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

Monday 23 April 2012

Monday Musings

1. A quick update on the Body for Life program we started. I’ve lost 1.1kg (2.4 pounds) and Anette lost 0.8kg (1.76 pounds) so far. We have been very good and I’m back to my 6 days a week running with strength and core training added 4 times a week. Anette is following the program very strictly and I’m bending it to add to my running.

2. Have I told you how I love my Nikes? I really do and no other shoe fits my feet better. These are my current “active” Nikes. The non-active retired from running ones sleep outside...

I love my Nikes!

3. Spiral the dog…yes, the same one that broke his leg sometime ago is back to full strength…and full mischief. Need to get rid of a couch? Call Spiral and he will happily assist!

Spiral couch removal specialists...

I hope you all have a splendid week!

Monday 16 April 2012

The race that became a “breakfast run”

I’ve pulled out of races two times after entering at the start and just not feeling like it, but I’ve never been late for a race. Yesterday I was on time again for my race…or maybe I wasn’t…I didn’t hang around to find out.

The Slow-Mag Half Marathon started at 6:30 and we left home, at 05:09. It seems that was probably too late. We joined the queue of backed-up traffic on the highway at 5:35. We were about 6km from the race venue and start.

With “we” I mean Anette and I. At first we weren’t phased by the traffic, but when we realized we were literally moving forward at a “single car length at a time” pace we started lifting our eyebrows. The talk in the car became something like this:

Anette: “This is no serious or big race for you is it?”
Me: “no, it’s just a training run. Just me doing another half marathon. All part of my Num-Num training.
Anette: “Good, so if we maybe don’t get to the start in time it will be ok…?”
Me: “Yes, I won’t mind missing the race; I’ll just run 21km at home.”
Anette: “Because at this pace we won’t make it.”
Me: “I know, but then we’ll just go find coffee somewhere.”
Anette: “Mmm…that is almost tempting…”
Me: “Almost…”

We crawled forward at a very slow pace. There were just too many cars for the roads leading to the venue to handle. I still had to collect my bib and visit the loo before the start as well. Not making the race in time was becoming a reality fast.

I was still not upset or sad or anything for that matter. Missing the race was not going to be a bad thing at all. It will just take me a bit longer to some year run my 2000th race. I am currently on 1361 races and this race was just another click of the counter.

At some point runners started getting out of cars and ran/jogged to the start. I knew some people will use the marathon to qualify for Comrades and for them this was a huge problem. I was lucky I was not one of them. We crawled forward and the time went passed 06:00. Soon after this people started turning their cars around and head back home. We stuck around until 06:12.

Me: “There’s no way we can make this.”
Anette: “You wanna run to the start and I park the car?”
Me: “No way, I still need the toilet and get my bib.”
Anette: “So are we going home?”
Me: “No, we are going for coffee!”

With that I turned down the first possible side road and drove away from the race. I was relieved and happy with my decision. There was no urgency for me to run this race. It was really just another 21km training run and another click of the counter.

I decided to head for this place…

For some awesome coffee and great breakfast…

We were happy…very happy actually!

Life is good! I had a fabulous “breakfast run”!

Have a super week everyone!

Friday 13 April 2012

A Few Goal Changes

I did a post about my goals for 2012 some time back and since then things have changed quite a bit. The main reason for this being that I did not get into the Pikes Peak Marathon. This changed a few things…

The main change is that I will not run Comrades this year. I was planning Comrades as part of my Pikes Peak training but that has changed totally. My main goals are now all in the 2nd half of the year. There are still one or two maybe’s as well, but in short my list now looks like this:

  • 15 April – SlowMag Half Marathon
  • 6 May – Colgate 32km (20 miler)
  • 17 June – Gauteng Winter Trail XL 20km
  • 7 July – Num Num Trail Challenge 36.5km (main goal)
  • 14 July – Springbok Vasbyt 25km
  • 29 July – Cape Storm Highveld Challenge 30km
  • 18 August – Crazy Store Magaliesberg Challenge 35km
  • 8 Sept – Mont-Aux-Sources 50km Challenge (main goal)
  • October – Golden Gate 3 Day Challenge (not sure of dates yet)
  • 3 November – Kaapse Hoop Marathon
  • 24 November – Sani Stagger Marathon (main goal)
  • 31 Dec to 01 Jan – Year to Year 24 Hour Circuit Race (main goal)

Although the first half of the year is not too serious the second half certainly makes up for that.

Happy running everyone!

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Body for Life

Does anybody know this book/program? It gives you a 12 week plan to get yourself back on track to a healthy life in a healthy body that looks good as well. I’ve never used any program or product to help me get into shape before. I’ve always just run more and eat better and less where possible. However, my wife Anette used the Body for Life program before to assist her in getting into proper shape for Karate nationals and endurance cycling events.

