Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Training log: 10.03 - 06.04 - High mileage and Hout Bay

From the top of Ou Kaapse Weg

It has been 4 weeks since my last post which shows that I have been pretty busy. Thankfully not all of the busyness has been work and I have had some time to get in some decent mileage. These last 6 weeks before 2 Oceans was always going to be crucial and I feel I got decent mileage in 3 out of the 4 weeks which is not a bad average. The 4th week I basically started the taper but included some good trail running which definitely helps the strength.

Week 1: 10.03 – 16.03

Monday – CrossFit
The second workout of the open and this one did not suit me at all. Bearing in mind I can barely overhead squat a PVC pipe, the amrap of OHS and chest to bar pull-ups was never going to be fun. In the allotted time, I only managed 4 overhead squats at 44kg so didn’t even get to the pull-ups. It was 4 more than I thought I would get however, and this is what the Open is about, pushing yourself to uncomfortable levels...lovely.

Tuesday – Interval session at ATC
Some good sprints. A set of 20 of about 70 metres at 85% pace (whatever, we ran it at 100)

Wednesday – Run - Birthday Tempo
I really wanted to start a tradition of running my age on my birthday but I was a bit stuck for time this year. So I sneaked out for a quick tempo run to make sure I was firing for the upcoming Weskus Marathon. I managed to average under 5min per km so signs are solid.

11.4km
0:55:23
4:53/km

Thursday – Taper rest

Friday – Taper rest

Saturday – Run – Weskus Marathon

An awesome morning out, check out my race report here.

42.2km
3:44:42
5:20/km

Sunday – Recovery rest

Week total
53.6km
4:41:05

Week 2: 17.03 – 23.03

Monday - CrossFit
The third open workout and it was something that played more to my strengths. My strategy was similar to my ill-advised running strategy of going as hard as you can for as long as you can and I was quite happy with the result. I got through the box-jumps pretty quickly which gave me time to struggle through the deadlifts to a total of 92 reps.

The workout was:

Moonset! This is why I wake up and run
Complete as many reps as possible in 8 minutes of:
135-lb (61kg). deadlifts, 10 reps
15 box jumps, 24-inch

185-lb (84kg). deadlifts, 15 reps
15 box jumps, 24-inch

225-lb (102kg). deadlifts, 20 reps
15 box jumps, 24-inch

275-lb (125kg). deadlifts, 25 reps
15 box jumps, 24-inch

I made it 2 reps into this round.
315-lb. deadlifts, 30 reps
15 box jumps, 24-inch

365-lb. deadlifts, 35 reps
15 box jumps, 24-inch

Tuesday – Run – Hout Bay to TAGG Sea Point
I am loving this morning run more and more and running on a fullish moon made for a splendidly magical start to the day.

16.4km
1:27:00 (estimated – Strava not working properly)

Wednesday and Thursday – Rest – also attended the Trails in Motion film festival (trailsinmotion.com) which is a great initiative and the short documentaries really fired up my motivation for the upcoming offroad season.

Friday – Run – Trail to C-Nek
I had not been able to do the mileage thus far for the week that I had planned so my goal was to do 3 half marathon distances in 3 days to catch up. In the end I only managed 2 as I had to work the Sunday. The first was a part road and part trail up the Hout Bay pipetrack to Constantia Nek and back down. Every day I realize how happy I am that we have made the move to Hout Bay, it is a running mecca where although you always have to climb to get out of the valley, every route out is beautiful.

19.1km
1:53:34
5:58/km

Saturday – Run – Road Chappies
Apollo was out and blessed us with a peach of a day to enjoy a run to Noordhoek and back. My intention was to run Chappies at a decent pace to try tire my legs and then see if I can push the pace coming down the hill on the way back. I have identified this as the place where things fell apart in last year’s 2 Oceans so I was interested to see how quickly I could do it in order to determine pacing strategies for this year. I managed a few sub 5 kilometers which was encouraging so I think the strategy is to smash 2 Race Foods at the top and then pound all the way down, we just have to hope there isn’t another headwind this year.

Running hard on Chappies
20.1km
1:46:53
5:19/km

Sunday – work/rest

Week total
55.6km
5:07:27







Week 3: 24.03 – 31.03

Monday – Rest – After realizing I would get nowhere in this week’s open workout and having too much other stuff on my plate, I decided to retire from the 2014 CrossFit Games.

Tuesday – Run – Trail – C-Nek
Dusted off the Inov-8s and hit the trails to explore a bit around Constantia Nek. I need to get to know these trails better now while it is still light.

