– we thought it would be a good idea to check in with the legend and see how he’s doing!
Thanks Scott for your update.
6 weeks left to prepare for Comrades on June 1.
A bit more than a bit of anxiety is beginning to creep in!
First some background on how this all came about………
I began serious running at the age of 14 after being cut from the freshman basketball try-outs at my high school.
This was a big blow to me as I had been a bit of a star on my basketball team at intermediate school.
So I joined the x-c team and soon fell in love with distance running which suited me much better than B-ball as I seemed to be about 99% slowtwitch fibers.
With a couple of older mentors on the team, by age 16 I was running 2 x/day often hitting 100 miles/week for many weeks of the year. I was also reading everything I could find on the subject of long distance running and this mostly came in the form of Runner’s World and Track and Field News. Keep in mind that this was in the 70’s – 20 years before the internet came along.
Getting information wasn’t easy!
I started running more and longer road races in addition to the 10-12 x-c races per year and the 25-40 track races per year.
By the time I completed my second year of Uni I had competed in approximately 200 school races and approx. 125 road races of from 5km to the marathon as well as one 50-miler in 1980. That 50-miler was the then-named Feather River 50 which was a point-to-point run in the Sacramento area. During the winter build-up to that race (as well as preparing for the next track season) I ran 10 consecutive weeks of 120 miles/week. No shit.
Where I lived in N. California we had a tremendous amount of serious runners. Most people don’t believe me when I talk about the depth of the distance running fraternity that existed in the 70’s and 80’s in California but it was truly the golden era of long distance running. I remember the Aggie Track club in Davis (where Dave Scott was from) had 10 guys who could run around 31 flat or under for 10km at any one time. Their centipede team in Bay-breakers averaged under 5 minutes/mile while all bound together!!
Some of my heroes back there were the early stars of Western States 100 mile trail run – people like Mike Catlin and John Howard(the Ultra-runenr, not the triathlete).
And I read about the mythical Comrades every year vowing to run that sucker one year ……..
Then I got sidelined by a triathlon career that lasted 13 years followed by fatherhood, real world job (sort-of …..) and a move away from serious running for a few years. But the bucket list still had Comrades at the top, with the Leadville 100 Trail run a close second. They were always there in the back of my head.
After “retirement” from triathlon I did do a couple of long trail races here in NZ – notably the Keplar which is an absolutely spectacular 67km. I also did quite a few Ironmans as an age grouper including 3 in 2005, and started doing Epic Camps in 2003, all of which had me feeling confident that I could eventually get to everything on my bucket list. I also had many, many miserable months of injury (mostly calves) that really got me thinking I had left it too late to ever get fit enough to get though Comrades.
Then one day my buddy (and super-duper Epic Camper who won the Yellow Jersey one time) Albert Boyce said he was going to run Comrades and would I like to join him and that was it. I went online and entered 2 days later.
Then the planning began ……
First up – take a break! Got fat and mostly lifted weights for a few months with a few bike races thrown in. Then in December of last year started to build up to do Challenge Wanaka in January and IM NZ on March 1.
Common sense told me I would need to get ready for Comrades with a lot of cycling and gym work as my history of trying to hit some high run volume over the last 10 years only worked out OK twice with about 20 miserable failures.
Got through those two Tri’s OK (10:10 at IM NZ with a 3:39 run), took a week off and then started building gradually towards my June 1 goal of Comrades.
My training now…….
After having read through many Comrades training plans and consulting with folks who’ve run it a few times my current training schedule looks like this:
- no run
- ride 2 hours flat, easy – moderate
- upper body gym/abs
- swim 1-3km as I feel
- run reps @LT effort – either 2 minute hill reps or 3:30 reps on the grass around a park. Started with 6 reps, building to 10-12 reps by mid-May. Easy jog recoveries of 90 seconds (I do the the reps gradually working my way up a very long hill).
- ride 2 hours hills with some steady
- lower body gym (I’ve got a very complete gym at home)
- 1-2 hour hilly run depending on time
- ride of 1.5-3.5 hours on old dudes bunch ride with hills
- easy swim of 20 minutes (I have an Endless pool at home)
- run 60-70 minutes with a tempo segment either uphill or on the flat
- upper body gym/abs
- no run
- flat ride 1-3 hours as I feel
- swim 20-40 minutes as I feel
- Master Blaster lower body gym (ouch!)
- run 70-100 minutes hills or
- bike race + riding more = 100+ km of suffering
- long run of 3 hours building up to 4 hours, then a long race of 50km + TBD on April 27, following week will be an easy hour, then 4-4.5 hours for last 2 long runs.
If all goes well in the next couple of weeks and my legs aren’t feeling fragile then I may add an extra 1-hour run on either Tues or Thurs or both.
But having invested so much of myself and my money to get to this sucker I’m going to be cautious so I don’t blow to bits!
After my long race on April 27 I’ll start to formulate a pacing plan.
Until then I just want to think about building a body robust enough to be able to finish.
And! if I can do that then I can start to think about the last couple of remaining items on my bucket list.