Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Kaapsehoop 42.2 5/11/11

Ok I will try and keep this post short.
Liz and I both wanted to qualify for oceans early rather than leave it late. We heard that Kaapsehoop was a nice fast downhill race....

While we were doing Two Oceans this year, Liz's sister went to stay in Kaapsehoop with daughter where they went horse riding. I suggested that we get that place and that Di comes with to transport us around and that we take both our moms away for the weekend. The 5th Nov beingout 17th wedding anniversary, after numerous proddings Di contactec the "horsey" place, they were fully booked. Oh well can that then....
All of a sudden Di comes back she has found accommodation, it's rustic,no electricity, ok we book.

Di goes to a mine, hits a warthog and damages her car, ooops. Then we hear her son will be writing a University entrance exam and she wants to be there for him.No second!! Then the rain starts in Kaapsehoop,4x4 not essential but good ground clearance is.

Pierre who we are to be staying with, suggests he fetch us from Kaapsehoop and that we leave our car there. He will give us a lift to the 5:30 start. Pierre's brother has a heart attack , the funeral is on Friday, he will arrange for Leon to take su to the hut. Leon falls off a horse on Thursday and damages some muscles in ribs etc, he needs a few weeks to recover. Mariske will come fetch us.

We arrive there on Schedule and are transported in a game viewing vehicle to our hut. As we drive along I realise that the hut is the same one I hiked to 20 years ago. What a coincidence! I had told Liz about the amazing view from the hut, so we had been back there once after that.

Ok so the caretaker is Mozambican and onbly speaks Portuguese, we manage to sortout everything, Pierre arrives back from the Funeral in JHB. We had some Humus, my favourite pre-race snack followed by a good meal prepared by my amazing wife Liz. A good bottle of Blank Bottle the Spaniard helps to calm the fears. Liz feels nauseous which is not good.

Off to bed we go. Its a downhill race, but I can't find my kneestraps , not sure if they do anything but the fear of change is high. Nothing I can doabout that now.

3:32 the cock crows, 4:02 the cock crows, 4:05 the alarm goes off, up we get. Happy Anniversay dears are shared. Was that rain we heard, yes it was, the grass is nice and wet. 4:50 we head off to the start. It was great to park literally 10m from the start. Liz sorted out her Tog bag, we were still not sure how we would be getting back to Kaapsehoop from Nelspruit,but who cares....

As we line they announce that a deckoutside one of the restaurants ahd collapsed, probably during a brief shower when tooo many people crowded on to the deck. Some entrants would not be able to do the race, they were waiting for an ambulance to take the injured to Hospital. Just under 1000 entrants to the marathon. Lookinga round I did see a couple of walkers that I know.

Off goes the gun we are on our way, it was great to start right in the front of the field, thanks Liz.Within a few km's we get a light shower which is not too bad, but with quite steep roads I was wary of slipping. We went about 4km down a road, just to turn around and go back up. I had settled on a plan to average 7:15 for the first 10km or so, realising that this up hill was a good opportunity to warm up nicely before accelerating. At about the 5km mark I was overtaken by Melanie ,a racewalker that I know from my track work, I discover that this is her first marathon. She is a lot quicker than me on 10km races so I was not sure what to expect. We walked along quite nicely on a levelish section, as soon as we good to the steep down she dissapeared, I was very wary of leg damage going too fast downhill, so ended up going at between 6:30 and about 6:45. I gradually got my overall pace down to 6:58 and was hoping to keep it there as long as possible. Basically if I could would walk at 6:58 then my pace would stay at 6:58 if I did 1 km at 7:40, my final average would go up to 6:59, so I needed to walk as close to 7:00 so as to keep my final pace below 7:07. If the distance is accurate then this is true, every extra 100m adds on 42 seconds. Amazing the maths one does on races.

I worked out tha 5 hrs is 300 minutes so for each 14km to go it is 100 minutes. As it is a count down race, this works well. I went through 28 to in 99 mimutes, 14 to go I was at 196 minutes, so I knew I was on track. But at around 14 to go we hit some quite stubborn hills, they do not look too bad on the profile but they sure felt bad. It was round about here that I caught up with Melanie, her form was looking tired, as I passed her I encouraged her to keep going at that pace. It started getting quite hot now and I took a Sylvasun to prevent Sunburn , but had not put on any suntan lotion, I have the marks to prove that.

