Two Ocean’s Recovery

In 24h many of us are going to look back on the days events and plan the future. Just caught this article on Dean Karnazes’ blog on Runner’s World US. He talks about recovery.
One of the things mentioned is swimming.
Ah dunking tired legs in icy cold water after a running effort has never sounded very appealing to me but I understand that it works.
So who is going to dash off to the Atlantic tomorrow afternoon for a quick dip? After we have completed the Two Ocean’s Ultra or Half Marathon

I will certainly make an effort. Not sure if the lethargy will win though.

music and running

After reading Adventure Lisa’s blog a couple of days ago I got thinking:

The music thing does not really help those speed king, Usian Bolt types out there who are going for the sub four minutes thing.
When you start to venture down the road to joy or shadows fall . When you run all night long or enter another lonely day, you suffer micro cuts , fever and eventually enter the city of delusion. Your mind says “I’m leaving now”, “don’t want to do this anymore”, then begging “apocalypse please” and finally “I wanna die easy.”
You enter the ring of fire and step it up. Brain only numb. Nothing else matters and you realise that you are not like the other girls. You feel the stink foot creeping in. Suddenly you’re lost little girl and you have no time to think. Suicide is painless you mutter to yourself.
You walk unafraid when suddenly sunrise. You duck and run. You are feelin too damn good to stop now. You hear the call of Ktulu. Pain bubbling under as you get closer to the end.
You stumble and fall across the line. The deed is done and you can die another day.

“You’re lost little girl”-The Doors
“Feelin too damn good”-Nickleback
“The call of Ktulu”-Metallica
“Bubbling under”-Yellow
“Closer”-NIN
“The end”-The Doors.
“Deed is done”-Dave Mathews
“Die another day”-Madonna
“You stumble and fall”-razorlight
“Sunrise”-Norah Jones
“Duck and run”-three doors down.
“Walk unafraid”-REM
“No time to think”-Bob Dylan.
“Suicide is painless”-Nick Drake
“Speed king”- Deep Purple
“I wanna die easy”- Collard Greens and Gravy
“Nothing else matters”-Metallica
“Not like the other girls”-The Rasmus.
“Stink foot”-Frank Zappa
“Creeping in”norah jones.
“Feel” Robbie Williams
“Numb”- Portishead
“Step it up”-stereo mc’s
“Ring of fire”- Johnny Cash
“Apocalypse please”-muse
“Four minutes”-Roger Waters
“Road to joy”-Bright eyes
“Shadows fall”-the coral
“All night long”-stereo mc’s
“another lonely day” -U2
“Micro cuts” -muse
“Fever” -Madonna
“City of delusion” muse
“I’m leaving now”-Johnny Cash

Hell Run 09:

