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

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

2013 Blogathon

I've been thinking about writing and blogging more for some time now. I love writing and blogging and really want to do more of it and also more with it. I have quite a few great writing projects in my head. So when I read this post by Christina I decided to join in the fun and registered for the 2013 WordCount Blogathon.

This means I'll be publishing a post every day for the 30 days of June. I have never blogged that much but really look forward to the challenge. I hope this will give me a boost for writing more and even thinking more about writing.

With that I will now keep quite so that I save all the ideas in my head for the 30 days of June. Please come join me and read what I have to say for the 30 days.

To all my friends running the Comrades Marathon on Sunday, all the best, travel safe and go have a 87km party!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Long Term Goals

Do you set yourself long-term goals? I do! I think when it comes to running I'm one of the kings of long-term goals. :)

So what is considered "long-term". I suppose that can be up to the individual. For me it is next year and beyond. Any goal this year I consider as short-term. I have a few big goals lined up for this year but I also have a few very big long-term goals.

I already have my goals for 2014 with main goals for February, May, August and November 2014. This all builds up to a huge goal in November 2015 and then there are even bigger goals for 2016 and 2017.

Is this crazy? I don't think so. I think this is what keeps me motivated and training regularly even after almost 32 years of running. The passion and drive is still there. Maybe even stronger than before. My long term goals are responsible for this.

When people ask me how I stay motivated this is my answer: "I have many incredible long-term goals to achieve. They are really brilliant goals and that keeps me motivated. Without that I won't reach these goals."

So dream big and set yourself some awesome long-term goals. Training and sacrifice comes much easier when you have these goals to aim for.

Keep it going my friends!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Exercise your upper body to run stronger

Do you exercise your upper body for your running? I do and I know how much it helps me. I am a firm believer in upper body strength for running.

A strong upper body certainly helps the speedsters to run even better times. For me it is not about speed, but about long hours of running. Go run a long distance of more than 6 hours and feel how stiff your shoulders are the next day. Train your upper body with lots of work on your shoulders and it is a completely different story.

It is even more important for trail running. The trails put your whole body through a workout. Run on a tough trail for 6 hours and more and feel how your whole body is punished. Upper body and core strength is the answer.

I never log my upper body training and never really say anything about it, but I do it religiously 3 or 4 times per week. I don't go to a gym and just do the old fashioned dumbbell and sit-up routines at home.

My trusty dumbbells.

3 or 4 times per week I do:

50 sit-ups/crunches
followed by
routine of 25 reps with my 6kg (13.2lb) dumbells
routine of 30 reps with my 2.5kg (5.5lb) dumbbells
followed by another
50 sit-ups/crunches

followed by another
routine of 25 reps with my 6kg dumbells
routine of 30 reps with my 2.5kg dumbbells
and then I end with another
50 sit-ups/crunches

This is all I do apart from running and it is all I need. Believe me it makes a world of difference for the longer runs. I've been doing this for years and years.

Some common dumbbell exercises.

If you are not doing upper body exercises for your running yet...start today, they work wonders!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Throwback Thursday - 1998 LongTom Ultra

Last December on our way back from the Sabie X Trail Race we stopped at the famous LongTom Cannon on the LongTom Pass in Mpumalanga. I told the family about the LongTom Ultra Marathon that runs over this very steep mountain pass.

They were a bit skeptical  about my brave story. So I went digging in the old photos and found the proof  that I have run that pass.

LongTom Canon 2012

LongTom Canon 1998

Yep, that's me with a running friend from my club and the cannon in the background.Young, strong and fit!

Happy running everyone!

Monday, 6 May 2013

2013 Colgate 32km Race Report

This weekend I ran the Colgate 32km race at the Boksburg City Stadium east of Johannesburg. This race is known as one of the coldest on the calendar and it certainly didn't disappoint this year. It was 1°C before the start, definitely the coldest morning so far for 2013.

The race is very popular as it is relatively flat and easy. It is about a month before Comrades so many Comrades runners do it as a last long training run before they start their taper. With Colgate as a sponsor the well stocked goody bag also attracts runners.

Doesn't look it, but this is a fast course.

We arrived early and had enough time to get everything done in a relaxed way before we made our way to the start. Anette braved the cold to see me off. She entered the 5km that started at 7 AM, 30 minutes after my start.

Cold start…trademark of this race.

The sun was not up properly yet and the start was cold. I started with long sleeves and gloves. I was very happy I came prepared as the first few kilometers were really cold. Luckily the skies were clear and we could feel the sun on our skins soon.

On our way!

I started slow and kept a very steady pace. I only wanted a nice long training run to test my knee and also get some good time on my legs at the same time. I was here for fun and had no plan to push myself at any stage. This was also my last road race for many months. With Comrades not on my plan anymore my trail season starts now.

First water table at 3km. Cold water :)

I could see that Comrades is close as most runners were in great shape but just taking it easy. There was lots of chatter and you could see most people didn't even feel the 32km distance. That is a trademark of South African races. Most runners are there to get in a long training run for Comrades.

Cold in the shade, 6km done.

There is a 15km race as well and the 32km is a double lap of this with a 2km detour on the 2nd lap. I felt very good and enjoyed the run. My knee was fine and I was happy. I ran a very comfortable pace and was very relaxed. The organization was great, including very good and well stocked water tables. Soon the first lap was done.

Heading back to the stadium on lap 1.

Most runners kept on going for the 32km distance. Another sign that this was an important Comrades training run. I hoped to see Anette as I completed the first lap but this didn't happen. I think she was still on her way back to the car after her  5km. She had a great run as well!

Start of lap 2. At least the sun was out now.

I was still feeling very good when I started lap 2. My knee was also good and that is great news. It made me very happy indeed! It was still cold and most runners just kept going in their warm clothes. I did the same and didn't remove my long sleeves or gloves.

Most runners still wearing their warm gear.

At 21km I caught up to a barefoot runner. I wondered how cold his feet must have been earlier, but thought that if he could run on the road like that he probably doesn't feel the cold.

Barefoot on the road.

At 24.5km we turned off for the 2km detour to make up for 32km. This part includes the only pretty street of the route.  Boksburg is not known for its scenery…

Only pretty street on the route.

After the detour I started counting down the kilometers. Almost suddenly there were only 6km to go! I was feeling very good. Yes, I was running really slowly, but that was the plan.

Over the bridge for the 2nd  and last time.

I collected some more chocolate at the last water table and then it was just a matter of strolling into the finish. They handed out small chocolate bars and I took a few home. Well, they were on their way home but Anette and I enjoyed them in the car!

To the stadium for the finish.

Soon I turned into the grounds at the stadium and there was only 1km to go. I felt good and not tired at all. I still kept to my plan and never increased my comfortable pace.  We ran around the stadium and then turned in to finish.

Into the stadium…

…onto the track…

…to the finish...

Fast runners like me need tartan tracks to finish on!

I was happy! Mission accomplished and my knee was not sore at all. 32km (20 mile) race number 129 in the bag!

Well done to Boksburg Athletics Club with yet another super race. Everything was great.

Nice medal and shirt!

Great goodies!

Thanks Colgate! I will have clean skin and teeth for a long time.

That is it for me and road races for some months to come. My trail season starts now…yay!