As long as I could keep my pace below 7:07 , but I knew some hills were coming so I just kept on going. I really pushed as hard as I could in those last km, but I was really tired, then they made us walk right around the darn stadium and then added some more uphill to the finish. I saw Ken from CSIR and wondered if I could catch him, as I entered the stadium I hear 1 minute to cut off, how far must I go in the stadium? fortunately only a few steps to the finish. I had made it, 4:58:57, which is really my pb because Elands was 4:59:45 or something. Liz finished in 4:10 ,not quite the sub 4, she was not very complimentary about my choice of an easy race. Guess I got that bit wrong

We eventually phoned Pierre and he a came to fetch us, quite a bit of his way but what else could we do. Not sure but now we can enter two oceans. This was also my first marathon in Stability shoes, I wore my Kayanos.
I have also just had dry needling in Gluteus Medius as well as my Hamstring. I have been stetching my Calves as they have been very tight.
Since the race I have had really sore glutes, Shins and calves. I am however feeling much better today.
This shows the relative profile between Elands in Blue and Kaapsehoop in Red.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Shoes Bloody Shoes

Ok so here we go again.
My Nimbus 12 collapased at about 200k, the inner left heel is flat and the shoe is leaning like the tower of Pisa. This I presume is what caused my arch pain on Comrades.

I spoke to my Biokinetitcist, took some videos on the treadmill etc. My arches do not collapsed when walking, well we only went to about 8min/km, but I do have a bend in my ankle, which is causing me to land on the inside of my left heel. I got an appointment to see the Asics rep, he looked at all my shoes and well I now wear GT2160s which are stability shoes. The change over is quite hard as I am feeling muscles I never knew I had. Hammies are stretching, shins and calves feel it, Glutes are a bit tender, thats after a 8k, 15k 11k sequence. On Monday I tried my old Nimbus 11s( done nearly 1300k) for a change. Liz says she can notice how much more stable I look when walking, it also looks like it may have an impact on my stride length which has been going down since January, but is now gradually going up again.

This image shows how my stride dropped after two oceans until Comrades. My pace is pretty closely linked to my stride.

I have done another session of speed work at Tukkies where I average below 6:30 min/km for my hour , I nearly completed my 23 lap. Next time I should make it. I also set a goal for doing a sub 6:00 minute km which I achieved the other day, I wonder when I will do a sub 5:30km, I suppose that dreaming is good for one.

We are doing a 25k race on Saturday and I will be using the GT2160s, I need to somehow work out a routine to alternate between neutral and Stability which helps me become more accustomed to the added support. My problem is that it looks like all my neutral shoes are collapsing!! so that means they will offer me less support than if they were new.
I may need to find some stabilty shoes with less support so as to gradually change over. Lets ee what happens on Saturday.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Comrades 2011

Well well Comrades 2011 has come and gone.

It is always interesting doing a race where the start and finish is far apart, especially 90kms, and when both of you are doing the race, all sorts of logistical problems arise. Liz has some amazing friends in Hilton who she has known for 27 odd years. We have all become good friends over the years and enjoyed some really good times together. The last 4 or more Comrades we have stayed with them. As this was an up run we decided to stay the night before the race at a hotel in Durban, 1km from the start, the Friday and Sunday were to be with Nicky and Myles in Hilton. While travelling down to the race we called ahead to tell Nikcy we would be a bit late, only to find out that she had been involved in a accident, where a horse had basically knocked her over as she led it over a pool of water. She had bitten her tonque quite badly and had some facial injuries. This did not auger well for Liz and Nicky to natter all night catching up. Nicky was struggling to talk and Myles was trying to limit her answers to Liz's questions. Nicky had very kindly offered to take us to Durban on the Saturday but fortunately we managed to arrange a lift with some other friends Gerhard and Carmenn.

