Sunday, July 24, 2022

Comrades 2022 loading....


 So here goes with my Comrades 2022 preparation update...

I always do the Midrand Striders 60km which is normally  6 weeks before Comrades..

As I also racewalk and invariably AGN decide to have a Grand Prix the day before the 60km, I have no idea why or who is trying to block me.....  This year with a new CGA Racewalking commission   so they decided to make the AGN event a qualifier for the CGA team for Provincials.. No ways I can miss a qualifier so I entered..

I use Maxed shoes for 10km RW and they are really a size short.. hence only using them for 10km.. I normally am quite good at cutting my toe nails... but I forgot about the smaller shoes.  I wanted to do a sub 67mnin 10km and kept very consistent and finished in 66:25 so was very happy, finished first in Age group so overall very happy. Chatted a bit with friends then started walking to the car..   I could not believe how sore my toes felt.. Got back to the car and the smallest 3 toes on each foot were quite bloody.. sorry no pics.

I did trim my nails when I got home!!!  But wearing my Brooks Adrenaline ( Comrades shoes) meant I had more space for my toes. Overall this was not great preparation for the 60km, which started at 6 am , in the dark. My goal was to get as close to 7:30/km and try as much as I could  to keep it there, after about 12 km I was pretty much on target but that's about when my feet started complaining. I felt like I had stones in shoes, under the soles, normally I  sort of kick the ground and move the stones to the front  of the shoes. This did not work as my toes were so sore and then every time I went uphill the stones used gravity  to irritate me once more.. The 60km is an out and back so I tried to take my mind off my feet by trying to guess when I would see who coming back. I normally carry minimum Norflex so that I do not take unless I really need to. I had decided I would take my lone Norflex at Halfway..  Seeing Liz at about 28km , when she asked if I had Norflex  I knew I would not be getting one, she looked finished  so I gave her mine..( I was worried about her, she to was worried as she told me later I was limping a bit.. probably from the toes)  Turning at 30km with the new route I had in my mind thought we would not be going down the sand road towards Diepsloot..I was wrong we went pretty much as far down as the sand did. Had a snack and back up... eish..I felt finished, ,pace had dropped to 7:45/km and interestingly my Average HR which was pretty much 138 most of the first half had dropped to about 128  when I checked it at about 33km. I normally only look  at HR after the event.. 

I decided to just see if I could finish but the suggested cut off is 8:00/km and as i got above that and my HR got below 118 I realised I was not going to do the full 60 and decided to take a short cut which would take about 7km off the route. I was really struggling along at over 11:00 /km at times but mostly managed to stay with those who were essentially about an hour ahead of me. Looking at the profile below its easy to see  why the pace was so slow near the end. The hills are monstrous..


When I go to the end I was expecting Liz to be there but no.. so I went to the car and low and behold my Cellphone which I left on Airplane mode was flat. So I decided to go look for Liz, A quick stop for diesel while keeping an eye on the road and I found her literally 300m down the road. I then went and got some Alcohol free beers - not a pretty sight walking to the bottle store and joined up with Liz...

Caught up with some ex club mates at Midrand striders. Boy were my feet sore.
No walking till Thursday and feet at fine.. 
Currently my goal for 5 weeks time is 7:41 /km which will give me a Down walk PB... 11:40:10 is my current pb... Interestingly by making the distance distance 91 not 90 drop the required pace by 5 secs /km. Distance is 90.8km this year

 
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Monday, February 10, 2020

Pacing



Pacing is key to success in a race

I have been trying to work out a simple explanation of my personal pacing philosophy (3p) and on a walk the other day it all came together ...
  
Key
Lap           1km
Pace         Pace  for that  km
GAP          Strava evaluates pace based on elevation gain and loss and gives an approximation of effort  
Elev           Elevation gain/loss of the km  
HR             Heart rate
7:20           Planned pace - this is a comfortable training pace for me 
Elapsed     Total walk time
Goal           Goal time at 7:20
Gain Total  Ahead or behind Goal in total
Gain km     Ahead  or behind for current km
Ave Pace   Am I on schedule

So to do a sub 11 on the Up Comrades one needs to finish at just below 7:35 pace. A simple 41 s /km slower will be a sub 12.. Ah the simple basis of pacing. I do round these off a bit, but it is your average pace that is critical. Garmin has a Race Screen if you have ConnectIQ, this will allow you to correct the distance when doing an accurate race eg Cape Town Marathon where I corrected my watch distance about 4 times, actually seeing how the 1m is added in for every km as per measuring guidelines- this prevents a race being short  (page 15...    MeasurementOfRoadRaceCourses.pdf ) plus the extra few m for not taking the shortest line. This race screen kept me on target for a 4:34:30 finish time for a G seeding , some running was involved and mat to mat.  I used the Race Screen on Comrades and I believe it helped me as by changing that data screen I could see exact finish time at that ave pace.. No fade is built in but that is easy to workout. I tend to round off my race distance to allow a bit of fade even in the final stretch. 

