Races

Third race: Kloof Nek Classic 21km

This is the second time I’ve had the pleasure of entertaining myself by running up some of the biggest hills in Cape Town for fun. As I hauled myself out of bed at 4:45am I couldn’t wait to pound up 500m of mountain, luckily the South Easter wasn’t pumping because otherwise this little jog would have been hideous. To be honest I’m not a fan of half marathons. Why? Because you don’t need to train, have a race plan, pacing or tactics because all you have to do is roll out of bed and run as hard and fast as possible for two hours. I don’t have much time for ‘fun runners’ with their temporary licenses, sticking their elbows out and tendency to stop dead in front of you – there you go, I’ve said it. I suppose I’m a bit of a snob because I’d always rather run a marathon with ‘proper’ runners that know the etiquette and are consistently stupid on Sunday mornings.

Race notes
Route: Start Camps Bay High School, up The Glen to Kloof Nek, turn right onto Tafelberg Road, turn back to Kloof Nek, Climb Signal Hill and try not to fall as you fly back down to the school
Height climbed: 500m
Time started: 06:00
Total time: 2:05:42
Total distance: 21.1km
Average pace: 5:55 min/km
Weather conditions: Sunny with slight wind
Temperature: 27˚
Runner’s condition: Stiff

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Saturday morning club run

Small turnout due to the race tomorrow. Had a nice little trot up to Suikerbossie and back to Camps Bay. After a long run its nice to put the legs in the ocean, today though the sea was so cold I could hardly put my feet in, the biting temperature often gives you a headache – I had what is known to locals as the ‘ice cream head’.

Running notes
Route: Sand Bar, Camps Bay to the top of Suikerbossie and back
Height climbed: 100m
Time started: 07:0o
Total time: 1:50:43
Total distance: 18km (Not measured with Nike+ as I forgot it)
Weather conditions: Sunny with a breeze
Temperature: 22˚
Runner’s condition: Fine

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This week’s time trial

I very nearly cried. In fact I had to choke back the tears on the treadmill.

Running notes
Route: 10 laps round the reservoir drive to the gym and then run another 40 minutes
Height climbed: Flat
Time started: 06:16
Total time: 1:22:17
Total distance: 15:03km
8km time trial: 42:15
8km average pace: 5:16 min/km
Weather conditions: Cloudy strong South Easter
Temperature: 20˚
Runner’s condition: Fine
Song of the run: Dolly Parton: 9 to 5

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I knew those 60 lunges with 5kg weights were a big mistake yesterday

Today I’ve been punished with the inability of being able to get out of my office chair. Yes I’m behaving like I’m pregnant or 80, much to the amusement of my colleagues. I had to visit a client this afternoon and almost fell out of the car.

The run this morning was a rare jewel in my otherwise dark and never ending training days of the ‘evil plan’. I would like to have said I shot up Kloof Nek, but given the buttock impediment it was slightly slower and more uncomfortable than I would have liked. Nevertheless I co-ordinated the overstretched glutes and together, with much bitching, we hauled ourself up to the lower cable station on Table Mountain. Despite this being tourist season, not a soul (well if you don’t include the snoozing taxi drivers) was about. Lucky me, I had the whole view to myself and could hear the birds sing, what a treat. The wonder of the natural world inspired me to take a detour on the way back home via Company’s Gardens. You could say this is the green lung of the city, originally laid out as a mammoth vegetable patch by the the Dutch East India Company in 1652 to provision the ships, feed the workers, sailors and anyone else that had the misfortune (Kaapstad was considered a bit of a hell hole at that time) of having to stop here on their way to India and the orient. Today you won’t see a cabbage but apparently there is a 400 year old pear tree. I must say I do like the squirrels and the herd of feral cats.

Running notes
Route: My flat on Buitenkant Street to the tap at the lower cable station on Table Mountain and back
Height climbed: 300m
Time started: 06:06
Total time: 1:12:16
Total distance: 11.98km
Average pace: 6:01 min/km
Weather conditions: Low cloud with light drizzle, humid
Temperature: 24˚
Runner’s condition: Fine
Song of the run: Heaven is a Place on Earth: Belinda Carlisle

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Don’t wanna go, don’t wanna go, don’t wanna go…

How can it possibly take 45 minutes to pull a pair of shorts on and dress myself in a running vest? This extreme procrastination at 5:30 this morning made me late to work. Note to self – set alarm for 5:15 next time. Aarrgh.