7.1km
42:35
6:02/km

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – Run – Run around Camps bay

From TAGG up Bizkop (those steps are tougher than I remember), up Kloofnek, down Camps Bay Drive, back through Clifton, up Bizkop again and back to TAGG.

14.5km
1:12:46
5:01/km

I was also lucky enough to be invited to attend a Garmin partner event  in the evening (more news on how I got the invite coming up). It was great to see some new products they are launching this year. I really like the look of their new range of GoPro type cameras which track all sorts of fun features and incorporate it into your film such as speed, maps, heart rate etc. Definitely a luxury purchase but it looks like so much fun that you may be able to justify it.

Friday – Rest before my annual big event

Saturday – Run – Flight of the Falcon
Running selfie mid Falcon
Last year I started an annual tradition of running this same portion of the 2 Oceans route about a month before the big day. This is also around the time of my birthday so I think it is a great way to self-celebrate. The route starts in Hout Bay, heads up Constantia Nek in the dark whilst still fresh, down Constantia Main Road, along Spaanschemat River Road, up and over Ou Kaapse Weg, down through Noordhoek and then up and over Chappies and back home. This is supposed to be a nice slow run with plenty of time taken to enjoy the scenery up all 3 of the big hills. Traditional stopping points are at the top of Ou Kaapse Weg for breakfast, at the start of Chappies for a snack with the view of Long Beach and then anywhere else you need to make it back.

42.5km
4:37:53
6:33/km
View for snack time

Sunday - Rest

Week total
64.1km
6:33:14

Week 4: 31.03 – 06.04

A slower week (I might have started tapering a bit too aggressively). My brother Big Dogg is down with the family from Canada so it has been great showing him a few of my local routes.

Tuesday – Run – C-Nek
The same C-Nek route as last week. It is a nice quickish loop with an ideal amount of climbing included.

7.0km
0:44:49

Saturday – Race – Lourensford Traverse
My second new race of the year and the second time I have been surprised by how awesome such an unknown event is. This race is barely even noticed on the race calendar but it should be one that people flock to. A full race report to follow.

20.0km
2:17:41

Sunday – big rest

Week total
27.0km

3:02:30

Monday, 24 March 2014

Race report: Weskus Marathon 42.2km - 15 March 2014

Aaaaah the beauty of the West Coast. This magical coastline is undoubtedly the most underrated area of South Africa but let's keep it that way to preserve it's unspoiled beauty. The Langebaan Country Estate Weskus Marathon (www.weskusmarathon.co.za) happens in March every year and is often forgotten by Western Cape runners as it is so close to 2 Oceans. Last year it was too late to be a qualifier for the Ultra and even though it was a qualifier this year, many runners prefer to break their knees at Red Hill or fight the heat at Peninsula leaving those of left who were either too lazy, too busy or too injured in Jan and Feb to use this as our last chance to qualify. All I was really expecting to get out of this run was an entry into 2 Oceans but was very pleasantly surprised with so much more.

The race starts at Tzaarsbank which is a beautiful little beach inside the West Coast National Park.  It is a point to point race and, because the park is closed to public traffic on the day, you have to rely on the organised buses to get to the start. The trip there was slow as the fastest the bus could go was at the 40kmph speed limit of the National Park and the morning mist meant it was even slower. I managed to catch a bit of a nap in between sips of my 32GI pre-race drink. Just over an hour later we reached our starting point. It was already 6h20am so I assumed we were kicking off at 7am (once again bad pre-race research) and I went off into the bush to commence a 40 minute warm-up routine. Just as I was getting going with the hip swings I heard the announcement that the last bus had arrived and we were starting in 4 minutes. It turns out the scheduled start time was 6h30am so I quickly dropped off my tog bag in the bakkie and squeezed into the front third of the runners.

We started as the sun was coming up and we were treated to an incredible sunrise over the lagoon. The pace was quite quick at the beginning but the smaller field meant it wasn’t long until I could settle into my stride. This being only my third marathon ever, I did a fair amount of research before the race on pacing strategies. The general consensus is to run the first half as slow as possible and then try and get an even or negative split for the second half. I purposely didn’t take my watch with me, instead opting for my phone, as I decided to only check my time at pre-determined intervals so I could see how I was doing against my goals. My life has changed since I realised that 42 is divisible by 7 meaning I can split my time goals into multiples of 7. I like to split my races into thirds so it would be 3 portions of 14 minutes this time.

The first 14km is mostly flat with a few little hills to keep it interesting. I much prefer an undulating course as completely flat gets really tedious. I kept myself from going out too fast and was content letting people pass me early on as my goal was to catch them in the last 5km when I would be flying in like Lusapho April. I finished the first 14km in just under 72min which was a bit slower than I had planned.

