Bike It

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Comrades 2017

Posted: 08/06/2016 at 01:09
This is getting far too serious. I'm still limping and trying to get off painkillers.

Comrades 2017

Posted: 04/06/2016 at 04:43
I'm in.

Sub 3h15

Posted: 03/06/2016 at 14:51

Thanks for all the positive comments.  I'm limping less today


Poacher wrote (see)


Interesting to see your thoughts over the training - you certainly went for it and trained hard, do you think the last minute injury problem was coincidental or a result of pushing things too far? I ran undertrained in 14, I wonder if lack of intensity in training is actually a way of storing something in the bank for the big day. Already wondering how many bricks there will be under the treadie for the 2017 campaign. 

In training I have done just over 1300miles/2100km from the New Year excluding Comrades race day itself.  The vast majority of these have been at plod pace.  I was doing around 50miles/80km per week average from January to middle March.  Then I have boosted it to 82-93miles per week (132/150km) from middle of March to beginning May and added speedwork in May too as I tapered off.  I've done quite a few heavy double days, e.g. 24 miles on successive days.  My three longest runs have been 2x50km and 45km, plus a handful of over 32km/20miles.  I also run much slower as an easy pace than I used too - more around 5:30 per km whereas I used to run around 5:00 per km in the UK - this is a reflection of living at moderate high altitude (1400m) and the ever-present heat.  I live in a pretty flat place so hills are generally only found on the treadmill.

I found that my aerobic condition was excellent and my resistance to fatigue very good.  I think this was directly from the high volume approach.  I found I was not able to push up the hills very fast so suspect my strength was not improved by all that slow running.

I also struggled with shoe supply and I ran for a few week in a pair that had seen better days.

I'm fairly sure that the high volume by itself didn't directly injure me. When I had that as the base and then factor in worn out shoes and a bit of speedwork then it tipped me over the edge. 

Next year is an up run so a completely different race.  I'll be doing less high volume, but keep the very long runs and intense back-to-back days.  I'll be adding strength workouts instead of a short easy run.  The treadmill will be taking a hammering as I'll be using that for hill training.

4th of June next year for those contemplating it

Sub 3h15

Posted: 02/06/2016 at 12:22

One more thing.

I was sitting next to a bin at the finish - the type that is basically a cardboard box with a bin liner in.  I'm sitting there eating and a runner uses the bin to vomit in and I just carry on eating.  This is now completely normal Comrades experience - any other day of the year and it would be highly unpleasant

Sub 3h15

Posted: 02/06/2016 at 12:18

I'm badly limping.  I'm only surviving on Norflex Co and Naproxyn.  Thankfully I live in a single storey house and there is an elevator at work.  It will be some time before I can run again, but it was worth it.  I knew it was a possibility and wouldn't change a thing in how I managed the problem.

I learnt though that I probably overtrained by taking a high volume approach, or by adding speed work towards the end of the high volume.  I suspect the later.  Also I think strength training would have been a benefit and possibly have avoided the issue completely - I'll add that to next years effort.

For now I probably need to take a month or so off to rehabilitate my left leg.  Then I'll probably try the Soweto marathon in November although it is tricky course.

Sub 3h15

Posted: 02/06/2016 at 12:10

As soon I as start the steeper descent of Field Hill my left leg buckles under me.  I walk hoping it would be temporary.  I resume running again but very painful and a serious limp.  I stop and massage it deep in the hip – the same pain and limping.  I repeat this procedure several more times down Field Hill and I’m walking down clutching my left leg in pain.  I know it is over and still want to try and finish thinking of a Green Number one day.

Field Hill ends in Pinetown with 21km to go – I’m still timewise able to get the Bill Rowen medal if I can run on the flatter section.  I try but no good – it’s a painful limp.  I stop my vanity and accept I’m going to have to walk to the finish.  I’ve known it was a possibility for 2 weeks before so I can accept it readily now.

The crowd are very kind – I must have heard my name called thousands of time.  A few of them say ‘just think of the green number Martin’ – that is the only though that keeps me going forward.  Sometimes I stop to press deep into my hip to try and relive it.  At other places I get ‘spray’ and ice – which offers a little relief too.

I meet a lot of other runners walking too – one who went through halfway in 3:30 (suicide pace), another I get up from the side of the road, another nauseous, another injured too.  Chatting with them make our collective failure seem less bad.  This is the Spirit of Comrades. We walk on knowing we can get a finish still.

It’s a long, long time walking with a limp, clutching my left hip in pain – probably around 4 hours before I get to the stadium.  Then it is finally here – the grass of the stadium.  The crowd is constantly cheering – the best finish in sport.  Finished in 10:24.

I get my medal for my 4th finish.  One down and 6 more to go.  I’m happy as I gave it my best shot.  I know I was in good shape and now I understand I probably trained a little bit too much.

Can’t wait for next year already

Sub 3h15

Posted: 02/06/2016 at 12:10

I come into halfway at Drummond in 4:18 – again I am bang on pace.  I check my levels of fatigue here as in my first down run I was already in bad shape here.  4 years later and I am feeling good, sure I am getting fatigued, but it is a very low level.