Running notes
Route: Gym
Height climbed: 9 x 2 minute hill repeats (3 at 5 incline 10 speed, 3 at 5 incline 9.5 speed, 3 at 5 incline 9 speed)
Time started: 06:31
Total time: 1:08:04
Total distance: 11:84km
Average pace: 5:55 min/km
Temperature: Outside 22˚ (inside Wembley Square probably 26˚)
Runner’s condition: Fine
Song of the run: Jaime T: Sheila

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Races

You have got to be kidding me: Second race – The Red Hill Marathon 42.2km

Today I scored a ‘PW’. A PW in running parlance is the opposite of PB. A PW refers to ‘Personal Worst’ and means in the words of my sister (sent via SMS from London) that I’m a loser. Oh yes, the Red Hill Marathon is a wonder of scenic beauty, but also the provider of wake up calls that come neatly packaged in a fat 15 minutes slower than my previous worst which was also my first marathon ever and therefore doesn’t count. I literally swore my way round the course this morning. At 15km I was finished – yes really. Usually on marathons (which is my favourite distance), I’m still feeling pretty good at the halfway point, and ready to nail the last 21km. Oh no not a chance today, this morning the climb up Misty Cliffs and Scarborough ate me up and spat me out. The rest of it was hell-on-a-stick, the only highlight was running down the torturous hairpin bends of Red Hill which I will be running up on the Peninsula Marathon on 21 February. Oh sign me up for that because I can’t wait.

I’ve discovered during my two years of marathon running that every hill has two sides. What goes up must come down etc. If you are running down Red Hill, then you have to run up the back of it, and that’s called Black Hill. During that particular hell, I invented a new term, the word is ‘foamer’, as in ‘*@#* me, what a foamer!’ Its not nice and its definitely not pretty, but for any of you out there stupid enough to have run a marathon in South Africa, in summer and in the Table Mountain National Park, you’ll know what I mean. A foamer, I’ve decided’ refers to what happens to your mouth as you’re desperately trying to haul your arse up yet another hill that you think just might kill you at 27km. On the Richter Scale of magnitude I’d say this was definitely a 9. The sad thing about my new term is that I know there is one worse out there. This ‘hill’ in question is called Polly Shorts. This is the nemesis in Comrades running. Grown men cry on this hill, and I’m sure naughty South African children are sent to bed with threats by their mothers, not about evil ogres, but by the words ‘I’ll make you run up Polly Shorts’, the said children are then heard to whimper ‘Please Mum anything but that, I’ll be good for the rest of my life’. Polly Shorts occurs at 80km on the Comrades ‘up’ run, it is neither the toughest or the steepest hill, just the most sadistically positioned. With 9km to go, I’ve heard it will suck the life out of your body, that’s if you’ve got anything left. Comrades alternates between ‘up’ runs and ‘down’ runs. This year its Pietermaritzburg to Durban (down) which means I will run down Polly Shorts near the start, but if I’m dim enough to attempt the race again in 2011 I’ll be crawling up it.

So anyway, I finally reach the end and repair to the club gazebo which is pretty much full of people that finished in decent times, when Kirsty mentions ‘Are you okay, because we were worried that something had happened to you?’. Sadly nothing happened to me, I was not attacked by a puff adder, nor run over by an over zealous cyclist, no I was just *@#*. As any runner worth their salt will tell you, never admit the truth. I did of course blame my exceedingly poor performance on the ‘evil plan’, and having to work late this week. However I did not mention the intervention of Beelzebub himself. Whilst I was faffing in Fish Hoek Athletic’s carpark this morning at 5am (I was there early on account of always being everywhere early) I happened to glance to the car parked next to mine. The door opened and behind it appeared a women from the Tygerberg club wearing the license number 666. I kid you not.

Race notes
Route: Start Fish Hoek, Kommetjie, Scarborough, Simonstown to Fish Hoek
Height climbed: 420m
Time started: 06:00
Total time: 4:29:29
Total distance: 42.2km
Average pace: 6:25 min/km
Weather conditions: Sunny
Temperature: 31˚
Runner’s condition: Is that a trick question? See above

*@#* Since I’ve discovered my sister printed out my blog to share with my mother I’ve got to be careful with the colourful words.

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Hills again

As usual, the gym was as dull as dishwater. Did see a red Ferrari in the car park which begs the question why bother with Wembley Square when you must have a plethora of personal trainers and dietitians on 24 hour call out. Maybe he likes ‘keeping it real’, down with cheapskates like me. After all he’s hardly checking the talent when he’s got a leggy Ukranian stripper for a girlfriend. Okay I might have made that up, but we all know its true.

