Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Two Vineyard Races

Grape Run versus Run Walk For Life New Balance 21

On the 6th of December 2008 I run the RWLFNB21 (The really need to something about the name of the race). The route ran though Lourensford Wine Estate most of it was off tar. It got me thinking about comparing The Constantia Valley Grape Run Half Marathon my time was 1 minute less for the RWLFNB21 but there is no way I ran as hard for it as I did on the Grape Run. I also was far less tired. When I overlaid the elevation profiles of both the races I think I discovered why the Lourensford half felt easier than the Grape Run Half Marathon.

Grape Run RWFL New Balance 21

The first thing to notice is that they both start at roughly the same altitude and the Grape Run is about 20 meters less climbing. I believe the Grape run is harder because the up and down hills are far more steep and the gravel roads and the running is more uneven. I was quite impressed by the well kept dirt roads of Lourensford. On big thing that I have to commend the RWLFNB21 organisers for was the entry process. What a pleasure being able to arrive at 6:10 to enter and pay while still having enough time wait at the start line before the starting pistol. The day was hot really hot. The route did seem to provide quite a bit of shade even though it meant doing a repetitive loop. Next time I will not take this race so seriously and actually swim in the dam.

Here is the kmz file Run Walk For Life 21.kmz

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

The Crazy Store Table Mountain Challenge 2008

Easily the hardest most painful thing I have ever done for 9 hours and 13 minutes but, I will do it again next year.

It was a really hot day last year it drizzled and was far easier. Also last year I only did the Leg 2. I did Leg 1 really slow and steady and was quite happy with my restraint then. Leg 2 felt so much easier that last year.

Towards the end of leg 2 I started to get tired, I think it was because all I had was few sips from stream. At the Leg 3 check point I took a long break which was maybe a little too long. It was because the seconding was so great. Apple muffins, coke and marshmallows all went down well.

Then Debs suggested that we get going again, before we cool down. So I passed through the checkpoint in into Orange Kloof. To be honest the whole going though Orange Kloof was not such a big deal. The restricted part consisted of a bit of tar and gravel road and the route kept very close to the houses. It was there that I could see that there is not much left of undisturbed nature on the mountain. Then the challenge really started.

Slowly but in increasing numbers we started to see people walking back deciding to withdraw from the race. Most of the bailers seemed to be closer to the start of leg 3, then a couple more people coming down from Hout bay corner hoping to be fetched by their sympathetic someone. One guy looked quite banged up with bloody legs. I spoke to Smurf a guy I have met at a few races though the Runners World forum. He was also turning back running a marathon the flowing weekend being his reasoning. At that point I also wondered why I was still in the race. We picked up a lady at Hout bay corner who had never run on the mountain before. Our breaks increased in frequency and length at one point we only covered 50 meters before stopping. Only after checking in at the last check point did I decide that I was not going to turn back.

On the top of the mountain I got a burst of strength I think it was my body saying “Let’s just get this over with”. We got over Grootkop with out hassle and had longish lunch in the clump of boulders further along the route. I managed to phone my wife and the people that where waiting for us at the finish. I was surprised that I could get cell phone reception in spite of the boulders. Then it was straight to Kasteelspoort which really seemed to take for ages. The wind was blowing really strong, fortunately it was blowing up not down. I slipped and fell once but managed to catch myself before I hurt myself. Then we tried to run along pipe track. The pipe track is not that great or even safe for running. We even had our own a water crew meet us on pipe track.

As we turned the corner past the water filtration works it was all over. Well the race was over for Debs and I but when we got there it looked as if it had been over for a long time. All the signs were down and the time keeper had gone home already. Even though I never finished officially it still counts for me. I enjoyed the route, the goodie bag especially the Cape Storm t-shirt, preparing for race was also great fun and running the last leg with great friend.

Crazy Store Tablemoutain Race Route Profile

The Crazy Store Table Mountain Challenge 2008 Route: open the KMZ in Google Earth or Google Maps link

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Table Mountain Challenge

The Table Mountain Challenge is getting really close now. Why did I decide to do the whole thing? Last weekend I ran Leg 3 with some runners from the club from a place in Hout bay just after Orange Kloof. My mind was not with me that day I even left my watch at home. I am glad I ran the 2nd leg of the Hout Bay Challenge with people that were training for it. It really made me cope with the mental trauma of looking up at Hout Bay corner on the way to Llandudno ravine.

