Thursday, 29 August 2013

Training log - 19.08 - 25.08: New shoes and Puffer

A higher mileage week, I didn't quite get as high as I planned but still got in some good runs.

Monday - Rest day

Tuesday - CrossFit

This is a recovery week at TAGG so the workouts are a bit lower intensity. I managed to PR (Personal Record) my push press at 55kg which I was happy about as it means I am at least maintaining strength despite my running training. I have found in the past that I have weakened a lot when doing a lot of running, especially in shoulder and pressing exercises. I also managed American Kettlebell Swings on 20kg for the first time.

MET CON: For Time

Push Ups

Kettlebell Swings

Result: 3m35

Wednesday - Run - Camps Bay

The perfect storm hit at about 6.5km into my 13km run and due to some poor planning I didn't have my rain jacket with me...not a problem, one day there will be a race in these conditions and it helps to be prepared. I did the same route as last week, up Biskop - Kloof Nek - Camps Bay - Clifton - Biskop Sea Point. My time was better than last week and I managed to do the first run up Biskop unbroken which was great.


Thursday - Rest day

Despite taking delivery of my new Innov8 Roclite 285's I didn't get a chance to do anything.

Friday - Run - Sea Point Time Trial x 2

New choice of weaponry for shorter runs
I decided to try something new, I really need to track my 5km times but I don't see the point in getting up and out there for only 5km. So I did it twice which also helps me gauge my recovery and how much I can push myself when I am already tired. I took the new shoes out for a spin, despite them being trail shoes I thought I should wear them in on a short road run. I was happy enough with the first 5km (22:34) but would like to get it below 21 min. The second run I was feeling a bit slower and my phone ran out of battery so I was not able to get an accurate reading. I think it was about 23:30. All in all, not a bad 10km time when combined.


Saturday - Run - PUFfeR support

After sleeping and feeling well rested, I took off at 11am for the first long weekend trail run in a while. My goal was to do about 25km and hopefully link up with the guys running the PUFfeR somewhere along the way to watch them. As soon as I took off I knew my distance would be a lot shorter. I got dropped off in the wrong spot which meant I had a steep climb to start with no warm up and meant my legs were pretty tired for the rest. My route was from Ocean View road, up to Signal Hill, along the Signal Hill Road to Kloof Nek and over up to the Lower Cable Station. From there I hiked up to the contour path hoping to catch the PUFfeR guys but they weren't there yet. So then down and around the base of Lion's Head and back to Signal Hill. I chilled with the West Coast AC guys for a while and watched Paul Brittain come through on his way to winning the race. He had such a massive leave and so after waiting 20 min I headed home back via Ocean View drive. Not my best day out but I guess the bad days make the good days even better. Seeing the build-up during the week and watching all the posts and pics coming through on Twitter for those doing PUFfeR I quickly added this to my bucket list and from now on, this my focus for the next year.


Sunday - Rest day - Hike

The family went for an awesome walk through Silvermine which was prime opportunity to check out some of the trails. Definitely found some good routes to try out. On the way down however, I felt some ITB pain (a brand new feeling for me and it sucks!). So this next week will be a lot of rest as I fear the ITB.

Week run total
Mileage - 41.7km
Metres gained - 1,416m
Time - 4h13

Some pics of the WCAC check point on Signal Hill and some of the surrounds of Silvermine

Paul Brittain heading up one of the last inclines after travelling from
Cape Point over that big flat thing in the background

Paul Brittain at the last check point before claiming his victory

The West Coast AC guys put on an incredible spread, see you next year!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Training log - 12.08 - 18.08

A strength week, my aim was to make it to CrossFit as much as possible.

Monday - Rest day

Tuesday - CrossFit

It was MouseFit's (my friend and business partner-in-law) birthday and so she got to choose the WOD out of the lucky draw. She happily chose a hopper consisting of wallballs and sit-ups. My wallballs have come a long way so I opted for the 10kg (22 pound) ball. Sit-ups being a massive weakness of mine, I managed to get ahead of the rest of the athletes on the wallballs but fell behind on the sit-ups.

For time
Wall Ball   (10kg)
Sit Up

Result: 6:00

Wednesday - Run - Camps Bay

I braved the rain and wind to go for a good road run. I started at TAGG and headed along the beach road through Bantry Bay (into a head and rain wind). Then up Biskop steps, up Kloofnek road and down into Camps Bay. Back along the beach, up Biskop again and then through the burbs back to TAGG. It was good to get some step training in and the second time at Biskop, at about 11.5km, I felt stronger than the first time which is encouraging. This pails in comparison to the highlight of my run. Camps Bay is an eclectic neighbourhood and so you would expect to hear or see any number of things when in the area and nothing should really surprise you. To hear a rooster crowing at 6h00am seemed very out of place though. I wander if someone is taking the free-range concept to a new level.