We collected our goodie bags and numbers from the smaller Expo at PMB , the shirt is great the goodie bags are not as good as some previous years. We were a bit dissapointed overall this year in the organisation of Comrades, eg changing from Coke to Pepsi 3 weeks before the race, repeated requests to update details that had not changed etc. The webtimes actually showed us going from PMB to Durban which confused our supporters who were following on line.

G & C collected us at the finish venue, it is always a good idea to familiarise oneself with the finish as a on the day when tired it is really easy to get lost. We then proceeded to the start to get a better idea of where Carmenn could drop us off in the morning.

We checked in to our hotel then did a walk along the beach front to de-stress and loosen up. I had my customary Guinness and Liz had some Famous Grouse as we watched the sunset from the 23 rd floor of the hotel. The sound of the waves are very soothing and comforting. We went to the restaurant in the hotel for dinner Gerhard and I had rump and baked potato with veggies, Liz had a Chicken salad and Carmenn a Chicken Schnitzel. We then retired to an early bed. Well we still had to sort out some of our running things, I glanced at Barcalona giving ManU a hiding. I have not been sleeping will lately , this night was not too bad, but getting up at 3:55 is not so great. If we had stayed further away we would have got up much earlier so I wont complain too much.

I was in H batch which is the last batch ie for the really slow athletes. Liz was in F (make mental note to ensure she gets a D batch next time) while Gerhard had somehow managed to get into D batch by doing a sub 4hr marathon. Liz and my batches were based on last years Comrades time.

I did not feel as emotional about the start as I did last year, probably due to work pressures, frustration for the Comrades organisation etc, as well as some apprehension over the up run. I set out with a race plan of getting my overall pace below 8:00 min/km as soon as possible and hopefully then getting it down to 7:40 and then trying to keep it there as long as possible. Because a gps does not take elevation in to account, race distances and GPS distance will vary, this adds to some severe mental calculatiosn to be done enroute. I worked on a distance of 89km in my calculations and not the offical 86.9km, that way I would not be caught short! The difference in average pace between 89 and 87 ks is 15 seconds which is quite significant,7:56 or 7:41. In my mind I was hoping to do a sub 11:30 which equated to an average of 7:41m/k.

I had felt my left knee a bit the few days before the race and hoped it was just pre race niggles. It took me 8 minutes to cross the start line, my feet startedf moving after 2 minutes , bythen Liz had crossed the start line!! After about 10ks of pretty good walking, my knees were fine, but my arches were getting quite sore- I have had this before but only with New Balance shoes and I was in my Asic Nimbus 12's which should be fine. I was convinced the pain would go away.... The only real effect was that I was taking shorter strides, which meant that my pace was slower. It was not really sore to walk but I did have to walk slower. I saw a number of people on the race that I have seen on previous races, we kept on encouraging each other. It is also really nice to have our names printed on our race numbers as this encourages the spectators to call us by name. I gradually got my pace down to 7:51 and thought that all was well.

Carmenn met me at 33.5 km, it is really good to see familiar faces along the route, she gave me a 32gi mixture which was really great, it was good to have something different from the usual race drinks and also to have a low gi drink for the long haul up Bothas Hill. I severely forgot how long this hill was, it really did not seem so long last year. It is amazing how flat it looks on the profile from my Garmin watch. I found that I was getting slower up the hills, my pace was suffering a bit and I was starting to doubt myself. I knew I needed to go faster down the hill but just did not feel comfortable going faster. I had planned to get to Drummond which is just short of halfway in around 5:40, my official time was 5:45, amazing how much being 5 minutes behind schedule can demoralise you. I was now faced with the problem of Inchanga which is essentially a 8km long uphill. I guess it was around here that I realised there was no way I could do an 11:30. The problem with this is to keep up the motivation to still go fast.

