"I'd rather be seen on my bicycle than on a park run" - Quote from the dark side

Monday, 27 August 2012

Monday Update

I planted the tree we received at the Magaliesberg Challenge in a pot and realized I never took a proper photo of it and also not of the t-shirt and cap we received. So here it is...

Yellowwood - South Africa's national tree. So much better than a medal!

Cap and t-shirt. The shirt is Anette's. The women received shirts specifically for them...nice!

My 10km A Day Challenge is still going strong and well on track. I've had some good weeks in preparation for the Mont-Aux-Sources Challenge but will cut back during the next two weeks. So it is good to have some distance in the bank.

My progress up to now:

Weeks done: 12
Weeks to go: 40
Km done: 902
Km to go: 2748
Ave per week done: 75.17
Ave per week required: 68.70

Week 1: 84
Week 2: 80
Week 3: 83
Week 4: 69
Week 5: 56
Week 6: 54
Week 7: 80
Week 8: 71
Week 9: 80
Week 10: 86
Week 11: 89
Week 12: 70

That's all for now! Have a super week of training everyone!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

2012 Magaliesberg Challenge Report

We left home just after 06:00 on Saturday morning to drive to the Van Gaalen Cheese Farm where the Magaliesberg Challenge takes place. I was ready for the 35km while Anette was ready for the 10km event.

We arrived with plenty of time to register and chat to some running friends. The venue is friendly with a beautiful view of the Magaliesberg in the distance. Although beautiful, I knew it won’t be long before I would be on some grueling climbs and descents on the mountain.

The 35km race is a point to point run and runners are transported to the start in the middle of nowhere by bus. This is quite a bumpy and shaky ride on some gravel farm roads.

Runners are dropped off in the middle of nowhere and then follow the 35km route over the Magaliesberg back to the finish. I did the inaugural race  last year, so I knew exactly what was ahead…well almost…

Drop off point and start.
Race briefing.

During the race briefing we were told about a 4km loop that was added this year to make up for the short course of last year. This, we were told, included a killer climb up a very steep “kloof” (gorge/narrow valley).

After the race briefing it wasn’t long before we were sent on our way. The first few kilometers are run on farm roads towards the mountain. This spreads out the field before the climb up the mountain. However, there was a fence to climb through after about 1km and we were queuing patiently for this. We climbed over and through numerous fences during the race.

Waiting for my turn to get through the fence after 1km.

As we progressed towards the mountain the route slowly starts climbing steeper and steeper. At first you don’t notice it, but after about 4km you realize that you are climbing already and the legs start screaming to relax before the actual mountain climb starts.

The climb to the top is a zigzag trail that seems to carry on forever. This is the “hospitaalpad” – the trail was used in the war to get wounded soldiers to the hospital safely. The views are splendid and as you climb higher it becomes more beautiful. Watching beautiful views definitely helps the climb to the top.


It was a cool morning and I was running with a long sleeve shirt over my t-shirt. It felt a bit warm at times, but I knew once we go over the top of te mountain the cold wind would get us from the other side. I was so right about this!

Eventually I reached the first summit of the day. A great first milestone under the belt and I was feeling good. This is a really beautiful place.

Over the first summit.

There are rocks and rocks and more rocks on this mountain. The route along the top is not flat by any means. There are lots of ascents and descents as you make your way along the Magalies. I was aware of how dry and harsh the environment is. We humans are wimps for sure. Surviving in this landscape, as the local wildlife do, is certainly not easy.

Harsh, dry landscapes.

The harshness is complimented by beautiful rock formations and views. As with most trail runs, I felt privileged to be running there.

I had no specific plan for the race. Just cruise over the mountain back to the finish…yeah right…easy! This was my last long run before the upcoming Mont-Aux-Sources Challenge. My plan was to take it easy and spend some quality time on my feet. I did exactly that. I never worried about my time or pace. I only worked on keeping a steady pace and effort all the time.

 Cruising over the Magaliesberg…

I’m experimenting with food and fluid intake for my longer runs as I often have problems with nausea after 4 hours or more on a run. I actually carried more than 4kg (9lb) fluid and food during this run. I used more than half but I won’t carry that much during a serious race.

