Comrades Training Bonus

Running riches


The thing about all the running for Comrades is that it’s not just about the hard work; not just about the medal at the end. Being out in the full of the last of the night-refracted sunlight is part of the richness

And we are thriving in bonus warm, late summer days.

All good right now you see. Can’t wait to go out for more.


Number Stories

What stories do the log-book numbers tell?

1-Weekly mileageDistance

77 km in the Two Oceans week, 33 easy the next, then 56 and 65 km building to 80+ km longest week. It’s not a lot by the hero runner standards by it is more than the minimum and just a tiny bit less than what I can handle, I hope.

The tension: Two weeks of longer running left before this years Comrades. The old dilemma returns: I want to do more but I don’t want to do too much. Just 1 km, even one step can be too much and push me into  overdoing. overcooking territory. With that too much training flies out the window. I’m nervous.


Another story is how they add together. All theose kilometers, those training miles, add together. If I don’t do too many, they’ll get me to the Comrades’ finish line. They are great enablers those humble, foot on the road steps


The pay-off :  And then there is the richness of the long running moment. The song of waterfalls, the flap of feet on tar, the belly-filling warmth of the rising sun, a mind unclogged, a soul tuned to the song of the universe, tight,rippling, responsive. And still more ….

Running ages-10

The 10 year-old in me enjoys my running antics. His cheers are loud. He finds my name in the results; not worrying I don’t make the headlines.

He loves the peeling naartjie smell, how his mouth sucks at its taste-burst after a run.

The taste is as fresh as that of the ones he used to take from Mr le Roux’s orchard next door, even when he shot near us with his pellet gun; teaching us to run and hurdle fences.

Oh and naartjies are great with an espresso.

(a naartjie is South African word for an easy peeling, if it gets enough water during growing, citrus fruit also known as a mandarin,  tangerine and Citrus reticulata; perfect for maintaining post or during run hydration or for stealing from the neighbour)

Boys in the rain

On the past weekend’s little trail runs I remembered (a long ago running partner) Rick Shaeffer’s comment: When I was little. my mom shouted “Come out of the rain, stop jumping in puddles, you’ll get wet and dirty.” Now I run in the rain, jump in the puddles and take photos of mud-splats all over me”. Okay maybe I made up some of the words but you get the idea. I imagined the light in his grin.

For the last gasp

Back in the city-grime on its hard roads. Long weekend treat in a nature reserve: what of those riverside trails in the earliest light, mist on the water; hands-in-sleeves cold, grass wet, leaves drip, grin stretched up to the snow-topped mountains? Well they’re etched deep enough to last past my last gasp.

A running week

Friday cold wind howling, rest day

Saturday, just feel tired, cold wind howling, wimp the run

Sunday, still tired, cold wind howling, not normally a running day

Monday, I understand that my recovery from Comrades is not yet complete, though my legs are getting perky. Wind cold still howling.

Tuesday, no wind and a perfect light, lusty 8 km, filled with numbers of running. A maths complicated to symbolise but easy to do: 4 with overlays of 4 and 2 deliver 8, 20, 1 like this : 4 days no running, no moon, empty streets; 4 days wind chill, warm bed, fuller dreams; 2 days bouncy legs, glinty eyes, itchy feet. Morning coffee always rich. This a.m.’s 8k stirred up my running residue, polished it in the moon. Then 20 min to delight in its starlit glitter; puffing it up again with sips of coffee. 1 perfect run, you see.

Wednesday, habit recovery day after a run, an indulgence and rememberance day.

Thursday: Yes! Rain on roof. Rummage for technical gear. Not wimping this one. Like a surfer into storm-big waves. Fetch in the last of the kids toys and visitors’ walking shoes Run, winter is come. And gone. Sweat-wet isn’t rain-soak. Even Venus looked through a gap in the clouds. Yet nicely, back at the gate, thumb hesitated over the remote. Maybe another 8k loop? Yes! Not really.

And still there’s Friday to come



Recovery blues

The only problem about recovering from Comrades; from a big near 12-hour challenge, also from monnths of training almost as hard as I can.

I can’t run.

Otherwise its great. Lazy easy runs, time to enjoy them. Feeling strength return. Run-health fizzing through me. Good memories on my pillow, medal under it. Why not?

But I want more.

Outside the moon is full, the winter warm, my legs itch.

Not only is this a rest day, it’s also a Robyn gym day.

So I pause. Too soon 14-month old Emily wakes.

She calms out in the still-bright, still-rich, still morning moonlight.

Moon running

Hunted a pic this morning.

A near-full moon hung perfectly, low in the Nek between Table Mountain and Lion’s Head, where first I ran the mystic.

No good shot from my streetlight lit street.

I’ll make do a picture-perfect running memory instead.


Recovery Re-discovery

Jogged this weird-warm winter morning;

a shirtless ode to summer

Eyes filled with stars.

Legs a little stiff.

Saturday’s morning’s 13 k:

Too much fast, too much fun.

No training burden, you see.

Just running playfully. 



Moon high, Venus bright in a clear sky, city still; mountain quiet under its cloud; silence of a crisp morning before the first bird. Three joys of winter. Focus: car backs from garage at me padding the middle road, bright headlights rush at us. Three beings at the same place and time. Eyes brighten, breathing deepens, the road softens.