Health and fitness

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How healthy and happy are you?

Super healthy = Could trial for the Raiders
3
6%
Moderately healthy = I've got a six pack or at least I am trying to
18
34%
Slightly healthy = I eat junk and healthy stuff but I do walk (sometimes)
15
28%
Unhealthy = The only six pack I've got is for drinking
15
28%
Extremely unhealthy = Just don't ask
2
4%
 
Total votes: 53

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Dr Zaius
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by Dr Zaius »

So you've never heard of Comrades? Ask any South African about it. Watch their eyes light up. As one fellow runner described it, it's South Africa's Tour de France. It's not an event, it's an occasion.

Comrades is the world's oldest ultra marathon. It was first run in 1921 and had a few years off over WWII and Covid. It will be run for the hundredth time in 2027. Comrades is also the biggest ultra marathon in the world, currently capped at 20,000 participants.

Comrades bills itself as the Greatest Human Race. When Vic Chaplam returned from WWI, he came up with the idea of a race from his hometown of Pietermaritzburg in the hills, to Durban at the coast, to honour his fallen comrades. The ultimate human race to honour the ultimate human sacrifice. And so 34 men set out, with Bill Rowan the first winner in under 9 hours. Comrades has played a role in breaking down segregation. It flaunted laws during Apartheid, allowing black South Africans to run as "international runners". It's a race that brings South Africa together.

At some point they started to alternate the start and finish line. A race from Pietermaritzburg to Durban is a down year, from Durban to Pietermaritzburg an up year. It's fair to say that running Comrades is a pretty big deal in South Africa. The running calender in the third of the year is chock full of lead up events. You aren't really a runner in South Africa until you have run Comrades, and you haven't really run Comrades until you've done an Up and a Down.

The race ends after 12 hours. The winning man typically finishes around 5.5 hours, the winning woman around 6 hours. Medals are given out according to the time you finished the race. Between 7.5 and 9 hours earns you a Bill Rowan named for the first time winner. Finishing between 11 and 12 hours earns you a Vic Chaplam, named after the race's founder. About 25 to 50% of the starting field earn themselves a Vic.

And so I find myself in Durban for an Up year. I was never going to run sub 7:30 so my goal was to go sub 9 hours, earn myself a Bill and enjoy the experience by not pushing too hard. The start line atmosphere to savour. Comrades thrives on tradition, and the starting sequence is beholden to that. First the South African National Anthem. Then a mass choir accompanied by 20,000 runners belt out "Shosholoza", a traditional song calling for you to struggle forward. Finally, cheers erupt as Chariots of Fire is played, a cockerel crows and the race begins.

Durban is pretty damn sketchy. It feels like Gotham City without Batman. It's still dark in the CBD. The footpaths are packed with a very loud crowd. The buildings are unlit and look largely abandoned. It's surreal as we run as a packed herd through the streets. I stick to my plan of going out slow and building into the race. It seems the majority of runners don't share that plan as I'm swamped by runners from the two start groups behind me.

A Comrades Up run starts in the CBD of Durban and quickly works its way out into country side. Little villages and settlements. Some views of the Valley of 1000 Hills. It has the Big Five hills - Cowie's, Field's, Botha's, Inchunga and Polly Shorts. Inbetween there are innumerable smaller hills, both up and down. I take It easy for the first 10-15km. My legs well conditioned for hills, carry me up and over Cowies without a problem.

At the 12km mark I catch up to the "9 hour bus". The buses are large groups of runners led by a Comrades veteran, carrying them to a target finish time. There is a lot of singing, a lot of shouting and a lot of enforced walking. The 9 hour bus, as the cut off for the Bill Rowan Medal seems pretty popular. Passing it was possibly the most challenging part of my race. There were hundreds on the bus, stretched from one side of the street to the other, around 100m from front to back. Getting through them took about 2km. Once passed, I sped up to put distance between myself and them, not wanting to have them pass me if I had to stop. This coincided with hitting the bottom of Field's Hill, which Annie Thornton reliably informs me I flew up.

