Two Oceans 2013 has been smashed!

With the Easter weekend, comes the Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town and for those who read my blog will know that this has been a major goal for me this year, not only to finish my second Two Oceans half marathon, but to finish it in a better time than last year.

My training has been excellent for this race, I’ve done some great strength and speed work at Boot Camp, but what I did underestimate was doing those extra couple of long runs which I needed in my legs come race day.

For various reasons, the longest I had run in a few months was the Constantia Village 15km race a couple of weeks before Two Oceans. I missed a couple of the long training runs which my group run on a Saturday and I really paid for that on Saturday.

I was cruising along in the race, Edinburgh and Southern Cross Drive had nothing on me, until I hit the 17km mark and that’s when my right leg started feeling like someone had klapped me with a baton.

This is when the psychological part of running kicks in. There was every chance that I would be forced to pull out at this point but I grit my teeth and stuck it out (the support on the sidelines from all the well-wishers made it so much easier). The stretch towards the finish at UCT is a bit of a blur because I was fighting hard, but when I crossed the finish line, I was absolutely ecstatic and had smashed my personal best time as well as took 8 minutes off my 2012 Two Oceans, finishing in 2 hours 50 minutes. That pesky cut-off gun-wielder was nowhere in sight this year.

To end off a couple of ‘Thank yous’.

Firstly, to the Slug & Lettuce in Newlands, thank you for the VIP treatment you gave my running group before the start, you have no idea how much that helped.

Then, thank you to my sponsors Puma, who kit me out in the best running gear, to USN for all my supplements and a huge thank you to the people at Sports Science Institute. The Boot Camp training played a huge role in me reaching my goal and bettering my times.

Finally, I want to say thank you to my wife who has to put up with all my training and was there at the finish line to greet me and bring me warm clothes – having that support means everything to me.

This is my ecstatic look

Boot Camp results are in…

So, the 8 weeks of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa’s Boot Camp has come to an end and I’m proud to say that I have shown massive improvement since we started.

After 8 weeks of lunges, push-ups, short sprints, getting acquainted with wet grass at 6 in the morning, venturing up Rhodes Memorial and Newlands Forest as the sun rose on a beautiful day in Cape Town, I can honestly say that it has been 8 weeks of the most amazing training I have ever done.

As they say, the proof is in the pudding (no pudding for me until after Two Oceans half marathon this weekend though), so without further ado here’s the before and after results:

  4 February 2013 25 March 2013
Height 1.74m 1.74m
Weight 118.05kg 118.05kg
Body Mass Index (BMI) 38.99kg 38.99kg
Finger-prick Cholesterol 5.12mmol/L 4.37mmol/L
Resting blood pressure 130/82mmHG 120/82mmHG
Waist circumference 119cm 116.5cm
Hip circumference 117cm 114cm
Waist / Hip ratio 1.02 1.02
Crunches (1 minute) 26 32
Push-ups 40 48
12 minute motion test 1610m (1.61km) 2170m (2.17km)

Granted, my weight didn’t go down during the 8 weeks but I struggle to lose weight and don’t necessarily look too much into what a scale says because I don’t believe it tells the full story, but what I am very happy about is that my cholesterol and blood pressure have gone down, I’ve lost 2.5cm in my waist, I’ve lost 3cm in my hips, I’ve upped my crunches by an extra 6 in one minute and I’ve managed to do an extra 8 push-ups in one minute, which I’m extremely chuffed about.

Finally, I’m so thrilled about my improvement in my 12 minute motion test as I’ve managed to cover an extra 560m, which is extremely significant in terms of my running. Even better was the fact that I won the award for the biggest improvement in my 12 minute motion test out of the whole group. That certificate is right up there with my WP colours and 1 single academic award in my lifetime.

So, all in all, I can’t thank the Boot Camp instructors Greg and Edwin enough for pushing me hard during each session, I thoroughly enjoyed every session, although I still hate burpees and crawling…

Thanks must also go to the program coordinator Kim at Sports Science.

If you’re interested in joining the next Boot Camp at Sports Science, click HERE to find out all the details or email Kim on fit@ssisa.com and she will guide you through everything.

It’s Two Oceans time for me this Saturday so I’m hoping to report back on a good race and bettering my time from last year of 2 hr 58 minutes. To everyone who is running, either the trail, half or full this weekend, best of luck. To everyone else, have a good Pesach and Easter!

Sit up and Sign up!

So, we enter week 7 of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa’s Boot Camp and it’s been a fantastic ride so far.

When I signed up for this, I knew it wouldn’t be easy to wake up so early in the morning, but I can honestly say it has been fantastic and has made such a big difference to my goal of healthy and active living.

If you’ve had a slow start to the year, don’t stress, because in just a matter of a few weeks you can give your body a kick up its arse.

While my 8-week session is coming to an end at the end of next week, I’m already putting it in my diary to sign up for the next one which starts in April.

Here’s the details you need to know – sign up, you will not regret it.

Classes take place in Newlands, Durbanville and Pinelands in Cape Town.

They start from April 8-10 so email fit@ssisa.com to find out all the details.

Here’s the LINK to the programme on the Sports Science Institute of SA’s website.

See what some of the previous participants have said:

“I love that we are outside with grass beneath our feet, the mountain in front of us for distraction and the cool breeze on our faces! It makes it all the more worthwhile.”

“I really enjoyed being pushed to do exercises I would never had done voluntarily in the gym, The camaraderie of the evening group was fantastic, the sports fields were convenient and easy to get to and it was great to have other venues from time to time.  The trainers were excellent and really booted us all into better fitness!”

“I am dreading Bootcamp coming to an end! Every aspect is well thought out and planned and I look forward to every session we have.”

