End of a Season Review

Last weekend I raced in the Boland Central Athletics Champs. This is the trails before Boland and qualification is by times not positions.

I picked the 1500m and 3000m as my two events (leaving the 800m). If you read my previous post you’ll know that at the moment my 800m times are much more impressive than the other two longer distances, but I realize that’s just because of a lack of fitness.

I started training hard eight weeks before the athletics season started and only got in six weeks of quality training due to illness. My coach warned me that this season was going to be tough, but to just take it as experience for next year when I’m still running in the same age group.

I had the 1500m first early in the morning. The qualifying time was 4:18, which is way under my 4:30 PB. All in all I ran a good race. I sat in third position for most of the race and with one lap to go we were still under 4:10 pace!

The time was 3:03 at 1100m, but when the bell went the first two runners started to pull away and a large group of four runners from the same school came sprinting past. I battled through the last 300m and was overtaken in the final straight by another runner.

I finished in eight place in a time of 4:29. I broke my PB but wasn’t completely overjoyed, rather satisfied. The runner that passed me with a 100m to go finished in 4:24 and the winner in 4:09.

I was still with these guys with one lap to go, but just didn’t have the sprint or the strength in my legs over the last 400m. This shows me that a sub 4:10 1500m is still in my reach before the end of the year and makes me positive about the upcoming cross country season in July.

My 3000m went somewhat similar. I stayed with the leaders over the first 1000m but dropped off and finished in fourth place in 10:32. I didn’t qualify for the Boland Athletics Champs this year, which is somewhat disappointing.

But the good news is I can train flat out for cross country season without having to slow down and taper two/three days before a race. The cross country season goes from July through to September, which gives me plenty of time to prepare.

My goal is to make the Boland team that travels to the SA Cross Country Championships. The athletics season pics up again at the end of the year in November and I look forward to seeing what my times will be then, as they have already started to go down.

Here are my stats at the end of this short season:

800m – 2:14 (Inter-house Athletics) 2:09 (Inter-schools Athletics)
1500m – 4:43 (Inter-house Athletics) 4:43 (Inter-schools Athletics) 4:29 (Boland Central)
3000m – 10:45 (Inter-house Athletics) 10:59 (Inter-schools Athletics) 10:32 (Boland Central)

Thank you for reading and following my progress. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

New 800m PB – 2:09!

The last thing I wrote about was being sick and trying to prepare for the inter-schools. My 3000m was on the 12th of February (Wednesday). I felt better, but could feel my chest hadn’t entirely cleared up yet.

The opening laps went well and I established a gap on the rest of the field, but by about halfway into the race things changed. My legs tired and my chest wasn’t doing to well either. When the first guy passed me all hope of victory was dead.

I finished fifth, and to add insult to injury a fellow runner from my school (who I had beaten by about half a lap two weeks before) passed me on the line. I was disappointed and felt if I hadn’t gotten sick I could’ve done much better. I might not have won, but at least then I would have been a worthy competitor.

I knew I was better than the 10:59 finishing time and that I need to get over it before my 800m and 1500m two days later. I went into the 800m that Friday morning with a positive mindset.

The wind was blowing in our faces down the back straight, but the first lap was fast (1 min flat). I sat in third place just behind the leaders over the first 400m but after that they started to pull away.

I came close the catching the second place in the final sprint to the line, but my legs were dead. The winner made about a 50m gap on us in the last lap and I’m guessing finished in a time just over 2:00. My official time was 2:09. A new PB by 5 seconds!

I gave it my all and was pleased. I’m fine with not winning, if the position I get was the best I could do on the day; and in the 800m and 1500m (where I also finished third in 4:43) it was. I was disappointed with the 3000m because I felt my performance could have been better. I think being sick handicapped me over the last few laps, but I’m glad I could make up for it in the other two races.

I also competed in the Boland Central Athletics competition this weekend but I’ll save that for the next post. Until then and thanks for reading!

Back On The Track

The first few weeks of Gr.10 have been, academic wise, very hectic and I just realized today I’ve been neglecting my blog. A lot has happened since competing in the Trail Series.

I’ve stepped back onto the track! My first race was one the weekend of the 24th. I ran the 3000m on the Thursday and won comfortably in a time of 10:45. This was our yearly inter-house event, coming in the top three gets you a place in the team going to inter-schools.

The inter-house is a “your school only” competition and the inter-schools a “you vs neighboring schools” type one.

The next day was the 1500m and 800m races. I ran the 1500m early in the morning and went out hard. With a lap to go I was still on sub 4:30 pace, but I think then the fitness kicked in and my legs got all jelly. I won with a respectable 4:43.

The 800m was just over an hour later. Besides from slipping and starting off quite slowly I won in a time of 2:14, equally my PB. I’m running all three races at the Inter-schools next week. The 3000m is on Wednesday and the other two on Friday.

An added bonus is that I’m captaining the U/17 team for the competition. This was great and unexpecting news, since I’m still relatively new in the school.

The training leading up to inter-house was very tough and I think my body felt it, because I got a chest infection on the Monday thereafter. I ended up not being able to run for the entire week, which was frustrating since everything was going so well. I was also forced to pull out of the two trail series races that followed.

At the start of this week I was still not 100% percent, but went for a couple of easy runs just to test the body. Yesterday was the first day I actually felt better and did an easy 7km.

