Can you Mo the distance?

Written by The Editor on . Posted in Archive

Pedophile, creep, my dad in the 70’s…you grow a moustache and girls will say these things to you, and more.

At the beginning of the month, a couple of your mates or office counterparts were probably sporting a dirty top lip and mouthing off about how they will be the next Magnum P.I. or something like that. After a week or two though their girlfriends start talking them out of it and they start noticing small children being shielded by their moms in public. Suddenly, before you can say Tom Selleck, the Mo becomes mown.

How did he get away with wearing those jeans and that shirt? The answer can be found on his top lip.

So that is why I have had kept mum on the mo so far, but now that we are into week three, I think it is a good time to show the Mo and get some banter going.

My 9th of Movember Mo - juvenile, much like my humour.

As we get deeper into Movember and the Mo bros get separated from the Mo boys, I encourage all guys to dig deep and draw inspiration from the bros who have grown the Mo before.

The 17th of Movember Mo.

This of course is no mean feat considering that as a single guy, the cookie duster does nothing for your general appeal to the fairer sex. On top of that your own mothers probably even laugh at you and make you feel like you keep well thumbed pornographic material under your bed with their disapproving looks. In a relationship? Well it doesn’t get any easier and I’m sure the daily bristle is not enjoyed.

La moustache - chicks don't dig 'em.

But no great achievement has ever happened without great sacrifice and hardship. So hang in there and before you know it you too can own the look of a legend and consider yourself in the company of the following past greats of sport:

Manoj Prabhakar.

Corey Pavin.

Nigel Mansell

The list goes on and on and on, so keep it up and always remember, boys with moustaches don’t cry…

...but boys without always do.

A mile too far – The end of the road.

Written by The Editor on . Posted in Archive

On the 1st of March this year I declared that I shall set about emulating Roger Bannister’s amazing feat of running a sub four minute mile. My motivation around it was to prove that back then the sporting standards weren’t what they are now and that with a lot of hard work and effort, I as an average guy of moderate athletic ability could achieve this feat within a year.

Legend - Roger Bannister.

I quit drinking, trained daily, read just about everything there was to read about the great man and his training and in so doing found myself in the most incredible shape of my life. The feeling of supreme fitness, strength and confidence to be able to keep pushing my body was an amazing thing. My adventures in physical exertion went so much further than just exercise and mentally stretched me far beyond the usual mental boundaries created over the years.

Becoming a top class runner - get ready for some boring living.

There were drawbacks to this of course, massive social drawbacks. I was pulling the usual full day at the office from 8-6 (sometimes later) then I would come home and train and by the time I had showered and eaten it was clocking 9pm. After a long day and ordering nothing at the bar than lime and soda, the urge to leave the house after that was minimal so this inevitably led to weeks of nothing but work, training and sleep.

All work and no play - fine for Indian children, not so much for me.

That’s the schedule of a champion you may say, but all work and no play makes Johnny a very dull boy or something to that effect. The World Cup football then started and the necessary release was there. Roughly a month later and with the worst of the winter over I resumed training but really took a while to get back to where I was fitness wise. At the age of 28, though not over the hill by any stretch of the imagination, I quickly learned that mile running is a young man’s game and the recovery needed after the strenuous training was lacking for me on some weeks.

Another run? Piss off I'm knackered.

Nevertheless I ploughed on and managed to get into great shape again in order to hit the track and start churning some times out. Then the injuries started. I can’t recall ever pulling a leg muscle in my life, but then the hamstring went. Not torn or anything that severe, but strained to the point where running at any speed is painful and thus rendering me useless.

So I did the resting, the stretching and huge amounts of icing and managed to get through it. But then when I thought I was over it, it just kept going and going and now I have to properly give it a break in order to prevent serious injury. It has been a painful and frustrating last month and has taken me to a point where I am faced with a big decision to make.

Decisions decisions...

Either way both choices start with a months rest – absolutely no running. Then do I go into an intensive 6 months training programme to finish what I started, or do I reflect on what I have learnt, streamline my exercise to just that of aesthetic maintenance and crack a beer and get ready for a long summer of sports viewing?

The answer, well it is of course the latter.