The rest of the race I just let myself move along at a comfortable pace. Felt a little tired as the race went on, as you do when you're running 87km. A bit of walk-run up the last couple of big hills. A few muscle groups spasming and threatening to cramp prevented me from putting on a burst in the last 5km. I cruised home with official time of 8:32:14, and claimed my Bill Rowan Medal.

The crowds, the support, they were something else. As I said before, one runner called it South Africa's Tour de France and the crowds certainly gave it that feel. They were huge. They were loud. They were joyous. There were bands. There were BBQs. It was one massive party. At times it was a little overwhelming. At places where the road narrows, the crowd moved in and you were running through a tunnel of people, yelling your name, encouraging you to keep running.

After some food, recovery and sharing stories with some Botwsawans and Zimbabweans, I ventured out to the finish shute to watch the final hour of the race. Again, the atmosphere was just something that needs to be experienced. Every half hour a bus came in to much applause — the 11 hour, 11.5 and 12 hour finishers. And then just before the 12 hour mark, with a few minutes of the race to go, The Final Countdown blast out over the speakers. Those entering the shute shuffled with more intensity, more determination. They knew that they had seconds to get to that finish line.

The song ended. The Last Post played. Those left in the shute did not finish. It was time to go home.ImageImageImageImageImageImage
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David Furner
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by Coastalraider »

Yes!!!! Yes yes yes yes!!!

Mate huge congrats, sounds like a really solid day on the feet but more importantly a day to savour. Seriously jealous, it’s defiantly on the to do list. Hope you’re enjoying some down time.
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gerg
Laurie Daley
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by gerg »

Great write up doc, thanks for sharing. Coastal how is your training going? Getting enough hills/mountains?


We started our training block on Monday. First time we've run together in years because of kids, and because she only just got the running bug back. Every few minutes I had to tell her to slow down - asking, why you running so fast - as we gradually hit 6 minute k pace. Then drift back out to 7, and 2 minutes later I'm asking the same question again. Didn't help that I was hungover.

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bonehead
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by bonehead »

freaks the lot of you! Doc that sounds beyond belief.
I need to start running, too much pedalling has my legs thickening out of my work jeans.

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Dr Zaius
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by Dr Zaius »

Boys, if you run, put it on the list. It needs to be done.
The Nickman
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by The Nickman »

I run, but there;s no way I'll ever be able to run 87km. That's just crazy to me. 10km really is my limit.
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by Coastalraider »

gerg wrote: June 14, 2024, 10:07 am Great write up doc, thanks for sharing. Coastal how is your training going? Getting enough hills/mountains?


We started our training block on Monday. First time we've run together in years because of kids, and because she only just got the running bug back. Every few minutes I had to tell her to slow down - asking, why you running so fast - as we gradually hit 6 minute k pace. Then drift back out to 7, and 2 minutes later I'm asking the same question again. Didn't help that I was hungover.

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Training going well thanks mate, some pretty ugly stuff for this block though. Had a slight niggle into UTA so dropped to the 50k but had a bloody good run (for me) with a 6.20. Got my foot needles straight after so had a weekor 2 off running, now back into it strong. Lots of hill reps, lots of strength, and just started 2 treadmill sessions a week in an altitude chamber at 4,000m.. grim stuff but I’m doing my damndest to tick all the boxes.
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gerg
Laurie Daley
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by gerg »

Coastalraider wrote:
gerg wrote: June 14, 2024, 10:07 am Great write up doc, thanks for sharing. Coastal how is your training going? Getting enough hills/mountains?


We started our training block on Monday. First time we've run together in years because of kids, and because she only just got the running bug back. Every few minutes I had to tell her to slow down - asking, why you running so fast - as we gradually hit 6 minute k pace. Then drift back out to 7, and 2 minutes later I'm asking the same question again. Didn't help that I was hungover.

