Thursday, January 14, 2010


79 days to go

The Rondebosch Common is a curious piece of land. At a the width of little more than a rugby field and not much longer than three, I'd wager it's one of the smallest conservation areas in the country. And certainly one of the more uninspiring, a dry patch of bush in the middle of a busy suburb.

See? Eat your heart out. Anyway, it's a popular spot for walkers, joggers and runners alike and it's flat all round, which was exactly why I chose this locale to do some speedwork in. I arrived at the Common on what turned out to be a sweltering evening. The Celtics Running Club use the Common for their time trials and, as I understand it, they circle the Common twice for a distance of 5km. So my aim was to circle the common at least twice and see how it felt. No timing, just spinning the legs out.

About 1.5 laps in, a few things started to go wrong. Firstly, my breathing was too rapid, a fact which might be attributed to the stifling heat but more likely came from a furious start and a festive season which was entirely too restive. Next my left hamstring started to pull, I've never had hamstring problems before. Cramping calves, side stitches and a bum knee yes, but no hamstring. It's a concern I'll have to keep and eye out for. Lastly I became increasingly aware of the feeling of the ground on my feet and my shoes began to creak, a sure sign that they (my third pair of Nike Air Pegasus in as many years) need to be replaced.

I didn't time myself but my guess is my time was around 25 minutes, terribly slow. I could blame the heat and will test the condiitons next week but it's likely the lazy holiday passed that's to blame. Ideally, the 5km time for a silver half marathon runner (and that's what I'm aiming for) should be 20 minutes or less.

So. Short term goals: Shave 5 minutes off 5km time; buy new shoes; resolve to stretch before runs and start slower.

Today I rest, going ice-skating with some friends, which should actually test out the leg muscles quite nicely. More after the next run.

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