Over training is over rated, rest better so that you can train even more" - Nick Yster Bester

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Great Trail Run

I had another awesome trail run on my favorite trails this past weekend. My wife and the kids went to the local park run but I chose the solitude of the trails at Klipriviersberg.

I am always amazed at how much water this stream has even when it is incredibly dry as it is now.

I've never seen less water here than this.

I chose to run the route around the outer rim of the reserve. Not many people venture this far out and I always enjoy it when I see only animal tracks out there and no human footprints.

No sign of humans...yay!

It was quite a hard run as it is getting warmer and warmer each week. I am still used to winter running and one of my goals over weekends is to get used to warmer temperatures.

Trail along the southern fence.

It is bone dry at the moment. Look at all the Springbok droppings...

The thorn trees are showing how tough they are. Their beautiful green leaves are in complete contrast with the surroundings.

At some point there was mud here...

A  quick descent to test the tired legs and then I was on the trail back to the entrance.

Testing downhill for tired legs.

Beautiful trail to finish my run with.

Another awesome run on the trails. I did 14km and it was all good. I can't see myself trading this for a park run soon...

Happy training everyone!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Shirtless Edition... EEEEK!!!

After my post where I mentioned that I have a Pectus Excavatum chest, I received some communications from a few concerned readers about my well-being. Thanks for that, but really, I am fine. :)

As I said I have a very mild case of this. It is just enough to give me a nice round and flat heart and low oxygen capacity.

I never run without a shirt... but I did in the 1983 Milo Korkie ultra when it was 33°C(91.4F) and I was wearing a totally horrible t-shirt.

So here is the only photo of me running shirtless...way back in 1983...

The Pectus Excavatum is actually visible if you look for it specifically. I am running with my brother here. We were supporting our dad and ran the last 25km of the 56km race. It was very hot that day. The photo was taken in Kempton Park close to the then Jan Smuts (Johannesburg International) airport.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Weather Question

Is it just me or do we have only two seasons nowadays? Summer and winter. I've been noticing this for the last two or three years now.

It is mid September and should be mid spring here in SA, but we are having warm summer days with 30°C (86F) temperatures. To me that is a lot warmer than spring and I wonder what our summer temperatures will be like.

Two weeks ago we were freezing and walking with thick long sleeve tops. Now it is time to sweat. We moved directly from winter to summer.

Do you find the same where you live or do you still have 4 seasons?

Global warming... I think so...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Beacon Run

I often read about people running to a beacon or past some beacon when they are out on their mountain trails. I do this quite often even though I haven't written about it. Yes, I can do a beacon run here in Johannesburg!

Last Saturday I did my beacon run. I do this at the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve 11km south of Johannesburg. I live another 11km south of the reserve so it is quick and easy to get there.

We are at the end of the winter so it is very dry here in JHB at the moment. The trails are dusty and the plants don't show much sign of life.

I started out on the Bloubos Trail making my way to the Beacon Trail. The reserve has several trails with lots of different difficulties and technical variation. For me it makes the perfect training ground.

Bloubos Trail
Beacon Trail

There are several routes to take up to the beacon and even though this is by no means a mountain, it is still a hard climb to the top. I have seen many hikers turn back or stop to wait for their partners to go to the top and back. A lot of people underestimate the trails in this reserve.

It is so dry and there are so many game paths that it is hard to see the trail in places. Let's hope we get good rain soon...

Game  paths crossing the trail.

Some more climbing and then it was the final push to the beacon. The views are great from here and it is certainly worth the effort.

Beacon at the highest point in the reserve.

1645m (5397ft) - Not that high but still good altitude to train at. ( My Suunto has been through the wars a bit...)

And what's the point of running to a beacon without making a fool of yourself...?

Johannesburg to the north.

Looking east.

Looking south.

Looking west.

From here I took the Legae Loop to go down again. You can easily see why this is called the Legae Loop...

There are some really beautiful places in the reserve. I made my way back to the Ruins Trail. I decided while I was at the top I wanted to run down the Ruins Trail. I always use it for climbing from the other side and thought this was a good time to use it for some descent training.

Ray's Ruins Trail.

Some nice ruins to see.

There are quite a lot of ruins in the reserve. I will write a post about them and the history behind it some day.

Going down was quick although the dry ground was quite slippery in places. I made my way back to the Bloubos Trail via the Kiepersol Trail. I felt a bit dry and hot. 

Dusty trail down.

