A Sunrise The Colour Of Grapes

My last post was all about returning to running after a rest period and, unusually for my random nature, this is a logical piece to follow on with.

Since the 11km slog I described in that last post I knuckled down and managed to clock about 130km across ten runs during the rest of September. There was plenty of elevation and even a return to the joy and wonder we know simply as hill repeats.

However with a new month on Sunday it was time for another return – a return to race mode.

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First One Back

Forgive me runners for I have sinned.

It’s been three weeks since my last run (we’ll ignore the solitary 4km lope around time trial two weeks ago)

Not only have I not run but I have also eaten copious amounts of bad (and good) food, reacquainted myself with both grape and grain in large quantities and have even found time for some quality sleep.

Unforgivable as these crimes may be they pale into insignificance against the bombshell that I’m now going to share with both my faithful readers.

I haven’t missed running one bit

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12:07

This blog post was very nearly called 7:05.

And it might have had a different header image.

But that’ll all make sense in a little while. Like any good story it’s best to start at the beginning.

I make no apology if I ramble on at length about my maiden PUFfeR voyage. It was an extraordinary day and one I might never get to repeat, so I hope you’ll indulge my need to put some memories down on virtual paper.

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Shit Just Got Real

In about 27 hours from now a taxi will arrive at my house and take me to the start of the 2017 PUFfeR.

Hard to pick a winner between terror and excitement right now.

In true pre-race style I feel underprepared, lethargic and beset by a hundred minor, imaginary niggles. I’ve done enough races to know that’s a good sign.

Unfortunately all of those races have been mostly on road and up to a maximum of 56km. I’ll hit the 56km mark at around lunchtime on Saturday. Then I have to go directly over Table Mountain.

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Puffing Past Midnight

I’ve been a bit slack with updates recently, but I have a good excuse. I was on holiday in the UK for three and a half blissful (for bliss read “two kids” and draw your own conclusions) weeks.

As with any good holiday this meant lots of food, plenty of good beer and wine…

…and a marathon.

The Midnight Mountain Marathon to be precise.

I don’t know a whole heap about running but here’s a top tip I picked up during June:-

If the race has a word like ‘beast’ in it or the organizing company of a race has a name like…I don’t know…let’s say ‘brutal events’ it should give you a passing hint that the route won’t be particularly fast or indeed flat.

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An Untamed Beast

Somewhere around the 20th April 2011 after a horrible 16km training run I announced to my wife in whiny and attention-seeking tones that there was “no way I can finish a half marathon.”

She disagreed and, as is usually the case, she was proven correct less than a week later when I completed my first Two Oceans Half Marathon in a sedate but respectable 1:51.

I spent the rest of the weekend (and the early part of the next week) limping, drinking and announcing to the world I was done with running.

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A Pre-Beast Ramble

When we last spoke I was threatening to do two things – go for another long run on table mountain and write a story about a weird creature hanging about in a nut sack.

Oddly for me I managed both. You can read about Theodore the scrotum gremlin here but sadly I can give you no photographic evidence of the aforementioned mountain adventure.

Don’t get me wrong, I was fully prepared to take a bunch of pictures as I explored new areas like Corridor Ravine and some extended sections of the pipe track but it happened to be raining just a tad so my phone was safely tucked away.

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Of Red Gods And Echoes

I may have been slightly hasty in my last post – an accusation not often leveled at my running pace. I could be accused of giving the impression that the 20kms (near enough) I stumbled through on the VWS trail challenge were really tough.

Foolish, foolish boy.

Yesterday (Saturday) morning I headed out on a part-training part-recce run to try and keep up the learning prior to the 50km mountain madness looming in three weeks time.

I learned quite a lot.

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VWS Trail Challenge

About a year ago I did my first official trail race – the VWS Trail Challenge 2016 edition. It didn’t take me long to realize the “challenge” part of the title was fairly accurate. 25km on the slopes of Table Mountain (ok it ended up being closer to about 24km but who’s counting) on, what I thought at the time, was some fairly tough terrain. It was my first long run out after getting through Two Oceans and let’s just say I was suffering a bit towards the end.

Last Sunday I did my second official trail race – the VWS Trail Challenge 2017 edition. Seems I was wrong about the “challenge” part from last year. This year the race was only 20km (ok it ended up being closer to 19km but who’s counting) and to be frank…it wasn’t fucking around.

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