Sun, sea and fynbos
From 14km to 21km it is gently downhill with more amazing scenery where at any point you are either running alongside the Atlantic Ocean or the lagoon. The downhill helped me speed up a bit and I got to the halfway point in 1h48. I go into every race with 3 goal times: the time I tell people I am going for (4 hours), the time I tell myself I am going for (3h45) and the time I am actually going for (3h30). My first half marathon time of 1h48 meant I was well inside the pace for 3h45 and if I had a good second half, I could even get close to 3h30. At this point I was feeling strong and confident and thought that I was done holding back and could really turn on the pace. At 24km however, things changed drastically unbeknown to me. At the time I thought I was starting to run faster however my splits show that my pace changed from around 5min/km to around 5m30/km. It is really strange because physically I didn’t feel any different so I have come up with 2 possible explanations for this: I ate for the first time at 18km and then the second time at 23km so the additional energy spent digesting may have slowed me down; or the first 23 km I was trying to run slowly and it was only when I ‘sped up’ that I slowed down so maybe my technique is better when I am trying to hold back. Of course there is the outlier reason that due to an injury and sickness I was underprepared for the race and my body was fatigued at this point but I doubt that is correct. The slower pace meant that I did the second 14km in just under 74 minutes despite doing the first 7km of it in 36 minutes.

Tried to keep up with these Edgemead chaps but they were too strong
This left me some work to do in the final chapter.  The course continued with more of the same although it is never boring. The hills do get a bit more pronounced from between 30 and 36km however they are still gentle by trail running standards. At 37km we exited the park and faced the biggest challenge of the day, the infamous ‘Black Mamba’ hill. It is about a 2km hill that gradually steepens as you ascend it. You are helped along however by the friendly locals who, with typical small town hospitality, come out in their numbers to support, one of whom I think had his own version of a ‘black mamba’ in his plastic cup…he was quite vocal. I attacked the hill and was happy that after 38km I could get up without walking…Constantia Nek I am coming for you. This put a spring in my step and a misread sign at the top which meant I thought I only had 1 km left. I turned on the gas and gave it all I had only to find at the end of that km, another sign saying I still had another 2km. By now I was pretty poked and let the 55 year old lady from Durbanville who I was duelling with carry on. I shuffled along for the last 2km and came in just over my goal time of 3h45 with a slower last third in 78 minutes.

I was happy enough with my time but I know that if I had been able to train better I could have come closer the 3h30, at least I now know what goal to shoot for. My first marathon I did in 5h20 (Knysna 2011) and my second marathon I did in 4h06 (Peninsula 2013) which means that if this trend continues, I should break 3 hours next time!

Weskus is an exceptionally well organised and beautiful marathon and one I will definitely do again even if I don’t need it for a qualifier. It has everything you could want in a road race: scenery, a few challenges, lack of cars, plenty of water tables (some even stocked with snacks) and of course some incredible organisers and volunteers who drive around picking up after the dirty roadies who still drop their empty water sachets all over the course. Definitely my favourite road marathon and I looking forward to being back again.

I usually place inside the top 33% of the field. My goal is to consistently place in the top 25%. 

Distance:    42.2km
Time:         3:45:37 (1h14 behind winner)
Position:      156/916 (17%...I am very happy with this. 2 minutes faster and I would have been top 15% and a sub 3h30 would have got me into the top 10%)

Categories
Male:     137/655
If I was a Female:   20/261




Monday, 10 March 2014

Training log - 17.02 - 09.03 - Miles and Moving

The man-made beauty of Century City
An up-down-up three weeks have passed and as I head towards my qualifying marathon this coming weekend, and the crunch time training period leading up to 2 Oceans, I am in a position where I have no idea what to expect. My goal for the year was to enter every race feeling adequately prepared. Whilst I have had a tough time so far with injuries and sickness, I still think I have done more training than I had last year, or at least better quality training so hopefully I will be fine.

Week 1
A decent week as I did my last runs in Century City and for the first time, started to feel some pace in my legs since the ankle injury.

