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