Damn! Is the race next weekend? Oops!

You know that saying, “You think you’ve got time, but you don’t” or something like that?

I entered the Kaapsehoop 21km road race taking place on the 3rd November. Yup, next weekend. Or next, next weekend. I digress…

I haven’t trained as much as I should’ve to take on a half marathon but I knew that as the race grew closer, I’d be ready. That was my thinking 3 months ago.

Then winter arrived and I stopped running. I call it my annual hibernation. Then we went on holiday. And I ate carbs at the buffet. Twice a day. Then I got a viral infection and I’m still coughing!

I’ve run a couple of 10kms here and there. I’ve jogged through the neighborhood a few times. Just to take in the beauty of the jacaranda trees! But a 21km is still hardcore in my books and I haven’t done sufficient training for Kaapsehoop.FNB Jozi 10km

The only “training” further than a 5km Parkrun has been odd 10km races, such as the Heritage Day FNB 10km race.

It gets worse.

Then an email arrived notifying runners that there are no substitutions after September. Ouch!

So it’s 21kms or nothing. No downgrading for a fun 10km run. Oh dear. I’m out.

I know I’ll hate every single kilometer of the 21km if I go and “run for fun”. It won’t be fun. And to risk disqualification if I jump on the 10km bus ain’t worth it.

KK still aims to run the marathon and qualify for Comrades. Yes, he has entered and just as well! Comrades entries are going like hot cakes!

Oh well, on the bright side, bring on that long weekend in Kaapsehoop! *whoop*! I’m always up for another break!

Ps: I’ll be much better prepared for my next race. I promise.

Why I left my phone in the hotel room and went for a run instead

We celebrate our wedding anniversary annually with a trip away. Away from work commitments, household chores, and the noise that drowns out our lives. We try get away from it all.

This year, we couldn’t have picked a more perfect destination than Club Med Bintan Island, tucked away off the coast of Singapore.

The view over the pool area from reception

It was an absolute paradise! The food, the drinks, the people…

There are x4 things I did that made it even more blissful and ensured that I enjoyed each and every minute on the island.

1. I locked my cellphone away in the hotel room safe everyday. For someone like me to not have my phone constantly with me was hard! But when I lay on the deck chair overlooking the ocean, I saw for myself just how obsessed people are with getting that perfect photo, taking pics of their food or simply seeing their heads facing down staring at their screens when in fact there was such beautiful scenery all around us.

I don’t have many photos of the holiday but what I did come back with are hundreds of conversations between Karl and myself. We spoke. A lot. And I switched off. I detoxed digitally and it felt good not exposing myself to all the hatred and anger that exists on social media.

2. I ran. In fact we must’ve run almost every single day on the island. The humidity at 8am did not stop us either. You kinda think that on holiday, you should take a break from exercise but we loved the fact that we had time to run whenever we wanted to! And to explore different routes and pathways around the resort. Yes, so I did get lost on my first run. I blame the Club Med chief of the village who claimed the distance around the club was 4kms. It was actually 8kms! Pffft, non-runners!

I was not mentally prepared for the uphills and humidity on my first day of running. But once I knew the route, it was just me (and the monkeys) on a road surrounded by palm trees and lush vegetation, next to a beautiful golf course with the piercing sound of the Cicada bug, apparently the loudest insect, zinging in my ears. Bliss!

This naughty little bugger made off with my running cap that was drying out on the balcony!

3. I ate everything and more on my plate. We diet way too much. We have become so obsessed with our Banting / low carb / paleo / weightless / weight watchers / Sleek geek / plant-based eating schemes that we’ve forgotten to find joy in actually eating something that tastes really delicious! I ate bowls of pasta, ice-cream, fried rice, curries! I ordered cocktails at the pool. I lived! And the damage was not as bad as I had imagined! I still have clothes which fit. LOL

Food food and even more food!

I didn’t dish up massive portions but I made sure I tasted as much as I could – from spicy Korean dishes, to Indonesian crab and lots and lots of fried rice.

4. I swam in the sea! You heard right! I swam sometimes three or four times in the same afternoon. The sea water was as like warm bath water and there were very few waves. If you looked down at your feet, the water was so clear, you could spot a fish or two dashing through your legs every now and then. Freaky!

I put my fear of the sea aside and not only swam in the sea but jumped on a boat to be led out to the waters to go snorkeling. With a mask covering my face and looking down onto the most beautiful coral reefs, a sea turtle swam passed me! My heart! And then yes, I gulped down a huge mouthful of sea water in all my excitement!

Here’s a couple of photos I did manage to take which gives you a sense of just how beautiful Bintan Island is…

Walkways through the resort which never felt busy or overcrowded.