476m climb

Thursday - Run - Newlands Forest

On my usual route at Newlands Forest however I did not extend it as far as the King's Blockhouse this time as the views are quite nice on the way back and I wanted to experience them in the daylight. I felt strong up the contour path and the rains over the week provided some good river crossings so I was happy to get some wet shoe practice.

558m climb

Friday - Rest

Saturday - CrossFit

A group WOD involved us in teams of 3 sharing a number of exercises for a 25 minute AMRAP. These involved sets of 25 deadlifts, 50 burpees, 75 wallballs and 100 double unders. Our team managed 3.5 rounds. This was my contribution.

20 x deadlift   75kg
80 x burpees
55 x wallballs   10kg
100 x double unders (this is a guess, it gets intense at double under time so we all pretty much lost count)

Sunday - very much a rest day loaded with episodes of Game of Thrones after celebrating my brother Canuck's and my mate Zingela's birthdays.

Week run total Mileage - 21.2km
Metres gained - 1,034m
Time - 2h14

Some very blurry pics of the water crossings on the contour path

This was bone dry last week

An obstacle

Favourite view point

Not sure if my budget phone is meant for panoramic pics

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Training log - 05.08 - 11.08

This was supposed to be a high mileage week but some work-induced rest days meant it was a mid-mileage but also included some good strength training.

Monday - Run - Lost in Newlands Forest

I set off up to the contour path and although feeling sluggish I got up there in decent time. From there I set a decent pace to the King's Blockhouse and did the loop around the top and down to Tafelberg road. It was at this point that I realised my eagerness for summer completely messed up my knowledge of what time it gets dark and as I rounded Devil's Peak to get pack to the Southern Suburbs side of the mountain I knew I was going to be in trouble. I had decided to completely ignore all advice I have ever received and was running without any food, protective gear, first aid kit or headlamp. I opted to head down the mountain biking trails rather than along the contour path but by the time I was back on the Jeep track it was pitch black. After stumbling around in the dark I came to a point where I could either head on a little incline or take a left onto some single track. My logic was that I needed to get back to the M3 as soon as possible so I headed on the single track. Pitch black trail stumbling is quite frightening but I eventually found what looked like a deserted building. After a mild panic I spotted a road past and eventually found myself on tar which popped out near UCT. I realised I had been in Groote Schuur Estate which I have never even been in day time so no wander I was confused. Later looking on Strava I realised that when I opted to go on the single track I was actually quite close to Newlands Forest and so ended up on a blind detour. After collecting the last car in the car park, I vowed to always run with a headlamp even if it is mid-day in an Icelandic Summer.

750m climb

Tuesday - Rest day

Wednesday - CrossFit - Filthy 50

The kind people of TAGG CrossFit served up one of the most famous and toughest CrossFit workouts for us. The aptly named Filthy 50 involves 50 disgusting reps of 10 different exercises for a total of 500 reps. The time cap is 30 minutes so this was going to be longest CrossFit workout yet.

50 x Box jumps    60cm
50 x Jumping pull-ups
50 x Kettlebell swings   16kg Russian
50 x Walking lunge steps
50 x Knees to elbows   (or in my case Knees to somewhere near my triceps)
50 x Push press   20kg
50 x Back extensions   with 16kg kettlebell
50 x Wallballs   6.5kg
50 x Burpees
50 x Double unders   150 single skips

Good spirits after the filthiest 50
I was happy with my performance and felt quite strong until the wallballs. After slugging them out, the burpees were done through sheer determination as I could only manage 3 at a time (16 sets of 3 and 1 set of 2!). I was happy that I finished the workout in the time cap but I am keen to give it another go in a few months to try and do better.

