Monday, 27 June 2011

Re-Trail Therapy

If you feeling down in the dumps and stressed what better thing to do but get on the trail and run......
Yesterday morning (Sunday)I woke up and hour before I was supposed to and lay there listening to howling wind outside thinking to myself, freak I am going to need anti-freeze to get my engine started for this race, I was racing the 3rd of the 4 Trail Series yesterday morning. I got up and decided that under my racing vest I should wear a long sleeve top and that is all because I hate running in too much clothing, the least possible amount is good, I get very hot when I run. I had my coffee and some toast with honey and ventured outside in to the freezing cold only worsened by the howling wind, and you all know about the wind chill factor.
All the way to Segwati near Hartebeespoort I was wondering how unpleasant running in this wind was going to be, though I decided to put it out of my mind like I had told a buddy of mine that I would put the long hilly drags out of my mind (I hate hills), I heard somewhere that we should love hills so I was trying my best….. my bud just said just said “what hills, this is a completely flat course” :-0 Yeah right, this was and undulating course with a 3km climb from 1 to 4 km and a 2.5km climb to the finish, so no fun and games. I was pleasantly surprised to find when I got there that there was no wind, cool I thought to myself what a great start. By the time it was time to warm up I was back to normal, I had removed the long sleeve top and was heading out with some friends to warmup, by the time the race started I had warmed up sufficiently and enjoying getting on the way. Segwati is a dangerous race in the way the 1st km is down and if you are not equipped to keep the pace over the first km you will suck, my first km was 3min44sec per km and I thought maybe that was too fast but I was glad to say that it wasn’t, I worked to first hill right up to the top, even though I did have a 3km warm up before the race I still only felt warm about 4km into the race. The rest is history though, I ran this race much my fluidly than the last and enjoyed the times when I could move faster and even tackled the technical pieces awesomely.  I also managed to conquer the mind over matter issue so many of us have, I was been trailed by two guys and I managed to keep them in the position of trailing me throughout the race, they never managed to pass me, in fact I pushed a little hard up the last hill which opened the gap to almost a minute, this race for me yesterday was an achievement, my time from the same race last year was 8min faster. I redeemed myself after the last race at hennops when I took the tumble and ran a great race. All in all I had an awesome race and got a great result…. so I am thoroughly chuffed, lets just say this trail made my day - my re-trail therapy. Well….. Another Trail Series done and dusted, and I am ready for the next and last one at Pelindaba on Sunday. Thanks for all the great support from my friends and thanks again to Trail Series for yet another well-organized race!! See you guys on Sunday!!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Terminal Velocity......

As a trail runner I am always searching for more suitable ways to train for the trail, living in the suburbs is a problem in the way that I can only get out to the proper trails on the weekend so finding better trail workouts and places to run is a challenge, one I am most of the time successful with.
Two really awesome workouts I now have are the Westcliff Stairs which I will post about soon and the workout I post about today. Yesterday a training bud and I decided to try something different from the regular interval stair, hill or track session, we ducked down to the local MTB Park for an interval session with a difference.
The Toyota MTN mountain bike park in Bryanston is the mountain biker’s paradise when it comes to learning and training for technical courses, there are lots of jumps, narrow crossings and steep ups and downs amongst a host of other challenges that would make you a much better mountain biker. Now you are probably wondering, how would this help with running and especially trail and I say this is……. The loops at the bike park vary in distance and layout, from flat zigzag loops to the most technical steep routes. In our workout we added as much left and rights as possible along with a huge amount of steep ups followed by steep downs, these are the kind of ups (+-10m) that you have to sprint at or else you will be clambering up to the top and then to “top” it when you get to the summit you have a huge decline on the other which if you are not focused you will fall down instead of scramble down and I promise at the speed you come down those decents you should rather have your wits about you. Like I said earlier, as part of the workout was lots of zigzags, so sharp you are forced to slow down and speed up. Well it was a really cool workout and very interesting and as usual and as normal we were taken out of our comfort zones. I recommend this workout to all runners and especially trail runners, with the ballistic nature of the workout it teaches your body to work with focus, speed and power while strengthening muscles and joints that are important for the trail. As an example, our workout consisted of 7 Repeats on different loops of between 500 and 800m, these loops were done at high intensity with the only recovery between entering the next loop. So if you have a chance give this workout a try, you won’t be sorry…… OK maybe in the middle the workout you will be sorry ;-) but after you will feel amazing!! Enjoy, and remember, stay on the beaten track!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Back on "Trail"