We had a choice of sitting around the pool or lying on deck chairs staring into the ocean.

Lazy strolls along the beach.

Just couldn’t resist this photo opportunity.

The ‘B’ is actually me, not Bintan 😉

In his element!

No make-up, sticky sun creamed body, cocktail in hand.

Full body massages on beds overlooking the ocean.

Thank you for a wonderful holiday KK!

Running is good for mind, body and especially soul

When the alarm on my phone buzzed this morning, my brain started its familiar sabotaging tricks: stay in bed, it’s Sunday! Don’t drive to Wanderers and run a stupid 10km race. Stay in bed, it screamed. Luckily I had committed to two friends that I’d run the race with them, which was a good enough excuse to fight back those negative thoughts.

Meeting up with Tanya among 7000 runners was surprisingly easy and as that gun went off, we had already started to catch up. Work, life, kids, food, running… all the usual stuff.

I had promised my trainer, Stacey, that I would focus on my heart rate and my breathing, so the walk / run approach suited me perfectly.

Crossing that 10km finish line felt like a 90 minute “free” coaching session aka marathon. I vented, Tanya advised. I quizzed, she answered. I opened up about insecurities and she was able to stop me in my tracks, continually making me question, “but why not?” And “is that true?”

The rewards of running are endless…

Some days, you learn about your body. Other days, you test the willpower of your mind. But every now and then, it’s the company during the run which is what you need most. Today was that kind of day!

Surround yourself with people who inspire you, who build you up and make you believe in yourself. There’s no better time than when you are out on a run because when you’re running, you’re automatically in a winning frame of mind. When you run, you are already giving back to your body. The conversations are pure gold.

Thanks Tanya! Good soul food! I forgot about the uphills and didn’t obsess about watching the time on my Garmin.

Oh and I did offer to push the pram during our run while Tanya tweeted & cheered on the Rockies 21km leading runners. Wow! New respect for runners who run pushing prams because it is not easy! You do feel like a million bucks when people cheer you on though! That last kilometer was amazing!

Thanks Rebecca! *high 5*

My magical jumping beans

I was out running last week when literally out of the blue, I remembered a memory of the magical jumping beans from my primary school days.

Growing up, my family spent every holiday we could dragging our caravan through the Kruger National Park.

We would set up camp as close to the fence as possible in the hope that the smell of our braai tjoppies would lure the hyenas. During the scorching days, we camped out at drinking holes for hours with the zinging drone of insects in our ears just waiting for the Big 5 to get thirsty.

It was on one of these holidays that I stumbled across some magical jumping beans lying under a tree.

I collected them up and carried them around in a used yoghurt cup (most probably a choc chip flavor as this was my favorite and still is). The beans mimicked popcorn kernels and would jump erratically with a life of their own. Magic!

I was mesmerized. It kept me busy for days and instead of scanning for animals on our drives, my head would be looking down, into the cup, with delight.

Magic in my hands!

This was amazing! And I thought that when I returned to school, the kids would fall at my feet, dying to hold the magical jumping beans in their hands.

It was just before the holiday ended that my beans slowed down and eventually stopped jumping. My heart sank. How I was going to convince my schoolmates of my beans and their tricks. I was devastated.

I returned home and threw the cup with its contents in the bin. School holidays ended and for weeks, my eyes drifted out the classroom window, remembering the clickety click sound of those jumping beans. There was no way anyone would have believed me and so I kept it a secret and when we had to report back on our holiday, I spoke only of zebbies and giraffes.

As the leaves of winter have fallen and spring arrives In Jo’burg, there are pods scattered on the pavements along the road where I run near home. Every time my running shoes crunch on the pods, I remember the beans. 

I know that everyone has a similar memory, their own bean story. How absolutely wonderful life would be if we could capture those feelings again, that innocence, and not listen to the naysayers but truly believe in the magic of jumping beans.

So then, magic or not?

The Tamboti tree flowers in September and the pea sized seeds develop in three-lobed capsules which fall, when mature in November, to the leaf litter below. If you stand by a copse of Tamboti trees on a hot November day you may hear a distinctive rustling in the litter and if you look more closely you will see some flicking in the litter due to some seeds jumping intermittently. Collect some of these jumpers and place them on a plate in the hot sun and the jumping becomes more invigorated. Open one carefully and you will find a small larva whose body suddenly contorts causing the bean to jump. This is the larvae of the small grey moth Emporia melanobasis which parasites the seed when still green. ~ http://www.krugerpark.co.za/africa_tamboti.html

Caravan image credit: SANParks