Mon 17.02 – Run Century City
A good start to the week with an early morning jog on a shortened Century City route.
6.1km
0:32:34
5:21/km

Tues 18.02 – CrossFit

Wed 19.02 – Run Century City
A good run for, what I didn’t know at the time, would be my last run in Century City. This place has been fun to run in, mainly because there are no cars to battle. The scenery is nice in a man-made sense but I need some hills man…the mountains are calling and I must go. I put on a decent pace and was happy to average under 5min/km for the first time in weeks.
8.1km
0:39:57
4:57/km

Thurs 20.02 – Rest

Fri 21.02 – Rest

Sat 22.02 – Run – Chappies (nearly died twice)
The lead Argus riders
We were fortunate enough to house-sit for the Leo Pride in Noordhoek for the weekend and I was pumped all week for a run on possibly the most beautiful road in the universe, Chapman’s Peak. I had not been back to the Peak since 2 Oceans last year when I felt quite comfortable on the way up but really struggled on the way down so it would be interesting to gauge my current fitness levels and my hill strength after mainly running on flats so far this year. My limbs were aching when I woke up but I put it down to the 2 glasses of red wine and not sleeping much the night before due to excitement of the pending jog.

I felt really good on the way up despite running in the gutter the whole way, this due to every bicyclist in the world also deciding to come to Chappies this morning. It was during this run that I came to the conclusion that not all bicyclists are idiots…only 1 third of them. I have generally been of the opinion that cars hate pedestrians, pedestrians hate cars but both cars and pedestrians hate bicyclists. This is not entirely accurate however as after experiencing wave after wave of bicycling schools bolting past me, I was able to determine that the proportion of those pedaling on the road can be split as follows:
  1.            1 third are genuine sportsmen who have been doing this for years, they follow the rules of the road, greet when you ride past, maintain 1.5m from pedestrians and cars and are generally there because they are somewhat competitive – if you put these people in cars, they would be the ones keeping to the speed limit and not drinking more than 2 beers when driving;
  2.            Another third are made up of complete novices doing Argus for the first time, you can spot them as they are usually wearing baggy shorts instead of tights and sit bolt upright on their bikes, they are more hesitant on the road and prefer to keep looking straight ahead, best to keep out of there way and let them do their thing – if these were car drivers they would have a massive ‘L’ on their back windscreen;
  3.           The last third are made up of the full-on weekend warriors, these guys only cycle in groups of 7 or more, are usually wearing kit with a corporate logo on it and generally ride 3 abreast either to enable them to speak to their boychie alongside them, or on their cell phone (so that they can do important business),  these guys are generally out of shape having picked up cycling at the age of 42 when they realized that years of pub-lunches give you heart problems (despite what people interpret Tim Noakes as saying), if you put them in a car they would be taxis and audi owners.


The first chasers
After making this analysis, I realized that this split is quite comparable to the split of drivers on the road which made me realize that the problem is not with the drivers or with the bicyclists, it is with the people in general. Bad drivers make bad cyclists and so, until South Africans change their poor driving habits there will continue to be accidents and conflict between cars and bicycles. Anyway, it was this last third that was causing me to run in the gutter because, despite the fact that I was running on the yellow line where they can’t ride without getting a puncture, they still needed more space.

I made it up and over Chappies with no problem but on the way back I started struggling. I had a similar feeling as my first marathon in Knysna where my pre-race meal of Oysters, Tobasco and contaminated water did not agree with me. I felt weak and completely lost my appetite and couldn't take in fuel so I had to run/walk the last 5km. I thought of phoning to get picked up but then my stubbornity kicked in and I thought, I can’t DNF a training run! What if this happens when I do my 100-miler one day? I made it home and then spent the rest of the weekend either on the couch or in the bathroom…the stomach bug had returned.

18.6km
01:55:06
6:11/km

The Peloton madness


Sun 23.02 – Stomach bug induced rest

Week total
32.8km
3:07:27

Week 2

Mon 24.02 – Sat 01.03
This week I was down with the stomach bug for the first half of the week and then the second half of the week was too busy packing up our flat as we prepped for our move. We were finally all moved in by Sunday and I headed out for my first run in Hout Bay.

Sun 02.03 – Run Hout Bay
A short little jog around the block in the rain. I had so much fun and realized that I actually way prefer running in cold weather.

Week total
5.9km
0:29:48
5:03/km

Week 3

My biggest mileage week of the year so far and it felt great.

Some of the crew going all out in 14.1
Mon 03.03 – CrossFit – 14.1
On a whim I decided to enter the CrossFit open. Workouts get released every Thursday night and we have until Monday night to submit our scores. It is a big deal for me as I don’t often do the workouts on the recommended weights i.e. I usually scale them down. My goal for this is really just to attempt each workout. This workout was not too bad, being ground to overheads on a light weight interspersed with double unders. I went at a decent pace the first 5 min but then my shoulders were finished after that. Most interesting was how much I struggled with high-intensity work which shows how much I need to do more interval training. I was really proud of the other TAGG athletes who all put in really good scores.

