Friday, August 28, 2015

Less is more - 12hr circuit race tomorrow

Tomorrow is the Dawn2Dusk 12hr circuit race and I'm as ready as ever. Training hasn't been optimal but not too terrible either.

A few weeks ago Alix Shutello, editor of Endurance Racing Magazine asked a bunch of ultra runners for their perspective on preparing for a first ultra. The topic developed following an email she received from a young woman. I had to really give this a lot of thought.

I ended up in my first ultra, the seven-day, self-sufficient, staged, desert race Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon by chance - and I heard about it only a week before the race!

The 'problem' about a first ultra is that you don't know whether you can do it; or how well/fast you can do it. Once you've done one and made it out ok, the others are easier psychologically.

For me, the amount of training done only really affects average speed and how good you feel overall. Feet conditioning is also critical.

Going into this 12hr race tomorrow, I haven't got a doubt that I can do it; and do it reasonably comfortably. Whether I can beat my previous log (nine years ago!) of 98km remains to be seen but I don't doubt that I can keep going - and enjoy it - for 12 hours.

I am (and always have been) a really bad example of "how much should one train for an ultra". I ran the previous 98km in 12hrs on not much more than 25km/week of training. Considering that I've got another nine years of experience under my belt and my training for years had been more consistent on 25 to 50km/week, I think I'm A-ok. I am also older... but I hope this is in my favour!

I was a bit worried a few weeks ago because I was still feeling so yuckie and didn't feel in the same fabulous form I had in early May before I got sick (first of two consecutive bouts of winter nasties).

It's only over the past week and a half that I've had my bounce back. Many of my runs have been done with my young companion, Ruben. He rides his bike while I run. I can still beat him up hills but it probably won't be more than a few months until he starts to catch me.

Going into this circuit race tomorrow I have the following in my favour:

  1. Been there, done that. It helps psychologically to know I can do it.
  2. I'm in good health
  3. I'm uninjured
  4. I'm definitely not overtrained
For me, being undertrained certainly means that I'll log less laps than what I maybe could achieve with more work done. I haven't got any long runs in the bag, which is never an issue for me. Race day will be judge.

I'm in good company for this race with friends Staci and Ian, who are running as a pair relay. Asa comes in from Malawi tonight. This is the same guy I seconded at Washie 100 miler last year. That I'm running this race can be attributed to Asa. In JHB at this time, he found the race on the internet and asked me if I'd be keen to come play. Oh yes! I was in without hesitation nor needing to have my arm twisted.

I'm also spoilt rotten to have my wonderful mom, Liz, as well as Celliers and the kids (Ruben and Kyla) there for the day. They'll be taking good care of me, Asa, Staci and Ian.

We've got to leave JHB before 4am tomorrow morning to get to the far North of Pretoria for the race. Race start is 6am and cut-off is 12-hours later at 6pm.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

There is such thing as a stupid question

I wrote recently about Gerrie, my new favourite race organiser. He's the guy in charge of things for the Dawn2Dusk 12hr Circuit Race that I'm doing next Saturday (29 Aug).

Gerrie just sent through an email highlighting some of the questions that he's been asked recently.

While I recognise the theme of some, I've never been blessed to receive some of these other gems. I think I'm going to start a 'pre-event questions collection' too.

Here are ones that Gerrie has received:

  • How much time do I have to complete the 12 hour circuit race?
  •  I see on the pamphlet that entries closed on 30 June. Is it too late to enter? (they asked this on 17 August
  • The instructions you send me indicates that you have to complete four races with the SAME partner to receive a permanent number. Is it true? 
  •  If I only run "a 10 km" do I get a medal? (the race info states clearly that you have to do 80km to get a medal)
  •  We want to enter four people as a team of two. Is that OK? 
  •  Your letter states we can pitch a gazebo, tent or caravan next to the course. Is it compulsory? If so, what is the penalty if we don’t? 
  •  Do I need to have a partner if I run individually? 
  •  What happens if my Championchip counts incorrectly? 
  •  My partner (my wife) and I are in the process of divorcing. Can I withdraw on 70 km leaving her stranded with not enough time to finish? 
 "As organiser, I rest my case !!!!" Gerrie adds.