I recently started reading the most amazing book on the subject of mile running – The Perfect Mile. This literary masterpiece outlines the lives of the three men who were challenging to be the first to break the magical four minute mile mark. Page after page you are all consumed in the lives of these extraordinary athletes and everything that they did to be the best. They all led extremely disciplined lives devoted to their goal and this simply isn’t the life for me.

The towel - I'm throwing it in.

So as much as it hurts to throw in the towel, I do so on the back of a very interesting experience which has left me more in awe of professional athletes than ever, and a given me new found understanding for the human body and what is physically possible when you put your mind to it. This won’t be the end of mile postings though, I shall continue writing on the subject and offer practical tips on how to incorporate some of the training into your weekly workouts.

After a month of no running though, I might go a little crazy. It has become such a big part of life for me so perhaps when the leg gets better I might channel all the built up energy into becoming the first white guy to run a sub 10 second 100m :) .

Sub four minute mile training – 31/08/10

Written by The Editor on . Posted in Archive

Bit of tragedy struck this past week as training was put on hold due to an annoying hamstring strain. I had just devised a great new speed and stamina circuit which wonderfully combines long hill work, gradual straights and short incline sprints. Perhaps a bit ambitious for state of the legs especially with the inclusion of the strenuous touch rugby which I have also recently added to the regime.

Not very pleasant - first time I have ever pulled a hammy.

So I took a break and went on a relaxing golf tour over the weekend – easy on the hammy, heavy on the fun. All felt good by the end of the weekend just in time for the opening game of our touch rugby season. I warmed up more than usual and started getting into some sprints, but sadly the troublesome muscle went again. I played for a couple of minutes but wasn’t going to risk any further damage – hugely frustrating as the game was fast and furious and the team played well.

So no running for the next couple of days and certainly no sprints until the weekend I would imagine. But if I’m going to be on my arse then I will be productive while there. Started reading the next essential Mile novel – The perfect mile by Neal Bascomb. It chronicles the race to the magical mark and the three men that chased it. Really looking forward to getting into this.

Will catch up next week, hopefully with fully functioning hamstring.

Sub four minute mile training – 26/08/10

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As August gradually makes way for September and the warmer comforts of Spring, so does the mile training get closer to being where it should be. I started this challenge with a few goals in mind. Primarily I wanted to emulate a legend and achieve a sporting feat which still to this day is well recognized as an achievement of note. But along with that I, as a passionate sports fan, wanted to get a first hand insight into what it takes to be a champion; the pain and the suffering and how far you really have to raise the bar in order to get where you want to be.

Middle distance running - fokken demanding.

Well this past week I sure felt humbled and even more in awe of true athletes. My mixed training of sprints, middle distance running and touch rugby left me feeling shattered come Sunday night and for the first time I really felt like throwing in the towel on this. Okay Sunday’s feeling could have a fair amount to do with Springbok Saturday and what probably amounted to a case of beer, but what made it worse was how the light training that followed on Monday and Tuesday, with slightly strained muscles, felt so laboured and painful.

Balancing being a sports fan and an athlete is proving quite difficult.

This all got me thinking of course that perhaps after taking my month long break of comfort eating and drinking, that it is in fact the mind that has gone soft. I mean I’m in great shape if I do say so myself and should have no reason to feel sluggish. So last night I hardened the fitness up and ploughed through the pain and took on one of the nice long hills in my ‘hood. It hurt like hell but I didn’t give up and when I got home I felt so much better for it.

Controlling the head is always a key element to success.

St Stithians have repainted their track lines on their bottom field so next week I shall be making the lunch break runs – very Roger Bannister. This weekend also sees my last big drinking weekend in a while I think. Annual golf tour with the boys to the Waterberg. Slight speed bump in the training but it will be most worth it. Catch up next week.

Sub four minute mile training – 17/08/10

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Last week I had some pretty stern words with winter. I think it is high-time that it forked off as the biting chill does nothing for being outdoors when the sun isn’t around. But while my words were sinking in I decided that to get the spring into the training that touch rugby is now going to become the weekly back bone for my exertion.

Touch rugby - hell yeah.