14.1 – 10 min AMRAP
30 Double unders
15 Ground to overhead of 34kg

My score -147
My position - T1010/1471 = 68.66%

TAGG leaderboard after Week 1


Tues 04.03 – Run – Hout Bay to TAGG
A good morning run, although I will remember to take the headlamp next time. The distance from our new place to gym is perfect for mid-week morning jog.
16.4km
1:32:56
5:40/km

Wed 05.03 – Run – Hout Bay
Hout Bay sun welcoming us to the hood
I worked out a nice little route around the block then up Chappies as far as the toll booth and back again. Unfortunately my phone GPS didn’t work so I realized I would have to do it again the next day to get the distance.
11km
0:56:00 (estimated)
5:05/km

Thurs 06.03 – Run – Hout Bay
Same route as the day before and although I picked up the mileage this week, the legs felt strong.
11km
0:54:59
5:00/km

Fri 07.03 - Rest

Sat 08.03 – Run – Long slow distance
With a week to go to my qualifying marathon I needed to get over 30km, if anything just for confidence. I left home and went over Suikerbossie past Llandudno. After dodging 3 million bicyclists I took a right up Camps Bay drive which I discovered is seriously long. Then to Signal Hill and back and down Kloof Nek. I developed quite a bad stitch on the downhill which I am hoping was just because I am not used to running with a backpack and is not a sign of a stitch habit. After going through Bantry Bay and down to Sea Point pool I made it back to TAGG. It was a good morning out, not particularly fast but I felt I could go further which means I should finish next week.
30.9km
3:01:59
5:54/km

Sun 09.03 – Rest
After watching the lead Argus guys coming through (and taking those pics above where I was ranting about bicyclists) we headed out to the winelands to taste their juice. Probably not the best pre-race nutrition but definitely good for the soul.

Week total
69.3km
6:25:54 

In other news, the mileage covered over this period means I have passed over 250km for the year so far so I am an 8th of the way to my goal (although I am already almost a quarter way through the year) and I have hit the 24 hours mark so I have spent over a day running this year so far.


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Training log - 13.01.14 - 16.02.14: Intervals and Injury


It has been a while since my last training log, partly because I do not have much to report, and partly because I have been putting off writing about the injury that has kept me out of running recently. Things are starting to heal however, so I thought it best to get this post out of the way so that I can find my focus again.

This period started off well with a solid interval week. I was able to really push myself in these sessions and was feeling strong for a few high mileage training weeks, well that was the intention.

Monday 13.01 - Run - Intervals

15 min warm-up followed by 5 x 30second pick-ups
3 x 5 minute intervals with 2 minute rest

8.1km
0:42:54

Tuesday 14.01 - Run - Intervals

15 min warm-up followed by 5 x 30second pick-ups
8 x 10 second sprints EMOM

5.9km
0:39:01

Wednesday 15.01 - Rest day

Thursday 16.01 - CrossFit

Friday 17.01 - CrossFit

Saturday 18.01 - Rest day - went to watch the TAGG team throwdown at CrossFit D6

Sunday 19.01 - Run - Century City to Blouberg and back

I like to think that I am like the guy on the right...
but I am probably more like the guy on the left
What an awesome run. I finally managed to get my new shows, albeit not the ones I wanted, and headed out to break them in. I managed 28km comfortably and at a decent enough pace which left me feeling confident to tackle Peninsula Marathon as my qualifier. It was great to get out early and enjoy the sunrise and I found the answer to my running transport issues. I normally set off  loaded up with all sorts of running gear e.g. from head to toe I might carry buff, sunglasses, earphones, iPod, heart rate monitor, GPS watch, phone, water and plenty snacks. I also don't like carrying my backpack because then I have to take it off each time I want to snack (which is every 15 minutes) so I try and keep it all on the front part of my body. Running shorts these days seem to be making the pockets even smaller so I am often left carrying things in my hands or trying to tie them on. I have just realised that I am potentially 1 paragraph into the most boring story ever, but it was a watershed moment for me when I noticed that cycling tops have pockets, so I need to share this. Running in my cycling top solved everything, plenty pocket space and easy access so that I can keep myself busy when I am out there. Fantastic, cyclists have managed to make a contribution to this life.