Looking on google for images of 'stupid question' to decorate this post, I found some gems - favourites below:

This should read "... Have never organised an event"

How far is close?

This afternoon a Cape Town friend posted on Facebook asking us, his Jo'burg friends, to recommend a venue for a teambuild he's hosting. He specifies "The nearer to the airports/Sandton area, the better" and "Must also have about 10km of trails or small dirt roads on the estate".

A couple of friends recommended Avianto, a venue regularly used for adventure sprint races, trail runs, mountain bike rides and the like. They have the infrastructure to accommodate his large group and the venue is pleasant.

One of the friends, with a connection to the venue, replies "...we are close to lanseria airport, and not far from Sandton".

While I agree that they're well placed for access from Lanseria, they're not anywhere near Sandton. I asked Google Maps to draw me a driving route from Sandton Gautrain Station to Avianto. The optimal option is around 32km. While that doesn't sound too far, when you factor in traffic... It will certainly take over an hour to get from one place to the next - around the same time it takes me to drive the 124km from home to Parys.

A friend recently took two hours to drive the 12 kilometres from Cresta to Sandton CBD!

Let's take a look at a map with OR Tambo, Sandton, Lanseria and Avianto indicated.

There's a Gautrain from OR Tambo to Sandton... but no venues that quite fit the bill (depending really on what my friend wants to do on the property).

Lanseria is a very good proposition and there are transport services that can be booked to transport arrivals to Avianto.

But to fly in to ORT, take the Gautrain to Sandton and then drive from there to Avianto... Ja, they may as well come to Parys. Only 1h30 from ORT airport and on the Vaal.

This geographical blackhole reminds me of when I did the English Teaching course two years ago. The lady says to me that the venue is in Randburg. I asked for the address.

I remember telling her that she possibly paid her water bill to the greater Randburg muncipality but that Ruimsig was nowhere near Randburg (20km apart)!

There's close and there's close. When you've got traffic lights out, loadshedding, accidents and overloaded, congested roads, 10-kilometres is far, especially considering the time spent on the road.

Close, for me, is 5-15 minutes. OK is 30 minutes and 45-min to an hour is far.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Ecomobility road closures in October

I'm cooking up a mini-Metrogaine for the month of October in the Sandton CBD for the Ecomobility World Festival, which I wrote about back in March this year.

For the whole month ('transport month' in SA) a number of streets in the Sandton CBD will be closed to traffic - open only to "pedestrians and cyclists as well as tuk tuks or similar vehicles powered by clean energy (biogas or electricity). These streets will be used for activities, including street festivals, an outdoor exhibition of ecomobile vehicles, a test track for such vehicles, road safety activities, walks, runs and possibly an outdoor gym." (from a post on the Tourism Update website from 9 April 2015)

I've searched around but haven't been able to find an actual map of the CBD and which roads will be closed; but I did find a description on the Tourism Update website (mentioned above). So, I made a quick map.

According to the descriptions given, this is what the CBD will look like in October:

Red shows the roads proposed to be closed to cars. No mention made of Maude Street.

Green shows the temporary loop for public transport vehicles where "All vehicle accesses to buildings on these roads will be able to be used".

There's a plan for the green loop to become a permanent public transport loop "where one lane on the kerb side will be dedicated for public and the sidewalks will be expanded to accommodate more pedestrians by June 2016". Cycle lanes will be introduced to the CBD by October 2015.

A post in the Business Day (early August 2015) says that 27km of cycle lanes will connect Rosebank and Sandton. "The routes connect Rosebank to Sandton, Melrose Arch, Saxonwold, the Zoo, Parkview, Parkhurst and Victory Park." Construction will start in June 2016.

[UPDATE] Found it! Finally.
A map on the 'Transport Management Plan' page.

For more on the Ecomobility World Festival, check out their website -

Here are some video documentaries from the Ecomobility World Festival held in Suwon City, South Korea in 2013.