Comrades 2013 - Getting ready for the Up Run

Self portrait at January's Bay to Bay Run in Cape Town

It's been a fun year so far. My trophy wife, occasionally referred to in the household as She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, has been a star supporter in getting me off the couch to get out and go train during our holiday break in Cape Town. Initially suspecting a conspiracy, I soon realised that she was baiting me with the allure of exercise in order to extract my blood oath that we would return to Cape Town, the town of her birth and upbringing, on a biennial basis for family holidays. Alackaday, she knows my weaknesses all too well and her plot brewed to perfection.

I hit the ground running on my return to Johannesburg in early January and despite a few recurring niggles was able to make the Central Gauteng Triathlon team and then the South African triathlon team going in September to race World Champs in and around London's Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace. The tabloids were kind enough to call out my exploits and even include a happy snap or two of me.   

Modern Athlete: The brothers run for BCC

Bedfordview & Edenvale News: Me in my Central Gauteng Kit
Comrades is only a few weeks away and sits like Inchanga lurking in the mists of the Valley of a Thousand Hills waiting to pounce and assegai me in the quadriceps. Training was recently thwarted by my temperamental Achilles heel, which as it turns out is my literal and figurative opponent. Having mastered the Hakan calf raises, I took the bold step of going full vegan (no eating anything with a mother or a face) in order to fix the tendon. I heard somewhere that going vegan helps reduce inflammation. I'm currently reading The China Study which is as enlightening as it is informative and aim to nail down whether this may be true or not.

Nonetheless, my experiment so far has proved - as they say in Veganese - fruitful as the tendon has settled and I am able to run without any discomfort. I'm not certain if the main cause is the new plant-powered diet, or the calf stretches, or the ice baths, or going back to my old Asics running shoes, or the self calf massages, or the sports massage, or the physio, or the slower running paces, or maybe a bit of all of these, but I have been able to string together four run weeks of 96/97/107/97 kilometres. These distances are unheard of in my minimalist world so I am pleased.

May is an action packed work month for me so this does not lend itself to great Comrades preparation and I often find myself working like a slave to the rhythm instead of chilling in preparation for the 86.96kms (54 miles) which await me on June the second. 
At last year's Comrades expo putting some finishing touches to a contract
After the success of last year's 5min-run/2min-walk strategy which resulted in a 9h23m run, I am piecing together the plan of attack for this year's race. It will be my second Up Run, having only ever done one before whilst dressed as a woolly cow. I'm still waiting for Alberto to return from Prague before confirming the time we intend to target (definitely a Bill Rowan), however the strategy will be along these lines:
  • run 5k's, walk 2mins to Inchanga at which point one would have traversed the 4 out of 5 big hills i.e. Cowies, Fields, Botha's and Inchanga
  • as we are running up Field's Hill, no bombing of Field's Hill is allowed
  • allow for running distance of 5k's to be extended or reduced to flow with the undulation of the hills
  • recover on the downhills
  • have faith that there is no need to push until the very end
  • no tears or audible weeping
  • anchovy pizza at the Bedfordview table at the top of Polly Shortts and hell for leather to the stadium.
Rum anyone?
It ain't a party without Riccardi,