I'm not a natural blogger and I'm no techie. I'm an ultra trail runner by passion, and a journalist by profession - in that order of priority.
In this blog I use the one to talk about the other - my trail thoughts, musings and meanderings about running mountains and trails.
I call it rockhoppin', just because... well... that's what we trail runners love to do!

Monday, January 31, 2011

An exercise in horses for courses

Yesterday morning involved exercise – or better put, AN exercise. Said exercise not only involved a vigorous workout (which, of course, it would have to in order to earn the acclaimed term of exercise), but also an experiment.

Subject of said experiment: me.

Aim of said experiment: to determine whether subject’s legs are willing to increase speed over short distance.

Conclusion of said experiment: definitely not.

However, the outcome of said experiment was a damn good lung workout, the thrill of yet another Boland trail, and a new found appreciation for short distance speedsters!

The said exercise was Race 4 of the Cape Summer Trail Series, staged on Paul Cluver Estate in Grabouw. I usually stay away from shorter races – my legs aren’t enthusiastic about any distance less than 20km... they only wake up after about 13km, which as with today’s race tends to be w-a-a-y too late to do much with the speed they acquire, or in even shorter distances, only after I’ve crossed the finish line. That’s really not much use.

But my mind always has different plans. Maybe, it thinks, the legs just need some encouragement, like the pressure of a short distance race to push the muscles from slow twitch into fast twitch mode. And that’s how I found myself on the start line of this morning’s 15.8km “long course” race, blindly hoping my legs had heard they were on the “long course” rather than on the 9.1km short course option.

But alas, my legs weren’t that gullible. Or maybe it was my lungs that refused to co-operate. Whichever it was, I soon found myself chewing the dust of the runners who’d opted for the long course (15.5km) in Oak Valley, Elgin last week, while I’d gone for my better distance, the XL course (26km).

Last week's XL race - no experiment!
 I chose well last week – legs, lungs and mind were all in sync (XL race results); this week, I definitely didn’t! (Race 4 results)

Hat’s off to Owen and Tam and their team for another brilliant Trail Series. All events of Owen and Tam’s are not only well organised, efficiently staged and executed in style, but the routes they choose are always guaranteed to be the real stuff!
Tam & Owen


  1. Hey Linda, I think that's a common feeling for those of us who choose to run a bit further than the average Joe. My legs refuse to co-operate for at least 10kms, at which point they realise I have bigger plans for them, at which point they play along. That is up until about 80kms, at which point they think things have gone past being fun and we have another little battle on our hands!
    Happy Rock Hoppin'

  2. I battle on any short route as well. Last year I did the Gauteng winter series and wow, it was hard. Good for the lungs! Owen does a splendid job with these races.