausea with Liz which was great). We set off with Kypie jogging along next to me and Giep grabbing on for dear life. We started fast - was it too fast I don't think so, I try and pace on the difficulty of the route. To do sub 5 we needed to average 7:04 per km, whereas on Saturday our first half was 7:20 and second about 7:10 so we did need to push the pace today hence Kypie running. after about 10km we were on 6:55/km and really feeling good, then the route direction changed. We had been with the wind and did not feel it .... now we felt it essentially for the rest of the route. Our pace dropped immediately.. wind has a bad effect on my mood -(something I must work on) and at around 13 km we saw Tobie (who is a slow starter) about 200m behind us. By 18km he was with us, not because he sped up we were slowing down.. The organisers had said there was a cutoff at 21km of 2:30 ( it actually was at 20km ) so that was my focus which we went through in about 2:28 ish.

Then my trouble started! Tobie who walks without watch just pulled away-- (actually just kept the correct pace)  I had hoped the wind behind would get me moving again, I had two energy bars , I ate them both with little effect, I was "spent" !! I tried to keep up  the pace but at about 30km I told Kypie to go ahead and by keeping at 7/km he should make it..
These splits show it all

I had various pains from tight calves, sore hammie and quads  the I felt my hip flexor eventually .. I "settled" in to a one foot in front of the other / finish this damn race -pace .. I guess I was just under-trained  but also it was my first ever back to back 21 and 42 having done a 25/32 just before Comrades as my  previous high back to back.  Today I feel fine , no pain slightly tight calves but ready to face the week... Will need my energy this weekend as we do some Drakensberg training in the Monks Cowl area- hopefully up to the top of Champagne Castle and back down (40  +km) on Saturday and then Cowl cave and back (35km?)on Sunday plus a recovery hike on Monday. Sky run here we come.

Lucas won the Marathon in 2:31 awesome ,pleased we gave him a lift!!
Liz did a LSD  for 4:33
Kypie and Tobie did 4:59 WOW
I scraped in at 5:14:59
Giep did not make it... Stopped at 21km
Job Done


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Comrades 2017 Qualifier

Sasolburg 42 2017
After last year when I struggled near the end of the marathon this year I decided I needed I needed more of a cushion...
I have never started a marathon this fast averaging  below 7:00 /km right up to the 35th km, whereas previously even on my fastest I only just got below 7 for a few kms. There are pros and cons of going out to fast when a fade is inevitable and  trying to stay at a consistent pace - in half marathons I really enjoy negative splits where the second half is significantly faster than the first half. Like when I do a social walk for say 7 or 10km then race to the end. The benefit of knowing and understanding the route was emphasised by the result yesterday..


The hills are not really steep but they are slow poisons- long and never ending: from 17 to 30 is a long slow grind which is not felt on the first lap when still fresh! The hill at the end is much easier when you are within time and do not have to force the pace. 
At around 3km I was joined by a runner from my previous club, we have both moved on and we managed to stay together till the start of the second last hill at 34km. Where he went ahead and joined Buks in his 5 hr bus.  It was really great to chat along the route sharing stories and experiences.. The kms just flew by.
I tried some 32GI Race tabs for a bit of extra energy and used Creme Soda from the 32km mark for a bit of help... Never quite sure how much sugar helps but at the end of the day I managed to do my sub 5 and achieve a marathon PB time of 4:55:16 on a relatively flat course, probably not the easiest but one I have come to enjoy.
I did the first half in 2:25 and the second in 2:30, I did not push hard at the end as I knew the qualifier was in the "bag".. Now the serious training begins..     

Thursday, October 27, 2016

African Centurion 2016

I am still asking myself why I entered this event not so much in because its to tough or anything, just why. Let's try and work it out!!

Over the years I progressed in distance I have sought help from various places but in the beginning I learned most from Patty and her merry band of walkers at the walking site. In 2013 I remember this new guy arrived Rob Robertson, and boy did he progress. I encouraged him then no sooner than having to do his debut Marathon on a treadmill at home because of a snow storm cancelling his planned event, the next thing he's eclipsing all my times, after a year of a walking .... then I hear he plans to do 100 miles and I think that's just dof ( dumb for non safricans). And boy he nails it- aha I could never do that so many laps around a wee track.... I feel safe , then he does another.. then he wants to get all 6 except Malaysia does not happen anymore.. guess they not so popular... then some Ozzie joins the walking site guess he met Rob on one of the weird races. next thing I get a message Whats up with this Robben Island Centurion?  I google and believe it or not google does not lie... it appears something is on the go. then lo and behold Rob jets off  meets up with John Killmartin and together they try and get dizzy, 396 laps of lane 3 on a track is 100 miles.... You will never catch me doing that.... Then we hear Robben Island is 20 laps times 8km... my heart says I could do that my head says "Call a psychiatrist!!!!" ....
Speak to Kypie... sounds like fun.. maybe but hey we concentrate on Comrades-- see previous post for that story....