Soon I was back where I started. Another successful beacon run behind me. This run reminded me once again how much I love being out there.

Back at the entrance.

Definitely successful!

This Sunday I will actually run a race in this reserve. I will only run the 8km but part of the enrty fee goes back to the reserve and I really want to support that.

Happy training everyone!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Introducing ActionGear.TV

I was contacted by the friendly staff from ActionGear and asked if I would be interested in helping them to spread the word about their newly launched digital TV channel. In return I will get exposure by being published on their blog page.

This is a great opportunity for me to work with some like-minded people and also a great way to show off some of South Africa's awesome athletes and adventurers.

I will share their weekly TV episode here, so keep an eye out for that. I mentioned some of my future ideas to them which they liked so watch this space,,,

Pleace check out these links for more info:

www.actiongear.co.za    &    www.actiongear.tv

I'm really excited about this!

Have a super week everyone!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Good Running Shoes Are Expensive

Running shoes have certainly become quite expensive here in SA and the exchange rate is not helping. I'm sure the trend is the same all around the world though.

I had to buy new shoes for the road this week. I've been a Nike Pegasus runner for many years and almost always ran in them. There was one year, I think 1995, when they had a terrible model and I had to "level up" to the Nike Air Max. A great shoe but a lot more expensive.

The same happened now. The new Pegasus does not have enough toe space for me. For some reason the toe is not as wide as it used to be. Why change this now I'm asking Nike...?

I had to "level up" to the more expensive Nike Air Zoom Vomero 9.

At least I will be safe and visible in those colours!

A perfect fit but not cheap. I paid R1600.00 for this shoe and I see the Nike online store have them at $130.00. The Air Max is a lot more expensive than these even so I'm glad they work for me.

It is a lot of money, but I also know better than to take a shortcut or is that a cheapcut with this.The cheaper shoes are only good enough up to a point and they never give you the same mileage as the more expensive shoes do. High weekly or monthly mileage definitely makes it worth paying more for shoes.

I'm wearing them to work today and will wear them over the weekend before taking them for a run on Monday morning.

I'm very happy but running is not that cheap anymore... 

Have a super weekend!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

So what happened to the genes?

I've often been asked if my dad passed any of his running genes on to me. I suppose people wonder why I am such a slow runner compared to him. What happened to the genes?

Well, I did get some of them. In the mid 1980's my dad was tested by the sports institute of SA. They did some muscle strength tests and also the VO2 max tests and so on. He was called back not once, but twice, because they thought something was wrong with the tests or their equipment. He tested that high...

"Your dad has numbers Fordyce can only dream of..." was the comment. The reference was to Bruce Fordyce, the Comrades king. Apparently the test results were incredible. So they did test me as well.

Bruce Fordyce

My muscle strength and endurance was very high. Higher than my dad's but I was young then... :) Apparently I have very strong leg muscles and my endurance is also very good. Where I fall off the bus is the V02 max and the reason is somewhat scary.

I was born with a very mild case of Pectus ExcavatumPectus excavatum, also known as sunken or hollow chest, is a congenital chest wall deformity in which several ribs and the sternum grow abnormally, producing a concave, or caved-in, appearance in the anterior chest wall.

Although mine is very, very mild it is still enough to give me limited lung capacity and therefore a very low V02 max. My heart is also pressed flat by my sternum and is a flat, round shape.

All of this explains why I always had to train 100 times more and harder than others to reach a specific fitness level. It also explains why my best times could never match those of my dad.

I am a very dedicated runner and always put in the necessary effort in my training. I train harder and more than most. But I will never be able to run very fast.

My best times (when I was in my 30's) compared to my dad's (when he was in in his 50's):

Me (when I was in my 30’s)
Dad (when he was in his 50’s)
10km – 47:13
10km – 37:15
15km – 01:11
15km – 57:19
21.1km – 01:41:07 (half marathon)
21.1km – 01:22:45
32km – 02:45 (20 miles)
32km – 02:15
42.2km – 03:49 (marathon)
42.2km – 03:09
50km – 04:54
50km – 03:46
56km – 05:23
56km – 04:10
Comrades – 10:41
Comrades – 09:08
100km – 11:34
100km – 10:32

The above numbers say it all. I had to work just as hard and sometimes even harder to achieve my PB's. I am very proud of my times in the table above.

My endurance is great though and I can definitely thank my dad for that and the good leg muscles. I think I did get some of those genes...