Well, the good news is my “glumness” has passed since Sunday and the Hennops trail, also my ankle is healing awesomely. I am not the kind that is able to sit and convince myself to just rest while my ankle goes through its healing process so on Monday evening I was already out testing it ;-) Granted, that didn’t go so well as the ankle was still very swollen and pained when putting the weight of a jogging step on it, walking is ok, but jogging…… I only managed a mere 1.3km. Anyways, clearly another day was needed so anxiously I awaited Tuesday evening…. I rushed home on Tuesday, definitely was itching to find out how the healing process had progressed. Well I changed and hit the road at first and then pleasantly realised that there was little or no discomfort or pain and was able to move onto the rough of the side of the road instead of running in the road. I ran 8km very relaxed on Tuesday at an average pace of 4:50p/km, you could say I was incredibly happy and my weeks training can move on. I am one of those very lucky guys that is blessed with strong ankles. Last night I kicked the gears back in to drive and did a 12 X hill repeats which was of course very hard, if it wasn’t, then it wouldn’t be worthy of been called an interval session ;-). This morning I met a friend for a 12km relaxed recovery run, so I am very happy that I have no discomfort at all.  My friends and I will be putting in a 15+km trail on Sunday morning which I am looking forward to.  The rest of the time and next week I intend on cracking the whip on myself as my next trail race is a mere one and a half weeks away, so Segwati bring on your long slogs, I am ready!!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Hennops takes no prisoners!!

Well, this is my rather glum update about Trail Series race two at Hennops (South Africa) on Sunday...... Why you ask. Well the story begins last year @ summer trail series where running the Hennops race I twisted my ankle and ended up half hobbling and walking/jogging from about 4km, guess what? Yesterday at Hennops it happened again, probably close to the same place, this time I actually took a tumble and turned my ankle in the process at around 4km, so there I was again leaving myself to hobble the rest of the way ;-) But let’s start from the beginning.... The race started brilliantly and I felt comfi a lot of the way, even up the first long climb, after crossing over the fence I navigated myself through the technical sections confidently and was moving fast and comfortably, probably at around the 4km mark I stumbled, lost my focus and went down, it was a well-orchestrated fall ;-) I rolled into it and out of it in one movement, I thought it was excellent until I realised 2secs later that I had rolled my ankle.... damn... Ok maybe my language was a little more colourful hehehehe. Anyways what was there left to do, I was still far from the finish and I NEVER turn back so I navigated myself through the last technical flat part before moving up the mountain, the pain wasn't so bad going up as it was coming down the other side, trying to move as easily over the rocks but to no avail, I moved as fast as possible to try no loose too much time, I ending up eating dust another two time in my effort but eventually got myself to the end where I was met with the cheering of my buds who I found out had hit the deck a few times themselves. The lesson you learn from Hennops is it takes no prisoners and deserves the most hardened trail runner's respect. My buds also took some tumbles yesterday so it always makes you feel better to come in a not be the only injured guy in the bunch LOLOLOLOL though I have to say, the reason I fell the first time...... all my own fault. Yesterday I was ranting about never doing Hennops again, but the truth is that is impossible, I can't stay away from it and I have to conquer it and I will. So I forget about yesterday and move forward, my ankle will heal fast and I will be on my feet as soon as tomorrow and the training gets done and moves forward. As of today my ankle is great, ran 8km yesterday relaxed without much issues, will be doing a hill session tonight and then  a 12km with a bud tomorrow. On Sunday will be doing a 15+km trail with friends at Teak place so looking forward. Segwati…… Trail Series No.3 is in two weeks so will be ready for the 14km beast.... see you there.

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