Result: 29:38

Thursday - Rest day

Friday - Run - Constantia Nek to Noordhoek
Good morning Southron people

We were due for breakfast at the Outlaws in Noordhoek so I thought I would take my little sister's boyfriend (let's call him Silver) on a more scenic route to get there. Silver is a very accomplished (read fast) road runner but quite new to trail so I was hoping to get him hooked. After consulting I found that we can get dropped at Constantia Nek and run over Vlakkenberg and Silvermine down into Noordhoek Village. We started climbing immediately which was tough on the legs without much of a warmup but after eventually reaching the top we were treated to some fun single track. Little patches of more climbing and dropping down until we landed on the tar road up to the Mast. We turned right and stretched our legs to jog all the way up. This is a solid incline but added some decent mileage on. After suffering through the flashbacks of the Mast Challenge in April ( we headed down the trail which basically goes around the side of Elephants Eye.
Proof that we made it to the Mast
There was some pretty hairy single track where if you took your eye off the path you would see a pretty steep drop-off, we decided to keep our eyes on the path rather and this took us down into Silvermine Reserve near the damn. Back on road again we upped the pace and ran down to the gate. At the gate we took a right to go back on the trails. Unfortunately we took a wrong turn here and found ourselves on Ou Kaapse Weg. We were feeling exhausted as we forgot to take water with us and there was nothing along the way so, instead of back tracking, we ran down Oukaaps to our finishing spot at Noordhoek Village. This was an incredible training run with a good combination of climbing and single track as well as some road sections to stretch the legs and get some mileage in. This will surely become one of my favourites.

716m climb

Saturday - Rest day

Sunday - Run - Seven Oaks Vineyards

Team TAGG CrossFit
We were away for the weekend again for a planning session with the team from TAGG CrossFit. The Lady Falcon, Iron Toad, MouseFit and I headed to Seven Oaks Vineyards ( for some rest and strategizing. Seven Oaks is a small wine farm which has a group of rustic and quaint self catering cottages. It is situated between Rawsonville and Wolesely. The owners turned their old compounds into some slick cottages that provide the perfect retreat from big city life. On Sunday morning we took a break from work and staring at the snow capped mountains to go for a short jog through the vineyards. We did a lap and then some back and forth through the cherry blossoms until finishing along the river. Lots of fun.

45m climb

Week run total

Mileage - 41.4km
Metres gained - 1,511m
Time - 4h43

The view from our cottage. Note the snow on the mountains, the same mountain range that I will be running up at the end of October for the Matroosberg Skymarathon

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Training log - 22.07 - 04.08

This is a 2 week log although the first week was basically a rest week. I fully believe in taking a full week off every now and then not only to let your body recover but to give your mind a break. This was one of those weeks although I consider it active recovery as I attended a meditation course by The Art of Living Foundation ( This not only taught me how to relax my mind but also involved some relaxing yoga (although most yoga is hectic for my inflexible runnerbody). I definitely felt the benefits and feeling refreshed with a new perspective I embarked on a strength week. My training is quite unstructured but I am making an effort to alternate strength and mileage weeks.

So for the week 29.07 - 04.08

Monday - CrossFit

After a good bear complex the met-con played to my strengths involving some box jumps and runs so I was happy to get a good time.

AFAP (As Fast As Possible)

3 Rounds
7x Burpee Pull-ups
10x Box Jumps (60cm)
200m Sprint

Result:    5:00

Tuesday - Run -  Orelando_G Time Trial

I did my same 12.1km loop around Century City, nice and flat so I pushed as hard as I could and managed to get through 30 seconds faster than my previous time. I am not sure if this is just a good day or if I am seeing gains with my revised training approach. Will do it again in 2 weeks and see what happens.

0m climb

Wednesday - CrossFit/run

A nice surprise at CrossFit was some interval training which fit in nicely with my running training. We did 400m loops around the block which made it a bit more interesting than track 400m training as it involves car dodging and a good up and downhill. I kept my splits pretty standard around 1m15 - 1m20 and my first lap was the slowest which is a good sign.

5 x 400m with 1min rest

0m climb

Thursday - CrossFit

Quite an easy session where we worked on our back squats and then onto a Tabata

Overhead lunges    (20kg)

OHL   9/9/8/7
Burpees    8/8/7/7

Friday - rest day including a drive up to Swellendam

Saturday - Hike

A = Marloth Nature Reserve
The Lady Falcon and I snuck away for the weekend to Swellendam to get out into the country after a stressful few months. The idea was to explore the nearby Marloth Nature Reserve on the Saturday and then run it on Sunday. This idea was fraught with flaws such as the opening of a bottle of Rickety Bridge Sauvignon Blanc shortly after the hike which turned the Sunday run into a late breakfast. The hike was still awesome though and I am very keen to go back there to run this reserve.

Map and route

The Marloth Nature Reserve is a thin long reserve with very easy to navigate trails from the Swellendam entrance. The reserve had a massive fire a few years back and the fynbos is still recovering. It is now at the perfect stage where it looks incredible but is not so overgrown that you can't enjoy it. The entrance to the reserve is free and you can pick up an easy to follow trail map at the entrance. We drove into the reserve and got on a loop which started with long but gradual climb. As it flattened out on the plateau we passed over 2 rivers with some cool (in nature and temperature) rock pools. After a missed turn we then found the route down which was about a 2km single track downhill back to the road and the car. Total distance was about 8km. I recommend this to anyone new to trail running as the trails are not technical or too tough and you are also always in site of your car so there is no fear of getting lost!