Memorable Morning on Rhodes Memorial!

One of the awesome things about Boot Camp is that once a week we do an off-site training session. Last week we were in Newlands Forrest and this week we went up Rhodes Memorial.

Rhodes Memorial is one of the most iconic places in Cape Town and has undoubtedly one of the best views of the city. Now imagine that at 6 in the morning, looking over a misty Cape Town while doing exercise – truly sensational.

Those who have ever walked or cycled up and down Rhodes Memorial will know that it’s no easy task with the first 500 metres particularly traumatic, but it had to be smashed so I proceeded to get stuck in.

We stopped at certain stages all the way up, to do squats and various other exercises, so by the time we reached the stairs at Rhodes Memorial it felt a lot easier on the legs.

So, there I was, at the bottom of the stairs, ready for my Rocky moment, ready to take on the infamous Rhodes Memorial stairs. Cue the ‘Eye of the Tiger’ music and I somehow found the energy in my legs to go up and down a number of times, I think the poor stairs took more of a pounding than my body did, they really didn’t see me coming at all…

As we were walking back down to our cars, I realised that I had just been up and down Rhodes Memorial before most people had even had their first cup of coffee and I would never have done it had I not been part of a group. More on that in another post because I have an interesting theory on group training vs individual training…

Friday’s session involved quite a bit of cardio work and ended off week 4 of Boot Camp, I can’t believe how quickly it has gone and I can honestly say that I am having the time of my life. (no need to cue the Dirty Dancing music).

Here’s some pictures from the Rhodes Memorial session….

Oh, and check out the comparison between Rocky and myself. Please note how you can’t see my shoes because I’m going so fast, compared to Rocky, whose shoes you can see perfectly #JustSaying

The Proof is in the Running…

Wow, what a week it has been. This is how my week of training went:

Monday morning – Boot Camp
Tuesday evening – 8km Run
Wednesday morning – Boot Camp
Thursday evening – 8km Run
Friday morning – Boot Camp

Yip, that’s training 5 days this week so I allowed myself to rest all weekend because rest is as important as training to reach your goals.

Boot Camp this past week was awesome, we focused quite a bit on working in teams, like having to do 5 minutes of bridging between 2 people, thankfully I managed to pitch in with 2 and a half of those 5 minutes so I didn’t feel like I left my partner in the lurch. Bridging is right up there with push-ups as not my favourite exercise of all time, but I feel myself getting a lot better.

Where I feel myself getting even better however, is in my running, where this week I felt a lot fitter and stronger and managed to keep up with the pace of the faster runners in my group. I suddenly felt like I could push myself harder in my runs and that’s undoubtedly to do with the strength training I’ve been doing at Boot Camp, so I’m so stoked that the combination is working to a tee.

My improvement couldn’t have come at a better time as it’s just over a month until Two Oceans.

Bring on Boot Camp week 4…

Run Forest Run…

Forrest Gump has to be one of my favourite movies of all time and I realised recently that Forrest Gump and I have a couple of things in common – we both played competitive table tennis in our day and we both like to run.

The famous line from the movie “Run Forrest Run”, was no more evident this past week at Boot Camp, with one of the sessions taking place at Newlands Forest. Now I’ve been living in Cape Town all my life and I must admit to never stepping foot in Newlands Forest before, until now that is.

The sun wasn’t even rising yet as the members of our Sports Science Boot Camp class met up to tackle part of Newlands Forest in what turned out to be the most amazing morning.

There we were, looking over a misty Cape Town, waking up and getting ready to take on the day, it was quite surreal. We did a lot of short sprints up and down hills, we worked on our core muscles and building strength and ultimately realising the beauty which is on our doorsteps.

Undoubtedly the best session so far of the 8-week Boot Camp and I can’t wait to get into week 3.

Since starting Boot Camp, I am feeling fantastic, I’m feeling my shirts fit me better and more and more of my trousers are needing a belt, which I couldn’t be happier about.

There’s lots of work to do however, especially with my running this week so it’s time to ‘Run Brooke Run’.

Here’s a couple of pics from the Newlands Forest session

I Won’t Let Push-ups Get Me Down!

Alarm was set for 05:15, I woke up and mentally prepared myself to enter the first Sports Science Boot Camp training session. 25 others were there with me and 2 class instructors, both of whom looked like proper trainers – that might sound strange but I’ve been to private gyms where the trainers themselves were overweight – I always say you have to lead by example and these guys are without a doubt doing that.

So there we were, 26 Boot Campions (I think I’ll trademark that name) all out there to push each other to become Champions (now you see where I was going with that) of our own personal goals.

Now, we’re not in Winter, and we live in Cape Town, so there’s no point in training indoors – a school field it is going to be for the next 8 weeks, one whose grass I got intimately acquainted to yesterday during a number of sit-ups and push-ups. By the way, in my opinion, I love push-ups as much I love Luis Suarez (yes, I am being sarcastic here). Ironically push-ups and Suarez do have something in common – they both involve using your hands to succeed… Too soon?

Back to Boot Camp though, and after what seemed an exorbitant amount of star jumps, squats and lunges, the sweat was literally dripping off me and I left there feeling like I had done a serious workout – something I would never have been able to do by myself at gym.

Oh, did I mention that last night, after Boot Camp in the morning and a full day’s work, I also went for my first Discovery Vitality fitness test for the year? Just for the record, there were more sit-ups and push-ups involved…#Machine

Anyways, if I haven’t written another blog post over the next couple of days, please don’t panic, I’m most probably out on the Westerford school field looking for one of my abdominal muscles which was taken from me on day 1 of Boot Camp.