Monday, July 26, 2010

Run Now, Pay Later

So the Hansa Hout Bay Trail Run is a thing of the past, but the pain remains.

Let me go back a step or more. I've had this run on the calendar since last year and when earlier this year, my brother invited me to join his relay team, the answer was a huge Yes.  Even to the point of getting a special gym programme together to help with agility and core strength.  But the last six weeks fell apart with a couple of niggles and injuries and the most I was able to run was 6km in the week preceding the race.

Not a lot of ideal prep. In fact, I didn't dare tell my brother about the last niggle. But I arrived with a plan.

I had two sachets of USN's Anabolic Nitro (sorry for Simon - our middle runner) which I had used before and had felt bullet proof, a couple of anti-inflammatories and "muscle memory". I hoped it would hold me together for about 11km of severe trail running around the back of Hout Bay.

It was perfect weather. Ian departed on leg one in the faint light of the pre-dawn and I went home to have scrambled egg on toast.  Collecting all my gear, I headed off the changeover point at Suikerbossie.  As I got there, the front guys came through absolutely flying and I heard later they were on a mission to break the record. They did - by miles. They were runnng twice as fast as me!

The Suikerbossie restaurant did itself proud handing out tea and coffee and scones to the runners and I resisted the temptation. Not so much Simon, who after a scone and coffee headed off to the toilet and of course, Ian arrived at that moment. Eventually Simon emerged, took a leisurely photo and jogged off.

Ian was over the moon having run strongly the whole way. The thing about running in this environment is that it leaves you on a complete high. Ian missioned around talking to people, eating scones and generally beaming. I also think the USN had something to do with it!

Then we headed home again to collect warm clothes for him and wandered off to my checkpoint at the top of Constantia Kloof.  There I faced the huge dilemma of what combination clothing to wear. It was sunny but chilly. It was on with the short sleeve top then off again, on with the long sleeve top then indecision.

In between, I was trying to decided when to drink my jungle juice. I ended up having it too soon so by the time Simon arrived, I was buzzing and ready to go.

A quick handover of the race passport and I headed off beginning my leg with a long climb with lots of steps and then lots more steps. I felt great, partly because of the low altitude but more I think due to my race juice.

I ran way above my fitness levels. I climbed the stairs and stones with ease, ran the tricky bouldery downhills, ran the contours, stopped for a photo, chatted to the girl with me, hurt badly on the descent down to Chapman's Peak Drive as it was too slippery to attack the path.  It was here that I knew beyond a shadow of doubt, that I would not be able to get out of bed the next day.

After the last checkpoint, there was a gaggle of girls running together and we hurtled down the tar section to the beach. The tide was in and the sand was soft and wet. There was also a headwind.  My heart rate read 104%. I kid you not.  I saw later my max was 180 (the highest I have ever seen was 186 and that was about 10 years ago!)

But we pushed to the end and stumbled into the finish exhausted but elated.

It was a fantastic experience and I am so envious of the Cape Townians who have this playground out their back door.  I am seriously hobbling at the moment and stairs, downhills, downslopes and sitting down amongst other movements are extremely painful.

But I don't care. I ran, I felt the wind in my face, I could see forever and I exerted myself in a beautiful place.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Moving up a gear

The week that was included four spinning classes, a run and a mountain bike ride. Phew, talk about getting back into the groove.

I am heading to Cape Town this week to run in the Hout Bay Trail Challenge with my brother, Ian and fellow Ride2Rhodes rider, Steve. They are both stalwarts in the game (or sport?) of Ultimate. You know, that frisbee throwing thing that has its own World Championships. Thus my frantic week of trying to open up the lungs and fool myself into some fitness.

I am really looking forward to it despite being laid off with niggles for the last month. Stumble or run, here I come.

Posted via email from Go Cycling

Monday, July 12, 2010

There's a hole in my mojo, dear Sepp.

Now what.

The joy and the happiness of the past month has no focus anymore.

The World Cup has come to an end (with a bit of a whimper with a grumpy final) and we all woke up this morning missing something. The volunteers and members of the various organising groups will feel it most of all. Billboards are already coming down and the cars are not festooned with flags or mirror covers and the winter suddenly seems drab again.

And, it was a rest day on the Tour de France. Must be why I got through some work today and am finally managing to type this.

I guess the feeling now is akin to a proud medical team who witnessed the gestation and birth of a very large baby and now we can stand back as the baby leaves these shores, secure in the knowledge of a job well done. And we did all play a part. We may not have personally organised a single aspect of the Cup but we supported, cheered, laughed, groaned and forgot our woes for four glorious weeks.

Coincidentally, the last riders in the Freedom Challenge have also finished, all with war stories and memories to last a lifetime. I'm going to be creating new memories in my cycling life come September and I look forward to sharing these with you as they unfold.

But for now - Viva Mzansi!

Posted via email from Go Cycling

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Crazy Times

Its been an awesome couple of weeks, actually make that a month. Work has been reduced to a trickle as has most forms of exercise. Its been much, much better watching others excel.

It seems so long ago that we gathered in our bright yellow Bafana Bafana colours to watch the kick off the 2010 World Cup. And the fever hasn't stopped. Now I am usually unenthusiatic about soccer as my time as a sports administrator gave me an intense dislike of the powers in that sport.

The problem is, when you are passionate about sport, you get sucked in and despite prejudice, you begin to offer opinions, ride the emotional rollercoaster and follow teams with intensity.

I watched all the Bafana Bafana warm up games and despite all the prophets of doom, even I could see the improvement and dreamed that they might do the miraculous.  They didn't but they punched well above their fighting weight. I loved the fact that South Africans were still proud of the team and are prepared to support them once again.

We attended the match versus Uruguay and froze in the stands. We went to the new Nelson Mandela Bay stadium (Port Elizabeth) to watch Chile vs Switzerland and watched fans celebrate with vigour and we enjoyed the smooth organisation.  At least I will be able to say "I was there!"

But the pride doesn't stop there. What hosts we have been. As a nation, we have produced a superb event with its own character and memories and the final script is  still be to written with the last couple of games.

Then of course, it is the annual riding of the Freedom Challenge (Race across South Africa - 2300km) - the event that I did last year.  I hadn't really got all that interested as my head was elsewhere but I had a friend riding it as a novice and I suspected he could win. Alex Harris is an adventurer in the true sense of the word and I re-lived the race vicariously albeit at a much faster speed than my attempt.  And even now, the final riders are still trickling in. 

So when I wasn't watching football, I was locked onto twitter of following themountain bike race on the forum.  2011 entries are open if you're interested. I know some of riding buddies from last year are toying with the idea. Me - I have another idea gestating (such a word?) and I hope to persuade them to buy in too. This will also force me to get back on the bike with a lot more vigour.

As the football rush subsided and more non-game days made their appearance, it coincided with the start of the Tour de France. So I don 't expect to have a post World Cup hangover - there's plenty to keep me occupied and away from work.