My physio appointment today also came just at the right time. My left shoulder had gone into a lock, which the physio said was from the track running around the corners. We sorted the problem out and tomorrow I have a speed session at the school. This will probably be my last hard workout before inter-schools and after that normal training can continue.

I’ll be catching up on all the news I’ve missed on your blogs while being so offline. Thanks for reading and keep running!

Trail Series Race 1 – Recap

As you may know, I competed in the Trail Series on Wednesday evening. The race turned out to be 8km (not 7) and MUCH more steep than I expected.

I knew the first 3km would be uphill, but not the kind that makes it almost impossible to run. I broke away with a group of four other runners early on in the race. After only a few minutes there was already a slight gap between all of us.

I ran in third position for a while, but was over taken halfway up the hill. By the time we could spot the end of this dreadful climb the two front runners were way a head, and the third place about 15m in front of me.

I stretched the legs on the downhill, but it soon became very risky. I slowed down, in fear of injuring myself and being put out of athletics season. Behind me the 5th place guy was closing in.

He seemed to speed down the hill without a worry and overtook me, I’m guessing just before 6km into the race. The route didn’t have one flat part to it and the last 2km were all ups and downs.

I closed in on fourth place during the climbs but he opened up a gap in the last kilometer to the finish. I received second place in the junior (15-17 years) age group and fifth overall.

Looking back, two days later with the legs still stiff, I’m very happy with my race. I was mentally ready when the gun went off and ran strongly throughout. I worked hard up the hills and did what I could to get the best result on the day.

The 8km took me 44min to complete, a good time considering the difficulty of the event. The second race of the series (29 January) takes place at Constantia and the 6.4km course seems much less challenging.

On a different note, the long distance events at prelims today were cancelled and is open to anyone who wants to compete at Inter-house next week. I can’t say I’m disappointed, my legs are tired and I’m happy to give them the day off.

The 3000m should take place on Thursday afternoon and the 800m and 1500m on Friday morning. This is my first track race in a very long time and I’m eager to see what the times are going to look like. My coach is also positive, but warned me not to be to worried about the athletics this term.

I was injured for a very long time and only recently started training hard. This is my first year running U/17 and will act as a preparation for what follows in 2015. I’m finally running my races without any injury problems and coming back into form nicely.

I believe most of my PB’s will go towards the end of the year, some maybe even sooner. Mostly I’m just happy to be running strongly again and to train and race hard without any other problems.

Physio Update:

I received some good news from the physio this morning. My body is looking good and training can go on full steam a head. I feel physically better than I have in a long time.

I’ll be getting my new exercises from the biokineticist during the course of the week, when she’ll also test my bunkies. Turns out I was a week behind and school starts next week Wednesday, not the week after that.

That Wendesday evening I have my first official race of the new year; a 7km trail run at Tygerberg Nature Reserve. This is the first out of four races in the Cape Summer Trail Series.

The course is mostly uphill for the first 3km and then starts heading back down. It’s rated 9B, meaning it consists of 90% single track/off-road and is on mostly runnable gradient.

The series is great fun and I look forward to letting you know how it goes! Until then, good luck with your training!


Park Run Recap and Running with Michael

The week has gone by rather slowly. I’ve been relaxing; reading; catching up on TV series and of course RUNNING, faster than usual.

Yesterday I got the good news that my friend and ex training partner at Westville Boys High, Michael, is in Somerset West for 10 days visiting his dad.

Training by myself has never really been a problem. I’ve always been able to push myself when no one was around with the knowledge that it is what’s needed to perform better. That doesn’t argue the fact that running in a group situation is always more effective.

Training partners push each other to excel. Some might be 800m runners and push you in the sprints and other cross country athletes, which helps you with endurance.

We’re training together again until he heads back to Durban. I wasn’t planning on running parkrun yesterday, but decided it couldn’t hurt to push myself a bit and see the difference from a few weeks back.

At the start with Michael

At the start with Michael

And we're off!

And we’re off!

I didn’t expect a major change in time. Speed training has started just recently and my body is still getting used to the harder workouts.

You never know who will turn up at parkrun so I didn’t focus to much on the competition factor. The pace was made hard early by a guy I met through running a few years back. I stayed with him, determined to test out my legs.

Running strongly early on in the race

Running strongly early on in the race

The first kilometer was extremely fast (sub 16:00) pace. I operate under the assumption that if you loose sight of the winner from the start the chance of catching him in the end is very scarce.

I dropped off a bit after two kilometers and was caught on a sharp hill by third place just before the 3km mark. I battled on and finished in third, beating my 19:51 parkrun PB by one second.

Stretching the legs in the final staright

Stretching the legs in the final straight

I didn’t think about my PB until the last 200m, so it was completely incidental. A good race, to but it straight. I’m not worried about my time, but rather satisfied for running the 5km strongly regardless of the opening K.

I have a feeling, not being full on fit, that the 1500m is going to be my main event this first term. I’ve always been more of an endurance man, but speed is much more easier to get. That’s from my perspective, I know every runners body functions differently.

I’m four days late, but happy new year! I’m sure most of you have your racing plans and goals for 2014 up on the wall or piled away somewhere in your brain. Thanks for reading and happy running!