It was at around 50km I met up with Chris Piears from our club, he has just done London Marathon in a Rhino suit, now that must be tough,(www.savetherhino.org) we swopped places a few times, and then I got really fed up as a couple kept on running past me then stopping in front of me, forcing me to change direction overtake them. As a walker I tend to go a pretty consistent pace so many runners use me to pace them. I then decided to push hard up the hill in Camperdown to get ahead of them, and amazingly felt better for it. I kept going strongly and gradually felt better and better. My arches were still sore but seemed to affect me less, or maybe my desire to finish just overrode any pain.
Polly Shorts is a really tough hill being at 78km into the race. It is only 1.8km long but still a toughie because of where it is in the race. As I got over the top I felt liberated in a strange way and started going strongly for the finish.

I knew there was a 12hr bus ahead of as well as one behind me. I did not want to get caught up in them again, they had caused me much stress at around 30km by running past me then stopping to leave me struggling to extract myself from the 100 odd runners who were now dawdling along waving there arms as they do their stretching. With about 4km to go I saw the first 12hr bus ahead and pushed really hard to catch them, then get ahead so I would not be stuck behind them in the stadium / finish / medal collection etc. Passing the Club tents I was really encouraged by the wild cheering from my club mates. I felt really good crossing the finish line, collecting my second Vic Clapham medal and then getting my Back to Back medal for a novice completing 2 successive Comrades.

My race was affected by the pain in my arches, probably brought on by too much traing in New Balance shoes. I may have also started pronating a bit as I have got faster. I will be evaluating the cause over the coming weeks.

I am feeling fine now and am really chuffed to have finished this race, the up run is a pretty tough race.
I did 11:48:53 , Liz did 10:05 for her best time on an Up run.

What a day what a race. Whats my next race - I have no idea.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Two Oceans 23/4/2011

Tags: None
Well what a race, We drove down, it is 1600km, took our time stopping over enroute. We did a fast 6km on Thursday to get rid of travel stiffness. We went to the expo on Friday, driving the hilly part of the route on the way there , I hate expo's but the vibe is good and gets the adrenalin going at least.
Some friends joined us for lunch, they had fried fish and chips, liz and I had grilled fish and chips. I really do not enjoy greasy fried food anymore. I was too scared to try on my Tshirt, one cannot wear it if one does not finish the race. It was called cherry tomato, but is really orange..
The day of the race dawned and we caught the train to the start, that worked well, this was a recommendation from Malcolm Salida, the person we rented our accomodation from, he is a walker, and came in with us, his wife even picked us up and took us to the station, they were a great help to us. The first 4ks of the half and Ultra are the same, so we had to wait for the route to clear from the half before we strated at 6:25Am.
I was getting more nervous as we heard the 21 singing the national anthem, then off they went...
I bumped into a guy I have met at various races over the years, he claimed he was fitter than before, and would do a 6:30. I was dubious.
It took 4 minutes to cross the line, our races are all gun to gun, so it makes your average pace suffer for the first few kms. At the time I thought I was going too slow, I only really checked my watch at 3km, and my average was about 7:34 , which meant I was actually walking at or below 7:00/km, no wonder my shins were burning. I knew I had to finish around 7:25/km to get a medal. I was about 450m from the start so this also messes with your averages. At around 7km another novice latched onto me, all I know is his name was Andrew, it is good to have your name printed on your race numbers, but sometimes confusing when your name is called out so often. I was really near the back of the field, as I passed various traffic police they were talking about re-opening the road ...

My initial plan was to go as close to 7:00 /km till halfway and then deal with the hills. I also did not want to push too hard as I did not want to burn... When I got to the first slight up hill at around 20km I was at 7:10 and really worried about who I would have to give my Tshirt to. Then I see a sign, 1km ot the first cutoff at 28km, well that got my heart pounding.. I made it by 3minutes. That on the easy half of the race.