Running notes
Route: Gym
Height climbed: 9 x 2 minute hill repeats (5 at 5 incline 10 speed, 4 at 5 incline 9.5 speed)
Time started: 06:17
Total time: 1:09:04
Total distance: 11:67km
Average pace: 5:55 min/km
Temperature: Outside 24˚ (inside Wembley Square probably 29˚)
Runner’s condition: Fine
Runner’s weight: 70.6kg (Another 600g off)
Song of the run: Wake Up: The Arcade Fire

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Tafelberg Road

Not half as exciting as the run yesterday, but I did score some decent sympathy points with the crowd when I pointed out my war wounds. ‘Did I show you my purple fingers?’ Oooh.

Running notes
Route: Kloof Nek car park to the Lower Cable Station turn at the end of the tarmac on Tafelberg Road and back
Height climbed: 180m
Time started: 17:50
Total time: 1:18:20
Total distance: 12.59km
Average pace: 6:13 min/km
Weather conditions: Sunny
Temperature: 26˚
Runner’s condition: Fine

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Blood on the tarmac

Yes I stacked it on Chapman’s Peak Drive this morning. Went down like a ten ton sack of spuds. Bam. Those sodding cat’s eyes. This is the second time I’ve ‘gone for a burton’ in 6 months. The last time was in Hout Bay right in front of the traffic which must have made someone snigger. That time I was running with Chris and I don’t think he knew whether to laugh first or try and scrape me up. Today was classic, I couldn’t actually get my right hand out fast enough so now I sit here typing with two fingers taped together and an array of plasters covering the palms of my left hand which underneath looks like I had a fight with a cheese grater, and my shoulder also got a piece of the action. ‘Don’t you think you should put some sun screen on that’ Wiebke said pointing to the area of raw meat, on Camps Bay beach this afternoon ‘Why?’ I replied ‘you actually need skin to burn it’.

Running notes
Route: Car park opposite The Chapman’s Peak Hotel to the farmstall in Noordhoek and back
Height climbed: 380m
Time started: 08:15
Total time: 2:30:17
Total distance: 22km (Not measured with Nike+ as I forgot it. Again)
Weather conditions: Sunny with wind
Temperature: 24˚
Runner’s condition: Hungover from a bender at Brewers & Union

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I hate Sea Point

My heart sank as they said ‘lets go this way’ pointing north towards Sea Point. I hate Sea Point. Not only do certain sections of the promenade stink, they are literally covered by walkers, other runners, small dogs and even smaller children, bergies, and its paved. So if something off the afore mentioned list doesn’t trip you up then your knees are knackered. I hate Sea Point. I really hate Sea Point, in fact I loathe the entire section from Bantry Bay to the Waterfront. I think you get the point. Off we trot. It takes us about 30 minutes to the water fountain in the promenade at which point the other three decide to turn. O.M.G this means I have to press on further into the hideousness for another 25 minutes and all the way back to Camps Bay by myself. No ipod because its a club run and we like to chat, gossip and dissect injuries. O.M.G.

Running notes
Route: Sand Bar, Camps Bay to Mouille Point (which is the stinky bit) and the Newport Deli and back
Height climbed: Flat
Time started: 07:02
Total time: 1:42:37
Total distance: 16km (Not measured with Nike+ as I forgot it)
Weather conditions: Sunny with a breeze
Temperature: 24˚
Runner’s condition: Tired from yesterday’s round trip to Joburg

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Me and Dave

On my 10th lap of the reservoir this morning I considered why my trusty Nikes were getting heavier and slower, probably because of those hill repeats last night which I calculated was less than 12 hours earlier, had to walk twice. The slackness was accompanied by groaning, sighing and the general bitching from the voices in my head. All this was drowned out by the other voice on my Nike+ ‘two kilometres to go’ or rather ‘two keelomeders to gooo’ (thats Americans for you). I like to call him Dave. I’d like to think of Dave as some hot little bod in fancy sunglasses pounding the California Hills. Working in the digital industry I know the reality is probably different. He’s likely to be some poor soul that coded the application in a cubicle somewhere in the dark depths of dungeon in the development house Nike outsourced to. He’s probably never seen the sun let alone a pair of running shoes. So thats why I call him Dave rather than Brad or Nicky, he’s just not that lucky. Oh yes, the ducklings have got a bit fatter since I saw them last week, but the Mum still gives me evils.

