Skyrun this weekend!

Good luck to all the runners participating in the Skyrun this weekend – my mom included 🙂

This race is run along the Witteberg and Drankensberg mountain range, at an altitude of around 2,500 metres above sea level.  The trail isn’t marked.  It is said to be one of the toughest trail runs in this part of the country.  Check out the profile…


Power Balance Bracelet Comments

Last week I wrote about my thoughts on the Power Balance Bracelet and I asked you guys what your take was on it.  These are the responses I got:

Gideon Maree (Pilates Instructor and Sports Masseuse)

Via Facebook: “One of my clients started wearing one of those bracelets about 2 weeks ago. During his Pilates sessions his balance was not any different. His first two days of wearing the bracelet he feelt very lightheaded,  after which it cleared up. This could be the bracelet or just being lightheaded for 2 days. I wont take the risk and hope it’s not the bracelet.”

Catherine Parker (Marathon Runner)

Via Twitter: “A new toy for boys”

Melvyn Quan (Iron Man Participant and Trail Runner)

Facebook: Sent this video which is on ESPN (the first couple seconds are an advert but the rest is very interesting)

Erik Vermeulen (Athlete & Behaviour Expert)

Twitter: He sent the same link as Melvyn.

Interesting that I got no comments FOR the bracelet – anyone out there who really believes in it?

Keep Running!!

I have had a very similar experience to this before – I think we all have, where we have to have a serious conversation with ourselves to keep running.

Power Balance Bracelet

On the radio yesterday they had people calling in to discuss the new Power Balance Bracelet that seems to be the new fad in running at the moment. I was told I HAVE to have one because it increases flexibility and balance – of course I was immediately sceptical because in my mind, if 5 years of yoga has brought me to my current state of balance and flexibility, then why the hell have I been going through all of that effort, when I could just wear a bangle… BUT being open minded I decided to give it a try, I didn’t even need to buy one because my mom had a spare so I wore it on the trail run we did a few weekends back.

Now I know the power of the mind – I’ve written about it enough here – so I didn’t want to ‘create’ anything which wasn’t there, but I did notice that I tripped a lot more than usual and almost hit the deck with my face – but luckily I had the bracelet 🙂 I also had a chat about the bracelet to a fellow runner afterwards and he said that it had made him feel ill, so he threw it away – all of this made me start questioning this even more.

This is what the website had to say, along with a long list of testimonials from sports men and women:
“Power Balance is based on the idea of optimizing the body’s natural energy flow, similar to concepts behind many Eastern philosophies. The hologram in Power Balance is designed to resonate with and respond to the natural energy field of the body.”

Tom O’Dowd who owns the Australian rights to the bracelet had this to say:
“In the Mylar hologram is a frequency and the frequency as soon as it comes into contact with the electrical field of your body basically works with your body’s electrical field that gives you a feeling of wellness”

I want to know what YOU have to say!!  Do you have one?  Do you think it works??  What is your opinion on things like this??  You can comment here or send me emails ( or say something on Twitter (@Winterboer) – at the end of the day I just don’t know if I want to be messing around with stuff like this and it would be interesting to see what other people think.

balance bracelet

Nike Running Advert

I’m not a technical runner, so I don’t salivate at the prospect of a gadget which will tell me all the stats of my run BUT I loved what they had to say about why we run.

Running Anniversary

On Sunday I ran the VOB Grape Run which is what I like to refer to as my ‘Running Anniversary’ race.  The Grape Run was the first half marathon I did and was basically the race which helped prove to me that, in fact, running the Comrades was achievable.

Now I know the race is just a half marathon (21.1km), compared to the 89km of the Comrades, but it was on this race that I realised the key to distance running (and  most endurance sports for that matter), is to manage your mind effectively because most of these races are won or lost in the head.

I walked away from this race thinking, was that if I could finish a 21km race after never having done more than 10km in training, then the same concept would hold true for the longer races.  As it turns out I was right, 7 months after my first Grape Run I did the Comrades marathon, my longest distance in training being a 56km training run…

Now, 4 Grape Runs later and 3 Comrades Marathons under my belt, I feel that unless you can master those voices in your head which tell you how tired you are or how your knees are aching, or overcome the belief that distance running is 100% based on your fitness – then you will always struggle, no matter how many km’s in training you do.