“It’s not finish that is important, it is the journey.” Some wise dude once said. Well the journey is no sweater when the end is in sight.
Here my personal account of my escape from Hell:
The drive from Cape Town to Prince Albert was a journey in itself. Stevie Hector, Michael Ohlson and I set off mid-morning. Hugenot Tunnel, Worcester, Laingsburg. Then the desolate stretch to the Prince Albert turn-off.
Once in town we quickly made our way to the school hostel for the registration and pre race meal. It did feel like a last supper. The Mad Scientist standing among us giving final instructions for the struggle for redemption that was about to face us. We wolfed down hostel food and dashed to our cars. More like a disorganised jumble as opposed to the neatly lined up vehicles, all driving in perfectly synchronised convoy on the Landrover G4 challenge broadcasts. My Mazda “Jo” loves dirt so we cruised up the Swartberg Pass to the Ou Tol Huis at the top. Here a hurried reload of all crazy souls into bakkies for the journey into Die Hell. It was still 18h00 or so. Plenty of time to drive to the start 50km away in time for the gun at 21h00. Or so we thought.
I was lucky enough to get a sardine slot in the back of a bakkie with three other smelly runners. A massive stash of cold coke was piled on top of us and we were off. Locals know their dirt roads and take great pleasure in scaring town folks as we soon hurtled down the switchbacks, gently down at first. The steeper and further down the road we went the quieter the conversation. “Oh shit” and “Are we there yet?” the common unspoken chant.
We stopped and all of us poured out ready to get on with it!
“No! No! This is not even half way!”
“All aboard” and off we sailed deeper into middle earth.
Those silly enough to enter the Hell Run have three options with respect to distance: the 38 km “Fun Run”, the 50 km “Escape from Hell” and the 80 km “I am ruler of all”.
I was doing the 38 km. I had just not gotten any descent training in since Bat. In fact last week was the first week that I logged some ok mileage. I wanted to do Hell Run as my last long effort before Two Oceans. My plan was not to race but just go at an Ok pace and then up the tempo for the last ten. In truth it is so difficult to hold back.
Finally we were released. Straight into a mega climb of 4 km where we gained 426 m. Most walked. Those that tried to run did not make much ground. I soon found myself in second position, suddenly tempted to give it horns. I did not know any of the other runners so I had no idea who was strong. I dropped back to third when a very strong woman passed me. At this stage it was one and two for the girls!
My plan was to walk all the ups. As a result I walked a large majority of this route. The moon came out bright and lit the way so headlamps were only necessary occasionally. The middle 10 kays or so seem blurry. Memories of Addo: walking on and on along a dirt road with nobody else around for miles, vision and thoughts narrow then turn inward.
On and on following the serpent’s spine of a road out of our hell. The weather was great. It was really warm so wearing only a t-shirt was perfect. The occasional breeze on the high ground a very welcome change from the dusty monotony. I was mostly running by moonlight only. Every now and again I would see a glow ahead, then turn around and see a couple of bobbing lights coming my way. It was really hard not to kick into race mode at times like this but just plod on and enjoy the journey and experience it as time on legs.
I was surprised to suddenly see a person slightly ahead of me. This was around 14 or 15 km to go. I caught Vanessa within a couple of minutes. We chatted. She had gone out fast and was now hanging on. It was great sharing a few moments on this lonely road. There was a much more determined light bearing down on us though! The German who was running the 80km was gaining on us, ok more accurately: we were standing still compared to him. He slowed for a few seconds then pushed on into the dark. (he ended up breaking records for all distances)
Lianne had mentioned a nice swimming pool next to the road. I could not wait. OK it was after midnight, I was in the middle of the karoo and there was the biggest frog I have ever seen watching over his kingdom. I quickly dived in and got straight out, put my kit back on and carried on the road.
Watching the km markers as I wanted to open it up a little for the last 10. Just to see what I could do. I was hoping this would give me a good indication for Two Oceans.
That is what I did.
The turn off came none too soon and then the pancakes! The best in the world. I chatted with other finishers until I finally found a quiet spot and crept into my sleeping bag to catch a few interrupted winks before my friends arrived.
So soon after dawn we took to the road and headed South, body tired, sleep deprived but happy to have escaped Hell.

BAt Run 09 race report

above: Tatum Loftus (1st women) and me rehydrating at the end.

I was here before:
The “gun” went off, Well actually more like a motley crew of mountain goats slowly headed up towards the hills, not quite running at sub 4min pace, not quite walking either. There was a larger supporting crowd than in previous years seeing us off. I found myself out in the lead pretty quickly- not exactly what I wanted to do but there was this tall guy (Simon von Witt) seriously pushing the pace. The early tar kays were ticking away far too quickly. This was insane. I tried to back off a bit in the hope that he would too but it did not work. One of us was going to blow. I just prayed that it would not be me!

The Bat Run was under way and I had put in all the training. Everything was looking good except the weather. Today was one of the hottest days this summer and the wind was picking up. Hmm we would have to see what happens…

The Bat Run is a limited entry event which starts at Kloof Nek at 19h00 on the full-moon weekend in Feb. The route takes runners to the top of Devil’s Peak, back down to Tafelberg Road, up Platteklip Gorge, down to Kloof Nek, it is then followed by a quick jaunt up Lion’s Head. The finish is at Kloof Nek. Only 25 km, 2085m of ascent and descent all run in the dark and finish in under 4h05 to break the record. Easy init?