Hout bay corner
Hout Bay Corner

I also was not running in boots and baggy jeans like the last time (far more comfortable).

We took it slowly and had a break at Tranquility Cracks now one of my new Great Places. We celebrated two birthdays even had strawberries.

Kasteelspoort looking down on Camps Bay

Going down Kasteelspoort was hectic we were walking down and I managed to slip a few times. Also had a few near misses. Makes me wonder what it is going to be like running on tired legs.

Random Sign

Leg 1 practice was supposed to happen today but with the weather being as it is I will give it a miss. Guess I should do it next weekend. I have raced the 2nd leg twice so I am pretty comfortable about that. Only run leg 1 in training a while ago, I remember it being tough.

John Korasie 30km Race

What a great route. You start with steep little hill which was a little shock to my system. Then run up Red Hill a few kilometers into the start and finish up the hill work round 10km. Then an undulating 10km, followed by a bumpy last 10km.

View from the huge cannon on Red Hill.

Too bad my body did not agree with me; the last 3km took me half an hour. I really had nothing left and felt really sore. The only reason I finished the race was because it was on the way to my car. It still enjoyed it though. It was my second 30km and I preferred it to the Bay to Bay 30. My reasoning is that it did not have a half way mark in my mind. I treated it like a slow 21 and by the time I went past Smitswinkel I felt great.

View of Smitswinkel from the road.

Smitswinkel Bay

I had never run past the Cape Point nature Reserve or on the back road behind Red Hill. I also managed to get a massage at the end and that made a major difference. I even managed to have a good run on Tuesday in spite of feeling stiff. The weather was also great so that also added to the appeal.

The Route Profile:

John Korasie 30km Race Elevation Route Profile

Google Earth/Map file of the route: KMZ

Knysna Half Weekend

Ah the Knysna Half Marathon, ok I have done it. By the “West Knysna virus” (as I called it) I got the Monday following along with a whole bunch of other random people make me a little hesitant to do it next year. I was told it was going to be crowded I just never really understood. For some reason I thought it was going to chilled like the Outeniqua Half Marathon which I rate as a must do. The effort/wait and queue to pleasure ratio was not that great. I did have fun on the weekend but it was hard work. Also that down hill killed me, I thought the magazine was playing it safe by calling it a mine shaft. A friend of mine baled because of the downhill.

The concept is good. Cold morning, gas heaters, cup of coffee, strip your warm clothes and dump everything in a truck that will hopefully meet you at the end. Just it has just got really popular and it has its plus side, some people run it as their first half. Others only run the half as the only race they do the whole year.

The route profile is interesting at some points I apear to be below sea level.

KMZ of the route.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Roberson Wacky Wine Weekend

Last weekend went to Robertson for the Wacky Wine weekend. There was also a road running race called Miles for Smiles Half Marathon, 10km and 5km fun run/walk. Despite much teasing I stuck with my original decision to only run the 10km race. Comments such as you drive so far only to run a 10km ... Don't be 'woes' etc. amongst others, all coming from women I might add. This serves me right for not enlisting male support for the weekend away.

No swimming sign in parking lot We woke up on Saturday and it was cold, then it started to drizzle. The 21km started at 8 am (a rather civilised time) and the 10km 10 minutes later. That was great for me because it gave me time to go back to where we were staying and fetch my watch, still couldn't find my Heart Rate monitor in time. I know it would have bugged me the whole race if I didn't have my watch. I had to run the start (making a habit of this) after parking the car. The sprint to the start was good thing gave a bit of warm-up. It was really cold at this point. The gun shot off just after I got to start.

The route for the 10km was rural with not many tall buildings (unless you count the Klipdrift factory). There were some stretches with gravel and a little mud. We passed cows and farmers with their skottle braais out having a damp breakfast with “Chariots of fire” blaring some a small sound system. Rather flat especially in the 2nd 5km. It drizzled the whole way this made it a great temperature for running.

As I finished and went to the car it began raining. While I was in the hot shower I thought of all those nasty girls getting wet and cold. I ran the race I wanted to run and it was great even did a PB for my 10km distance.