Happy Anniversary to my running – sometimes I hate it and sometimes I love it but above all, I have learned a great deal about myself and the extent to which the human body can be pushed!

Grape Run Views

Trail Running at Altitude

Last weekend I was in Pretoria for my brothers wedding and decided to do one of the Gauteng Trail Running Series runs with my mom.  Not thinking much about the 12km route and arriving very badly prepared without a cap or water – I was looking forward to running in a different area to what I am used to.

Starting on an uphill (the trail running guys seem to love doing this), it wasn’t long before my mom and I were huffing and puffing like antique steam engines.  This didn’t do much in terms of confidence, especially since I thought I was pretty fit – but then I remembered that the Cape (my home) is at sea level and Pretoria sits at roughly 1,350 metres (4,500ft) above sea level.  At higher altitudes there is less oxygen which means the amount of oxygen in your blood is reduced, which would account for me feeling tired and heavy during the race.  I am used to the more dense sea air, so when I run on the Highveld, it actually feels like the air I’m breathing in is not actually getting to where it needs to go.

Prolonged training at higher altitudes results in an increase in red blood cells, to conpensate for the reduction in oxygen levels, which has an overall positive effect on your performance because your body is being oxygenated more efficiently.  I don’t incorporate high altitude runs in my training program, but I can see the value in making the extra effort.

The trail run turned out to be one of my fastest times yet because at the 4km we came upon a man who had twisted his ankle very badly and needed help.  I volunteered to run off and find a marshal who would call in the paramedics, but the first marshal I saw was about 1km from the end.  Luckily someone had a cell phone with which they called the injury in and by the time we crossed the finish line, the ankle was already strapped.

On the serious trail runs you are not allowed taking part if you don’t have a cell phone, injuries being one of the main reasons for this, but on the less formal runs there are no specifications or procedures which need to be followed to take part.  I have always enjoyed the Trail Running Series sponsored by Salomon and Capestorm but I do feel that on this occasion, they could have had just one or two more marshals on the course.

Luckily I’m back in Cape Town now and running again as normal which I’m very grateful for, especially with a half marathon coming up on Sunday 🙂  Oh and well done to my mom who came first in her category!

That's my mom in the middle

That's my mom in the middle

Why do you run?

The Bushmans Blitz

This is a 32km trail run in the Overberg mountains on October 16th, from Greyton to McGregor and back. Greyton is one of my favourite weekend getaways.  It is a quaint little town just a couple of hours outside of Cape Town, at the foot of some pretty hectic mountains – a mecca for runners and mountain bikers!  This race takes you over said mountains, to the town of McGregor which is in the adjacent valley – and then back again.  It is quite technical and mainly on a single-track but the views are breathtaking and totally worth the burning lungs.

For those of us who prefer the easier shorter option, there is a 12km race called the Greyton Trail Challenge which takes runners into the mountains around the village with enough of a challenge to get the quads burning, but not technical enough to leave you outside after dark.

If you are hard-core and would prefer to do The Bushmans Blitz then I’d recommend emailing the race organisers immediately to see if there are any spots left, entries are limited to 50 people only –

OverbergPhoto Credit

Running Shoe Laces

Recently running shoe laces have become an issue in my life (albeit a relatively small one) because what I thought were ‘Never come undone laces’ are in fact ‘Will come undone if you do not double knot laces’.  Then I discovered that in fact many runners actually have a special way of lacing their running shoes to achieve different things – some need an extra snug fit, some tie their laces in a way to avoid a pressure spot on the top of their foot and some are just superstitious about the way their shoes are laced and have been doing it the same way since they started running.

I’m not sure if any of you have had the unfortunate experience of running on a treadmill full-tilt, trying not to get too sweaty and hoping like hell that your butt isn’t wobbling too much, when your ‘Never come undone laces’ decide to, well come undone…  It gets rather tricky trying to stop the treadmill while at the same time trying not to trip yourself all the while reminding your legs to keep moving so as not to be spat off the back of the machine – of course I’m speaking from experience which is what led me to do some research on the matter.

I found this very interesting article done in the Runners World, complete with little video’s and everything so if you, like me, are having issues with your laces then I hope this helps.  My lacing tactic usually involves just leaving the laces as they come when I buy the shoes, what do you guys do???