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How an average training run transformed into a session of hero worship

“So how many kms do you run a week?” I asked innocently, “er”, he said calculating roughly in his head “240”. WTF? Last week I did 92km, like quoi?, I compose myself and add to my now shriveling running ego, “right, ah… and so how many days do you train?”, “five” he replies. I do the maths – that is 48km average a day. THAT IS 6KM MORE THAN A MARATHON, just think of that when you roll out of bed and lace up your running shoes. “WTF” I say in my head again. WTF indeed. Meet Zondwa, one of our club’s elite men. Zondwa’s dream is to run Comrades in under 6 hours which will place him in the top 50, yes that is a finish in front of 23,600 other people, at least 12,000 runners and four hours ahead of me.

Zondwa lives in Khayelitsha – a notorious township to the south east of the city, he leaves home at 3:30am, catches an overcrowded taxi and travels an hour into town, he changes at work and runs for two hours. He works a full day at a government printing company and then changes back into his running kit at 5:30pm and runs for another two hours. He goes back to work, changes and takes the taxi home at 8pm. He does this four times a week and then each weekend he runs 70km/43 miles straight. His weekend run takes him from Khayelitsha up Sir Lowry’s Pass and into Grabouw and back. Now believe me when I say that is a mother of all runs. Sir Lowry’s Pass is the highest mountain pass in the Cape, from sea level it rises 420m/1735 feet to the top, and this is no mean feat running half a kilometre into the sky with four lanes of traffic on every hairpin bend.

Zondwa is a true hero, he demonstrates a superhuman level of commitment in the face of adversity and disadvantage that I can’t even remotely imagine.

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: 17:47
Total time: 1:18
Total distance: 12.5km
Weather conditions: Sunny but dark for the last 20 minutes
Temperature: 15˚
Runner’s condition: Very humble

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Went out, did what I had to do, came back

Yes, its really now that boring. I deliberated for 30 minutes about whether or not to do a short run of 7km, which after dithering decided wasn’t worth doing. So ran Buitengracht, Kloof Nek and Signal Hill for the second time in just over 24 hours. Lucky me. Least I didn’t get rained on.

Running notes
Route: My flat to Klook Nek via Buitengracht to the end of Signal Hill and back the same way I’d come
Height climbed: 300m
Time started: 09:42
Total time: 1:45
Total distance: 16km
Temperature: 17˚
Runner’s condition: Bored

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Everything hurts

And it hasn’t stop hurting all day. I felt more broken running 39km this morning than I did running 56km two weeks ago. How is this possible? I mean by now this should be ‘easy’ and whilst I’ll be tired at the end, I should feel pretty fresh. Today I could feel every sinew and muscle from my hips to my ankles, I could barely sit down. I suppose running for 4 hours with no Gu, a diet of 4 beers and pizza last night, as well as not completing a full week last week from injury laid the foundation for a terrible training run. Yep, you can’t just roll out of bed on a Saturday morning, lace up the shoes and then expect your body to run (almost) a marathon. Rubbish in, rubbish out.

Running notes
Route: Sea Point pool to Greenpoint, up Buitengracht to Kloof Nek. Kloof Nek to the end of the tar on Tafelberg Road, back to Kloof Nek, up and back along Signal Hill, back to Kloof Nek, down Camps Bay drive through Camps Bay, Clifton and back to the pool.
Height climbed: 480m
Time started: 06:00
Total time: 4:20
Total distance: 39km
Temperature: 15˚
Runner’s condition: Foot still purple

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Burp

So if you’ve run up Bellevue Road in front of a bunch of gawping builders ten times I wouldn’t recommend attempting the last repeat as fast as humanly possible. In fact the end was in sight when I had to stop to swallow down something evil bubbling up from my stomach. Not a good look.

Running notes
Route: My flat to Bellevue road, hill repeats and then home via Buitengracht
Height climbed: A lot
Time started: 06:45
Total time: 1:20
Total distance: 11km
Temperature: 17˚
Runner’s condition: Fine if a bit tentative on the downhills

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Not so bad?

Gym, soft treadmill, less damage maybe? Foot is now yellow.

Running notes
Route: Gym
Height climbed: Flat
Time started: 06:21
Total time: 1:20
Total distance: 13.5km
8km time trial: Hmm – only did 20 mins as was worried about foot (excuse)
Temperature: 22˚
Runner’s condition: Nearly okay

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Spongy…

Very spongy. Shouldn’t have run tonight now my foot is green, but hey I did it anyway. The camber really sodding hurt too.

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: 17:46
Total time: 1:17:21
Total distance: 12.5km
Weather conditions: Sunny but dark for the last 20 minutes
Temperature: 20˚
Runner’s condition: Peg leg

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