Running notes
Route: Lower Buitenkant Street, Bree Street to the reservoir 10 laps and then back the same way
Height climbed: 60m
Time started: 06:14
Total time: 1:23:31
Total distance: 14.48km
8km time trial: 46:20
8km average pace: 5:46 min/km
Weather conditions: Cloudy
Temperature: 22˚
Runner’s condition: Knackered (though most impressed I didn’t touch the booze at bookclub last night)
Song of the run: Tainted Love: Soft Cell

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Hill repeats

Every gym session at Wembley Square never fails to irk me. Today on my third hill climb the treadmill just stopped dead. Thanks Virgin Active. Not only are half of your machines out of action at any one time, they malfunction as well. Thank the lord I wasn’t doing speed work because I’d have been over the top and in the pool before you could have said ‘WTF?’

Running notes
Route: Gym
Height climbed: 9 x 2 minute hill repeats (4 at 5 incline 10 speed, 5 at 5 incline 9.5 speed)
Time started: 17:34
Total time: 1:07:40
Total distance: 11:23km
Average pace: 6:01 min/km
Temperature: Outside 36˚ (inside Wembley Square probably 45˚)
Runner’s condition: Vexed
Runner’s weight: 71.2kg (Whoop whoop lost 1.2kg Christmas fat in a week!)
Song of the run: Casbah Wonder

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Heavy legs

Oh god, oh god, oh god… What a nightmare getting up the hill from Kloof Nek to the Cable Station. My heavy post race legs were an understatement. They felt like lead. The South Easter was blowing, and to make matters worse I made everyone run Tafelberg Road (because my race plan said one hour and thirty minutes) oh they were cursing me as we ran into gale force winds at the corner below Devils Peak. Seemed to warm up a bit at about 10km and actually led the pack back to the cable station. Maybe I’m loosing some weight and getting fitter? Either that or I was looking forward to finishing…

Running notes
Route: Kloof Nek car park to the Lower Cable Station turn at the end of the tarmac on Tafelberg Road and back
Height climbed: 180m
Time started: 17:54
Total time: 1:19:22
Total distance: 12.25km
Average pace: 6:29 min/km
Weather conditions: South Easter (that’s serious wind if you’ve never been to Cape Town)
Temperature: 23˚
Runner’s condition: Sore legs and knees

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First race – 30km Bay to Bay

What a shocker! Despite the fact that I haven’t actually been on a training plan since September I managed to scrape a moderately respectable 2:58:11. Not bad considering the diet of alcoholic beverages, Indian takeaways and god knows what else I’ve been packing away over the holidays. One of my favourite races of the year and also one of our club races. Ocean Basket also sponsored this year, but sadly no fish and chips at the end.

Race notes
Route: Race start outside La Med to Hout Bay, loop around Hout Bay and back
Height climbed: 320m
Time started: 06:00
Total time: 2:58:11
Total distance: 30km
Average pace: 5:54 min/km
Weather conditions: Cloudy and some mist
Temperature: 25˚
Runner’s condition: Stressed due to the fact I couldn’t get the car out of the garage and had to call a taxi to the start

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Hungover again

This morning, according to my plan, I was in for an 8km time trial (with 20 mins easy either side). What a lovely birthday present. I swung the pins over the edge of the bed at 5:30am and contemplated my running shoes. The cat is motionless, blinking at me. Not because I’d switched the light on (its summer here) but because of the shock of me waking her up.

Slogged up to the reservoir which was no where near 20 minutes and started the circuits. This is a run that I’ve not done for a while and is stunning. Table Mountain is reflected on the water on one side, you can see the sun gradually lighting up Lions Head on each circuit and you get a great view of the city towards one corner. The tarmac around the reservoir is in a terrible state all cracked and uneven, but thats probably good for ankle strengthening. 8km = 10 laps which involved nearly being attacked by an Eygptian goose (protecting her bubbas) and overtaken by a yummy mummy and a fancy tricycle baby contraption, as I pondered this embarrassment I could guarantee she had not packed away as much booze as I had last night. My friend Mike says ‘running keeps you honest’, but I prefer Chris’s sentiment ‘I’m a drinker with a running problem’.

Running notes
Route: Lower Buitenkant Street, Upper Orange Street to the reservoir 12 laps and then back
Height climbed: 60m
Time started: 06:03
Total time: 1:15:30
Total distance: 13.05km
8km time trial: 45:30
8km average pace: 5:40 min/km
Weather conditions: Fresh and sunny
Temperature: 22˚
Runner’s condition: Mildly hungover
Song of the run: Smooth Criminal – Michael Jackson

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