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Training going well thanks mate, some pretty ugly stuff for this block though. Had a slight niggle into UTA so dropped to the 50k but had a bloody good run (for me) with a 6.20. Got my foot needles straight after so had a weekor 2 off running, now back into it strong. Lots of hill reps, lots of strength, and just started 2 treadmill sessions a week in an altitude chamber at 4,000m.. grim stuff but I’m doing my damndest to tick all the boxes.
From the videos I've watched on YouTube it looks like a really tough race. A lot of runners complaining and pulling out from the 'downs' just as much as the 'ups'. But I'm sure you'll give yourself every opportunity with your training and experience.

Maybe one day I'll get there. That Jeff Pelletier guy I linked on YouTube does a 4 day fast packing of the course with his partner which looks like it would be a great holiday option (maybe I linked that one earlier too). What's more romantic than 40k running days in the French Alps?

Our plans have been thrown into disarray. Wife did the index race in southern Thailand mid May and its taken until today to get her index. She's been pretty anxious about it. But then she went to register for Jeju and the 50k was sold out. We could hope for someone to drop out and snag a transfer but I've pulled the trigger and registered for the 100k and will transfer my 50k to her. The races start 30 minutes apart so hopefully I can just start with her. She's been working so hard so don't want her to miss out. She finished 3rd female in the 26k.

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Dr Zaius
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by Dr Zaius »

So some pretty crappy news today. I have a stress fracture through neck of my femur. Leg was sore the week before Comrades and the race finished it off. High risk of not healing, strict non weight bearing on crutches for at least 6 weeks. Not even able to put foot down in the shower. It's going to make life very difficult.
The Nickman
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by The Nickman »

How the **** did you run 800km on it then, you absolute madman?
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Dr Zaius
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by Dr Zaius »

The Nickman wrote:How the **** did you run 800km on it then, you absolute madman?
Not to mention the safari, 4 hour hikes in the savannah and fleeing hippos. No brain, no pain apparently.
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by The Nickman »

I still wish you’d got eaten by a hippo
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Dr Zaius
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by Dr Zaius »

The Nickman wrote:I still wish you’d got eaten by a hippo
Image
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gerg
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by gerg »

How many months without running?

I had an old man back injury last week. Sleeping awkwardly. My whole right side was excruciating. Spent just over 36 hours in bed with ibuprofen and voltarin and physio heat cream and then just woke up Sunday morning fully recovered. But today a 3k run wiped me out. Must be the after effect from all those tablets?

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bonehead
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by bonehead »

bloody hell Doc, you're meant to be the smart one!!!
Good Juju in your direction

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Dr Zaius
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by Dr Zaius »

Thanks guys. Unsure gerg. At least 3 months I would have thought. And then, a slow build, with a lot of apprehension about doing it again.
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by Coastalraider »

Bloody hell doc that’s horrible, not just for the leg but for the head. Make sure you’re looking for another outlet. I was off running for 2 weeks post UTA with a cortisone injection and nearly lost my mind. Bought a cheap rower and cut a big hole in my shoe because I couldn’t stand sitting around.

Good luck friend.
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bonehead
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by bonehead »

7 or 8 years ago I had a shoulder reco, I got so bored at home I walked over an hour and a half to the pub then sat there wondering how I was going to cut up my food.
Acupuncture today on that shoulder, weird sensation to say the least as he released the muscles, been struggling since December with bursitis.

Boneyjr waiting on a rheumatoid specialist appointment, his SI joint is giving him all sorts of grief, bone on bone and he's not even 17 yet

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gerg
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by gerg »

We may need to change this thread to 'the old and decrepit'.

I have been running 50k+ weeks for the last 6 weeks and had last weekend off with back issues and loaded up on painkillers and this week has been an absolute slog. I'm out of breath walking up a flight of stairs. It's like I'm starting again after a long lay-off.

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Re: Health and fitness

Post by dubby »

Injuries really are the worst. Get well Doc
The spiral of silence refers to the idea that when people fail to speak, the price of speaking rises. As the price to speak rises, still fewer speak out, which further causes the price to rise, so that fewer people yet will speak out, until a whole culture or nation is silenced. This is what happened in Germany.