When Entries open I get a message from Rob he's in.. John's next  Kypie not keen.. So I leave it.. but what if we don't get enough response... will they cancel it... In a moment of confusion I enter . but what will my wife do, no ways will she second me by sitting on stool... I know her better than that. So we start agitating people , everyone I walk with hears about African Centurion, but not much interest... About now is when I tried to do some digital canvasing but the official site was not cohesive to that  , Comrades Marathon Face Book Page , no interest ... Comrades Marathon Walkers Facebook page,... not  interest.  Whats this Friends of  page idea.. lets try it. So was born.. This seemed to work gradually we got together various teams.. broken leg apart we seemed top all get there. We had some  interesting planning sessions - talk about the blind leading the blind. The novice giving advice- Why because I am walking further?

So enough background. Liz and I decided to drive down so we could take more stuff.. Tobie Reyneke  the knowledgeable 34 x hundred miler  gave me  some advice, you need good sleep in the days prior -- possibly his biggest cause of baling this time.. Not being the greatest sleeper I though get a mild sleeping pill. In the aisle with Somnil in one hand I ask for stay awake tablets,  the look was awesome! " Not taking those together are you???"  Tobie also said rather have a stay-awake tab and not need it than want it and not have it.. would the bakkie ( Ute) be big enough...   Any way Sunday night I take my Somnil and on Monday we head off for our walk.. Liz thought I was at the end of the Centurion already, I was walking so slow.. I could not get below 8:30 /km I felt like a Zombie all day , I even slept really well on Monday night...

Tuesday we drive past Colesburg to Safari Farm Park about 680km. please the Somnil has now worn off...I had some issue with a big client but trying to logon via edge to terminal server was not easy but I tried various fixes. I had a good nights  sleep again before going through to Protea Farm in Montagu  but we went the scenic route through  Meiringspoort and Ladismith before a quick wine tasting in Barrydale    

As we arrive at Protea farm I discover that the fixes are not working and  .... Oh well carry on looking but no success.. There is no cell phone coverage in the 3 walled room.   We relearned our wind geography with the Anabatic and Catabatics keeping us on our toes.  The next day was a wine tasting day  along with more rusks and dried fruit... Maybe too much dried fruit I am not sure but my Diarrhea started around midnight I lost count of times.  I regretted missing my sleep. but hey we have to take it on the cheek. We made it to collect our numbers after a stunning drive through farmlands and over Franschoek pass. We progressed to the water front to find the Clock tower... Liz had a beer while the boys had some Eton mess dessert at Quay 4.. Then off to Moulle point and memories from Bay to Bay.

We stayed at our friend Rob in Verdehoek , I had a single glass of white wine followed by Steak and Roast veggies followed by cheesecake followed by final packing and prep.

Diarrhea persisted during the night so I managed get some Imodium from Rob and hoped for the best.  As we waited for the ferry it started to rain .. by the time we boarded the rain was over but the wind was up and the sea was choppy. A number of people took sea sick tablets a few more were not so lucky... we arrived to wait for our bus... I got frustrated and just lugged my provisions box , next time wheels or less provisions, I guess wheels are best.

#### Mistake 1 forgot my footpod after my zombie walk on Monday.

It is hard preparing for a race that starts at midday you feel you have so much time but it goes quickly. I taped  my heels with Zinc Oxide plaster as a prevention for blisters.. I nearly forgot my Microspore nipple plasters, but at least I did remember them.. I did forget to take salt tabs the day before but hey no ones perfect.. We set off to the start   Liz came with  and took some pics.. What a start it was Kypie, John, Petro and myself walking in a bunch for almost half the lap. Fundi charged past like she wanted to win the event.. I tried to settle into a good rhythm and keep moving along. first 11km were completed in 1:27 pretty much on schedule, if I could now stay below 1 hr per 7km lap it would be fine. actually I worked out up to 65 minutes would be fine.