28km
2:40:00

Week total
42km
4:01:55


The death trap
The rest of this post can't be tracked daily and is best described in the narrative. The Monday following my long run I rested as I had planned a heavy mileage week. On Tuesday I got roped into our office 5-a-side soccer team as they were short of players. I am not a soccer player and I don't enjoy this but thought it might be fun to get some sprints in and then follow it up with a longer run around the waterfront. Well that idea lasted 2 minutes. After making about 3 tackles and 1 pass, I was jogging very slowly towards the sideline when I rolled over my left anti-minimalist Salomon Crossmax and heard the dreaded snapping noise. The ultrasound showed 1 torn ligament which meant I would be out of running for 4 - 6 weeks and possibly out of 2 Oceans...well that is what they told me.

From there I started off with some intense RICE sessions (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and after about 4 days I was ready to start some rehab. I studied parts of Kelly Starrett's "Becoming a Supple Leopard" and watched a few Youtube clips to understand the injury better. The most interesting thing I learnt was that the tissue will never heal exactly, so I will always need to be aware of it and thus it is important to strengthen it and work on the mobility as soon as possible. After a week of rest and 2 weeks of rehab I was starting to feel more comfortable and even went to 2 low intensity CrossFit classes. Just as I was feeling confident, second tragedy struck in the form of the worst man-stomach flu ever known. I was bed ridden for 3 days and lost possibly all my muscle, fat and fitness.

Sidebar, while all this was going on, a sub-plot was playing out in the form of a new shoe saga. I take my shoe-buying very seriously. Up until this point, I was still road running in my NB 1080v3's which I ran 2 Oceans in last year (and should have dumped at that point). In about November last year I started to focus on road running again after doing mostly trail since Oceans. I needed new shoes back then but thought I would wait as New Balance had advertised the new version 890's would be available in December. From the first week of December I went to the New Balance store every week and tweeted them every week to find out when they would arrive and was told every time it would be the following week. Eventually on the Saturday before my injury I decided that this was detrimental to my training and bought the older versions. Murphy managed to arrange for me to do 1 run, then get injured and the day following that, I received a call saying the new shoes had arrived in store. If I had known I would get injured and would not be able to run any way, I would definitely have waited it out and got the newer ones but I guess we never know that and I am still psyched with my 890v3's.

So I started this last week with no energy and an ankle operating at 60%. The frustration got the better of me and I decided to head out on the road again. Sunday I managed a 4km which felt like the last 4km of an ultra-marathon, I basically crawled the whole way.

4km
0:23:59

Tuesday I managed the same route, still uncomfortable but I picked up the pace a bit.

4km
0:20:30

Thursday and Friday I had some good CrossFit sessions and then Saturday I headed out for a decent run. It was hot as I set off at about 9am, down the promenade and back through Green Point Park. I felt slow, sluggish and I think I am running skew but I am in no pain which can only be good. I have entered Weskus Marathon on 15 March so it is going to be a few weeks of finding the balance between training enough and not over-training and bringing the injury back. I can't wait!

12km
1:04:52

Week total
20km
1:49:21

Back out there


Monday, 3 February 2014

Race report: Bay 2 Bay 30km - 05 January 2014

Bay 2 Bay is one of those races that I will run every year and enjoy every year. A 30km on the first Saturday of the year is a perfect way to gauge how enjoyable the Christmas break really was and is the first step on the road to 2 Oceans. The race is a simple out and back route on one of the most scenic roads in the world (I am not very vastly traveled but I am sure this is correct). The start is in Camps Bay and you head out to Hout Bay and back. You thus run from a bay to another bay and back again...hence the name Bay 2 Bay.

I approached the race with some trepidation as I knew my training over December had not been as good as I had hoped with the furthest distance covered being a measly 18km (in the week prior to this race). Additionally, I had somehow managed to pick up a cold during a Cape Town heat wave and so was headed to the starting line groggy and a bit feverish. My approach was definitely not to race, take it slow and easy and enjoy the beautiful sights.
First Bay
(source: oceanview-house.com)

0 - 5km - starting slow - 25:49

I tend to start races too fastbut forced myself to go as slow as possible at the start. I found someone from Celtics who looked a bit nervous and was constantly glancing at her watch so I figured she had done some intense research and would be the perfect pacemaker. I stick behind Ms Celtic for the first 5km which are flat and was happy to see we did it in just under 26 minutes which is still a pretty decent pace to me. Lesson no.1- just because you think you are running slowly, doesn't necessarily mean you are correct.