Looking at my above walk, the first km was 27 too slow, no really an issue (yet) then I lost another 35 secs but this is my hardest hill on my route.. now I am 62 seconds behind target, with 13km to go I need to now average 7:15 ie 13 x 5 secs is 65 seconds to get below my 7:20, where a runner has the advantage is in being able to run downhills below 6min/km and gain that 62sec plus in 1km . I need to chip away at the deficit slowly. Remember every km I do faster than 7:20/km will eat into  the 62sec  and every km slower will add to it .   3km add another 13 secs, but then i gradually wore away at the deficit till in the 10km I erased it. I then managed to build up a cushion and get ahead of the clock.

I hope this is not too confusing, if it is send your queries...
   

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Comrades 2019

This has been a weird year for training and for all the extraneous events that have had an impact. We've had work pressures, family issues , injuries, flu, lack of motivation .. its been tough.
I have tried to downplay expectations even knowing that this was probably my best hope of a sub 11 but at the same time realising that it may be a bridge or two too far.

We stayed with our friend Nikki in Hilton and decided to catch the bus from PMB to Durban , leaving our car at the finish gave us the most flexibility on the day. As usual we went to  the finish and explored the area,  found the tog bags , and the Team Vitality tent, wow it was different when there were 10-20000 people filling in all the gaps....

Although Kypie and I had planned to do the race together we had not really made a proper meeting up plan.. The trip down in the bus was reasonably uneventful until the driver stopped to let some people relieve their bladders. We were a bit concerned the bus may have broken down but no we soon  set off on the wet road to Durban.. The rain had stopped and form my app it showed no more rain, other apps seemed to predict rain at 7am, with the start being in the dark at 5:30. To ensure we had warm clothes at the finish we left a bag with Biddulphs in PMB and took one to Durban. With our bags handed over we entered C pen( By raising R6000 we get into the Charity batch- we took 50 seconds to cross the start , the last runners crossed about 12 minutes ) at 4:40 where we hoped to meet up with Kypie. We never thought we would get there before him and besides we could see everyone walking past us to get in the batch so thought we would see him if he was late. We got quite far forward in the batch just by following others forward as they moved to meet up with friends. Next time we will plan this better!!

The usual quiet Durban build up with National anthem then Shosholozawas followed by the cock crow and the Cannon which wakes up all the poor pigeons in Durban....   I seriously believed that Kypie was ahead and hoped he would not start out too fast... Our goal was to get to 7:20 / km and stay as close to that as we could knowing the hills would impact us and move that to 7:30.. That was plan A.    If you watch the video here at just on 50 minutes race time you can see the Orange cap on the other side of the road, that's me Comrades 2019 video  Not sure if we feature again I have not watched the whole recording yet

At about 12km I looked at my watch and average was 7:20/km a few seconds later I heard " I am so thankful to have caught you" we were re-united.. In 4 Comrades now we have only been apart for 17 in the first one and 12 now. It was great to be reunited but round about here I started feeling  my left hip flexor /piriformis complaining. Not much I could do so I just ignored it, my stride must have changed / compensated for it as later I felt my right hamstring tightening. Both of these were worse on uphills and camber.. So as we started Cowies hill it was there. It did not slow me down but was an irritation.
Met up with Nigel Asprey at 32km and got  a Tonic water which is a really great change of flavour. I was a bit disappointed as this year they only had naartjie energade and my favourite is the blueberry, but hey beggars can't be choosers..My goal had been to get top the mat at Drummond in 2:22  and we managed a 2:25 which meant sub 11 was very tight as the mat is not quite halfway.

Going up Nchanga my hips were mildly sore, and my calves also were complaining a bit but that's life.. Looking at the splits afterwards we were faster on all the big hills than 2 years expect for Pollys... It was not a bad climb just goes on and on and on. and this starts at the conclusion of the hardest road marathon in South Africa
 
           
I truly believe in even effort so whether going up down or flat you should expend the same energy which means that you never push to hard. As your energy levels and enthusiasm wane so your speed will drop. And yes it drops, suddenly at the top of Nchanga you are into a breeze and it slows you and saps your energy . Up Nchanga and pretty much all the way down again.

By this stage  one is going through the motions, keeping going forward trying to stay positive.This is a heavily undulating section with no major hills but you look across to about 6km ahead and realise you need to go down quite a but before ascending to the same height.  Just after the highest point I looked across and who would not recognise those legs... Liz was on the side of the road puking... We thought biltong had solved the problem but not yet.  I tried to encourage her to stay with us and jog ahead on the downs which she did till we started little Pollys but she was pretty tired. With a heavy heart we went on but we did slow a bit as by now I was leaning quite badly to the left, I think when I finished in 2015 I also had a slight lean but that was only at the end . I was trying to pull my back straight but with the camber on the road it was not easy.   There was an Ex SA cricketer Mornantau Hayward struggling up Pollys and Kypie took great delight in chatting to him  as they inched up the hill.. It goes much quicker if you take your mind off the task at hand..   
 