Sunday - Complete rest and relaxation day

Week run total

Mileage - 14.1km
Metres gained - very little...probably about 65!
Time - 1h09

Some pics from Marloth Nature Reserve

Cool Pool

High point

Lady Falcon getting her trail run on

Our playground for the afternoon

Easy single track on the way down

All good hikes end with a cold beer in the sun

Friday, 2 August 2013

Race report: Cape Winter Trail Series #1 - 21 July 2013

The Lady Falcon and I kitted and ready to go
The Spur Trail Series events ( are series of 4 races occurring on consecutive weeks which combine to be a championship type format. They hold a winter and summer series in the Cape, KZN and Gauteng. Runners enter races individually but need to complete at least 3 in order to get a medal. They are excellently organised by the experienced team from Wildrunner and are a great way for people new to the sport to get experience in a comfortable environment (comfort disappears on the uphills however). This would be my first of these type events and I was excited after hearing many people rave about the series.

Event #1 was held at the Paul Cluver Wine Estate in Grabouw and running in this area was going to be a new experience for me. There was a 16km and 9km race on offer and being held the day after the GLB46km Ultra at the same venue, we arrived to find the start/finish arena decked out and an awesome vibe of excited newbie and experienced trailers kitted out in all their winter gear ready to tackle the hills throughout the estate. It was a misty morning and a bit chilly at registration but as soon as the sun came out it warmed into a pleasant sunny but cool morning, the best conditions. Registration was a bit chaotic but luckily the MC was on hand to ensure everyone there was plenty of time to register before the start. Apparently the registration gets easier in subsequent events as you keep the same number throughout.

With my aim of getting faster in races and running to race rather than just to finish, I wanted to go out fast and see if I could place in the top 25%. The 16km route looked like a fast track, a slight incline to begin and then quite a sharp climb from about the 5km point to 8.5km. My strategy was to start as quickly as I could so that I would be able to go at my own pace on the uphill and not have to do any awkward passing on the single track. I was feeling quite confident for climbing as I had felt strong on the last few training runs. The race started off and for some reason I had placed myself mid-way through the group which meant I had to weave my way through quite a few people until I found my spot. I need to learn that if I want to place in the top 25% I should position my starting spot near the front rather than just rocking up late and standing to the side.

Green 4B rating means Moderate challenging terrain; 31-40% single track and mostly runnable gradient

The first 5km was on Jeep track which was nice and fast. I was feeling comfortable but still made sure I walked any steepish gradients in order to save my legs for the climb ahead. As soon as the climb started at the 5km point, I knew it was going to be a long one. The day before I had taken part in a charity event which involved doing as many burpees as you can in 67 minutes. I could definitely feel each and everyone of my 335 burpees on the incline. My confidence dropped quite a lot as I seemed to pass less people than were passing me so I thought this would turn into more of a battle to the finishline than the race I had hoped for.

Thankfully that incline came to an end eventually and what followed was an awesome single track decent. I was able to let loose and enjoy the rapid decent. There were a few traffic jams in the conga line going around some of the bends but that just gave time to enjoy the incredible scenery and recover from that climb. An interesting forest section where we used ropes to pull ourselves along slowed the pace which was fine as I was able to stop at a river to get a drink of well-needed water (I forgot my bottle at home). After popping out of the forest at about the 12km point, well rested, we were back on a gravel road, I popped a gell and stretched my legs for a fast paced 4km to the finish.

I ended up in 94th place out of 330 in a time of 1h42 which I was happy with considering the fatigue from the burpees the day before. I needed to be 3 minutes faster to be in the top 25% which I can put down mostly to my poor start. It was a great event with a good vibe of weekend warriors out to enjoy this incredible sport. I unfortunately will not be able to do any of the other races in the series so will miss out on my medal but, come on, who really does this for the medals anyway?

Race summary

As a benchmark I usually look to get inside the top 33% of the field and for interest sake look at where I placed amongst the other categories. My goal in the future is to consistently place in the top 25%.

Distance:    16km
Time:          1:42:24 (34min behind winner)
Position:      94/330 (28.5%) - I needed to be 3 min faster to be top 25%
Open men:   71st

Where I would have placed in:
Open Ladies: 9th
Vet and Masters Men: 10th
Vet and Masters Ladies: 2nd (whoo hoo!)