Anette wanted to use it again as she starts her way back to top shape with some interesting endurance events as goals. She suggested that I join her on the 12 week program to get my weight and shape where I need it for the challenges of the second half of 2012. I agreed although I will not do the same training as the program and just use it as a guide to supplement my running with good upper body and core workouts. We will both follow the guide for eating the right way closely.

The program makes use of protein shakes between meals. This is the first time ever that I will be using anything like this. I’m sure it will help with snacking on the wrong stuff as I am very guilty of doing. The program will act as a guide and motivation for us. Our 12 weeks start today, 10 April 2012.

Yesterday we went to buy the shakes and for no specific reason, we chose USN products. We bought the USN starter pack for their similar 12 week program and got there booklet with information as well.

Again, I’ve never used or even looked at these products before, so I am in a new world. Is USN available in other countries? I'm not sure but think all these products are very similar anyway.

It is certainly exciting and definitely helps with motivation. I am keen to try this with Anette and hope it will keep her motivated to achieve her goals. I will have to see how the eating program and protein shakes affect my running. I’m sure I will benefit from this. Losing some weight will certainly be great and help a lot on the longer runs.

We will log everything we eat and drink as well as all our training. We will also keep track of our weight. I will do regular updates and give feedback on the blog and hope we can all benefit from this.

Will my running improve? I certainly hope so…let’s wait and see.

Running is going well and on track. I’m running the Slow-Mag Half Marathon this Sunday. I have no injuries although running next to Anette on her bicycle leaves my fingers looking like this…

Thanks for reading and happy training everyone!

Monday 2 April 2012

Alberton City Half Marathon Report

Yesterday morning I ran the Alberton City Half Marathon at the Alberton City shopping mall. I live in Alberton, Johannesburg, so this is a local race hosted by a local club and therefore I like to support it every year.

The half marathon started at 6:30 with the 10km, which was also the Central Gauteng Championships, starting at 06:00. This was done so that the 10km runners would not have to compete for space on the road with the half marathon runners. I really liked this idea and I’m sure the 10km runners loved it. Before our 6:30 start the first 10km runners already finished way below 30 minutes…amazing to see! Anette, Roberto and his girlfriend did the 5km fun run which started at 6:45. 

It was a chilly morning so most runners waited indoors before walking to the start. The local coffee shops and restaurants failed to cash in on this which was mind boggling to me.

I think it was the coldest morning so far this year and many runners chose to wear more clothes than they’ve done previously this year. I don’t feel cold very easily and opted for my running vest only.

Waiting at the start...

The race started on time and I was off and into a nice stride very quickly. I wasn't planning a fast run and used this as a training run. There were a lot of my friends running and it was a nice social affair right from the start.

Shortly after the start.

The race runs through the suburbs of Alberton and can be seen as a moderate to easy course. My plan was to run around 2:20  and feel good afterwards.

 Typical scenery throughout the race.

The photo above really shows a typical South African neighborhood. Lots of trees with high walls lining the pavements.

There were a few testing hills along the way but no serious heart breakers. I felt good although my stomach was complaining about the huge lamb shank I ate the night before. This was a training run so I did not do anything race specific before the run.

Short walk break on the hill.

As always I only found my comfortable pace and rhythm after 7km. I think it was actually closer to 9km this time with the heavy meat making my stomach felt three times bigger than it is.

Running comfortably.

At some point we ran through a security estate. This is also typical of South African neighborhoods where the people will pay security companies to close of streets and create only one or two entrances into the area. These entrances are then guarded and monitored by the security company. This is then supposed to keep unwanted characters and burglars away from the houses inside.

Entrance to security estate.

Inside the secure area is a normal neighborhood…still with high walls…

I met up with some of my very old running friends at about 15km. They are the  runners in red on the photo above. They run for Roodepoort Athletic Club. This was my  club form 1994 to 2003. We enjoyed some chatting and jokes and then I settled in just behind them to the end of the race.

Approaching the 18km water point.

With 3km to go I was feeling very good with only my stomach giving me a hard time. I really felt that I could have and maybe should have run a bit faster but I was still happy as I knew I would run close to my goal of 2:20.

2km to go.

The last 2km I sped up a little and I was happy that I was not really tired but just uncomfortable with my stomach. We ran around the outside of the shopping mall towards the finish. I was happy to see Anette waiting for me as I rounded the last corner about 400m from the finish. I was done and happy.

Into the finish area.

I crossed the line in 2:19:29. I couldn’t get much closer to my goal of 2:20. We received a nice medal and t-shirt to take home.

This was a very nice and very well organized race and I thank the organizers for everything. I did exactly what I planned to do even though my stomach felt very heavy during the run.

Next up is a 25.5km run this Saturday with the SlowMag Half Marathon on 15 April. This will be another training run with a target of finishing closer to 2:15.

Have a good week everyone!