Here is the kmz of the 10km route:Miles for Smiles 10km

The route it basically flat highest point to the lowest is 44 meters.

Miles for Smiles in a great a non-profit organization that raises funds for corrective surgery for children born with cleft lips or palates.

From the wine tasting point of view the weekend was also great. The tasting glasses proper size wine glasses, [that gets a two thumbs up]. The weekend only saw one broken wine glass (1 of 6) which it really good considering the transport to each wine farm. Each winery that we went to had a different feel. For me Zandvliet was the best. It is a wine farm that actually feels and looks like a farm as commercial as some others. All the wineries had one thing in common that was to get people to have great time.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Table Mountain 16km race

On Saturday I managed to run the route for the Table Mountain 16km race that is going to be run on the 1 June 2008, with a group of friends. Entries/invites are closed so running to route to see if it was safe for next week was a bonus.

The route is mainly dirt road and cement with a short stretch of very rocky path.

Here is the kmz to open in Google Earth: Table Mountain 16km

View Larger Map

Route Profile:

Friday, 16 May 2008

Running in the dark

One thing I have noticed is when I am running in the dark with my uber-nonfashionable reflector vest people driving cars love to put their bright lights on. I think they like the way it looks all lit up. That would be fine except for the immediate blindness that follows. I have also assumed another possibility that they might think that I have a death wish and will jump from the pavement and damage their car as they ride me over.

Sometimes when cars see you running in the dark it can be a bad thing. Last night we where running in the dark all reflector-ed up. Towards the end of the run we needed to cross a busy road near an intersection. We crossed to the painted island in the middle of the road and were waiting until it was the right time for us to cross. A car then decided to do us a “favour” and just stopped (in the middle of an intersection while the traffic light was green) to let us cross. This was so unnecessary. Clearly the reflector vests were a distraction and prevented the drive from noticing the 4 cars behind him. The horrible sound of breaking in busts as cars slammed on breaks and swerved. Fortunately none made contact with each other. I am sure the cars in the back assumed we were the culprits and must have muttered “Stupid runners” or something along those lines under then breath.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Garmin Forerunner 405

I am still happy with my Forerunner 305 but the Forerunner 405 does look sexier. The difference is not as great as the style improvement between the Forerunner 301.

Damn there is catch – it has a few less features from what I can see. Then the heart rate monitor is extra and has a shorter battery life. The only reason I got the 305 was because of 3 things:
  1. Being able to upload my run data to my pc – (something that for other sports watches end up being quite expense).
  2. Heart Rate Monitor
  3. GPS route tracking
Now with the heart rate being separate it is becoming a bit of a hard sell. Now I wonder how long Garmin is going to continue support the 305.

I think Garmin is pulling a Vista. The situation is like me and XP it works. I think I will stick with the 305 and save up for the 505 whenever that comes out.

After thought:
Selling the Heart Rate monitor as an extra make sense because the previous models 201 and 205 did not have it as a feature. Now there is one model that should allow you to buy a heart rate monitor later on. Also not everyone can or wants to use heart rate monitor.

The Forerunner is what it is. It is not a GPS device for navigation geo caching and missile guidance nor is it a stop watch for a 100 meter sprint. It is the first real “toy” I have ever had. I don’t need it – maybe, but now I associate it with running and feel naked when I run without it.


Megan commented that you can use the Forerunner 305 heart rate monitor with the Forerunner 405 and you can save some bucks. Wonder if that means that they have not changed/improved the HRM.

You can go here to compare the each of the Forerunner models by their features.

Running when the weather is bad

Something about being outside when the weather is really bad just makes me smile inside. Tonight I ran in a gale and drizzle it was dark and unpleasant and at the same time it was wonderful. I am sure I feel more an endorphin fix when the weather is bad. Rain is needling my eyes have gone past the point of getting wet it is cold but not freezing blood left my fingers. I forget everything my mind begins to wonder. A few minutes later I release that I am still running. That is what excites me.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Safari Half Marathon 1 May 2008

This is my nemesis race. In 2006 it was my first half marathon. The weather was really bad. Everyone I know that ran it in 2006 also mentions the bad weather. Trees had blown over because of really strong wind there was also a bit of drizzle. I remember how my running vest was being blown around and my race number almost tearing off. I really was not a happy running. So after 2 hours and 45 minutes I finished it in total pain. Later I discovered I was wearing the totally wrong shoes and this was turning point that made things better because it helped me get the right advice.