There are some parts that reminds of the moon…or is it Mars…?

I was still feeling good when I reached the main descent. This takes you down the mountain right to the bottom. It is steep and slippery with loose rocks, gravel and sand all the way.

Top of the main descent.

Once my legs just had enough from the steep descent I was treated to this sign…

Yes, Stairway to heaven! This was the start of the newly added loop.  It was steep and testing with plenty of loose stones on the way to the top.

Hard to go up on tired legs with this under your feet.

Still climbing.

Well, I did reach the top of the staircase to heaven, but luckily I didn’t pass on to heaven yet. It was now time to descent back to hell… The climb down was difficult and extremely technical. There was no trail and we just followed a dry river bed down the mountain.

The way down.

Nearly at the bottom. Amazing to see some water flowing out of the dry ground.

There was a warm and boring 3km loop at the bottom and here I felt they were just trying to make up distance. It felt like we were running in circles.

Who or what died here?

I finally reached the one and only checkpoint/waterpoint on the route. I was tired but good. The run to the finish was long and slightly downhill. I could see the finish, but it felt as if it never came any closer.

Long road to the finish.

I finally reached the river and knew I had only about 3km to go. My legs were feeling great and I’m very happy about that. I was a bit warm and slightly nauseas, but overall felt good. 

I ran the final kilometer through the reeds and river and was very happy to reach the finish. Anette welcomed me home and came to run the last bit over the line with me. I was happy.

We received a Yellowwood tree for our efforts. The Yellowwood is South Africa’s national tree. I love the tree and feel it is worth much more than a medal would have been. We also received a good quality shirt and cap.

Happy with my tree.

Although I ran a very slow race I wanted time on my feet and feel I did exactly what I wanted. Another successful race in the bag.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Magaliesberg Challenge Preview

Tomorrow I'm running the 35km Magaliesberg Challenge. This is a very hard race but I'm doing it as part of my training for the very hard 50km Mont-Aux-Sources Challenge on 8 Sept. So I'm going with the plan to have fun and enjoy a good long training run.

This from the final info e-mail:

35km Runners Note:

"The improved route is more than 35km, with tough ascents, tricky technical running and descents that should be walked. This is a challenging mountain run, that will take the fit, fast runners more than 3 hours and the normal folk up to 6 hours, or more.

You should take 2 litres of water, the berg is dry. You are required to take with you a minimum of 1 litre of hydration, food for the trail (like a sarmie, energy bars, fruit or a roast chicken - you will need the energy!), a charged cell phone and a wind-breaker.

The challenge is to complete this adventure intact. There are no marshals, the course is marked with arrows and cairns. Stay awake and follow these markers. The vultures are circling. Take it easy, enjoy the journey, stop to look at the views. Please listen to briefing at the start of the run."

That certainly sounds like a lot of fun! Looking at these photos from last year I know I will have fun...but also suffer while having it...

What are you doing this weekend?

Have a great one!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The Time is Flying

The time is certainly flying and today I entered my first main goal race for 2013 already! I just received confirmation of my entry for the Three Cranes Challenge 2013.

This and the fact that I’m running another main goal for 2012 in less than a month prompted the heading for this post.

The year has flown by!

On Saturday I’m running the 35km Crazy Store Magaliesberg Challenge.

Life is busy but good! Let’s keep it going!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

New Toys

I’ve always been fine to run with as little technology as possible and have up to now only used a standard Start/Stop watch. However, my wife decided to spoil me for my birthday last week and got me this state of the art set of toys…

Polar RS800CX with HR Monitor, GPS and Stride Sensor.

I’ve played with it a little and will do a review after I’ve tested it properly. Lots of fun so far with great stats to play around with. I love stats!

It is going well so far! I hope I can keep this trend up for the remainder of the weeks...

Weeks done: 9 
Weeks to go: 43
Km done: 657
Km to go: 2993 Less than 3000 to go!
Ave per week done: 73.00
Ave per week required: 69.60

Week 1: 84
Week 2: 80
Week 3: 83
Week 4: 69
Week 5: 56
Week 6: 54
Week 7: 80
Week 8: 71
Week 9: 80

Happy running everyone, keep it going!