####Gripe 1  The Ninja timing only gave us elapsed time, no laps, no last lap time, no pace etc.. So I had to rely on my Garnin.

Up to my 6 lap all was great then the sun said goodnight and the wind was not happy so I guess it chased the sun even further. Boy did it blow. Gauteng Smilers and Pretoria Strollers were excellent in supporting me... Thank you so much..

#### Mistake 2 I stopped to change my top form day tonight, taking off my white top and using a wicking T under a thermal long sleeve. This separated me from my team support.

#### Mistake 3 I did  not change my shorts for my thermal long johns at the same time as I changed my top. so 2 laps later when I was colder I stopped again. these stops were about 4 minutes each, on laps 7 and 9          

#### Concern #1 Being at the coast one expects plenty of Oxygen but I was finding I could not breath deeply.  I tried my various  breathing methods but nothing helped. Almost took up Conita on her offer of an Asthma pump. This stayed like this  to the end and never improved. On though about it well afterwards when I was able to breath normally again anyway.

I was now walking alone and struggling with calves and hamstrings threatening to cramp. I decided to take it as easy as my pacing limits would allow.  It was around this time that Rob Robertson passed me , walking his customary slow but steady pace. As he passed glanced at my watch watch I had slowed to 8:13 which is Robs pace. He said everyone goes through a tough patch and it will improve. I decided  to aanhouwen - just persevere. as long as I could keep my pace below 9min/km I had a chance of success.  At one stage I thought I had become too slow but convinced myself to keep going a bit further
At some stage I  needed the loo and took another Imodium. By now I had eaten from  a wide source of preserved Ginger , Milo bar , Hot Milo, Hot Chicken Stock, Licorice, mars bars, a peanut butter jungle oats bar and most laps I got energade as well as drinking water on my laps.  Funnily I could not eat biltong but did take some salt tabs..   Never touched coke.
I had meant to  recharge my watch but somehow got that wrong and managed to lockup my watch. so that was now useless, thanks Kypie for loaning me your watch, even though the the data fields were different I still got the last lap pace and actual time. This really helped me.   Also the Aleve helped me to reduce the fear of cramping.. not normally one for drugs but in limited cases it is ok. I was peeing regularly showing I was hydrated, on Comrades I never need to pee as I control my input.

During the night somehow Hans waited for me I think and we set off again. He tried to speed me up but I really feared cramps so walked as fast as I could but holding back so as to keep going. It was great to have the support of Gauteng Smilers again and Conita from Pretoria Strollers joined in one lap with Hans. We had numerous laps where every time I came round I was taking 2 laps off- yes I was optimistic!! I watched the moon rise and saw some absolutely beautiful views of Table Mountain, Industrial Cape Town , and some distant views of Bloubergstrand, all these keep me focused on my task.  Walking the  sunrise loop with Liz  was mind blowing. Liz was amazing and did a double loop to support me.


Eventually my team confirmed sub 8:55 to the end and I checked myself and thought actually  9:30 is safe so set out to try and keep going.  It was amazing to say only 35km to go just over a Tough One and actually feel that I could make it.
Unfortunately John Killmartin baled at about midnight with blisters, Liz took the photos. He tried another lap but it was just too sore. Sorry Mate better luck next time, maybe try my two thin socks option.

My Hero Rob Robertson caught me with about 3 laps to go we walked some way together that  was really special. TFOF is a really hard dilemma - the fear of failure  that is-  when Gertrude went past in fear that she was too slow we said easy its safe, but no Rob and Gertude set off on charge.  Maybe Kypie was not as calm as me! Waar is daie donderse Dave nou!
On my second last lap Werner who had baled from vomiting during the night was  down in bottom section near the  sea supporting the last finishers. he gave some energy and a dose of water down my back. Thanks Werner .. on my final lap I was more confident and avoided the cold water and was really chuffed walking my last lap with m,y biggest supporter Liz..

My Diarrhea stopped only in Tuesday night. Guess it was a tough bug!
All I can say is thank you to all who in any way encouraged me , challenged me or inspired me to become a Centurion.
I am the 8th or 9th  South African to become a Centurion. the first was in 1912!!
I am the 18 person to finish the inaugural African Centurion.
Less than 2000 people have become centurions most of these are UK centurions!

