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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