2007 was a far better race I was fitter than the previous year but just did not manage to do a sub 2 hour race. I had to settle with 2:05. The weather was much better and I enjoyed the race.

This year the weather was amazing a bit of wind but nothing too intense. From the start I knew it was not going to be my day my legs felt empty (just too much racing for me lately). So I adjusted my goals for the race and ploughed through it. I eventually finished in 2:20.

Last Saturday I ate the tail, today I was the tail; a bit of a humbling experience.

Case of the missing tent

When I got to the finish it was a bit stressful I was responsible for the club tent and when I got the where I left it on the field it was gone. I was a horrible feeling. Why would someone want to steal a branded tent? My wife got the announcer to ask if anyone knew anything about it but, as usual the announcers echoing request did not carry to the whole of the field. Thoughts of having to go to the police station to report it and the shame of being the guy that lost the tent.

Then out of sheer luck my Colleen went to throw something away the saw two club tents in their bags; a black tent bag and a blue VOB one underneath it. Someone in their wisdom decided to move it to this location – really annoying and stupid. At least it was stupidity (a world wide phenomenon) and not crime (that South Africa is supposedly notorious for).

The black tent bag with the black handle was not collected or stolen the whole time we were there and we stayed there a long time. We did try to notify the owners of the black tent but I doubt it was heard everywhere on the field.

Here is the route kmz file: Safari Half Marathon (Click to open in Google Earth)

View Larger Map

and the route profile:
Safari Half Marathon Route Profile

Photo at the finish:

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Milkwood Half Marathon

On the 20th of April was the Milkwood 21 race. This race has a special significance for me as the first race I ever did when I started running was the 10km route. Then last year it was the first race I managed to complete in under 2 hours.

The start was a bit cramped but this race is so popular it was not too bad. I took the Slangkop hill a little faster than I thought I would but that might have been because I ran with Thomas also a VOB member for the first 9km and then let him race off while I played it safe. I wanted to improve my time for the route which was still a PB.

The route is really amazing and the weather was cool with no wind. At the turn around at Camel rock I was feeling strong. I like routes that double back on themselves because you can shout out to the faster people and get support from the people behind you. It also helps to know that there are people behind you. In the end I managed to better my time to 1:55:21. The best thing was that it felt easier than last year and my average heart rate is also lower.

Here is the route kmz file: Milkwood 21km
and the route profile:
Milkwood Route Profile

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Outeniqua Half Marathon

Last weekend we managed to go with other VOB members to George for the 2008 Outeniqua Half Marathon. The route was great lots with lots of indigenous forest and vines. We arrived quite late at the dam only to discover that the start was not where we parked but a little over a kilometer away across the dam wall. So we raced off to run to the start line. I was about 400 meters from the start line when I heard the race start count down and pressed start on my watch. Normally this would have totally stressed me out but I managed to focus on getting to the start line. When we got the start line no one was there, it was strange I kept running and met the back markers. It was great in a way passing people in a way that I have not ever done before. I was running way faster than I normally do at the start but the interesting thing was that my heart rate was way lower than it normal. My wife had a buck cross her path on the route; great seeing wildlife on the route and the unique sounds of Loeries in the trees above.

Eventually I managed to catch up to the 2 hour crowd, fortunately before the first down hill. The route goes through the forestry campus; it reminded me of a place I ran in The Netherlands with small roads and people riding bicycles. Then the route started to get fantastic with high trees and vines. The down hills were really steep with two tough up hills, I walked a bit on the first hill but found the second hill not as bad even though it was longer. I remember saying that is a pretty looking bridge and then realized that bridges cross rivers and have a valley on the other side. Then a few bumps and then a down hill of over 7 km. On the way downhill you don’t see much until you get to a point where you see an amazing view of the lakes, river and coastline. The last 3 km was tough I really pushed going down the hill and the last few bumps on the route seemed really hard.

Here is the Outeniqua Half Marathon 2008 kmz file for the route that can be viewed in Google for those who are interested (The real official route is 400m shorter).

And this is the route profile.

Outeniqua Half Marathon route profile