Next the wicked 7km climb out of Drummond to Botha’s Hill. It’s in 3 ups and 2 down.  Stop to pay respects to Arthur Newton on the right and glance at the Wall of Honour on the left and note they are running out of space.  I’m smart and walk the steep bits and run the rest easy.  I finally get to Botha’s Hill Village.  I check my fatigue again and it is very moderate – I know I can run all the way to the finish.  I check my time at the railway bridge (how they got the railway up there I’ll never know) and all is bang on track.

Next the wicked descent of Bothas Hill.  I speed up to 5:15 per km and enjoy the ride down.  Next the wicked little hill at Hillcrest and I take a walk break and run off the top of it.  Nicely paced again through the gentle downhill of Hillcrest/Kloof.  I pass the timing mat at Winston Park at 59km in 5:39 – timewise on-track.

4km more and it is Field Hill – 3km long and 170m of descent.  I know my quads will be hammered.

Since I started running my left leg has progressively got worse.  The mild injuries that I started with have caused the top of my hamstring to have pain on the ups and my left quad to have pain on the downhill and generally I’m getting pain all over my left hip.  Before 50km it has been of a level I can ignore it, but after Botha’s it has started to impact my running.  

Sub 3h15

Posted: 02/06/2016 at 12:09

Comrades Report

Up at 1:30; ready in 20 minutes then wait another 40 minutes until the taxi to the bus departure zone at 2:30.  No queues and in the bus at 2:50 – try to snooze but reminded of the hills by the struggling bus engine.

Into the start zone at 4:00. Breakfast, suncream, contact lenses, fuel.  PMB town hall clock says 4:25 so I wait a bit before getting off the last layers and putting my bag in baggage lorry and toilet. PMB town hall clock still says 4:25 – check phone and it is 5:00 so into pen B.

At 5:10 the pen partitions come up and we surge forward so I’m 25m from the start.  The usual and atmospheric sequence of National Anthem, Shozoloza, Chariots of Fire, Max Trimborn’s cockerel crow, then the artillery cannon fires for the off.

I’m running within a minute.  The theme for the first 20.5km to the High Point was to take it super easy as it is mostly uphill with 2 downhills.  I do well on this as I am full conversational and running with one the Comrades thread member.   There are scores of runners from C, D and even E overtaking me – this means my pace is right and I will see them before halfway. It was about 10C at the start and the sun rises as we cruise down Polly Shortts, which forms a formidable barrier to PMB on the up-run, but at this stage of the game is an easy descent to the Tumble Inn and the Ashburton Crossing.  Next over Little Pollys and the first time check at the Lion Park turn – I’m bang on schedule for an 8:30 finish.  Another 6km of climbing to the High Point.  I reach it in 1:57 and still on schedule for an 8:30 finish.

Next I’ve got to run the 19km to the foot of Inchanga.  I know I can speed up a bit here, so immediately run a 5m00s for one kilometre.  I then slow down a bit to average around 5:20 per km.  My threadster has dropped back so I’m running on my own. Incredible crowd support in Camperdown and Cato Ridge – they are 4 deep in places and are close on the road – the noise of support is incredible.  Into Harrison Flats (of course it is uphill) and the support has thinned.  Past the Ethembeni School and high-five as many of the disabled and albino kids as possible – I am reminded of how privileged I am to run.  A mountain is looming in the distance and the road leads straight to it.  All time checks are good: 3:01 for 32km - still on track for an 8:30 finish.

Inchanga next.  It is long protracted climb with multiple bends and so never seems to end.  I manage it well and I know when I’m at the top as I call it Intimidation Point, as I can see down to Drummond below and then see that I must climb to the same height again. 42.2km in 4:00.  The upside of Inchanga is relatively gentle in comparison to the down.  I launch myself down it at 5:15 per km – it in three sections some steeper, but all jarring.

Comrades 2016

Posted: 02/06/2016 at 10:46

Not ill, but serious limping here. Can't even stand on my left leg to put my pants on. Thankfully I live in a one-storey house and there is an elevator at work.  It will be some time before I can run again.

Great to hear these stories of everyone's individual runs.  Particularly good to know that Peter got a BR, Warren's and Cashford's sharp end performances and Lowrez' incredible cut-off beating negative split run.  All part and parcel of the drama that make Comrades such an outstanding event.

Can't wait for next year - I'm already wondering the secret to decoding the up-run.

Comrades 2016

Posted: 29/05/2016 at 20:54

Great result coming in regardless of absolute time - great performances taking account of our individual capabilities

Well it was not as bad as it could have been nor was it as good as it could have been.  The recent problems with my left leg progressively worsened during the run.  I set off at pace for a 8:30 finish and felt very aerobically comfortable.  I was on-track timewise, but left leg not doing well until the top of Fields when it went completely.  I vainly tried to run sections, but it had to done at a walk.  I couldn't get back to a run in Pinetown either - just too much pain despite being aerobically fine and ready for the last kms.  In the end I had to limp the last 24km home from the top of Fields.  I finished in 10:24 in the end.

Anyway, I'm happy with a finish today.  Better than the DNS or DNF that it could have been which looked more realistic at the start of the week.

And yes there was a new male record in today's run by a guy with a 2:14 marathon.  Also controversy as Caroline Worsmann in the lead was hit by a motorbike and finished in second in the end

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