We then hit little chappies ( Chapmans Peak) , a hill around 2km long gaining around 100m, I decided to push the hill and poor old Andrew could not keep up, he had been my shadow since 7km, I never saw him again.I find it amazing how I seem to get stronger at this sort of distance into a race. Going up little chappies was great, then we descend about 50m only to climb about 150m over the next 3, on real chappies My Garmin decided not to save my race data so some guesing is required here, it \also did not give me my race time, but average was there. At the crest of 35km I passed the guy who said he was aiming for 6:30, he looked tired. From 35km we go back down to sea level from 250m up, over the next 4km , I found the road camber quite hard in this section, it took a toll on my hamstrings, so I did not push too hard. I went through the marathon mark in 5:09 which was pretty much on track, making the marathon cut off by a few minutes

The climb from 42k to 48km is about 200m. As we started climning I saw Malcolm ahead I got to within 20 m of him when he took off like a shot, I pushed quite hard but never saw him again, once again I made the cut off at the top by about 2 minutes. It was quite confusing as the announcer kept on contradicting where the actual cuttoff was.
As we levelled off for the push to the end, one guy , a veteran with 17 medals claimed we had the medals aoriudn our necks. I was quite harsh on him "it is not over till the fat lady sings" etc. Within a km he was vomiting on the side of the road, I did not see him again, I hope he finished but..
At 6km to go I passed Wilma, Malcolm's wife, she was shocked to see me, was I ahead of Malcolm?
The various spectators on the side of the road changed from it's tight to you will not make it you walk. With the adrenaline pumping hard I pushed hard up the last hill. As I entered the grass end section the crowd was going wild. I could not look at anyone, for fear of tripping on the grass which was pretty damaged from the 16000 half marathoners and the 7200 Ultra marathoners in front of me.
As I crossed the line I knew I deserved to wear the Tshirt, the medal felt really great around my neck, I had made it in 6:58:57, with 63 seconds to spare . I called it a lonely medal, thinking it would be my only one from this race. I have subsequently decided I will do this race again but, must seriously work on my speed. I need to the do the first half of this race much much faster.
I was surpised to find out that I must have passed Malcolm going up Constantia Nek, he finished 30 senond behind me.
What a race! What an experience! I have already startred planning my qualifier for next year.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Two Oceans on Saturday

The nervousness is starting to work on me, the anticapation of my 5th Ultra Marathom is rising, so far the long term weather forecast is good. Lets hope it stays that way.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Shoe update

I was very lucky i took my Skyspeeds back to the sweat shop, and ended up getting a full credit towards Nimbus 12.
The skyspeeds are not designed for my weight, the heel cushioning is very soft and therefore collapsed on me. I know the Nimbus are a bit heavy with a high heel, but i will continue to use them for races longer than 21. They do give a lot of support and feel very comfortable.
Liz is less than impressed with my bright yellow Nimbus 12.
Nimbus 13 comes out in July and I believe they will be a bit lighter.
My right glute is still a bit sore so I am trying some trigger point massaging, as well as stretching, and using the foam roller.
2 weeks to oceans.....

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Long Tom Ultra Marathon 56km

Well what a race!. We drove down 450ks the day before, and got to see the route in sunshine, juts to add a bit more fear to my mind. We camped near a river in Sabie which was great, had our usual humus , brocolli, cheese and biscuits/ rice cakes for Liz. We did not drink any wine as Bryan says we should take it easy the night before a race, he was most impressed when we sms'd him saying we were drinking coffee.

We had an early night, up at 4:45 am having heard some rumblings and seen some lightning during the night.
As I put my shoes on I felt a drop of rain, driving the 1km to the start the heavens opened. Carmenn was dropping us off and going to second us a bit on the race. Gerhard and Liz would run together with me keeping up the rear. The water was so deep on the main road that by the time we managed to get about 100m to under a shelter at the school, we were soaked. My shirt felt 2kg heavier. My cap was oaked, no hang on that is not a cap I had left my cap behind, I had my head torch on- I gave that to Gerhard in disgust.
It was Gerhard and I over a few glasses of wine who came up with this hair brained idea of doing this race as it was "good comrades training", fortunately Liz is always up to a challenge.

We met some members of our club one dear old soul mentioned that this race was tougher than comrades- remind me never to invite her to give me motivational talk - it was her husbands birthday and he was doing the race for the first time.
But as Carmenn had already left I suppose that bailing was not an option, we all three thought about it.
The rain eased a bit, buses coming from Lydenberg said it was only raining in Sabie, 2ks out of town was only mist.
When I put my shoes on I had put lots of vaseline on my feet in case they got wet. This had been a good call.