For starters very few things other than boxing or swimming make you desperate for breath than touch rugby. The back and forth movement, high intensity bursts and constant quick footwork, it is fair to say that it isn’t an activity for the faint-hearted. To my knowledge Roger Bannister didn’t dabble in any activity with the oval ball, but this is where we differ as I am prepared to try some other options in pursuit of getting into track shape.

I’m complementing this with high sprints and body weight resistance training every second day, and then running a brisk 5km course alternate to that. Later this week I shall be pushing that to the odd 10km cross country run so all in all in a months time I think i shall be back to the level I need to be after my World Cup induced lay-off.

Being in shape - way better than, ah, not being in shape.

The real good news of course is that the weather is becoming far more pleasant, so if I could just resist the weekend binge drinking sessions and dodge the endless flu strains floating around the office, then all is looking good in getting back on track with the training. An extra little short-term goal is the Mens Health Urbanathlon. Click on the link and check it out, looks like great fun and the perfect thing to help you focus on getting into shape for just in time for summer.

Sub four minute mile training – back on it.

Written by The Editor on . Posted in Archive

The football World Cup was a special time for just about all South Africans. Endless fanfare from the opening game right through to the final a month later had people going dilly with enthusiasm, patriotism and all round enjoyment.

Good times - June and July were an endless jol.

Leading into this historic month my training for the sub four minute mile was going well. I was in the best shape of my life and brimming with energy and enthusiasm – energy and enthusiasm which I ploughed firmly into beer drinking and football watching. Ya I tried to keep up the training and stay in the footsteps of Roger Bannister, but resistance was futile. Mid week games turned into mid week drinks and just about every weekend was a proper right off.

Good times.

Roger never had the distraction of a football World Cup in his backyard though so I didn’t feel too bad in taking some time off – and feeling it. The problem was though that to get back into the intensity with which I was rolling pre-World Cup, it needed a super human effort to lay off the sauce and brave the winter cold again to go running before or after work again. When I did try it felt like I was running with lead weights round my ankles and gun powder in my lungs. Bloody hell it was tough, and not made any easier by what felt like the coldest Joburg winter of all time.

This cold up in Joburg.

So fair to say what I gained in the three months of dedicated training I pretty much lost in six weeks of general good livin’. Bye-bye six pack, bye-bye fitness but not bye-bye hunger to achieve this rather difficult goal I have set myself. Despite the fact I drank like a college kid on spring break and ate like a heart broken fat chick in winter, after a couple runs I could feel the spring returning and after just those couple of runs I think I’m ready to go full steam ahead again and be faster, stronger and better than ever before.

You bet.

I know what needs to be done, I have a better understanding of my physical abilities and seem to have developed a great enthusiasm to get closer to my milestone. All this and the weather is getting warmer.

My initial goal of breaking the four minute mile barrier on March 31st may have to go back a month to April to compensate for the break, but I shall be all over it between now and then especially as we move away from the dreaded winter and into warmer more training conducive weather. Catch up with you again next Tuesday – mile diary day.

Week twelve and thirteen of sub four minute mile training.

Written by The Editor on . Posted in Archive

What a cruel thing you are winter. As you can see by the title of this post, I have fallen behind with my mile diaries and am doing a two in one thing here. It has been a bloody dreadful couple of weeks for the training, well actually, just this last week really as the common cold has leveled me and I have not run in a week.

Tough place to run faster from - the sick bed.

This is of major frustration for me as I had reached a point where I have never been stronger. For my 900m hill track I went from 2:52 to 2:49 which was bloody brilliant I felt and I even shook things up with a 7km run which made me feel like I was super-human strength wise.

Feeling awesome - it's addictive.

Then I woke up feeling like shit last Friday and have been physically useless ever since. Perhaps I am pushing things a bit hard on my night time runs and should perhaps balance my week with a few more midday runs. All I know is that when I get back into it this week I am going to feel really pathetic when I turn on the gas again.

Feeling dog tired - a drawback of training.

In my week off I feel like I have lost so much and this provides further evidence that my task to emulate Roger Bannister is bloody near impossible. As I have said before, he was doing this in his early twenties, but I am trying it in my late twenties.

Oh well, I may be an oldie – but I’m a goodie. Back on track shortly!

Getting back on it - must stay focused.