Archive for November 26, 2009

Comrades Entries to Re-open!!

Yes, you read correctly – I have just received word that the Comrades entries will be opened to allow for 2,000 extra runners!!!

Entries open on Saturday,  January 30th 2010 at 9am and the ONLY place you can get an entry is at a Mr Price Clothing, Sport and Home stores – so this excludes non-South Africans, unless you are able to bribe someone to do it for you….

Only 2,000 – so if you were one of the unlucky ones NOT to get an entry then I’d suggest you get to any Mr Price store, entry form and money in hand, BEFORE 9am!!!

Read the full story here.


Drinking Water while Running…

On Wednesday I was invited to an event at the Sports Science Institute as a thank-you for the research project I took part in during the Comrades.  Tim Noakes was one of the speakers and he had some very interesting things to say about the theory that says if you drink too much water, it leaches your system of all the electrolytes,  basically putting your body  in great danger.

Now I’ve always believed this theory – I never knew where it came from and I guess I just believed it because it sounded pretty logical to me, however Prof Noakes explained using his research findings and a very clever slide show – that this theory had absolutely no scientific grounding and was really just part of a marketing ploy hatched by Gatorade and its scientists (who just happened to be the same scientists who advised the US Army on liquid consumption and what the daily recommended allowances should be).

I’m totally simplifying many years worth of work here but it was fascinating to see how a theory can develop and become ‘common knowledge’ without anyone even questioning it.  Prof Nokes went on to say that the human body is incredibly clever at making sure there is balance  – the balance of water and salt being very important for runners performance – or so we thought…

Science has proven that it is virtually impossible to leach the body of salt, our bodies are constantly trying to get rid of the salt we consume (in excess) so this is something we don’t need to worry about.

He also pointed out that our bodies evolved in such a way that conserving water is something which it does exceptionally well – so if your body realises it is going to be exercising for long periods of time without any water, it recalculates to make sure that there WILL be enough by curbing urination and sweating – the bottom line being, drink when you are thirsty, not according to some ‘rule’.

Prof Noakes concluded by saying that the only thing which plays a role in enhancing performance, is carb intake  – so as long as you are consuming enough carbohydrate to keep your energy levels up, you shouldn’t have to worry about water.

Makes you think a bit about the other ‘theories’ which we believe when it comes to long distance running, doesn’t it…

waterPhoto Credit

Comrades Accommodation

I know we have just recovered from the frenzy that surrounded signing up for the 2010 Comrades but today I’m here to tell you that you need to start thinking about accommodation for the night before the race and the night after.

For those of you who don’t really know the lay of the land in Pietermaritzburg and Durban, you need to have a look at a map or ask someone who does (yes, yes you can ask me) so that you can start planning.

There are 2 options here:

  • Stay in Pietermaritzburg the night before the race and in Durban after, OR
  • Stay in Durban the night before and catch one of the organized buses to Pietermaritzburg on race day

There are a few logistical problems associated with each option – in Maritzburg the Royal Show is on the same weekend as the Comrades, so accommodation is already hard to come by.
If you stay in Durban, the buses to Pietermaritzburg leave horribly early – like 3am kind of early – which makes the already challenging day very, very long.

Luckily my mom is super organized and has already sorted out accommodation for us in Pietermaritzburg, I would suggest those of you who would like to stay as close to the starting line as possible, start looking NOW!  Have a look on the Maritzburg tourism website and see what they have listed.

If you would prefer staying in Durban I would suggest you figure out where the pick-up points of the buses will be so that you don’t have to stress about getting there on time – I can guarantee you that the less stressful you make your morning, the better the start to your day!

QuestionPhoto Credit

Running Wardrobe…

This blog post has very little to do about running and a lot to do about bargain shopping – granted the bargains which drew me to this site were running related…  At the moment my running wardrobe needs a major overhaul and to replace everything I have for newer versions of the same thing is not going to be cheap!!

I was told to check out Luxury4Less which deals with hugely discounted brand items from across all ranges – now I’m not one of those runners who has to be in branded clothing from head to toe – I’ve just found what I am comfortable in and like wearing, especially when I have to be wearing said clothing item for a couple of hours at a time…

Let’s take the skirt I run in for example – it’s a tennis skirt made by Adidas and over the years I’ve tried other makes but the Adidas one just fits perfectly and gives me no chafe, no matter how much time I spend in it.  Similarly the tops I have (also tennis tops) also from Adidas are only starting to lose their elasticity now – after 3 years of hard wear and tear, not just on the tennis court but at the gym and of course on the road.