Who is gonna join me and become a Centurion?
Thanks to for the pictures more can be found on his page!!! 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Comrades 2016

What a day..

So we drove the route, as we did Kypie's eyes got wider and wider, fortunately we stopped just after halfway  we decided a craft beer was in order to calm our nerves poor Kypie only had a diet coke!! These hill are something else, let no one kid you that this is a down only race....

We caught the bus to the start to alleviate stress, except our bus was so slow it was almost in first gear most of the way. Once in Maritzburg the traffic was so bad we abandoned the bus and walked to the start..  Instead of being in  the front of H (the last batch) we were pretty much in the middle.. The atmosphere is awesome, as we move forward when the ropes come down, batch by batch we edged forward. We got to where E batch started off which is about normal.  Out of the blue Heather popped up behind us so great to start with friends around us. We had me met up with Giep and  Leana the night before, and seen them enroute to the pens but could not see them at the start.
I spent much time analyzing times vs hopes and expectations ..  eventually I worked out a reasonably simple calculation. If each 30km leg  took less than 4 hrs we were fine... I started my stopwatch as planned at the gun, and my Garmin at the mat.    It took  8 minutes to cross the line.. We settled in to a comfortable pace and went through 30km in 3:46 from the mat in 7:33/km pace add the 8 minutes in and we were on about 7:40.
At around 19km we caught  Giep who did not look happy and did not respond positively when I motioned him to join us as planned.  
The 12 hr bus passed us at about the 5km , I knew they were going to fast but let them go. At around  25km just before Camperdown we caught them- - my biggest bugbear on comrades is these busses, they block the road and make it "impossible" to pass. We went on the grass to overtake, I think I heard Buks (the bus driver) comment as we went past. We hit a down hill through Camperdown so upped the pace to get away ..   a few km later we met up with Mavis Morris another walker albeit without Ws.. She walked with us for quite a long way just fading a bit on the hills but on checking her splits she was only a few meters behind us.

I knew we had to maintain a good pace so kept going on the uphills and allowing Kypie to catch up on the downs. I am much stronger on hills - note to self Kypie needs to do severe hill work before next year. Kypie complained a bit about shins , piriformis, etc but hey its a long day and we all have pains.  I hurt my left knee a few months ago going toooo fast on a dog run and that was hurting a bit not real pain just a niggle but enough to cause angst.. We settled in to a rhythm and plodded  along.... and along.... My but its a long way. 

I try and maintain hydration to a level that I never need to stop.. Kypie was not so successful, but still managed to keep up. We passed 1000 hills chef school but they were not handing out beers for tasting! oh well better keep going.   
We went through 60km in around 3:53 on my Garmin so we had a few more minutes in the bag. Going up Cowies the last major hill Kypie fell back a bit , but I had told him about the downhill, except for another damn bus, dawdling down ... then they jogged a bit till the road narrowed and tehy slowed to a crawl. We went off passing on the grass again then they started  jogging so we rejoined. Kypie confirmed that sub 8:30/km would get him to the end, and I extricated myself from the bus and shot in front , this was around the 70km, I kept looking back but never saw Kypie.. I got into a nice rhythm  and just kept going. Passed  a friend Peter Bosch who had done Jackie Gibson with me , he was battling but I thought he would make it ( later I found out he baled with 3km to go- it is a tough race) Those last few kms just drag on and on and on ... and on. 

We had seen a friend Pottie  a few times along the way and guessed he was seconding his son , with a less than 2km to go Kobus introduced himself as Potties son, its a small world... I was hoping to at least get a 11:3X but just missed out, 2 years ago i did 11:45:03 now 11:40:06 . Job done for me ..
I enjoyed the race , some niggles but always thought and felt comfortable.
My 3 goals were   
"My Goals for Comrades 2016
1 For Liz to finish her 10th Comrades- hope sjhe achieves her goal time
2 For Kypie , Giep and myself to all finish Comrades by walking it...
3 For me to better my down pb of 11:45 and possibly by overall Comrades PB of 11:27"

My awesome wife did an amazing 9:33 so now has her green number.    

Kypie ( 11:50) and I finished as planned , Giep struggled and baled but maybe we can help him more next year if we train together.

I got my down PB, I maintained my pace the whole way. I am very happy

Interesting comparing our pacing

Now to plan the rest of this years races..

Some ideas
Sani Stagger       
African Centurion

Keep walking