We just kept moving on not quite knowing how Liz was doing but knowing that if I stopped I probably would not get going again.   To turn around and look backwards while walking forwards is a no no 80m into a race, eventually a friend Brian May acme past and said he had helped Liz coming up Polly Shortts. That was a relief. It was great to finish my 9th Comrades with an awesome walking buddy. at last we got the exact same finish time..

After finishing I went to get my  togbag ( we both had stuff in each tog bag just in case) so Liz would have warm stuff  to put on as PMB cools off quickly and sunsets at about 5:10pm Once I had my bag I went back to the finish, it felt like there were a million people there. Fortunately met up with Adri who confirmed Liz had finished. So do I go left where there are millions of people or right to medical to see if Liz is there. She was not at Medical so I fought my way through the hordes to our club tent, and eventually found Liz who had puked again, there was another team member Bruce who had also puked and said the berry smoothie helped him so Liz had one and felt a bit better, by which time the medic arrived but Liz said she was ok. Her skin showed she was not dehydrated so we decided to avoid the biggest non military temporary medical facility in the world.  By this stage  Bruces wife arrived having spent 2 hours at some other tent waiting for him..
     
We then set of to find our car and get Liz into a bath at Nikkis place.  I had a meager meal as not really hungry, Liz just had another smoothie.  We drove back home on Monday and why did I only stop once when I got home my legs and back had seized up pretty much. I initially slept well last night then tossed and turned and tossed and turned.. This morning I am still very tight but it has been gradually easing. I really prefer not to take any pain killers or NSAIDs so as to allow the body to heal naturally. If you tell the body there is no pain it will not heal itself. I should be fine in
a day or two..
Dave

Liz you can see below how Liz slowed after Camperdown but she ended faster. A few more kms and we would have ended together..

 Kypie
Looking below you can see that Kypie was 1 minute behind across the start line..


I used race predictor on my Garmon 920xt it was awesome you put in the total distance and when you get to a km marker you can press the lap button and it will correct the pace and ETA..   In ths case I put in  87km as I did not want it to go a km short. It worked really well  just when Kypie met up with me we were on a 10:42 pace but as the hills kick in this drops but it was awesome near the end as predicted ETA went just over 11:30 and we by then knew we were safe.      

Monday, April 22, 2019

Easter 100

Ok so this years Easter training was very different !!! over the years we thought we had built up a loyal following who helped make our training fun. Then some decided to move to the Cape, others decided to do Two Oceans which left Liz and I.

Not really wanting to 42- 46 km on our own we decided to revert to our 2010 attempt at the Randburg Harriers 48km  on Friday... Then Liz gets sick and as per 2010 we realise that getting cold and wet would negate any real benefits we gained by going a bit further..  so at 4am on Friday we went back to sleep and  only set off when it was  a bit warmer at about 7am.

We both felt good with Liz going really slowly and increasing her expected 16km to a reasonable 33km . I did my fastest ever Good Friday also doing 33km but had to go the other way round the block  to add on 3km to get there.. It was really a nice route and so my weekend goal of sub 7:20 became achievable, thats with carrying a small backpack .  If I am ever to do a sub 11 at Comrades it will be this year.. I pref
er the up, it's a bit shorter and therefore sub 11 a bit more achievable ..
Friday night Liz's throat gets worse.. so now what ? I had in the past had this idea of walking to woodlands Park run doing the park run and walking back, but we don't often do 30 plus km. So I negotiated with Gerhard and Carmenn to change their parkrun and at least I had somewhere to leave my backpack.  It was a bit shorted walking there only 13.2km than Waze calculated which was 14.7km. At the start I decided to rather  run a the parkrun as its very congested not really a walkers route, I did run it a  few years ago. I managed a 29:19 and Gerhard hung in for a 30:51 both about 20 secs off  PB and Carmenn managed a PB. As soon as Carmenn came in I set off on the return journey..    Its a lot of climbing going back .. I averaged 7:16 going there and 7:24 coming back which made me really happy with those hills

On the way back Liz confirmed her doctors appointment  which made my timing really tight,I took a short cut which did not work but screamed in just as she was about to leave.
So with Antibiotics on script we set off to convert Liz to Brooks shoes, Ghost 11 are now to be her Comrades shoe..

Sunday morning is Dogrun, so having convinced Liz to give it a skip I took all three dogs.. Besides the start where Kenzo got the leads wrapped around all four legs with Amber inside one loop, the only real issue was with Amber running being the two boys  when Kenzo stopped  to smell or pee Amber carried on so once again we got leads entangled. Still managed our fastest dog run of the year, 3 dog power makes a difference.

Liz and then set off to do about 20, Liz seemed fine as she slowly accumulated kms...  She took it really easy and ended just shy of two oceans for her 2 runs..  I was on 88km in 10:30 now that looked promising for Comrades..  I had hoped to gain a bit more towards  my 100 with rain expected on Monday .. but really it is what it is.

Monday was cool  and overcast but no rain so off I went and got my total to 103km..
Overall a very successful weekend for me , now to get Liz right for next weeks Midrand  60km...



I know of a few people who draw pictures or write words. Maybe I should try 

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