5 - 10km - gentle incline - 27:26

Once you get out of Camps Bay, the road inclines very gently towards Llandudno. Many people complain about this "hill" but, to be honest, it doesn't put too much strain on the legs. My time showed that it is in fact an uphill and at this point my sore throat started waking up and I was wandering if I should have skipped this one. What kept me in good spirits however was the havoc that the distance markers were causing. I think they were marked out by the little chap from Game of Thrones because by about 10km they were already showing 12km covered. This was fine for me as my GPS watch could tell me where I was but it was fun to listen to arguments between other runners about whether they were in fact wrong or the runners were on a PB run that would see them equal some records.

10km - 15km - drop down Suikerbossie - 24:57

A sharp decline down the road that cyclists hate coming up means you can let lose for a few minutes before you do a flat route down Hout Bay Main Road. I was feeling good at this point and happy to get to the half way point in under 1h20. I started to wander if I could push the second half and come in under 2h40.

Second Bay
(source: club.coolamonrotary.com)

15km - 20km - back up again - 30:09

After heading out from the beach along Princess Road, you start the trek up Suikerbossie again. I knew this hill was exactly 2km so from the robot I switched my watch over to the distance view and just counted down. I wasn't going at a mad pace but managed to do it without walking and still passed a few people on the way up which was great.

20km - 25km - running free - 24:44

A combination of the splendid views, the gentle decline and a well timed energy gel meant I felt solid and managed to clock my fastest 5km of the day in the penultimate section. I knew at this point that the 2h40 was lost on Suikerbossie but I was happy enough just going at a comfortable pace.

25km - 30km - finishing strong - 25:15

Doing the last 5km at just over 5 minutes per km was a feat for me as I remember last year at this point I was cramping and had aching feet and knees. I also noticed that I was passing people at the end which means to me that my race pacing had been spot on. Well, there were some people that were passing me but I figured they were the really fast people from the 15km race which started 10 minutes after I went through Hout Bay...well, that's what I told myself anyway to keep the confidence up. Lesson no. 2 - in order to race properly, don't try and race.
The road between the 2 Bays
(source: google streetview)

Race summary

A good day out. I didn't exert myself too hard and was almost, to the second, on the same as last year, when I had tried to push myself. This race was a great learning experience and I realised I need to run more races to get used to the strategies and pacing. I seem to be getting it right for road races but am still nowhere in trail races (maybe it is because I care less about road running).

Finishing strong
(source: facebook.com/running.photograph)
I usually place inside the top 33% of the field. My goal is to consistently place in the top 25%. 

Distance:    30km
Time:          2:42:52 (1h02 behind winner who ran a 30km in what to me is a good 21km time)
Position:      441/1882 (24%...I am happy with that. I needed to be 5 min quicker for top 20%, 9 min quicker for top 15% and 15 min quicker for top 10%)

Categories
Male:     371/1247
If I was a Female:   70/365

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Training log - 30.12.13 - 12.01.14: Races and Raw Food

Raw lasagna with cashew cheese & broccoli sun-dried tomato pesto
(photo: www.thisrawsomeveganlife.com)

Another disrupted fortnight of training as the festive season ended, next week should be better and more structured. I still managed decent mileage despite not running very regularly. I have started tracking my mileage for the year and hope to do at least 3,000km which averages 58km a week. I am obviously starting off slowly as I build my base but should catch up later in the year when I am training for PUFfeR and will be looking to do around 80 - 100km a week. The first week was unusual in that I did two races and then the second week was unusual as the Lady Falcon and I decided to attempt a raw food challenge, so all in all, it's been a strange but positive start to the year.

Week 1

Mon 30.12 - Run - Trail Race

The second race of the Sabrina Love Challenge was a 10km trail run just outside Plettenberg Bay. The race briefing told us that the first 4km would be relatively flat around the Polo Estate and then we would hit some single track through the forest areas so we were advised to get a decent placing before this to avoid being caught behind a less experienced runner who might struggle on the single track. Not the best advice for a perennial start-too-faster but I took it anyway and went out guns blazing. I managed to stick with the lead ladies for a while and was going at quite a pace until I hit the forest. I really struggled on the single track as it was more roots and ditches whereas I am used to rocks and riverbeds. I slipped a few places here and was feeling quite shod at about 6km when we started a long flat section which ended in a much needed river crossing. From there it was more single track where a stroke of fortune helped my motivation. I was feeling quite tired and noticed my shoelace had come undone so at the next turn I stepped off the track to re-tie. Just as I was done, a group of about 15 runners came back from the direction of the turning shouting that the route markers were off, I managed to sort myself out and jump ahead of them which gave me a nice fast finish. These guys had all had a better race than me and were better runners so it was good to keep pace with them for a while.


I finished in 51:36 and in 32nd out of 288 (top 11% and 6th out of the ladies) which I am pretty happy with for a short run.