We ran along Tafelberg road to the zig zags leading up to the Nek (16min27 ). Faster than I had ever done this in training. Simon was right on my heals all the way up to the Nek. Thunder Clouds were gathering in the intense heat. I threw water on my head to cool things down a little. Lightning flashes got closer and closer. Retina burn! Time to put my head down and just keep going. I was hoping to be able to open a bit of a gap between me and Simon just to take the pressure off a little. It was not really working! Ironically I figured that the worse conditions got the better my chance of winning was. My mountaineering background would hopefully help me here.
That is not why I was here though. I knew for a while that the record should be at 3h30 to 3h40 range. On paper it is doable. The question is “Am I up to the task?”. Right now conditions weren’t helping and the question mark was getting bigger and bigger. Top of Devil’s Peak and a quick turn around (53min). At least now I did not have to look into the lightning flashes and just concentrate on the slippery slidy down hill. I was going full blast but feeling surprisingly relaxed. Just almost falling down the slope. I hit the road not daring to look behind me for fear that I would see Simon a few paces behind. A quick jog along the road and I reached Mel and friendly seconds at the bottom of Platteklip (1h17).

There was no need to use my BD Icon headlamp. The moon was behind the clouds but it was bright enough for the plod up the gorge. Step, step, step, hydrate, throw water on head, step, step. I was barely on pace at the halfway point. 37 min up Platties certainly is not fast but that was all I was capable of. Eric Tollner was taking some pics at the top. It was really nice to see him. Even better was the fact that it was completely dry. No moisture on the slippery steps meant that coming down would be fast. I had to think economy as far as hydration goes. The temps were so hot that I had to use quite a lot of water to just cool down, let alone get it down my throat. I was only a few minutes past the top of Platteklip when I could see the light on top of Maclear’s Beacon. The guys at the checkpoint had placed the guiding star strategically so that would could all see how windy our little path was. Touch the beacon and a quick turnaround. This would be the first time that I would be able to tell how far anybody was behind me. 4minutes passed until I passed the second runner. Jayde Butler and Roger Steel (this time without a hat- I guess the moon was not too bright!) were not far behind. Down Platties in went really well (20min). My legs were going strong. I was not even thinking about conserving them too much. Just running in the moment. Many lovely greetings of runners coming up- Thanks to you all! I always find it very hard to recognise everyone in the dark especially when I am trying not to break my legs running downhill. Tafelberg Road and a water refill from my seconds! Espresso Gel kicked in none too soon to. In fact seeing as I never drink coffee this double shot of espresso (and the serious dose of adrenaline) kept me awake the whole night. Herda cycled next to me down to Kloof Nek. The company was quite nice despite me not being able to talk much. My brain was maxed just trying to work out splits and keep me on pace. I was really surprised to see such a large crowd at the Nek cheering me on.

The most dangerous part of the course- crossing the Kloof Nek Circle went ok. Then walk up the short section of tar to the Lion’s Head parking. A friendly park official tried to dissuade me from walking up. “But I am part of the race…”. “Oh ok…good luck” And I was gone. The circular route is real pretty with its changing vistas as you circle the peak. It is even better alone and in the dark. The crowds we had seen earlier heading up for a sunset walk had obviously realised that their excursion up this lightning pole was probably not such a good idea. Not a single soul was left on top. No wind, just a little drizzle. Just enough so that I would have to watch my footing on the sandy steps. Go, go, go. Down the chains and run forest run. Ok, unless something real bad happened now I was in the clear.
I congratulated second (Alister Pott) and then Jayde in third (go boykie, go). Jayde had been throwing up on his way down Platties but managed to keep things together and fight back until the end. Well done mate!

Roger was looking strong and relaxed as ever in forth.

I savoured the last few minutes down to the Nek on my own. I had given this run my all. I have never run as hard as this before and am happy with the result.
3h46- beat that boys!

Thanks to all who encouraged and rooted for me.