If you do not speak, you are not being neutral, but are contributing to the success of the thing you refuse to name and condemn.
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by The Nickman »

I knocked out 10km for only the third time this year in preparation for the Yeppoon Running Festival 10km in just over two weeks.

I'm so far behind where I usually am at this time of year due to not doing Rocky River Run in May due to it clashing with Magic Round this year.

Magic Round requires a different type of fitness.
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bonehead
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by bonehead »

put 18km in this morning with 2 guys on ebikes giving me the drop off on hills but over the 18kms I was able to hang with them, I'll start doing 20km's 3 times a week with a 50km gravel race 10th August looming

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dubby
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by dubby »

Impressive work, Boney. Doesn't the seat hurt your bum though?
The spiral of silence refers to the idea that when people fail to speak, the price of speaking rises. As the price to speak rises, still fewer speak out, which further causes the price to rise, so that fewer people yet will speak out, until a whole culture or nation is silenced. This is what happened in Germany.

If you do not speak, you are not being neutral, but are contributing to the success of the thing you refuse to name and condemn.
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bonehead
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by bonehead »

dubby wrote:Impressive work, Boney. Doesn't the seat hurt your bum though?
Image nah unless I do too much too many days in a row, my bike is probably worth near $5k so good components make a difference, those ironman and road bikes are worth a motza they can ride stupid distances.


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Re: Health and fitness

Post by Coastalraider »

bonehead wrote: July 11, 2024, 2:39 pm
dubby wrote:Impressive work, Boney. Doesn't the seat hurt your bum though?
Image nah unless I do too much too many days in a row, my bike is probably worth near $5k so good components make a difference, those ironman and road bikes are worth a motza they can ride stupid distances.


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I’ll give you a tip for free boney - no matter how much you spend on components an Ironman bike leg still hurts the bum!
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gerg
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by gerg »

Coastalraider wrote:
bonehead wrote: July 11, 2024, 2:39 pm
dubby wrote:Impressive work, Boney. Doesn't the seat hurt your bum though?
Image nah unless I do too much too many days in a row, my bike is probably worth near $5k so good components make a difference, those ironman and road bikes are worth a motza they can ride stupid distances.


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I’ll give you a tip for free boney - no matter how much you spend on components an Ironman bike leg still hurts the bum!
Yep, biggest turnoff for me. I could run a marathon and there was a period a while ago when I had a break from running and took up swimming. In one month I managed to go from zero to comfortably doing 2k, so I reckon I could do the 4.5k swim or whatever it is. But 180k on a bike. Most I've ever done in a day was 120k and that was a leisurely pace and it hurt. That last 20k was a lot of standup pedalling.

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bonehead
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Re: Health and fitness

Post by bonehead »

gerg wrote:
Coastalraider wrote:
bonehead wrote: July 11, 2024, 2:39 pm
dubby wrote:Impressive work, Boney. Doesn't the seat hurt your bum though?
Image nah unless I do too much too many days in a row, my bike is probably worth near $5k so good components make a difference, those ironman and road bikes are worth a motza they can ride stupid distances.


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I’ll give you a tip for free boney - no matter how much you spend on components an Ironman bike leg still hurts the bum!
Yep, biggest turnoff for me. I could run a marathon and there was a period a while ago when I had a break from running and took up swimming. In one month I managed to go from zero to comfortably doing 2k, so I reckon I could do the 4.5k swim or whatever it is. But 180k on a bike. Most I've ever done in a day was 120k and that was a leisurely pace and it hurt. That last 20k was a lot of standup pedalling.

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insane distances are the killer there, I've got a mate that does week long 800km organised rides and he trains constantly but still won't do over 120km days.
I've done 30k half road half dirt, 20k dirt roads, 20k dirt and bush last 3 days I'll not ride today but do the 30k again tomorrow that's plenty for me till next Friday.

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