10.00km
0:51:36
Ave pace: 5:10/km

Tues 31.12 - Rest - New Year's Eve

Wed 01.01 - Rest - Still New Year's Eve


Thurs 02.01 - Another rest day (what's happening here?)


Fri 03.01 - Run - Road Blouberg


Finally I kicked off my running year and really enjoyed a nice flat route along Bloubergstrand. I was up nice and early and set off from Paddocks centre and ran to Big Bay and back keeping a gentle pace and focussing on my technique and cadence.


17.52km
1:47:02
Ave pace: 6:06/km

Avg HR   156 bpm

Max HR   169 bpm

Sat 04.01 - Rest


Sun 05.01 - Run - Road Race


The Bay 2 Bay is the best way to start any running year and I had a great morning out. Race report to follow.


30.27km

2:42:48
Ave pace:   5:23/km

Avg HR   163 bpm

Max HR   175bpm

Total week running log


Mileage:    57.79 km

Time:   5:21:26

Not bad mileage considering only 3 runs and a huge hangover.


Week 2

Lemon and fig cheesecake
(photo: www.thisrawsomeveganlife.com)

This was the week of the raw food challenge, we decided to try and only eat raw food for an entire week. We hit Pick n Pay on Sunday to stock and tried to max out our healthy food benefit (there was moment of panic when we thought we had left the card at home). My decision for doing this challenge was partly to detox after the festive season but mainly to experience what it is like. Most raw food eaters are vegan to start off and although we bent the rules a bit by including raw meat in our diet (salmon and biltong), I could still see where the attraction is. Doing a challenge like this is is really interesting as it forces you to consider the ingredients of the manufactured food you purchase and requires you to be creative with your 'cooking'. The highlight of the week was discovering this blog http://www.thisrawsomeveganlife.com/ which has some incredibly creative recipes with some excellent photographs of the meals. The best dishes that I tried were the raw lasagne and raw cheese cake which tasted much better than actual cheese cake in my opinion. The tough part of the raw food challenge was that the first 2 days wrought havoc on my moods. I was incredibly hungry and the only carbs I was taking in were fruit which spiked my blood sugar a lot more than the grains I usually eat. By Tuesday evening I had already decided to give up but then I awoke on Wednesday feeling refreshed and after an excellent CrossFit session I was back on top of my game. So whilst raw food is definitely not something I could do 100% of the time (it sounds counter-intuitive but the preparation actually takes a lot of time), I definitely want to incorporate more raw into my diet and try and tone down my reliance on grains.


Mon 06.01 - Rest


Tues 07.01 - Run - Road Century City


Normal Century City loop - getting a bit bored of this one now.

12.27km
1:03:07
Ave pace:   5:08/km

Avg HR   156 bpm

Max HR   169 bpm

Wed 08.01 - CrossFit

We worked on our max clean and jerks which was cool as I learnt quite a lot. I am still not thrusting enough and lifting too far from my body but I managed to get 70kg's up even though my jerk was more of a push press.

The met-con was quite short but that suited me fine.

60-40-20 Double Unders (I did single skips and multiplied by 2)
30-20-10 KBS 24kg (I did 20kg)

Result: 4:34

Thursday 09.01 - Rest

Friday 10.01 - Birthday of the Lady Falcon hence definitely a rest day filled with Curry

Saturday 11.01 - CrossFit and Road run

A fun team session, I teamed up with the G of GM@T and we blitzed the competition. Struggled a bit with the odd object carry (being a water canister with only 1 handle) and of course struggled with the sit-ups but my pull-ups came together nicely.

In teams of 2 - 4 rounds for time:

400m odd object carry (water canister)
14 x water canister GTO
14 x Pull-ups
14 x 40cm box water cannister carry-overs
14 x 6.5kg med ball sit-up throws

Result: 18:44

After CrossFit I did a gentle recovery run along the road to Camps Bay and back. I attempted Bizkop steps which defeated me...but I'll be back.

7.00km
0:42:07
Ave pace: 6:01/km

Sunday 12.01 - Run - Road Blouberg


Nice route along the cycle track
It was 2pm on Sunday afternoon and I was feeling down about such minimal mileage for the week so I headed out and just ran until I was tired and turned back. It was an awesome afternoon and perfect way to start what should be a more focused next week of training. The run was from my apartment through Milnerton, along the cycle track next to the golf course until Blouberg and then back again.

20.26km
1:52:52
Ave pace:   5:34/km

Avg HR   165 bpm

Max HR   175 bpm

Total week running log

Mileage:    39.53 km

Time:   3:37:06