Luxury 4 Less gets limited amounts of stock (and not just clothing items but perfumes, holidays, cosmetics etc) and sells them for discounts which range from 30% to 60% off the retail price, and sometimes even more!!  I remember signing up to a couple of these sites when I lived in the States because I’d just discovered the wonders of online shopping but couldn’t always afford the things I wanted.

At the moment Luxury 4 Less has Polaroid sunnies in stock which are going for between R350 and R450 (that’s a 35% saving) – an accessory I have yet to purchase and must do in haste since the wrinkles around my eyes are apparently from me not wearing sunglasses while out on long runs (I was told Polaroid is the best, any objections??).

Their stock rotates so I’m going to be keeping a close eye on this site for any more bargains!!  If you are keen to check it out it is an invite only site so send me your email address and I’ll send you an invite – this is also for South Africans only I’m afraid…

I’m sure there are other runners out there who have brand preferences – and aren’t sponsored:), what are yours??


The Winelands Marathon

This is meant to be one of the best marathons to run in the Western Cape and I was pretty excited to give it a go, especially since I missed it last year and the year before I only did the half which wasn’t really that spectacular.  So I signed up early and started picking up my training only to be plagued by a really sore ankle which with rest, didn’t seem to get any better – actually it started feeling worse.

So after a week of rest and loads of stress because now I’m missing out on valuable training time (you guys know what I’m talking about although in reality how much are you going to lose in a week – I mean really), I decided to see the physio.  Turns out I have tendinitis in my ankle from a damaged tendon called the “Runners Nuisance” – funny that!!

So it seems I’m going to have to downgrade the marathon to a half.  I’m sure there are others of you out there who have had to make the decision NOT to do a race or to do a shorter distance than what was planned,  what I want to talk about is that decision making process…

It took me days to actually concede to the fact that I may have to just do the shorter distance and although my ankle is flipping sore and this marathon isn’t for any specific reason, I still have had feelings of failure and disappointment which is really silly because as I said, its not like I NEEDED this marathon as a Comrades qualifier or anything.

Why is this such a hard decision to make?  I didn’t think I was one of those hardcore runners who do races no matter what –  and I’ve always put my body first.  Actually the feelings I had leading up to making the decision resembled those which I had when I had to pull out of a race, although not as bad but in the same vein…

Do you guys battle with the same kind of thing?  Can you put your finger on exactly what that feeling or emotion is??  I think once we can put a name to that feeling it will be easier to deal with – let me know what you think!

The type of scenery expected

The type of scenery expected

Photo Credit

Comrades Study Follow-up

During the Comrades this year I took part in a study done by the Sports Science Institute which involved trying to figure out what the main factors were in causing heat stroke.  Before the race I had to swallow a temperature tablet and then carry about 1kg of equipment with me on the race including a little computer to record my core as well as skin temperatures.  I also had to give urine and blood samples before and after the race as well as all the usual VO2 max test and fat composition which was done a few weeks prior to that – so as you can tell these guys were pretty serious about getting the information they needed.

As ‘payment’ for doing the study we were promised a full write-up on what our results showed – which I got a few weeks ago.  I was a little disappointed in that the report wasn’t really what I was expecting.  It had our results and then what the norm is with regards to body fat, VO2 max and fitness – but when it came to the really interesting stuff like my body temperature in relation to my heart rate and hydration levels, all I got was a graph…

I’ve included the graphs below, if anyone would like to take a stab at exactly what they mean then please give me a shout.  The only other information I really found useful was that I could improve on my VO2 max result and strive for less body fat…

Heart Rate

Heart Rate over the duration of the race

Core Temperature over the duration of the race

Core Temperature over the duration of the race

Comrades 2010 Entries Closed!

I know, I’m as shocked as what you are…

I’d planned on writing a post to remind all you Novices out there to remember to enter for the Comrades 2010 however when I went to the Comrades website to get exactly what the count was on for entries already received, I almost swallowed my tongue when it said that the limit of 5,000 has already been reached…

I even refreshed my page a couple of times hoping that there was some bug or something – but no!!

I really hope all you guys out there wanting to enter didn’t procrastinate…  Brian did Team Flash get in??  Sally I know you did, well done!!  Anyone else??

Comrades entries