Thursday 31 August 2006

Puff, Puff, PUFFER

Well, well, well... it surely is a spectacular race but it is also a toughie... and more in the last 3hrs (Platteklip!) than in any other part.

I had a really fantastic run at Puffer ( on Saturday in Cape Town. It's a 80km run from Cape Point to V&A. We started at 05h30 and had the most fantastic run along the Peninsula road, stars ablaze overhead. We unfortunately just missed seeing sunrise over False Bay but nonetheless the colours were beautiful. We were also blessed with amazing weather. When I'd flown in on Thursday afternoon the wind was pumping. It had calmed by Friday and was a cooling breeze on Saturday.

The first 24-odd kilometers followed road, through the Peninsula National Park and onto the Red Hill Road. From here we went off-road, returning to tar only to run through Sun Valley (near Noordhoek) and then again to the finish at the V&A via Greenpoint.

Memorable were the Checkpoint aid stations: friendly volunteers (one lady even rubbed sunblock on my sweaty face), lots of water and refreshments and lots of munchies. I didn't realise that these would all be here so I had my own food packed anyway but I did grab a baby potato here and there. The volunteers were really incredible and encouraging.

The route isn't marked so I just followed people on the route. Again, all very friendly and helpful. It actually turned into quite a social run ;)

Physically I had a relatively easy run. The three weeks before the run had been hectic with work, projects and all sorts so I hadn't put in the training I'd have liked to. Add to this a bit of a cold from mid-July... Nonetheless, I'd been running my best 10km and 21km times for 6-years and had some good orienteering runs pre-Puffer so I was fairly non-stressed. And, I was healthy and uninjured, which is always the best start.

I ran a lot of the race, swiftly walking the uphills and running the flats and downs. My worst section was definitely coming down Platteklip. I'm not a big fan of steep drops anyway and this one was particularly nasty. Big step downs - bigger than a normal steps - that just never seemed to end. If you ever go up or down Table Mountain, don't take Platteklip! The last section through to the finish from the Lower Cable Station along Signal Hill and down to the V&A was very pleasant.

Needless to say, that downhill was probably the single section responsible for my sore quads - always worse on Day 2. I went for a massage on Monday and am 100% stiffness-free today.

I finished this 80km route in 11h50 and placed 49th overall. I was 10th lady. 135 runners started. 38 did not finish. Am very happy with this result, especially as I had a really comfortable run.

Martin, Trevor and your PUFFER team, thank you for a really wonderful event.

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