We went out in the rain to the start. I was struggling in my mind to work out a real race plan, just knowing that sub 8.30/km would give me medal. Standing in the rain waiting for the last buses to arrive from Lydenberg was not fun. I get irratated by being wet and waiting- not a good omen. I had put sun screen on but by now I suppose that was flowing down the river.

Eventually we started off, and by was the first km long, I just kept plodding( literally in my wet shoes) along. It was at 9km that I could at last feel that I was not going uphill for a few strides. We had gained about 400m by now. On my Garmin 2 of these k were above 75m gained. I managed to average 8:01.km to the end of 9km.
The next 17km was undulating, we only gained about 200m, but for km 18 we gained 89m, there was not much down. I had got my average to 7:59 at the end of 27km. We were still in very thick mist so not much of a view,
Having done the warm up , the climbing now started in the next 6km we climbed 440m. This was followed by few undulating kms at 36k my average had crept up to 8:09.
At the end of 42km I realised that as much as I was ahead of my goal, I could do 7h30 finish. Initially I had worked on 7k/hr making it in 8hrs. At 42km I was at 5:40 which made me 20 minutes ahead. I then knowing the rest (except for 2km of uphill) was nice and down, decided to stretch the legs a bit- knowing this would actually work out the lactic acid, and probably aid in lengthening my hamies. The last 10kms or so were done in some pretty hot sunshine, the mist cleared after we crested th escarpment at 37km
I really felt good as I ended strongly dropping my average pace back to 8:01, although I never went faster than 7:18/km
I did manage a negative split, considering that the steepest hardest climb started at the 28th I was pretty happy.

I drank 32gi energy drink the night before and 4 times during the race when I met Carmenn- she kept telling that I was catching the runners. I ate 2 jungle oats dark chocolate energy bars, a small milo bar and a bar one. Lots of chocolate I know but the dark chocolate was the best.

Today I am walking fine, suffering a bit from sunburn on my shoulders, hammies and right glute are a bit tender. Back is a bit tight. I think I may do this race again. I do not get blisters normally and yesterday was no exception. I will however need to get new shoes as these Hyperspeeds have "lost" their heels.

Liz finshed in 6:30, Gerhard in 7:00 and I came in 7:25, a great race

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sasolburg Marathon 5/2/11

Well Liz and I decided we had drunk and eaten a bit much previous to our previous few half marathons so we put some thought into this week. We wanted to eat earlier, also we stuck to brocolli / cucumber and humous followed by some cheese and biscuits. She had a GNT and I had a Guiness. ( better than the previous week when celebrating her bday we had bottle of champers and a few glasses of white)
We left home at 3:45 which is way to early for me, we got to the start around 5:05 so we were not rushed at all, had time to get our numbers, and drink some Energade, then wander off to the start. Liz's running partner Gerhard joined us for the race.

My goal was to go easy for the first 10 the do a fastish 20 and see how I felt near the end a sub 5 would be nice but was not essential. I suppose I should pay more attention to the route profile in my planning . To complete a marathon in sub 5:00 one needs to average better than 7:06 per km.
At 10km I was averaging 7:01 and feeling good. It was not a very hilly route, but from 17 to 30, there was only 1 km where we went down , the rest were all slightly uphill. at 20km I was still averaging 7:04 and by 30 I was at 7:08 at which point I decided to just walk at a comfortable pace in interest of not picking up an injury etc.
I ended feeling fine, at 5:05:20 for an average of 7:19. I still got a medal and a really good purple T shirt, but a DNFIT ( did not finish in time) so not official result.
Liz had a good run, ending in 4:13 so qualified for Two oceans a batch ahead of me. I qualified at the Big Walk, she was however a bit upset because Gerhard beat her by 3 minutes.

The positives I take from this race are
1 I felt great after the race, did a dogwalk on Sunday and a 9k recovery on Monday.
2 My average HR was much lower when I do a 21- it crept over the last few hills to end at 154.
3 I must plan my pace around the elevation changes, not just how I feel will work for me.
4 If you are not going to make a goal time, slow down and make it a training walk.